Earlier today, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced a landmark executive order directing the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to promulgate policies extending explicit protections for LGBTQ students in Illinois public schools. ISBE is being directed by the order to ensure that all students enjoy protections recognized by the Illinois Human Rights Act, including access to facilities.  

The following response to the Governor’s action can be attributed to John A. Knight, LGBTQ Project Director at the ACLU of Illinois: 

“At a moment when Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos demonstrated callous disregard for the rights of LGBTQ students, Governor Pritzker’s recognition and action is a welcome response. Students who are LGBTQ across Illinois deserve dignity, protection and support. Like all students, these young people deserve a school setting that provides respect and a place to learn, grow and explore new ideas – not a nightmare destination where they suffer discrimination, humiliation and harm. 

The Governor’s action today is especially affirming for those who have been singled out for discrimination simply because they were transgender. My thoughts today are with Student A and Nova Maday, who along with others challenged policies that denied them equal access to facilities in the school because they are transgender. We urge ISBE to promote model policies that make clear to all school districts their obligations to these students and others. 

We thank Governor Pritzker for seeing LGBTQ students and respecting their dignity as part of our families. This is an important step toward equality to be celebrated by us all.”

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