[The update reflects comments Elk Grove Mayor Craig Johnson gave to Windy City Times.]
"It shall be unlawful for any person to commit any indecent or immoral act or to appear in any public place in clothes properly belonging to the opposite sex or not properly or decently garbed."
Many may find this hard to believe, but what is above is under the "Indecent Conduct" subsection of current Elk Grove Village's Miscellaneous Offenses code.
And there will be a "Say It with Pride" protest event regarding this local statute taking place Wed., June 30, at 4 p.m. at Elk Grove Clock Tower, 1001 Wellington Ave., Elk Grove Village.
Organizer Lynn(Kaylyn) Ahn (she/they) told Windy City Times said that an alumnus from the high school Ahn just graduated from tipped her off about the code item. "He's an attorney and he had been looking through all the codes and ordinances of Elk Grove Village," Ahn said. "He emailed [Elk Grove Village Mayor] Craig Johnson and said, 'This law is terrible and it's not inclusive whatsoever.' And Craig Johnson had promised he'd change it.
"A year went by and nothing happened, so we decided to go protest against [the law]. They did say they were going to change it by the date of our protest, which will be in support of the change. It will also be about pressuring Johnson to fly the Pride flag."
Elk Grove Village also has laws on the books banning cannabis usage as well as even cussing. (The code regarding the latter is worded "It shall be unlawful to use profanity in any street, alley or other public place in the village.") So why is it important to Ahn and others to remove the clothing-related law?
"I think this code is especially important now," they said. "A couple days ago, there was a Pride celebration in Elk Grove Village, and they released a proclamation saying they want diversity and inclusion. But then there were so many conflicting things that go against what they said, and the fact that this antiquated law still existseven if it's not being enforcedshows that the homophobia, racism and transphobia of the past still carries over.
"Also, this is Pride Month, and it's a very good time to get rid of the law."
Ahn also mentioned openly gay Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison, who is working on a measure to wipe this law and similar statutes away from the suburbs. "He's working on the Gender Inclusive Documents and Forms Ordinance. [Note: The ordinancewhich, among other things, bans questions about a person's sex on documents and forms unless the information is required for medical reasons, data collection or by lawpassed June 24.]
When asked what question she would like to ask Johnson, Ahn said, "You have stood so strongly for the LGBTQ+ community. With more and more young people identifying as LGBTQ+, why the delay to revoking this law?"
After Windy City Times reached out to Johnson for comment, the media outlet received a press release stating that "at its meeting next week, the Elk Grove Village Board will take steps to eliminate an antiquated, 60-year old provision of the Village Code that mandated individuals to wear clothing only specific to their gender." (The full press release is on the Windy City Times website.)
Johnson also talked with Windy City Times. "When the [clothing] law was put on the books, I was 1. It shouldn't be there; we know that. It's definitely antiquated. But I was talking to legal counsel and they said, 'Mayor, the key is to not enforce it. But when you're made aware of it, you should address it.' On [June 30], we're going to have a special board meeting and that's on the agenda.
"For about two years, we've been going through all our codes and laws, which is a pretty cumbersome [process], so this would've been caught. But with the pandemic, everything came to a stop. But it's been brought up, so [the clothing law] will come off the books." (With the anti-cannabis provision, Johnson said, "I think we changed that law a month or two ago." Regarding the anti-profanity law, he responded with a laugh, "I never knew that existed. If that's the law, I'm in a lot of trouble.")
Regarding Elk Grove Village raising the Pride flag, Johnson said not flying it goes beyond anything LGBTQ+-related: "We have no problem with [the LGBTQ+ community]; I went to a local Pride event this year with my trustees. However, the village has had a long-standing policy in which we fly three flags on three poles. The flags stand up for unity, diversity and tolerance, but they are the U.S. flag, the Illinois flag and the municipal flag of Elk Grove Village.
"Over the years, we've had [many] groups and organizations ask us to fly flags, such as veterans, Irish Americans and others. But we just fly those three flags."
More information about the event is at www.instagram.com/p/CQbncIMDJA7/.