Governor Candidate Jeanne Ives Releases Bigoted Ad With A Fake Trans Person

"Thank you for signing a legislation that lets me use the girl's bathroom."

Was this meant to be funny? Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) ran an ad mocking, among other groups, transgender Illinoisans. The bigoted ad attacks the current governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, for being too liberal in his policies.

The ad features a cisgender man, pretending to be transgender woman, exploiting the fallacious trope of the predatory man pretending to be a woman to use the women’s restroom. The masculine appearing man wearing a dress “thanks” Governor Rauner for “legislation that lets me use the girls’ bathroom.”

This is a reference to the HB 1785 legislation, which Rauner signed in August of 2017. The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) and Sen. Toi Hutchison (D-Olympia Fields), allows transgender Illinoisans to change their birth certificates without having undergone sex reassignment surgery, and only indirectly affected trans persons and public accommodations.

In addition, the attack ad features a woman wearing a pussy hat, who thanks the governor for “making all Illinois families pay for my abortions,” as well as some form of faux-bandit, praising the current governor for turning Illinois into a “sanctuary state for illegal immigrant criminals.”

Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s LGBTQ civil rights organization, said in a statement:

“We had hoped for a higher level of discourse from someone seeking the highest office in the state. At a time when our leaders should be bringing Illinoisans together, Jeanne Ives is launching a campaign of division and rancor. We need a governor who will stand up for all Illinoisans, not someone who will target transgender Illinoisans for her personal political benefit.”

Additionally, Colleen K Connell, executive director of the ACLU of Illinois, said in a statement:

“It is sad that a candidate for the office of Governor of Illinois would seek to divide voters by attacking our neighbors, friends and colleagues who are newcomers and refugees, those of a different race, those who are transgender and poor women in need of health care.”

Zachary Zane is a writer and activist whose work focuses on sexuality, culture, and academic research. He has contributed to The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, and The Advocate.