SCHAUMBURG, Ill. June 24, 2021 Today, the Cook County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed the Gender Inclusive Documents and Forms Ordinance, which will allow all residents to identify as their authentic selves when they interact with Cook County government and help ensure that transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming people feel safe and welcome in Cook County. Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison (District 15) authored the ordinance.
The ordinance bans the county from asking a person's sex on documents and forms unless the information is required for medical reasons, data collection, or by law. When a person's sex must be identified, the ordinance requires the county to ask for a person's sex assigned at birth as well as gender identity. The ordinance goes into effect September 1, 2021.
"Today, we took another step toward ensuring all LGBTQ people feel safe and welcome in Cook County," said Commissioner Morrison, the first openly LGBTQ Cook County commissioner. "For too long, transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming people have not been fully served and recognized by their government. Now, everyone in Cook County will be able to identify as their true, authentic self when filling out documents and forms and accessing critical county services."
"We thank Commissioner Morrison for his leadership on this ordinance," said Myles Brady Davis, Equality Illinois press secretary and director of communications. "It speaks to Cook County's inclusivity and progressive tradition of advancing and protecting the rights of trans and non-binary people. This ordinance is a critical step to end institutionalized gender-exclusionary practices and affirm the dignity and safety of trans and non-binary residents in Cook County. While there is certainly more work to be done to ensure Cook County is truly welcoming for all people, especially people of color, this ordinance is an important step."
"The passing of this new ordinance on gender affirming forms at the County level is yet another step in the right direction for the Cook County government," said Stephanie Skora, Brave Space Alliance associate executive director. "Trans residents of the County can finally apply to access necessary and vital services, programs, and resources without being forced to misrepresent ourselves, because the forms that we're provided don't acknowledge our existence. Brave Space Alliance is thrilled to see our friends on the County Board once again working towards ensuring that Cook County is as affirming a place for trans individuals as possible, and we look forward to continuing to work together for the betterment of our community."
The Gender Inclusive Documents and Forms Ordinance will:
- Ban questions about a person's sex on documents and forms unless the information is required for medical reasons, data collection, or by law
- Ask both "sex assigned at birth" and gender identity when a person's sex must be identified
-Add more gender identity options to documents and forms when a person's sex must be identified, including:
-an option to fill in
-decline to answer
-Add gender neutral "Mx" when honorifics are required