Governor Pritzker signs executive order to protect transgender students

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Governor JB Pritzker signed an executive order Sunday to protect transgender students in Illinois.

Executive Order 19-11 establishes a new Affirming and Inclusive Schools Task Force to examine best practices and directs the Illinois State Board of Education to take several steps to support transgender, nonbinary and gender nonconforming students in schools.

"This executive order is one more step toward securing Illinois' place as a leader in equality and hope," Pritzker said. "Under this executive order, ignorance is no longer an excuse for bigotry."

ISBE will work to promote LGBTQ students' rights in schools, provide resources supporting students, and developing model policies or procedures to improve access to facilities.

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during signing of Executive Order 19-11.

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot joined Pritzker at the order signing at 9 a.m. at Lake View High School, Second Floor Library, 4015 N. Ashland Avenue.

"This Executive Order is about more than protecting the young members of our transgender community, it's an important first step towards ensuring every Illinois student has the safe space that allows them to reach their full potential," Lightfoot said. "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."

The task force, comprised of 25 members appointed by the governor, will examine what schools across the state and nation are doing to ensure LGBTQ students have welcoming, safe, supportive and inclusive school environments. They will make recommendations to the governor's office by January 1, 2020.

The signing of the executive order took place few hours before both Gov. Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot join the 49th annual Chicago Pride Parade.

The parade will step off at 12 p.m. on Sunday, June 30. The parade will also be broadcast on ABC7 at 1 p.m.
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