Statement of Janson Wu, Executive Director of GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)

Whether a person can get and keep a job, rent a home, or access fundamental services should not depend on who they are, who they love – or where they live. It surprises some people to know that millions of LGBTQ Americans still face daunting discrimination every day – in housing, employment, education, and in public accommodations.  This is especially heightened for transgender individuals and LGBQ people of color, who are more likely to experience poverty and underemployment, as well as hate crimes and housing discrimination.

Despite great strides forward, the law is still unsettled in practical application from state to state, and no national law explicitly shields LGBTQ people from harm. That’s why we need the Equality Act, introduced today in Congress. It provides clear and consistent protection from discrimination for LGBTQ Americans.

Robust civil rights laws that seek to remedy historic and pervasive discrimination are what help us strive toward becoming a more perfect union. We are at our best when we move steadily toward greater inclusion.

We are grateful to lead sponsors Representative David Ciccilline (D-RI) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), as well as to the legislators from both sides of the aisle who have joined as co-sponsors of the Equality Act. We urge Congress to recognize that this is the year to pass this important non-discrimination legislation.