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Illinois Republican releases horrifically transphobic and bigoted campaign ad

Jeanne Ives' campaign ad criticizes Illinois' governor for trans restroom access, immigrants, and women's rights

An actor portraying a transgender woman in Jeanne Ives’ campaign ad

Illinois State Rep. Jeanne Ives has released a horrifically transphobic campaign ad as part of her bid to become the state’s next governor.

The advert features actors “thanking” Gov. Bruce Rauner for various bills, including one — HB 1785 — that allows people to change gender on their birth certificates with a doctor’s permission.

“Thank you for signing legislation that lets me use the girls’ bathroom,” an actor portraying a transgender woman says to the camera.

HB 1785 has nothing to do with bathroom access, while Illinois’ Human Rights Act protects LGBTQ people from discrimination, including access to bathrooms consistent with a person’s gender identity.

The rest of the ad attacks immigrants and those fighting for women’s rights. A masked actor thanks Gov. Rauner for “opposing law enforcement” by making Illinois a “sanctuary state for illegal immigrant criminals.” A woman in a pink pussy hat thanks Rauner for “making all Illinois families pay for my abortions. Another actor thanks the governor for bailing out Chicago’s teachers’ pensions.

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Scheider said in a statement that there was “no place in the Illinois Republican Party for rhetoric that attacks our fellow Illinoisans based on their race, gender or humanity.

“Representative Ives’ campaign ad does not reflect who we are as the Party of Lincoln and as proud residents of our great state,” he continued. “She should pull down the ad and immediately apologize to the Illinoisans who were negatively portrayed in a cowardly attempt to stoke political division.”

Former GOP state chairman Pat Brady called Ives’ “racist, bigoted, [and] homophobic,” echoing the sentiment that there was “no room” in the party for “candidates like her.”

However, Ives refuted criticism over the ad and instead attacked Gov. Rauner for “[betraying] the Republican legislative caucuses and Republicans families (as well as some Democrats on some issues).”

Ives added that her ad doesn’t attack people, but rather “tackles issues by truthfully illustrating the constituencies [Rauner] has chose to serve to the exclusion of others.”

Ives called negative reaction to the advert “expected hysteria from the expected quarters,” before admitting that the advert was deliberately provocative. She was then called out on Twitter by other users. One tweeted: “So if someone calls you out on your bullshit, they are hysterical? I guess that means you never need self reflection. Lucky you!”

Another wrote: “Where there’s hate & bigotry, there’s generally a reaction. Imagine.”

“Not ‘hysteria’ — just the desire for decency and respect. Illinois deserves more than your campaign based on lies, fear, and hatred,” another user tweeted.

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at

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