Illinois Family Institute: How Dare Outside Groups Other Than Us Influence District Policy?

Remember all that drama when the East Aurora School district in Illinois adopted, then rescinded, a policy that would benefit transgender students?

The Illinois Family Institute just realized that the school board is now looking back into the policy to see if they might want to re-adopt it in the future… and they are shocked at who’s getting involved in this case?!

Serving on the committee are two adult cross-dressing males who wish they were women. “Joanie Rae” Wimmer is a Downer’s Grove attorney, and “Crystal Ann” Gray, who lives in Woodstock, IL, works as a “transgender” advocate. Click here to watch a video of Gray and “Shari” Miller, another gender-confused man who as of 2008 was Gray’s romantic partner. Aurora parents, church leaders, and other residents should be outraged that this is who is coming into their school to create school policy that would affect their children.

Lesbian Shannon Sullivan, another Illinois Safe Schools Alliance staff member, complained to WBEZ that opposition to this policy came from “outside groups,” namely IFI. Ironically, she said that just after admitting that the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, an outside group, had been working behind the scenes for months with Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Programs Christie Aird.

The Aurora community should demand that only Aurora community members may serve on the committee, and at the next election, they should get rid of any school board member who supports any “transgender” policy.

It’s amazing how, when you’re so rabidly anti-LGBT, you only see people through their sexuality instead of their humanity. They don’t understand how having transgendered people (or their allies) inform the school district about policy decisions regarding other transgendered people might be a wise move.

Oh. And the Illinois Family Institute, which was so instrumental in getting the pro-transgender policy revoked, is based in Carol Stream, Illinois, about 40 minutes away from East Aurora.

So no outside groups or individuals should have anything to do with this issue… unless you’re an IFI staffer, in which case it’s perfectly acceptable for you to butt in with your bigotry from afar.


About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • ProcyonLotor

    I live in Carol Stream. The IFI isn’t actually based here, as we’re fairly socially liberal (for an upper-middle class town in DuPage county) . Glenbard North, the high school in Carol Stream, even has a Gay/Straight alliance. The problem is, Carol Stream has one of the largest post offices in the Chicagoland area. The cowards at the IFI are renting out a PO box despite having zero presence in the town.

  • jose

    “The new policy specifically states that transgendered and gender
    nonconforming students have the right use the restroom that corresponds
    to their gender-related identity that is consistently asserted at

    Does this mean people with penises go to the women’s toilet? I’m not sure that’s wise.

  • Slow Learner

    Wisdom would be having toilets open to both sexes. A cubicle doesn’t notice if you have a penis or not! Then someone transgender wouldn’t have to worry about whether they would be beaten up or abused just for wanting to relieve themselves, and we’d no longer have the phenomenon generally known as “longer queues for the womens’ toilets”.

  • JohnnieCanuck

    Why? Do you think anyone is going to be peeking at other people’s genitals in a girl’s washroom?

    Is it your idea that boys who think of themselves as girls are attracted to girls and are predatory? Seems more than likely to me that the last thing they’d want to do would be to out themselves if they were presenting as female.

  • Jennifer

     Based on exactly what, Jose? How, exactly, does a person with a penis urinating in a stall affect a person with a vagina urinating in another stall? Please enlighten.

  • Dorfl

     As long as they sit down to pee, I don’t see what the problem is.

  • jose

    We don’t allow gay men into the women’s toilet, despite them having no sexual interest in women.

  • Slow Learner

    Do we, however, bar lesbians from the womens’ toilet, or gay men from the mens’? No. Sexual interest is not the deciding factor.

  • jose

    You should tell that to JohnnyCanuck, he brought the “girls attracted to girls” thing up.

  • Stev84

     Let me introduce you to a radical new invention: toilet stalls

  • RobertoTheChi

    Laurie Higgins and the IFI are the most loathsome group of bigots. The world would be a better place without people like them.

  • John Evans

    This may surprise you, shock you, scandalize you – but in a lot of places in the world there are toilets WITHOUT GENDERED SIGNAGE. Everyone pees in the same room! Radical, I know.

  • jose

    As I understand it, this measure does not advocate unisex toilets. You may want to read it.

  • Malcolm


    You don’t seem to understand the difference between gay and transgendered. Imagine a woman going into the men’s bathroom; that is what you’d see if she was transgendered and forced to use the wc corresponding to her genitalia.

  • Katherine Lorraine

    FUCK that woman. Yes. They’re all women. Yes, I am a woman. My name is not “Katherine” Lorraine. It’s Katherine. She is an evil, vile woman.

