Illinois government must set example for acceptance of transgender people

Isabella Parades, Editor-in-Chief

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Recently, Gov. of Texas, Greg Abbott, attempted to push lawmakers to consider a bill that would regulate bathroom use by transgender people. Since then, politicians from across the country have taken a stand against the bill. Illinois should show their support for the LGBT+ community and make a policy that prohibits discrimination against students enrolled in public schools based on gender identity.
Any attempt to follow in the footsteps of Gov. Abbott would be a violation of Illinois’ Human Rights Act, which does not allow discrimination based on gender identity in employment, housing or public accommodations, such as restrooms. It would also violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination based on sex by schools that receive federal funding.
If Illinois follows in the steps of Abbott, the state could receive backlash from LGBT rights supporters. Illinois, a state where the majority of citizens voted democratically in presidential elections since 1992, could face harmful economic consequences, similar to those that North Carolina faced in late 2016, after the state passed legislation prohibiting transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice.
Any legislation that denies transgender people the opportunity to use whichever bathroom they prefer perpetuates a hostile environment for them. USA today reports that 41 percent of transgender people attempt suicide at some point of their lives compared to the nationwide average of 4.6 percent.
Most proponents of anti-transgender legislation argue that Title IX does not encompass gender identity, but the Obama Administration asserted that the amendment applies to it. Parents of Palatine High School students challenged this when they sued the school district for allowing a transgender female to use the women’s restrooms. A federal judge sided with the Obama administration and said the constitution does not protect students from having to share a bathroom with their transgender peers.
The economic and social consequences alone should encourage Illinois legislators to continue passing bills that protect transgender students’ rights.

 

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Illinois government must set example for acceptance of transgender people