Today, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) introduced the Equality Act, which would protect LGBT people from discrimination in many sectors of life, including employment, education, public accommodations, and housing.
Transgender Law Center Executive Director Kris Hayashi issued the following statement:
“The introduction of the Equality Act is an important moment for the transgender community and a step towards ensuring everyone can earn a living, get an education, and participate in public life without fear of discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Transgender and gender nonconforming people face epidemic levels of violence and discrimination. Just this week, we learned of the murder of a Black transgender woman in Florida – the tenth confirmed murder of a transgender woman this year. Transgender women are held in prisons, jails, and immigration detention facilities with men, where the state subjects them to horrific abuse and assault. A majority of states and the federal government still lack explicit protections for transgender employees, and employers exploit that lack, despite significant rulings from the EEOC in two cases brought by Transgender Law Center holding that discrimination based on gender identity violates existing federal laws against sex discrimination.
This bill would provide critical protections from discrimination, and is therefore one of many important strategies for our community. As we call for these discrimination protections, we must also work to end the detention of transgender immigrants, stop the ongoing criminalization and murder of Black communities, and ensure all transgender and gender nonconforming people have the opportunity to stay alive and thrive as their authentic selves.”
Several organizations, including Transgender Law Center, issued the following Equality Act FAQ: