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Bill Would Make Illinois Hate Crimes Law Trans-Inclusive

Bill Would Make Illinois Hate Crimes Law Trans-Inclusive


In a move hailed by supporters, a bill to add gender identity to Illinois’ hate crimes statute was introduced into the state’s General Assembly last week.

The legislation, introduced into the state House by Rep. Kelly Cassidy of Chicago’s 14th District, would amend the state’s Criminal Code of 1961 to include “gender identity, military status and immigration status” as recognized classes.

“This amendment to the hate crimes bill will create a truly inclusive act that will give law enforcement the tools they need to protect victims who are targeted based on who they are,” Representative Kelly Cassidy is quoted as saying.

LGBT rights groups have praised the move, with the group who helped craft the legislation, The Civil Rights Agenda, saying in a statement:

“This is an extremely important bill for the transgender community, and we are very grateful to Representative Cassidy for sponsoring legislation that will advance transgender rights in Illinois,” stated Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda. “Transgender individuals face pervasive discrimination in every part of their lives, and we work with an unconscionable number of transgender individuals who have experienced violence simply because they are transgender.

“A report released last July by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAPV) shows that transgender women make up 44 percent of all LGBT murder victims. The study also reported a troubling 13 percent rise in anti-LGBT hate crimes in 2010, and, unfortunately, there is constant violence that goes unreported. Many of the transgender folks who come to us, especially transgender women, say that they don’t feel comfortable reporting an assault because they think they are either going to face police harassment, or they are not going to be seen as a victim but as the person who brought on the attack. The NCAPV study found that over half of survivors did not report the event to the police. Of those who did go to the police, over 60 percent said authorities were “indifferent, abusive or deterrent.” This response was most common among transgender people of color—those most likely to be victim to a crime.”

While the federal Matthew Shepard, James Byrd Jr, Hate Crimes Prevention Act does cover gender identity, individual states are not required to do so and thus monitoring bias-motivated violent crimes against the trans community in states where gender identity is not covered continues to be problematic.

Rep. Kelly was also one of three lawmakers, the others being Representatives Greg Harris (D-Chicago) and Deb Mell (D-Chicago),who last weekintroduced “The Religious Freedom and Marriage Equality Act”, legislation to legalize marriage equality in the state.

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Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to kaitlynn kittun.

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3:40PM PST on Feb 15, 2012

Equality for all, be we atypically 'sexed' or not for our gender.

12:40PM PST on Feb 15, 2012


10:08AM PST on Feb 15, 2012

Kudos to IL for recognizing the need to provide stronger protections for persons who are transgender

1:54AM PST on Feb 15, 2012

Thank you.

3:21PM PST on Feb 14, 2012

Wonderful, Illinois is demonstrating the highest ideals of Lincoln and the constitution. All men (and women) are created equal.

2:20PM PST on Feb 14, 2012

Everyone deserves equal protection under the law - crimes fueled by biggotry and racism are as vile as the people committing them, no matter who the target.

I wish people could just live and let live. It is nobody's business what two concenting adults do privately, nor is it anyone's place to condemn someone who's gender identity does not match the body they were born in. Someone being different than you does nothing to harm you - and you should do nothing to harm others just because they differ from you.

That is the most base and disgusting attribute of humanity, and if you see it in yourself, you should stop to think, and raise your consciousness beyond the petty things you've been taught.

12:18PM PST on Feb 14, 2012

Coming from Ill, what about hate crimes towards whites.

10:46AM PST on Feb 14, 2012

Thank you for the article...

10:02AM PST on Feb 14, 2012

Another step in the right direction. "Equal protection under the law" means everybody.

9:32AM PST on Feb 14, 2012

What can we do to ensure this bill becomes law? Equal protection for all!

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