Illinois state officials issued guidance June 26 affirming the state's existing nondiscrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The guidance came two weeks after U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ( HHS ) announced that it would remove protections for transgender individuals and other marginalized populations that had been inscribed in the Affordable Care Act.
"Not only does this removal completely undermine a major pillar of the historic ACA legislation, it creates confusion about the right of everyone in the LGBTQ+ community, and specifically transgender individuals, to receive healthcare free from discrimination," said state officials in a press release, who further noted, however, that the state already had myriad protections on the books to protect those individuals in situations in which they now might be more vulnerable.
"From day one, my administration has sought to protect LGBTQ+ individuals, including by expanding HIV preventative care and treatment, funding gender-affirming surgeries, fostering affirming and inclusive classrooms in which LGBTQ+ students are able to thrive, and ensuring LGBTQ+ students see themselves reflected in the curriculum," said Gov. JB Pritzker. "That work becomes even more urgent when the federal government hands down policy decisions that undermine people's basic humanity. As we live through exceedingly difficult times, we must unite against all forms of hate and show empathy and compassion for one anotherespecially as we fight for full equality and justice for all of our country's residents."
"No one should be discriminated against because of who they are or who they love," added Illinois Department of Human Rights Director Jim Bennett. "Illinois is a state where everyone's identities are affirmed. Our healthcare systems must be safe places for the LGBTQ+ community to seek care and the Illinois Department of Human Rights' team of investigators and lawyers will be there to enforce the protections our laws afford."