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: There’s no doubt that we’ve seen tremendous progress. More states have protections, although we still are far from that. The federal government has done more. We have repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” We have open transgender military service now. So, we’ve really made some really significant steps forward. There’s 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 aren’t these statewide protections, you know, you can face discrimination in your job, in housing, as you expressed, in credit, where you just wouldn’t expect it. And so, there really is a need for these legal protections. But even then, once we have legal protections, you know, we’ve had legal protections for more than 50 years on race and there’s still racial discrimination. So that’s not a full solution. We’re trying to change hearts and minds as well as laws.
Traynham: I’m going to throw you two outside-the-box questions.
Traynham: The first is, let’s say I’m watching this program at home or perhaps on my smart device, and I’m just confused. I’m straight, but I’m just confused. I feel like I have a lot of questions, but I’m 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 they’re not gay or transgender, might face bullying in school. Or, you know, a girl who’s 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 don’t know where to go, I feel like I can’t talk to my parents, my grandparents, or my friends, and perhaps maybe I’m in a really rural area where I just can’t 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, you’d 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 you’re sure of. You know, we’re not in that situation. First of all, online, there are tremendous resources. We have resources on our website, but there’s 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 they’re supportive. There’s more GSAs — Gay Student Alliances — in schools that provide support services. So there’s really a lot of resources. If you go online and do some searching, it’s really easy to find, especially for kids these days, you know? They’ll find it really fast, so it’s really something you can really do easily.