Illinois governor signs order to protect transgender students

Trans pride flags flutter in the wind at a gathering to celebrate International Transgender Day of Visibility, March 31, 2017 at the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building in Los Angeles, California. International Transgender Day of Visibility is dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker used the occasion of World Pride and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots to advocate for transgender kids Sunday.

Pritzker signed an executive order aimed at ensuring schools have what they need to be “affirming and inclusive for transgender, nonbinary and gender nonconforming students,” said a statement from his office.

“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.”

The order establishes a task force to look at best practices and directs the state Board of Education to take several steps. Those steps include promoting LGBTQ students’ rights in schools, and developing procedures for concerns such as student records, names and pronouns, and dress codes.

“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,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement.

Like other cities across the country and the world, Chicago is celebrating LGBTQ pride with an annual parade Sunday. Lightfoot, the city’s first openly gay mayor, is one of seven grand marshals. Affiliate WGN says she will become the first mayor to ride on a Chicago Pride Parade float.

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