(The Center Square) – Recently passed legislation adds self-identified gender identity and sexual orientation to the existing annual reporting requirement for public corporations.
State Sen. Emil Jones III filed Senate Bill 1730 back in February. It aims to identify corporations that want to promote qualified LGBTQ people to serve on their leadership boards. Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently signed the bill into law.
Jones said the measure is an important step to help move the state forward and to develop policies that reflect the state’s diversity.
While SB 1730 is not a mandate for the people in the LGBTQ community, it is meant to help people who wish to self-identify, Jones said.
“This bill is not meant to get anyone to out themselves, it is to help those who want to self-identify and help develop legislation that will reflect the diversity in the state of Illinois,” he said.
Chief Executive Officer of Equality Illinois Brian Johnson said that the bill is an important step in advancing and ensuring diversity in the workplace.
“Due to a history of stigmatization and discrimination and being forced to hide our authentic selves in workplaces, the LGBTQ community has been without space at the table of power,” he said. “SB 1730 ensures diversity, inclusion, and equity in Illinois businesses.”
The legislation is being used to help collect data on what companies are promoting qualified LGBTQ employees to positions of power.
A report by Crain’s Chicago Business Judith Crown featured 10 companies in the state of Illinois and 56 LBGQT executives.
“These people are working at small businesses and large corporations, arts organizations, and nonprofits,” Crown said. “Typically, they started or sponsor employee resource groups and serve on diversity and inclusion councils with an eye to breaking down the barriers that keep LGBTQ people from advancing to leadership positions.”
State Sen. Neil Anderson said while the measure is being used to collect data, there could be people who do not feel comfortable revealing their sexual orientation in a business setting.
“How do we not know that the LGBTQ community isn’t already properly represented but they just don’t want to talk about it because they feel it is not important in a business setting?” Anderson said.
The legislation will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.