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Testimony on Chicago transgender measure set for June 8
by Matt Simonette
2016-05-29

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The City Council's Committee on Human Relations on Wed., June 8 will hear testimony on a proposed amendment to the city's Human Rights ordinance that prohibits public accommodations—such as hotels, restaurants or grocery stores—from requiring that patrons show a government ID to prove their gender identity in order to access facilities such as restrooms or changing facilities.

The measure was introduced in the May 18 City Council meeting. The June 8 meeting takes place in the City Council chambers at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St., second floor, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Proponents of the bill are asking that persons in favor of the legislation register their support by either providing written or oral testimony and emailing members of the committee or their alderman, said Kim Hunt, executive director of Pride Action Tank. PAT's Chicago Restroom Access Project is coordinating lobbying on the measure with the Commission on Human Relations and other organizations and activists.

"It's always good when City Council members can see that their constituents are in support of something like this," she said.

Written testimonies can be taken up until the day of the meeting, but supporters are asking people to submit by June 3, at 5 p.m. to make sure committee members have time to read the testimonies before the hearing. Documents should be addressed to Ald. Pat Dowell, chair of the Committee on Human Relations, and emailed to Renee Barrera ( rbarrera@cityofchicago.org ), with Ald. Dowell ( ward03@cityofchicago.org ) and Jackie Thaney ( prideactiontank@aidschicago.org ), copied.

Oral testimonies should be 3 minutes or less in length, Hunt said. "The more you can humanize the issue, the better." Testimonies from trans and gender non-conforming people, and cisgender people, who have been harassed, and/or asked for ID to validate their gender, will be especially important. Please show up early to testify in case there is a lengthy line.

Contact information for members of the Committee on Human Relations can be found at bit.ly/1NC0Hf9 . To determine your ward and alderman, go to bit.ly/ZGlkOS .


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