Summer Lee Helps Reintroduce the Equality Act to Demand Protections for the LGBTQI+ Community

Jun 21, 2023
Press

June 21, 2022

**For immediate release**

 Contact: Emilia.rowland@mail.house.gov (330) 212-2065

Summer Lee Helps Reintroduce the Equality Act to Demand Protections for the LGBTQI+ Community

“This is a matter of protecting our kids’ privacy and safety –and it’s a matter of protecting the freedoms we fought long and hard for in Pennsylvania”

(Washington, D.C. June 21, 2023) – As a proud member of the Equality Caucus, Congresswoman Summer Lee (PA-12) today helped reintroduce the Equality Act as an original cosponsor. This landmark legislation, which extends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 non-discrimination protections to the LGBTQI+ community. It would explicitly prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation in employment, education, access to credit, jury service, federally funded housing, and public accommodations–ensuring explicit nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQI+ people at a time when their rights and freedoms are facing daily attacks.

Congresswoman Summer Lee said, “At a time when homophobic politicians, judges, and hate-filled media are attacking our LGBTQI+ community with historic vitriol and violence, passing the Equality Act has never been more urgent. This is a matter of protecting our kids’ privacy and safety. It’s a matter of families’ right to live with dignity. And it’s a matter of protecting the freedoms we fought long and hard for in Pennsylvania and across the nation. Whether you identify as Trans, Gay, Bi, Queer, or anything else, you deserve to love with freedom, to live without fear, and to lead your own life with equal protection under the law. Your identities are valid, your love is beautiful, and your rights matter. We’re in this fight together, demanding equality, inclusivity, and an America that celebrates us all.”

Rep. Mark Takano, Co-Chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus said, “The promise of democracy means a great deal to me personally because I have felt the sting of its denial. As the first openly gay person of color to serve in Congress, I am acutely aware of the impacts lawful discrimination has on our marginalized communities in the United States, and the LGBTQI+ community have been subject to discrimination, violence, and the denial of their full personhood under the law for far too long. I’m proud to reintroduce the Equality Act as a long-overdue guarantee to all members of our community that we, too, benefit from the civil rights protections and the full promise of American democracy”


The Equality Act, originally introduced by Congressman David Cicilline was passed by the House in the 116th and 117th Congresses. 

Here are some shocking statistics on the impact of surging attacks on members of the LGBTQI+ community:

  • 41% of LGBTQ young people seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year—and young people who are transgender, nonbinary, and/or people of color reported higher rates than their peers.
  • 14% of LGBTQ young people attempted suicide in the past year.
  • Nearly 2 in 3 LGBTQ young people said that hearing about potential state or local laws banning people from discussing LGBTQ people at school made their mental health a lot worse.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 LGBTQ young people said their mental health was poor most of the time or always due to anti-LGBTQ policies and legislation.
  • A majority of LGBTQ young people reported being verbally harassed at school because people thought they were LGBTQ.
  • Roughly half of transgender and nonbinary young people found their school to be gender-affirming, and those who did reported lower rates of attempting suicide.
  • Fewer than 40% of LGBTQ young people found their home to be LGBTQ-affirming.
  • 56% of LGBTQ young people who wanted mental health care in the past year were not able to get it
  • 67% of LGBTQ young people reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety
  • 24% of LGBTQ young people reported that they have been physically threatened or harmed in the past year due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • 60% of LGBTQ young people reported that they have felt discriminated against in the past year due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

SOURCE: The Trevor Project

Full text of the Equality Act is available here. Background information can be found here

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