Illinois HIV Action Alliance seeks responses for survey on HIV laws

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois HIV Action Alliance (IHAA) is looking for people to participate in an anonymous survey about awareness of Illinois HIV laws. In a post on the Illinois HIV Care Connect blog, the IHAA wants to  understand what people know about Illinois laws regarding HIV and how that affects them. IHAA will use this information to inform advocacy efforts, including building educational materials and outreach activities centered on the voices of people living with HIV and HIV-negative individuals who are at risk. You can take the survey here.

Pritzker signs law that removes time limit on sex crimes prosecution

SPRINGFIELD — On Friday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation that removes the statute of limitations on prosecuting crimes of sexual violence. The Southern Illinoisan reported that the signing eliminates a 10-year limit on initiating prosecution for criminal sexual assault, sexual abuse and related crimes. From The Southern Illinoisan:

Carrie Ward is executive director of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault. She says the law is important because some victims of sexual violence are too traumatized or preoccupied with rebuilding their lives to push prosecution. The law takes effect Jan. 1.

Pritzker signs gender-neutral bathroom bill into law

SPRINGFIELD — On Friday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill that requires all single-person public restrooms to gender-neutral. 

WAND 17, an NBC affiliate in Decatur, reported the bill, Senate Bill 556, amends the Equitable Restrooms Act. The TV station reported that each single-person restroom should have signs indicating “all gender” or “gender-neutral.” It applies to existing and future buildings and health inspectors will be make sure businesses comply. 

It goes into effect immediately, WAND 17 reported.

Christina King to represent Illinois at Miss Trans USA

MILWAUKEE — Christina King of Galesburg will represent Illinois at the Miss Trans USA pageant in Milwaukee in September. 

Samuel RosenMayer will represent the state for the Mr. Trans USA title. 
According to the pageant website, the Trans USA pageantry system was created by Gerardo Chavez and Luis Perez of Wisconsin. 
Chavez wanted to create a platform that would stimulate the community as a whole with a focus on trans visibility. His aspiration is that his hard work would be followed by community action. This is when he and his husband created what is now known as the Mr. & Miss Trans USA pageant. ​The Mr. & Miss Trans USA pageant is held annually in Wisconsin. The national pageant features trans men and women.

Illinois Humans Rights Commission rules for trans student on full, equal restroom access

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Human Rights Commission has ruled for a transgender student, allowing trans students full access to restrooms and locker rooms.

The ACLU of Illinois announced the ruling on Wednesday, July 24. According to the ACLU’s announcement, the commission ruled that Illinois law requires public schools to provide transgender students with full and equal use of restrooms and locker rooms. The decision came in a case brought by a high school student against the Lake Park Community District 108 in suburban Roselle. The student has not been named to protect his privacy. The student filed a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) after being denied use of the locker room unless he agreed to dress separately from other students behind a privacy curtain. The ACLU of Illinois LGBTQ & HIV Project represented him in filing the complaint, and has offered similar assistance to several other students challenging similar forms of discrimination in recent years.

Indiana appeals court allows two trans women to keep name changes private

INDIANAPOLIS — An appeals court in Indiana has reversed decisions of county courts and ruled that two transgender women can keep the details of their name changes private. 

The Indianapolis Star reported that at least one woman had been refused service in her town and saw threatening social media posts from a neighbor. The other said making it public would put a target on her back. From the Indianapolis Star:

“It’s dangerous,” said one of the women told IndyStar. “You never know how someone is going to react. There is a fear that the likelihood of a problem occurring kind of goes up.”

Illinois GOP group posts then deletes racist meme against ‘The Squad’

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Republican County Chairmen’s Association (IRCCA) posted then deleted a Facebook meme that images of the “Squad,” U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, on a mock-up movie poster calling them “The Jihad Squad.” The meme comes after a week of controversy because of Trump’s racists comments about the group, saying they should go back to their “own countries” and fix them. All four are American citizens and three were born in the United States. The meme was posted over the weekend then deleted.

Illinois to ignore federal abortion gag rule

SPRINGFIELD — This week, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that Illinois will refuse to implement the Trump administration’s Title X gag rule. The rule bars federal funding for contraception for low-income women unless providers refuse to refer or provide abortion services along with other reproductive health care. “President Trump’s gag rule undermines women’s health care and threatens the providers that millions of women and girls rely on, and we will not let that stand in the state of Illinois,” Pritzker said. “Under my administration, Illinois will always stand with women and protect their fundamental right to choose. While I’m committed to bringing as many federal dollars to the state as possible, I refuse to sacrifice our values and allow vital care to lapse.

Gun dealers sue over new Illinois licensing law

SPRINGFIELD — Gun dealers and the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) have sued to stop a state law that would require gun dealers in Illinois to have a state license in addition to the federal one they already have. Capitol News Illinois reported that the law, the Firearm Dealer License Certification Act, also has other new requirements to qualify for a state license. They include requiring stores to install adequate security, including video surveillance, exterior lighting and alarm systems; employees undergoing at least two hours per year of training in how to comply with state gun laws; and having adequate plans in place for the safe storage of firearms and ammunition during retail hours and after closing. The state license will cost $300 for private sales, $1,500 for retail locations. According to Capitol News, a federal license is $90.