Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) on Sunday signed an executive order to protect transgender students enrolled in schools across the state, declaring on the final day of Pride Month that “ignorance was no longer an excuse for bigotry.”
The order establishes a task force of 25 people who will craft policies to better support transgender and nonbinary students and mandates that schools have safe spaces for LGBTQ youth.
Pritzker, who signed the order the same day as Chicago’s Pride Parade, said the changes were meant to “disrupt the patterns of discrimination in our classrooms and ensure our school[s] across the state are affirming and inclusive for transgender, nonbinary and gender nonconforming students.”
“While the LGBTQ community has so much to celebrate, we must also recognize that the trans community that ignited this movement has been left out of many of its victories,” the governor wrote on Twitter. “Visibility and acceptance for non-cisgender people are on the rise, but so are attacks of hate, particularly against black trans women.”
He continued: “We’re taking one more step toward securing Illinois’ place as a leader in equality and hope. Under this executive order, ignorance is no longer an excuse for bigotry.”
The move was hailed by local lawmakers, including new Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who called it an “important first step towards ensuring every Illinois student has a safe space that allows them to reach their full potential.”
“Ending the intolerable levels of discrimination and violence against our transgender community starts here ― in our schools ― by making the values of tolerance and respect just as much a part of our educational cultural as academics, athletics, and the arts,” Lightfoot said at the signing ceremony, according to ABC7.