CHICAGO - The five openly LGBTQ members of the Illinois General Assembly today call on Downers Grove District 99 to protect LGBTQ youth in their community from hate and censorship by immediately rejecting calls to censor a queer positive book in the high school library.
"Each of us can share stories of feeling alone and ostracized as young queer people. Positive depictions in media of any kind were nearly non-existent when I was in school and added to feelings of isolation and fear," said 14th District Rep. Kelly Cassidy, (D-Chicago), "I want kids in Downers Grove and all over our state to know they're safe and protected in their school."
"Movements to ban books are the hallmark of repressive regimes," Rep. Sam Yingling, (D- Grayslake), "We can and must do better than allowing right-wing hate organizations to dictate who is and isn't worthy of protection, especially given that this comes at the same time that our youth serving organizations are reporting unprecedented spikes in reports of bullying and attacks against LGBTQ youth as in person learning resumes across Illinois."
"We have seen this play out all across the country where right wing extremists have targeted this book for having the audacity to portray LGBTQ youth in a positive light," Sen. Mike Simmons, (D-Chicago), "We know firsthand that censorship efforts like this make queer youth feel more alone, and the CDC has reported that LGBTQ youth are more than three times as likely to seriously consider suicide than their peers who identify as straight."
"Illinois has taken historic steps to ensure the safety of LGBTQ youth by requiring strong anti- bullying policies in schools and prohibiting so called conversion therapy," House Majority Leader Greg Harris (D-Chicago), "Efforts like this seek to undo the progress we've made in Illinois and we're committed to preventing their success wherever they occur."
"We each represent specific districts, but our reality is that we represent every person in Illinois who identifies as LGBTQ," Rep. Lamont Robinson (D-Chicago) "I want the kids impacted by this act of hatred to know we've got their backs."
The LBGTQ Caucus members are committed to ensuring that all schools in Illinois are places of safety, support, and learning for all youth.