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After Push From LGBTQ+ Activists, Elk Grove Village Takes Antiquated Ban On Wearing 'Clothes Belonging To The Opposite Sex' Off Books

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. (CBS) -- Only men should wear pants and women wear skirts – that is the gist of a law still in effect in many Chicago suburbs.

As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported, Elk Grove Village took action against that law on Wednesday. It came thanks to a push from a local attorney and some young activists, who said this is yet another step toward equality.

"We did it right way, because It's not a reflection of this village," said Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson.

Johnson called it a no-brainer. But to some, like a group of young LGBTQ+ activists, Elk Grove's repeal of a 1961 ordinance banning any person from publicly wearing "clothes belonging to the opposite sex" is 60 years overdue.

"Change is very delayed, but I'm glad that it's coming," said activist Lynn Ahn.

Ahn and others held a demonstration outside the Elk Grove Village Hall hours after the law was repealed. It had been in the works for a year after local attorney Jim Naughton discovered it on the books.

"This is a relatively small thing in a much larger fight, but I'm happy today about this," Naughton said.

A year ago is when Ahn began pushing Mayor Johnson to get rid of the law. Johnson said COVID delayed that, adding he was surprised to learn the law even existed.

"A lot of municipalities around here were taking laws from the City of Chicago and roll onto the books so they had some ordinances on the books," Johnson said, "and once we were made aware of it, we know it's not right. That's when we took care of it."

Naughton's take is that the one so-called cross-dressing ban may be down, but there are a few more to go.

"I know Des Plaines and Schaumburg have something very similar," he said.

But he believes those other municipalities are also now moving to repeal their bans. Mayor Johnson said Elk Grove Village's next step is getting rid of all laws that no longer make sense.

"For example, in Elk Grove Village, you cannot curse on public streets or alleys," Johnson said, adding in jest of course, "I can't curse – I'm in trouble."

Mayor Johnson said many of these laws are antiquated and not enforceable in court. Still, those who pushed to get this law about "opposite sex" clothing off the books said it is particularly significant, as it happened at the end of Pride Month.

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