The Equality Act: Reintroduced (part 2)

with David Stacy of Human Rights Campaign

National Government

Half of all LGBTQ Americans live in a state without equal employment and fair housing guarantees.  David Stacy of the Human Rights Campaign discusses the proposed Equality Act, which would amend federal civil rights law to include the LGBTQ population.  Click here for part 1 of The Equality Act: Reintroduced.

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Interview recorded on May 17, 2017.  Hosted by Robert Traynham.  Part 2 of 2.

Read a partial transcript of this interview below:

Traynham: Are we better off than we were 4 years ago, 10 years ago, with respect to LGBTQ rights?

Stacy: Theres no doubt that weve seen tremendous progress. More states have protections, although we still are far from that. The federal government has done more. We have repeal of “Dont ask, dont tell.” We have open transgender military service now. So, weve really made some really significant steps forward. Theres a long way to go. You know, if you can get married in any state in the country now, which is fantastic, but if you live in one of those states where there arent these statewide protections, you know, you can face discrimination in your job, in housing, as you expressed, in credit, where you just wouldnt expect it. And so, there really is a need for these legal protections. But even then, once we have legal protections, you know, weve had legal protections for more than 50 years on race and theres still racial discrimination. So thats not a full solution. Were trying to change hearts and minds as well as laws.

Traynham: Im going to throw you two outside-the-box questions.

Stacy: Sure.

Traynham: The first is, lets say Im watching this program at home or perhaps on my smart device, and Im just confused. Im straight, but Im just confused. I feel like I have a lot of questions, but Im not exactly sure where I can get some answers. Where do I go?

Stacy: Well, our website is a fantastic place. That was a really tough, tough question there. No, hrc.org — we have a lot of information there, including coming-out guides — coming out for people who want to come out themselves, but also we have guides for families. We have guides in coming out in your church or your religious institution. We have guides for how to come out in school. We have guides for educators around how to handle these issues in schools, because, you know, kids are often bullied because of their sexual orientation or gender identity or because of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. And so, you know, a kid that is a boy that is more effeminate, even if theyre not gay or transgender, might face bullying in school. Or, you know, a girl whos a tomboy — you know, is what you used to call it — may face discrimination there. And so, we have a lot of tools for parents, for teachers, other educators to deal with those problems, too.

Traynham: And my second kind of curveball question — you just kind of answered it — and that is, if I am a part of the LGBTQ community and I just dont know where to go, I feel like I cant talk to my parents, my grandparents, or my friends, and perhaps maybe Im in a really rural area where I just cant walk down the street and maybe go to a community clinic or something like that, where do I go?

Stacy: Yeah, well, you know, you and I are a lot older. And us growing up, youd really be in a really tough pickle, right?

Traynham: Yes, big-time.

Stacy: Because there really is nowhere to go. You really are isolated and you have to figure out who to trust, and there may be no one that youre sure of. You know, were not in that situation. First of all, online, there are tremendous resources. We have resources on our website, but theres all kinds of LGBTQ organizations, youth-serving ones, that have resources available. And then, more and more schools are being supportive. And you know, a lot of schools, there are teachers that have, you know, little rainbow stickers or other things to show that theyre supportive. Theres more GSAs — Gay Student Alliances — in schools that provide support services. So theres really a lot of resources. If you go online and do some searching, its really easy to find, especially for kids these days, you know? Theyll find it really fast, so its really something you can really do easily.