  • TheG

    As someone who is often the only male employee on at any given time, I can tell you, if you “sit down to pee”, it is no guarantee things are going to be cleaner.  I swear, these ladies are more disgusting in the bathroom than fraternity boys.

  • jose

    Nice condescension, but I’m perfectly aware of the difference, thanks. I was responding to someone who suggested that since there is no sexual attraction, there’s no problem. Well, gay men aren’t attracted to women either and we don’t let them into the women’s toilet.

  • Desiree Bell-Fowlks

    It’s disturbing how focused you are about where people pee.  Is that your only concern?  What about the discrimination transgender students are facing?

  • Bryan

     Also offensive: putting someone’s sexuality before their name, like it’s a title. You don’t call someone “Lesbian Shannon Sullivan” just like you wouldn’t call me “Hetero Bryan Johnson”.

    Unless you’re trying to forward the insidious gay agenda, where all people who are gay get free ponies and cotton candy and hetero-killing booths.

  • Bryan

     And Disqus is not recognizing my sarcasm tags, so I should note that the last paragraph is totally sarcastic.

  • Katherine Lorraine

    Shhh… we’re not supposed to TALK about the gay agenda!

    Normally I don’t get so up in arms about what some anti-gay bigots say, but it truly hurts to be dehumanized like that.

  • KRobert

    You seem a little concerned about what people’s genitals look like, jose.

    I suppose your suggestion is that we should have an inspector outside each washroom, to check genitalia?   “Penis, that way, vagina, this way, ambiguous, well, guess you just have to go on the floor.  Sorry, our system doesn’t have room for non-binaries!”  

    Or maybe just let people go pee in peace without trying to create a false dichotomy between “male” and “female” as if that were the only two genders, then rigidly policing that false dichotomy like a close-minded bigot.  

  • jose

    Sure, when the imbalance of power between men and women (which unfortunately doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon) ceases to exist, sex-segregated restrooms will no longer be a reasonable choice. Meanwhile, I think the precaution we take in not allowing gay men to enter the women’s toilet applies to trans women who have not had surgery as well.

    I’m sure all of you agree with Schrodinger’s rapist. It’s not that I’m calling you or any other specific person a security problem. It’s that women can’t read minds, and so they can’t tell – and they can’t tell in the restroom either, which is one of the places where they are most vulnerable. Don’t take it personally mkay?

  • walkamungus

    This seems to be sliding toward “all men are potential rapists, even if they are trans women.”

    How do they make unisex restrooms work in Europe, then? 

  • John Evans

    jose, I was not referring to this specific case. I was making the point that there are a great many cases where people with penises go to the bathroom in the same place as people who don’t have penises, and this is not a problem.

  • KRobert

    Potential Rapist: “Well, my plan was to rape a woman I’d never met in an extremely public place where anyone could walk in, but then I saw a sign on the door that said that transgender and intersex women weren’t allowed in the women’s restroom.  Without that sign I would have raped anyone in the room, but with that sign I was just like ‘wow, can’t go there.’”  

    Do you really think this is a logical scenario, jose?  Are you really suggesting that this is something that could possibly happen?  Or are you just spitting Faux Nous talking points at me? 

    In what reality does a rapist stop because transgender and intersex women are denied restroom use?  Seriously jose, what reality?  And why are you trying to break down all the rights transgender people are denied into categories like “where people pee?”

    Don’t transgender students deserve protection from bullies, jose? Don’t transgender students deserve to be called by the name and pronouns they choose, jose? Don’t transgender students deserve to be treated like any other child, not singled out by school administrators, not mocked by teachers, not bullied by students, not maltreated until they take their own life?

    Why so focused on pee, jose? Is it just a personal fetish of yours?

  • Phil

    Laurie Higgins = a bottomless pit of no class and willful ignorance.

  • Miss_Beara

     IFI, keeping it classy.

    So where are they actually based out of?

  • jose

    Restrooms is the topic at hand, since it’s the policy discussed. This applies to all sex-segregated spaces like for instance gym showers. I’m sure they have an exception in laws against discrimination for gym showers. The same reason applies.

    I’m not sure if you’re asking me why I talk about the topic at hand? Would you like me to go off topic instead?

  • Phil

    Not to mention those in private homes…..  People are raped at parties, dinner get-togethers, family gatherings all the time right?

  • Deven Kale

    “We don’t allow gay men into the women’s toilet[.]”

    Right there, you’ve hit upon the real purpose of such a policy. Men use the mens room, and women use the womens room- period. Whether they were born as men or women doesn’t matter. If they’re a man now they use the mens room, and if they’re a woman now they use the womens room.

    Sexual orientation doesn’t matter, otherwise we would actually be forcing gay men into the womens room, and gay women into the mens room. We don’t do that, now do we? So why would we force a woman with male genitalia into the mens room? Why force a man with female genitalia into the women’s room? Both ideas are equally ridiculous.

    BTW, I was having trouble determining what my reason for being okay with such a policy was ever since I first heard of it. I knew I was for it, but I just didn’t know why. You bringing up the homosexual angle allowed me to finally understand my own reasoning, which is what I just explained here. Thank you for that.

  • wmdkitty

    I, for one, don’t care about the genitals of the other people in the loo.

    All I care about is having a nice, clean, wheelchair-accessible stall available for my use. (And someone within shouting distance if I fall.)

  • wmdkitty

    There’s always one lady who decides to “hover” because “toilet seats are dirty and gross.”

  • wmdkitty


  • Trickster Goddess


    I think the precaution we take in not allowing gay men to enter the
    women’s toilet applies to trans women who have not had surgery as well.

    I’m sure all of you agree with Schrodinger’s rapist.

    Have you really thought through the consequences of you are advocating?

    First of all, consider Schrodinger’s genital surgery. How can anyone tell whether any given trans woman has had surgery or not, and thus whether that individual should be barred from the women’s restroom or not?

    Seriously. Think about that. How do you enforce such a rule short of invading a person’s physical or medical privacy?

    Secondly, assuming this policy is enforceable and is enforced, the pre-surgical or non-surgical trans woman
    in the men’s  room may make the men uncomfortable, but it puts the
    woman’s safety and even her life at risk.

    To put it simply: The
    chances of a pre-op trans woman being assaulted in the men’s room is
    orders of magnitude higher than the likelihood of a trans woman
    assaulting someone in the women’s room.

    And what about those trans woman who are never able to afford
    surgery, or for medical reasons can’t have it. Do you really think it is
    just to force them to continue using the men’s room for the rest of
    their lives?

    Finally, such a rule would also need to be applied to trans men. Since female to male genital surgery is much more expensive results and the current techniques produce less than optimal results, probably the majority of trans men have not and may never have the surgery. So using your policy, that means these people who are dressing and presenting as men, some of who may full beards or pattern baldness will be required to use the women’s room.

    So whose presence do you think will make women more uncomfortable: Schrodinger’s trans woman, or a bearded, balding trans man?

  • Trickster Goddess

    An addendum to my first point: This begs the question how you can even tell whether any given woman is trans or not.

  • Trickster Goddess


    It’s that women can’t read minds, and so they can’t tell -

    …whether the woman in the next stall is trans, much less whether or not she has a penis. So why would they suspect that Schrodinger is even in the room?

  • Xuuths

    Their Form 990 says they are in Glen Ellyn.  Here’s an old one for your edification:

  • Xuuths

    Specifically check out page 4 with their list of officers, directors, trustees and key employees, and their locations.

  • KRobert

    The topic at hand is the Illinois Family Institute’s hypocritical whining over outside groups “influencing district policy” (really outside groups other than them), specifically over the issue of protection for transgender students in the school’s anti-bullying policy.

    You’re the person who has turned this into an issue about underage girls in the bathroom, something you appear to have spent a whole lot of time thinking about.

  • Thomas Nowacki

    First amendment rights are not his top priority

  • Laurie Higgins


    I just wanted to clarify something that was
    perfectly clear to all but the most obtuse. You suggested that I was illogical
    when I made a point about outsiders serving on the ad hoc committee at East
    Aurora High school, and you did so by twisting my words. You posted a quote by me in which I said that only community members should sit on the committee, and then stated that I said “no outside groups or individuals should have anything to do with the issue.” That’s simply dishonest. I never suggested that those from outside groups should be prohibited from trying to influence school district policy. I suggested that outsiders should not be invited to sit on school committees.

    Again, I did not suggest that no outside groups
    should attempt to influence policy. I suggested that it was hypocritical, and
    inconsistent for the mainstream media and Shannon Sullivan to describe IFI as
    outsiders but not describe the Civil Rights Agenda, the Illinois Safe Schools
    Alliance, Crystal Gray or Joanie Rae Wimmer as outsiders. It’s quite obvious
    that we are identified as an “outside group” in order to discredit our
    involvement, while outsiders who are much more directly involved are never
    identified as “outsiders.” If your concern is with hypocrisy and illogic, why
    not identify Shannon Sullivan’s?