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Gov. Pritzker creates task force for LGBTQ students

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CHICAGO — Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed an executive order that ensures schools state-wide have the resources to be inclusive to students identifying as transgender, nonbinary and gender nonconforming.

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

The executive order establishes a new Affirming and Inclusive Schools Task Force with its goal being to examine the best methods and practices. It also directs the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to take several steps to support transgender, nonbinary and gender nonconforming students in schools.

The task force will be comprised of 25 members, who will be appointed by the governor.

The ISBE will also be focused on promoting LGBTQ students’ rights in schools, providing published materials supporting LGBTQ students, and developing policies or procedures to improve access to facilities, including participation in physical education classes and other school-based programs and activities.

“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,” Mayor Lori 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 will research what schools across the nation are doing to support LGBTQ students and will have recommendations for the governor by Jan. 1, 2020.

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