A Letter to Congress: Pass The EQUALITY Act.
LGBTQIA rights have come a long way since the Stonewall Riots in 1969. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Edie Windsor, a lesbian in tech and marriage equality advocate, a ruling that was followed by Obergefell v Hodges in 2015. The pair of rulings that recognized same-sex marriages as legitimate in the eyes of the federal government, ensuring queer couples the rights and privileges previously only enjoyed by hetero couples, and enshrining their right to be married in all 50 states. Until another SCOTUS ruling in the summer of 2020, it was legal in 27 states to fire someone simply for being gay, and it took until this week when trans student activist Gavin Grimm won a victory to ensure that trans students have the right right to use a bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.
But progress isn’t linear or guaranteed. The rights of LGBTQIA people in America are still under attack every day. In June of 2016, 49 people were murdered in a heinous act of gun violence at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. Black trans women are being murdered at an alarming rate, a community suffering epidemic levels of violence, and just this year there have already been a record 100+ anti-trans bills passed in state legislatures across the country.
As a queer-, woman-owned business, we’re calling on Congress to pass The Equality Act.
According to the Human Rights Campaign: The Equality Act would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service. The Equality Act would amend existing civil rights law—including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Jury Selection and Services Act, and several laws regarding employment with the federal government—to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics. The legislation also amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination in public spaces and services and federally funded programs on the basis of sex.
On February 25, 2021, the House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, which now sits in the Senate. If you want to add your name to the chorus of supporters, sign this ACLU petition, or call your Senator.
Want to do even more for the rights of LGBTQIA people? Donate to any of these important organizations:
And one last thing: trans women are women.
Ashley & Claire
Photo credit: Getty/Saul Loeb