Protecting the Rights of the LGBTQ Community and Transgender Americans

The LGBTQ community has won many battles for equality and dignity in the courts, in federal and state governments, and in our culture. Its success has been inspiring, but the fight is far from over and the Attorney General’s Office can be a strong ally and advocate.

The LGBTQ community continues to face widespread discrimination in the workplace, schools, healthcare, housing, economic opportunity, and public places, and the Trump Administration and Justice Department have been hostile towards tackling these ongoing problems. Transgender people have too often been the focus of this hostility. The Trump Administration has attempted to prevent transgender Americans from serving our country and from receiving critical medical care. Attorney General Sessions has removed protections for transgender Americans in the workplace and in schools. The administration has time and again tried to normalize belligerent, ignorant, and discriminatory attitudes toward transgender people and the LGBTQ community as a whole.

These attitudes and actions lead to tragic results, as the LGBTQ community experiences violence at disproportionately high rates. Transgender Americans in particular are victims of sexual assault and violence in staggering numbers, especially among youth, people of color, and individuals living with disabilities. There is also an alarmingly high rate of suicide among transgender individuals ostracized and shamed in their communities. The behaviors and attitudes that have led to these tragedies must stop. We owe the LGBTQ community and transgender Americans safety, equality, and dignity.

As Attorney General, I will be a strong friend and advocate for the LGBTQ community and transgender Americans. I will aggressively enforce our existing human rights and anti-discrimination laws. We are one of only twenty states that forbid discrimination in employment and housing based on either sexual orientation or gender identity. We are one of only nineteen states that forbid discrimination in stores, restaurants, and other places of public accommodation. We outlaw such discrimination because it is harmful to individuals and undermines the equality necessary for a well-functioning democracy.

We can still do better, and as Attorney General, I will fight to maintain and expand LGBTQ civil rights in Springfield. A bill has been proposed to create a “religious freedom” exemption to our state’s anti-discrimination laws. This proposal needs to be defeated. Religious freedom is central to individual rights, but shouldn’t be used to harm others. As a nation, we have rejected religious freedom as a basis for racial and ethnic segregation, for school prayer and state sponsored religious displays, to prohibit interracial marriage, and to prohibit same sex marriage. We owe the LGBTQ community the same protections. I will fight to oppose any effort to undermine the fundamental fairness and equality that is at the core of American values.

I will also be an advocate for transgender Americans in the restroom and locker room debate. I will oppose efforts in Illinois to force transgender students to use separate restrooms and locker rooms from their peers.

I will be a strong advocate for LGBTQ rights nationally. I will join in coalition with those who are working nationally to advance the equality and safety of transgender people and the LGTBQ community. I will fight the Trump Administration and the Justice Department’s efforts to undermine fundamental fairness and civil rights.