Policy + Advocacy

Recognizing the importance of inclusive policies within educational entities and human rights agencies, the Alliance staff, Board and volunteers work with key partners on policy and advocacy initiatives with schools, school districts and government agencies at local, regional and state levels. Please contact Meghana Menon for more information.

In 2016, the Alliance supported Morton District 709 and community organizers as they defended against a harmful "bathroom ban" policy introduced at a School Board Meeting.

At local, state and national levels, policies are a primary vehicle for schools, districts and school systems to communicate their values regarding how all school stakeholders should be treated including students, families, personnel and communities.  The Alliance partners with schools and systems to ensure all policies communicate the value of inclusion based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  This work encompasses policies and procedures related to non-discrimination, equal employment, equal educational opportunity, working with transgender and gender expansive students, bullying prevention, school discipline and beyond.  The Alliance’s partnership with schools and systems on policy work includes ensuring effective policy language, procedures for communicating policies to the entire school community alongside how to make complaints and/or enforce such policies, and systems to regularly review the efficacy of new and/or revised policies. 

In 2011, Alliance Youth Committee Members honored Illinois Governor Pat Quinn with its "Advocate of the Year Award" for signing the civil-unions bill in law in June of 2011 (which later lead to marriage equality in Illinois) and for signing the state's anti-bullying protections the previous year.

From 2013-2016, the Alliance worked closely with Chicago Public Schools to draft comprehensive transgender inclusion guidelines. As the third largest school district in the U.S., these policies have been used as models by other jurisdictions and by the U.S. Department of Education in its May 2016 "Dear Colleague" letter.

The Alliance is working with Oak Park River Forest High School to support revision, analysis, and drafting of robust transgender student inclusion policies and practices.

From 2014 - 2017, the Alliance supported "Student A," a transgender girl in Palatine, IL who fought all four years of her high school career to have access to gender-affirming education. The Alliance is now involved in litigation to continue to defend transgender students in District 211.