Statement on the Equality Act

UPDATE: Advocates for Youth is thrilled that on February 25, 2021, the House of Representatives passed the Equality Act. We urge Senators to join their colleagues in taking this important step toward equity, health, and well-being.

Today Advocates for Youth joins hundreds of organizations from across the country in endorsing the Equality Act, reintroduced today by Representative David Cicilline (D-RI).

“In 27 states, LGBTQ youth are at risk of being fired, refused housing, or denied services simply because of who they are. It’s not only unfair, it’s dangerous: take a state like Texas, where ice storms have left millions in need of shelter. We can’t let states leave LGBTQ young people out in the cold. It’s well past time to rectify this situation, and it’s time Congress made the Equality Act a priority,” said Debra Hauser, President, Advocates for Youth.

Sexual orientation and gender identity are not explicitly mentioned in federal anti-discrimination legislation, leaving LGBTQ folks, including youth, with very little recourse when facing discriminatory practices; the Equality Act seeks to fix that. The Equality Act amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include LGBTQ people and to strengthen protections for all people — including women, religious minorities, and people of color. These protections would make discrimination in public places, schools, restaurants and shelters illegal. It would also ensure that institutions receiving federal funding cannot refuse services based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

We applaud Members of Congress for introducing this pivotal legislation and recognizing that a growing majority of Americans, across communities and ideologies, support the rights of LGBTQ communities to live free from discrimination.