Pritzker signs LGBTQ Inclusive Curriculum bill

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed HB 246 over the weekend, which ensures that LGBTQ history will be taught in Illinois Schools. The bill was an initiative of Equality Illinois, the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, and the Legacy Project and is supported by the Illinois State Board of Education and a broad coalition of statewide and local educational, civil rights, health, and civic organizations. It would require the inclusion of LGBTQ historical contributions in any textbooks purchased through block grants from the state. Any group listed under the Illinois Human Rights Act would be highlighted. It goes into effect on July 1, 2020.

Brave Space Alliance offering Trans 101 training

CHICAGO — The Brave Space Alliance, a Black-led trans-led LGBTQ center in Chicago, is offering Trans 101 training. The training is being offered to businesses and organizations to educate people on transgender people and the issues they face. The workshops are primarily geared toward groups of youth and/or adults ages 14 and older. 

If your organization would like to schedule a Trans 101 session, then fill out the request form. If you have questions, people can contact the BSA at (708)683-4397.

Illinois House passes RISE Act

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois House of Representatives passed the Retain Illinois Students and Equity (RISE) Act this week. The bill would make it easier for marginalized students, including undocumented and transgender students, get financial aid. NPR Illinois reported that it would also raise the number of credit hours a student can take before their state aid runs out to help students who have to take remedial classes. The bill had been supported by a coalition of groups, including Equality Illinois, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and PASO. Equality Illinois said the bill passed on a vote of 66 to 47.

DeVos defends roll back on transgender student protections

WASHINGTON — U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos defended rolling back the department’s protections for transgender students on Wednesday. The Hill reported that DeVos defended the move during testimony with the U.S. House Education Committee. From The Hill:

During a hearing in front of the House Education Committee, civil rights subcommittee Chairwoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) asked the secretary if she knew that harassment and discrimination can lead to poor academic performance and depression for transgender students when she rescinded Obama-era regulations that extended Title IX rights to the students and allowed them to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity. DeVos sidestepped the question at first, responding: “[The U.S. Office for Civil Rights] OCR is committed to ensuring all students have equal access to education free from discrimination—“
Bonamici then cut her off, repeating the question. “Sorry, I would really like answer,” the congresswoman said.

Illinois State Capitol. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Proposed Illinois law would include consent in sex ed

SPRINGFIELD — On Thursday, the Illinois House passed a bill that would require a more detailed definition for consent in sex ed programs for middle and high school students in public schools. From the Chicago Tribune:
Sex education is not mandated by law in Illinois, but schools that have such programs must include certain themes, like the issue of consent. But the current law does not define consent, nor specify what instruction about it should include, said state Rep. Ann Williams, D-Chicago, main sponsor of the bill, which now moves on to the Senate. “Consent is much more complex a topic than ‘no means no,’” she said. “It looks a lot different if someone is in a position of trust and authority …

Want to study medicinal cannabis? You can soon.

SKOKIE — Oakton Community College in Skokie announced this week that its board had authorized a medicinal cannabis program. Yes, for real. From the Chicago Sun-Times:
The program, approved Tuesday, will allow students to earn a certificate as a cannabis dispensary and patient care specialist, according to a statement from Oakton. The certificate program will be added to the school’s curriculum in the fall pending approval from the Illinois Community College Board. “This is timely and relevant,” said Ruth Williams, Oakton’s dean of curriculum and instruction.

Illinois State Capitol. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Illinois House passes Inclusive Curriculum Bill

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois House of Representatives has passed the Inclusive Curriculum Bill with a 60-42 vote. The news came out on Equality Illinois social media outlets. The bill is an initiative of Equality Illinois, the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, and the Legacy Project and is supported by the Illinois State Board of Education and a broad coalition of statewide and local educational, civil rights, health, and civic organizations. It would require the inclusion of LGBTQ historical contributions in any textbooks purchased through block grants from the state. Any group listed under the Illinois Human Rights Act would be highlighted.

Illinois State Capitol. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

State rep pushes for ‘nondiscriminatory’ textbooks that include LGBTQ

SPRINGFIELD — A bill before the Illinois House would require books bought with state funds to also include contributions from LGBTQ people. Capitol News Illinois reported that that bill, sponsored by State Rep. Anna Moeller (D-Elgin), moved out of committee on Feb. 6 and is now before the full House. “Historically, they’ve been ignored, and either deliberately or inadvertently left out of our history books,” Moeller told the news service. The bill would require any textbooks bought with state textbook block grants to include the impact and involvement of everyone included the Illinois Human Rights Act.

HIV access group ‘Yes We Can, SI Se Puede’ starts on Facebook for Latino, African-American men

ELGIN — A new bilingual Facebook group, “Yes We Can, SI Se Puede,” has started to help educate African-American and Latino men who have sex with men about access to HIV services. “We noticed that most material for HIV materials were in English and that the images used for advertising didn’t reflect the black/and or community as well as some other intersectionalities like immigration and/or systemic rascim,” said Rolando Serna, an outreach and prevention educator with Open Door Health Center of Illinois. “And so we wanted to create a safe online space where these communities can receive HIV education and validation of their identities.” Sena said the hope was to provide people with the self empowerment to make well-informed decisions in regards to sex. Right now, there are no events planned but they are considering a launch party.