Gov. Bruce Rauner, on April 13, met with advocates from Equality Illinois and AIDS Foundation of Chicago to advance a pro-LGBT equality agenda, especially with regards to two current pieces of transgender-related legislation.
Advocates encouraged Rauner to sign HB 6073, legislation state Rep. Greg Harris sponsored that eases the process by which transgender Illinoisans can change the gender markers on their birth certificates, according to an April 15 statement. They further encouraged the governor to oppose a second transgender-related bill, HB 4474, which state Rep. Thomas Morrison sponsored, which dictates the use of restrooms and changing facilities by transgender students.
On April 5, HB 6073 was passed to the Illinois House floor with a vote from the House Human Services Committee. HB 4474 was, on the same day, referred without discussion to the Human Services Facilities Subcommittee, which, in turn, re-referred the bill back to the House Rules Committee April 8.
Organizational advocates were joined on April 13 by numerous citizen advocates taking part in meetings for Equality Illinois' 2016 LGBT Advocacy Day. Community partners for the day included UP Center of Champaign County, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, Rainbow Cafe, Coalition of Rainbow Coalitions ( CORAL ) and Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
Finn DeLima, a transgender student at Southern Illinois University, explained the importance of easing the rules on changing birth certificate gender-markers to Rauner. The mother of a transgender student likewise discussed the harm of HB 4474. Participants also met with state Senate President John Cullerton.
"At a time when legislators and governors across the country are attacking LGBT people through mean-spirited and hateful policies, it is imperative that transgender individuals be heard and represented at the state Capitol," said Michael Ziri, director of public policy at Equality Illinois. "The conversation with the governor regarding HB 6073 and HB 4474 was encouraging."
"Equality Illinois and our partners are working hard to share information with our legislators about the harm caused by anti-LGBT bills such as HB 4474. We are also asking them to pass the birth certificate bill because having updated identification documents is important to transgender Illinoisans who may face embarrassment, discrimination, and harassment if their core documents do not reflect their authentic gender identity," added Patty Medairy, director of field operations at Equality Illinois.