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LGBTQ Legislation Nears Looming Deadline

flickr / user: Benson Kua

LGBTQ rights activists say two pieces of legislation should be signed by the governor. Both passed the General Assembly unanimously.

Onewould ban the “panic defense” in the murders of LGBTQ people. Anotherwould allow transgender individuals to change their birth certificates without the necessity of sexual reassignment surgery. Mike Ziri is the director of public policy forEquality Illinois. He says not every transgender person can afford the surgery, or even desires it, “We’re hopeful the governor will sign this and continue our proud tradition of LGBTQ civil rights in Illinois.” The deadline for the governor to act is next week.

The governor did recently sign a measurethe organization supports. Equality Illinois is celebrating the passage of what’s been called the “LGBTQPublic Service Bill.” The idea is that it will encourage people in that community to be better represented on boards and commissions under the Governor’s Office. Those who apply will have the option to acknowledge their sexuality and gender identity on application forms. ”That helps when it comes time to advancing policies that are inclusive, affirmative and fair and representative of the diversity of the great state of Illinois," says Ziri.

In a press release from Equality Illinois the organization also explains the new law by saying it, "Adds the new data about sexual orientation and gender identity to an existing annual report to the General Assembly of the demographic data of individuals who apply for boards and commissions and for those who are appointed." It takes effect January 1, 2018.

Rachel Otwell of the Illinois Times is a former NPR Illinois reporter.
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