Lambda Legal Hails Signature of Important Bills in Illinois That Protect and Affirm LGBTI People

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“Today, our state is a fairer and more inclusive place for all people.”
August 25, 2017

- House Bill 1785 facilitates process for amending gender marker on Illinois birth certificates for transgender and intersex people born in the state;
- Senate Bill 1761 eliminates LGBT “panic” defense in murder cases.

(Chicago, IL, August 25, 2017) – Today, House Bill 1785, which updates the Illinois Vital Records Act to make it easier for transgender and intersex people who were born in the state to amend the gender marker on their birth certificates, became law. The law now requires “clinically appropriate” treatment as determined by a licensed medical or mental health professional in order to change the gender marker, as opposed to an affidavit from a physician who performed surgery on the individual, effectively eliminating the outdated surgical requirement and bringing Illinois in line with federal passport and US consular birth certificate standards.

Also signed into law today was Senate Bill 1761, which eliminates the “gay panic” defense in murder cases. SB 1761 passed unanimously in both houses of the General Assembly. Illinois is only the second state in the country to have such a law, California is the first. The new law prohibits the use of a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity as a justification for murder.

Christopher Clark, Midwest Regional Director for Lambda Legal issued the following statement applauding the signing of the two bills:

“Today, our state is a fairer and more inclusive place for all people. Transgender and intersex people born in our state will now have easier access to important identity documents that are necessary to work, travel, obtain vital benefits, and most importantly, navigate the world a little safer. By eliminating the surgical requirement, we now have a better law that is in line with medical standards of care, and puts important and very personal health care decisions in the hands of individuals and their health care professionals—where they belong.

“Special gratitude goes to Representative Greg Harris and Senator Toi Hutchinson for making this day a reality, as well as to all who co-sponsored the bill and worked together with a coalition of advocacy groups in Illinois, including Lambda Legal, to draft a bill that would put the needs and real-life experiences of transgender and intersex people first. This bill will help a lot of people, and everyone involved should be very proud.

““Gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses rely on anti-LGBT bias and reinforce it, perpetuating a vicious cycle of violence against our communities. LGBT people, especially transgender women of color, are more likely to be victims of violent crime. We look to courts for justice, not to put victims on trial. We hope that other states will take Illinois’ example and do the same.

“Congratulations to Equality Illinois on these important efforts to protect LGBT and intersex people in Illinois.”

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Contact Info

Graciela González, Office: 312-663-4413, x. 333; Cell: 312-545-8140: Email: ggonzalez@lambdalegal.org

 

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