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Transgender Troops and Advocates Urge Senate to Pass the Equality Act

Washington, D.C. (March 17, 2021) – Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to hold a hearing on the Equality Act. The House of Representatives has voted to pass the Equality Act, and if passed by the Senate as well, the bill would create strong federal nondiscrimination protections to ensure fair treatment for LGBTQ and all people in employment, housing, health care, education and public spaces.

“I know what it’s like to be told I can’t do a job I’m qualified for just because I’m transgender,” said Nicolas Talbott, an aspiring service member who challenged the transgender military ban. “Even though the transgender military ban is now lifted, transgender people like me often face discrimination at home. In my home state of Ohio, we don’t have any statewide nondiscrimination protections. So while I and other transgender people can now serve our country overseas, we still have to worry about encountering extra barriers when we do something as ordinary as grocery shopping or taking a trip to the bank, or something as important as going to a pharmacy or health clinic for the COVID vaccine. The Equality Act is an important step to ensure that all LGBTQ people in every state are able to do what we all want: to work hard, support ourselves and our families, and contribute to our communities.”

“Transgender service members like me are contributing every day in the military and in our communities, but we still face discrimination in our daily lives, whether it’s when we go to the doctor or apply for a credit card,” said Blaire McIntyre, an Afghanistan veteran and current service member in the Michigan National Guard.“Whether in uniform or not, we deserve the chance to live with dignity and freedom just like everyone else and it’s about time that our federal laws reflect that.”

“Laws that ensure all people are treated fairly help strengthen our entire country, and there’s no reason that someone’s zip code should determine whether or not they will be treated fairly when they are at work, at a hospital or at a bank,” said Jennifer Levi, Director of Transgender Rights Project at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD). “Federal nondiscrimination protections like those in the Equality Act are essential to ensuring that all people can contribute to their communities and reach their full potential.”

“Throughout history, our country has been strengthened by extending the promise of equality to formerly excluded groups,” said Shannon Minter, Legal Director at National Center for Lesbian Rights. “Our Senators have the opportunity to embrace the equal dignity of LGBTQ people and move our country one step closer to freedom and opportunity for all.”

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