This year has seen a record-breaking number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills enacted in states, surpassing 2015 as the worst year on record in recent history. In addition, news of violence against the transgender and gender non-conforming community has been at its highest, making resources for members of the Queer community more essential than ever. With 40+ years in service, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is answering the call and putting the LGBTQ+ agenda at the forefront.
HRC started in 1980 as a fund to support pro-equality congressional candidates, of which there were very few at the time. Since then, the organization has grown in size and scope of work. The group is now responsible for extending their reach, educating, and activating 52 million equality voters in elections across the U.S., as well as establishing 11 programs and initiatives that positively impact the LGBTQIA+ community around the world. Today, with an emphasis on joining “the right side of history,” HRC is readier than ever to help deliver on the mission to end discrimination and advance equality for all Queer individuals whether it be in schools, the workplace, public accommodations, and other spaces.
Like so many organizations, HRC adapted to the pandemic environment through virtual initiatives, including combating stigma and anti-trans discrimination. With its Transgender Justice Initiative, HRC is offering resources that uplift the trans and gender non-conforming experience. Some of those programs include a partnership with Trans Can Work to connect transgender and non-binary job seekers with work opportunities.
These marginalized groups, particularly within those of color, experience higher unemployment and underpayment than their cisgender peers. With national unemployment still being a popularized issue due to COVID-19, these communities stand a greater chance of being cut off from economic security and opportunity. This initiative is one of many that HRC is focused on throughout the end of the year, and is a testament to their goal of honoring the memories of victims of anti-transgender violence with action.
Over the last few decades HRC has strengthened LGBTQ+ voters, and as the group heads into the 2022 midterms, there is a focus on the importance of passing the Equality Act. This bill would provide consistent and explicit anti-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.
Why is this still a problem? Millions of people are left vulnerable to the federal laws that don’t provide explicit laws against discrimination; passing the Equality Act would ensure these human rights protections. As mentioned on HRC.org, “everyone should have a fair chance to provide a home for their families and access essential services without fear of harassment or discrimination.”
As Margaret Mead, an American anthropologist and activist for societal issues once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” This stands true to the work the Human Rights Campaign is doing by empowering marginalized voices until they have reached equality for all.
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