Cook County Human Rights Ordinance Amended

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2019

Cook County Commissioner Kevin B. Morrison Celebrates an Important Win for the Transgender Community

CHICAGO –June 27, 2019—The Cook County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed an amendment to the public accommodation section of the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance at today’s Cook County Board Meeting.

The amendment, spearheaded by Commissioner Kevin Morrison and co-sponsored by the full County Board, changes language in the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance that previously allowed someone to ask for identification to identify a person’s gender before accessing areas of public accommodation such as a restroom. The amendment reads in part, “Each person determines their own gender identity; no proof of an individual’s sex or gender shall be required except for the person’s expression of their own gender.”

“The amendment eliminates outdated and discriminatory language. As we’ve seen across the country, there is an all-out assault on the transgender community including trying to restrict transgender and gender non-conforming individuals from doing something as essential as going to the restroom. Every person has the right to live their lives openly and authentically as who they are. We must do everything we can make sure that every resident can do that,” said Commissioner Kevin Morrison.

Commissioner Kevin Morrison was joined at the Human Relations Committee by members of LGBTQ organizations, including the Chicago Restroom Access Project, Pride Action Tank, Equality Illinois, and Brave Space Alliance, that have long advocated for this amendment and he credits their advocacy for this change.

“This ordinance ensures equal access consistent with a person’s gender identity. You should not have to prove your gender identity to enter a space like a restroom. That’s fundamentally unfair and dangerous,” said Myles Brady Davis, Communications Manager and Press Secretary of Equality Illinois. “It is also very appropriate to take this action during Pride Month, and only one day shy of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Inn uprising, the catalyst for the modern LGBTQ equality movement.”

Kim Hunt, Executive Director of Pride Action Tank, reflected on the years of work leading to this change and the necessity of it by adding, “The Cook County Code included language that essentially put the power of an individuals’ right to attend to a common bodily function into the hands of strangers.”

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle joined in echoing that sentiment. President Preckwinkle added, “We can celebrate that today we voted in favor of revising the Human Rights

Ordinance to be more inclusive of transgender and nonbinary individuals. Every human being should feel safe and be free of harassment or discrimination, no matter who they are, what their gender is, or how they identify.”

Cook County joins a growing list of jurisdictions addressing how to better support the transgender community. The amendment to the Human Rights Ordinance goes into effect immediately.

About Cook County Commissioner Kevin B. Morrison:
Cook County Commissioner Kevin B. Morrison represents the 15th District which includes the Townships of Barrington, Elk Grove, Hanover and Schaumburg, as well as parts of Palatine and Wheeling Townships. He is the youngest and first openly LGBTQ board member. A native of Elk Grove Village with a background in public service, Commissioner Morrison serves as Vice Chair of the Human Relations and Tax Delinquency committees and his core issues include improving access to mental health services and providing development opportunities and support for small businesses. For information, please contact the Commissioner’s office by calling (312) 603-6388 or visiting http://commissionerkevinbmorrison.org/

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