Metro Weekly

Transgender veteran says Illinois is denying her unemployment benefits due to name change

Myra Lebron says the Illinois Department of Employment Security refuses to recognize her legal name change

trans, transgender, illinois, veteran

Photo: Igal Ness, via Unsplash

A transgender military veteran from Illinois claims that the Illinois Department of Employment Security is denying her unemployment benefits due to a recent name change.

Myra Lebron, an IT worker, became unemployed in June after the company she was working for downsized due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Although Lebron has obtained a Social Security card and a driver’s license reflecting her correct name and gender marker, she did not officially change her name until July, when state government offices were closed.

Unfortunately, because her new name, reflecting her gender identity, does not match the name on record with her past employer, the Illinois Department of Employment Security refuses to recognize the name and has held up her unemployment checks for weeks, reports CBS Chicago.

As a result, Lebron has been doing side jobs, like cleaning houses, for smaller amounts of money, in order to survive.

She contends she provided all the proper documentation proving the name change, but it’s the IDES bureaucracy that’s hampering her from receiving the benefits for which she’s eligible. She says she’s frustrated by the delay. 

“To finally get the name change process finish and continue with my transition, something I hoped for so many years, just to get smacked with all of this,” she said. “It eats away at you, to a heavy degree.”

A spokesperson for IDES was not immediately available for comment.

The American Civil Liberties Union’s Chicago office told CBS Chicago the organization was not aware of similar denials occurring to other transgender people, but remained “concerned” about Lebron’s allegations.

Read more:

Supreme Court refuses to challenge rulings allowing Idaho trans inmate to receive surgery

Amy Coney Barrett apologizes for calling sexual orientation a “preference”

Gay man assaulted while filming TikTok in New York City

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

Leave a Comment:

Support Metro Weekly's

LGBTQ Journalism

For as Little as $1.15 a Week

Like What You're Reading?

Get Metro Weekly's Daily Email