End discriminatory healthcare. Equal protection under the law. Expand youth resources.
People are people, and every person deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. As a nation, we have struggled with this concept and, as a result, have discriminated against those who appear “different” from the mainstream. Beginning in the 1980s, this began to change for the LGBTQIA+ community. Collectively, we have made great strides in recognizing the rights and issues of those of us who do not conform with traditional hetero stereotypes. For example, in June 2015, the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, in June 2020 a divided court affirmed that a worker cannot be fired for being gay and, as of this January, transgender people can now openly serve in armed forces – again. But there is still a long way to go.
The hate-filled rhetoric that permeated the Trump Administration has meant that discrimination and violence against the LGBTQIA+ is the highest in a decade, especially when gender and race are taken into account. Transgender people in particular face significant barriers on multiple fronts, such as in getting adequate healthcare – a very real hurdle during a pandemic. Even in Northern Virginia, which is relatively diverse and accepting, elderly LGBTQIA+ patients struggled to find care providers even before COVID-19. To really turn things around so we can begin realizing true intersectional equality, we must:
- Codify nondiscrimination within the universal single-payer healthcare system
- Codify into law President Biden’s Executive Order extending housing protections to LGBTQ+ people
- Pass the Do Not Harm Act which seeks to amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to stop giving exemptions to civil rights laws when those exemptions cause harm to people
- Pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act to help LGBTQ+ students get the support and protection they need in schools
- Fully enact the 2020 Older Americans Act to protect elderly LGBTQ+ people
- Provide mental health services for children, spouses, and families of those who transition
- Strengthen US asylum system for LGBTQ+ refugees
- Reinforce LGBTQ+ inclusive policies for small businesses and contractors
- Increase funding in DOJ’s Civil Rights Division to strengthen protection for LGBTQ+ community’s civil rights
- Pass Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act to protect health, safety, and well-being of LBGTQ+ immigrants in federal detention center