Under the Trump Administration, LGBTQ people have been under attack in subtle and blatant ways, from quietly leaving off questions on sexual orientation and gender identity from demographic surveys, to rolling back protections for trans students. Now more than ever – although we’ve also been busy fighting against dangerous attacks on the rights of queer and trans folks – it’s important to also fight for a proactive vision that protects LGBTQ people and women.
The Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other key federal nondiscrimination laws to provide clear, explicit protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, credit, federally funded programs (including education), and federal jury service. This would make clear that discrimination against LGBTQ people in these areas is against the law. The Equality Act would also provide more protections to women by closing some longstanding gaps in federal law, adding a prohibition against sex discrimination in public spaces and services.
Here are 5 reasons why you should support The Equality Act, which was reintroduced today:
- LGBTQ people need these protections ASAP: Right now, no federal law explicitly protects LGBTQ people from discrimination – even though we desperately need one. LGBTQ women can experience discrimination in every aspect of our lives– from employment to accessing housing. Transgender women, especially transgender women of color, are especially at risk without legal protections. For instance, the National Center for Transgender Equality’s 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey found that transgender women of color experience pervasive housing discrimination – with 31% of Black transgender women and 27% of Native transgender women reporting being denied a home or apartment in the past year because they were transgender.
- LGBTQ people couldn’t be kept off of juries (legally!): LGBTQ would get clear consistent protections in employment, housing, public spaces and services, credit, and federal jury service. There would also be protections with any program that receives federal funds.
- Sexist car mechanics couldn’t charge women more: By closing longstanding gaps in civil rights law, the Equality Act would give protections against sex discrimination in public places like restaurants, stores, banks, health care providers, and transportation. This means that it would be against the law for a car mechanic to charge women more than men.
- Chain pharmacies couldn’t refuse to fill birth control prescriptions: New protections against sex discrimination in public accommodations could break down barriers many people face when trying to fill their birth control prescriptions.
- Women would have more protections against sexual harassment in public spaces: Women could gain legal protections to fight back against problems like pervasive sexual harassment in the Metro, restaurants, or shops.
LGBTQ people and women need these protections – it’s time to pass the Equality Act.