A decades-old ban on wearing clothing designed for the opposite sex was repealed Monday in Des Plaines.
It’s the third time a municipality in the Northwest suburbs has taken such action this summer.
The Des Plaines City Council’s action concerned a regulation in place since 1963 under an ordinance governing “obscene and immoral acts.”
The regulation made 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.
Des Plaines police have no record of ever charging someone with violating the restriction, Cmdr. Matt Bowler said. Violators of the obscenity ordinance face $250 fines, he said.
The council struck the language about gender-specific clothing on Monday. The move was made as part of the consent agenda and occurred without any discussion.
In an interview late last month, Mayor Andrew Goczkowski called the former regulation “a relic from a different and less accepting time.”
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.
Attorney and Elk Grove Village resident Jim Naughton raised the issue to municipal officials in Des Plaines, Schaumburg and his hometown after discovering the ordinances while reviewing suburban municipal codes.
Elk Grove Village and Schaumburg rescinded their rules, too.
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.