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Emanuel says Chicago will uphold policies protecting transgender rights

Emanuel says Chicago will uphold policies protecting transgender rights
Photograph: Anthony Soave

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday reaffirmed Chicago’s commitment to protect the rights of transgender residents, following a decision by the Trump administration to rescind federal protections for transgender students. In a statement released by the mayor’s office, Emanuel said various policies put in place last year by the city and Chicago Public Schools would not be affected by the administration’s reversal of Obama-era guidance on the issue.

"While tonight federal protections for transgender students have been rolled back, I want to be clear that the city of Chicago's and Chicago Public Schools policies providing equal rights to transgender residents and students will remain unchanged,” the mayor said. “Chicago will stay steadfast in our commitment to fight for equality and against discrimination in all its forms.”

Specifically, CPS announced guidelines in May 2016 allowing students access to the restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity, as well as promoting “safe, welcoming environments” for transgender students, CPS employees and other adults.

A month later, the city passed an ordinance prohibiting hotels, restaurants, grocery stores and other public accommodations from requesting that patrons show a government-issued ID before using facilities such as restrooms. The goal of the ordinance was to prevent forms of discrimination based on a person’s biological category or gender identity.

Emanuel’s statement was in direct response to a joint letter issued by the U.S. Justice and Education departments on Wednesday that withdraws guidance released by the Obama administration in May of last year. Obama’s Title IX guidance stated that federal law protects transgender students’ rights to use locker rooms and restrooms matching their gender identities.

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