SPRINGFIELD — Equality Illinois, partner organizations, and citizens from across the state are in the state Capitol Wednesday for meetings with the state’s leaders on LGBT Advocacy Day and calling on officials to advance a lived equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Illinoisans and their families.
The focus of this year’s advocacy day is to ask Gov. Bruce Rauner and state lawmakers to support legislation to assist transgender Illinoisans in obtaining accurate birth certificates, to oppose a bill that would discriminate against transgender students, and to adopt a responsible budget that protects vital services for Illinois workers, families, children, seniors, immigrants, and other residents.
“We are here in Springfield today to remind lawmakers and Governor Rauner that LGBT Illinoisans are part of the fabric of our state,” said Michael Ziri, Director of Public Policy at Equality Illinois, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary year advocating for LGBT Illinoisans.
“We are here at the State House to speak up and speak out about issues that are important to LGBT Illinoisans, including legislation that would advance lived equality for transgender Illinoisans and a fair and responsible budget that protects and supports all Illinoisans,” said Patty Medairy, Director of Field Operations at Equality Illinois.
Partnering with the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, UP Center of Champaign County, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, Rainbow Café in Carbondale, and Coalition of Rainbow Alliances in Springfield, Equality Illinois hosted and organized today’s LGBT Advocacy Day at the State Capitol.
Among the top issues of concern to the citizen advocates is securing passage of House Bill 6073, which modernizes the standard for a transgender individual to correct the gender marker on their birth certificate.
Sponsored by State Rep. Greg Harris, HB 6073 modernizes the standard in Illinois for an individual to correct the gender marker on their birth certificate. Established in 1962, the current standard requires the individual to first undergo an operation. Yet, such a procedure may actually be unnecessary, harmful, or financially unattainable for some individuals. Consistent with current medical knowledge, HB 6073 modernizes the standard to clinically appropriate treatment.
Due to such barriers as the current operation requirement in Illinois law, more than 75 percent of transgender Americans have not updated the gender marker on their birth certificates. However, having updated identification documents is important to transgender Illinoisans because they may face embarrassment, discrimination, and harassment if their core IDs do not reflect their authentic gender identity.
HB 6073 also makes Illinois law consistent with the standards used by eleven other states and the federal government.
Many health experts, organizations and institutions support HB 6073, including the Illinois Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, American Psychoanalytic Association, Illinois Psychiatric Society, Illinois Psychological Association, Illinois Public Health Association, Adler University, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, Howard Brown Health Center, American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, Anti-Defamation League, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, and Citizen Action Illinois. The bill awaits a vote by the Illinois House of Representatives.
Advocates also educated lawmakers about the dangers of HB 4474, which would force transgender students to use separate school facilities from their peers and would write discrimination into law. It is similar to legislation passed and then vetoed in South Dakota. Last week, HB 4474 was sent to the House Human Services Committee’s Facilities Subcommittee.
Opposition to the discriminatory and stigmatizing HB 4474 is broad. In addition to Equality Illinois, the bill is opposed by the Illinois Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Illinois Psychological Association, American Psychoanalytic Association, American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, Anti-Defamation League, and AIDS Foundation of Chicago.
Equality Illinois also continues our engagement around budget priorities to ensure the state adopts a responsible and fair spending plan that provides adequate revenues to protect vital services and programs for Illinois families, children, and communities. Equality Illinois is a member of the Responsible Budget Coalition, a large and diverse coalition of 250 organizations united to preserve vital services for Illinoisans. The Coalition focuses on three common principles: ensure adequate revenue to support state priorities and make smart investments, make no more cuts to services, and establish fairness in revenue sharing and cuts caused by failure to raise adequate revenue.