Chicago Public Schools Transgender Guidelines Updated; Representative Disagrees And Files ‘Transphobic’ BillBy Frances Jean Williams, UniversityHerald Reporter
A recent update to the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) guidelines added a policy allowing transgender and gender nonconformists to use bathrooms that suit best with their respective gender identities. In addition, they are allowed to use locker rooms and choose overnight trip accommodations that best identify with them.
The updated policies were released last Tuesday. Dr. Janice K. Jackson, CPS Chief Education Officer, stated that the updates "will help ensure every student and adult in the CPS family can participate in an environment of complete tolerance and respect."
The established guidelines that were first introduced in 2014 were the subject of the update, Chicago Tribune reported. While there already were helpful provisions in the original guidelines, further attention on bathroom, accommodations and locker room policies were seen as another step forward in CPS' awareness of the needs of the transgender community.
The CPS was not alone in this endeavor, however, as there were many organizations that helped in the development of the new policies. This included the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, Lambda Legal and Lurie Children's Gender and Sex Development Program, among others.
There were many that praise and support CPS' ongoing quest to promote gender equality and diminish (or outright abolish) sexual bias. Christopher Clark, Youth program Strategist for Lambda Legal, said that the updates were another step towards "a truly equal and inclusive public school system."
On the other hand, Chicagoist reported that there are still some parties that disagree with the updated guidelines. For instance, they noted that Illinois State Representative Thomas Morrison filed a bill that would void the said update, promoting instead a "transphobic" bathroom policy that strictly accommodates one birth gender.
Still, there are activists from a group called Chicago Restroom Access Project pushing for rights regarding gender neutral bathrooms. They posit that bathrooms that are strictly birth gender only (as Rep. Morrison proposes) would up the risk of health and safety threats for transgender people.