Equality Illinois applauds LGBTQ appointment to Illinois Senate sexual harassment task

Equality Illinois

CHICAGO — Equality Illinois welcomed the appointment of Dr. Kathleen Robbins to a state senate task force on sexual harassment and discrimination in a statement on Friday.

As with the national government, media and entertainment, the state general assembly has been hit with allegations of harassment.

From Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois

We applaud the appointment of Dr. Kathleen Robbins by Illinois Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady to the Illinois Senate Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention. Kathleen is an excellent addition to the task force. She has significant life experiences, from service in the U.S. Air Force, the business sector, and the non-profit space, and is a member of the Equality Illinois Community Advisory Group.

We thank Leader Brady for appointing Kathleen and for ensuring an inclusive discussion of the impact of sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination in Illinois.

Indeed, it is essential that the voices of LGBTQ people, especially transgender individuals, be included in these discussion and deliberations. According to the 2015 U.S. Trans Survey of more than 27,000 transgender respondents from across the United States, 47% have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime. Furthermore, 10% were sexually assaulted in the year preceding the survey.

In Illinois, 13% of individuals who are out or perceived to be transgender report being sexually assaulted in their K-12 schools because of their gender identity. And, among transgender Illinoisans who saw a health care provider in the year preceding the survey, 33% report having at least one negative experience related to being transgender. For some respondents, that included being physically or sexually assaulted.

The prevalence and impact of sexual violence on transgender people are problems that must be acknowledged and addressed. We call on the task force, the Illinois General Assembly, and Governor Rauner to propose and act on robust policy proposals to ensure the dignity of women and LGBTQ people and to build a better Illinois.