Schaumburg drops opposite-sex clothing ban

Schaumburg on Tuesday became the second community in the Northwest suburbs this summer to drop a prohibition on the wearing of clothing intended for the opposite sex.

Attorney and Elk Grove Village resident Jim Naughton had informed his hometown, Schaumburg and Des Plaines that they had such early '60s laws still active on their books after a search of rules in most of the Northwest suburbs.

Elk Grove Village formally dropped its law late last month.

Apart from having to remind Elk Grove Village of his first notification before the pandemic last year, Naughton said he's been pleased by how quickly all three municipalities have committed to or actually taken action.

"Very happy about that," Naughton said. "We've progressed way past these laws."

In Schaumburg's 1960 ordinance, as in Des Plaines' 1963 rule, the relevant language was embedded in the local indecent exposure law.

The original wording of Schaumburg's law read, "It shall be unlawful for any person to appear in a public place in a state of nudity, or in a dress not belonging to his sex or in an indecent or lewd dress or to make any indecent exposure of his person."

But the phrase related to gender-specific clothing was officially excised by the village board Tuesday night.

"An individual contacted the mayor in June and alerted the village to an antiquated part of Schaumburg's code regarding indecent exposure," Schaumburg Director of Communications and Outreach Allison Albrecht said. "Upon review, it was determined the code needed to be updated to better reflect the society and state we live in today. The village plans to conduct a more detailed review of the code to see if there are other sections that might need modification or updating to reflect current times."

Albrecht added that available records don't make clear whether anyone was ever cited under the now-removed phrase.

Though Des Plaines has not yet voted on changing its law, Mayor Andrew Goczkowski identified it as a priority last month.

"If it's just out of date and it's not compatible with the norms of society today, then we should definitely address it," he told the Daily Herald. "This particular one we're talking about comes from a time period where I think folks were significantly less accepting of alternative lifestyles and things like that."

Naughton said his research probably wasn't regionally comprehensive, but he found evidence that Arlington Heights, Mount Prospect and some other suburbs had already dropped similar "cross-dressing" laws at various earlier times.

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