Des Plaines clothing restriction repealed

In a civil-rights victory for the LGBTQ community, another suburb has repealed an old ban on wearing clothing designed for the opposite sex.

This time it was the Des Plaines city council that took the action - although when it did so Monday night, it was without any public discussion, debate or hoopla.

The regulation had been in place since 1963 under an ordinance governing "obscene and immoral acts." It specifically targeted men wearing women's clothing by making it illegal for anyone to "appear in any such place in a dress not belonging to his sex."

To do so was to commit indecent exposure, the ordinance stated.

The council also changed a reference to male genitalia in a different part of the ordinance to the nonspecific "their."

The word "immoral" was changed to "indecent" in one section, too.

Des Plaines police have no record of ever charging someone with violating the clothing restriction. Violators of the obscenity ordinance faced $250 fines.

It was actually the council's second vote on the repeal. The panel reached the same decision Aug. 2, but confirmation was needed under city procedures.

Officials in Elk Grove Village and Schaumburg recently rescinded similar rules.

Attorney and Elk Grove Village resident Jim Naughton raised the issue to officials in all three towns after discovering the ordinances while reviewing suburban municipal codes.

The ordinance change in Des Plaines is the city's latest move supporting the LGBTQ community.

In May, the city council voted to allow the symbolic rainbow flag to be flown at city hall for seven days each June to commemorate LGBTQ Pride Month.

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