March 17, 2021 at 6:50 pm PDT | by Staff reports
Equality Act would protect millions of LGBTQ people
16-year old high school sophomore Stella Keating, a trans girl, testifies at the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Equality Act. (Screenshot via C-SPAN)

LOS ANGELES – The Williams Institute at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law released information Wednesday collated from research data that shows the tremendous benefits to LGBTQ people should the Equality Act pass the Senate and President Joe Biden were to sign it into law.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing  on the Equality Act, as reported by The Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson, put on full display Wednesday the use of fear mongering about women’s safety and the integrity of women’s sports as a tool to thwart attempted progress on LGBTQ rights, although more traditional objections based on religious liberty also played a role.

The Equality Act, H.R. 5, is federal legislation that would expressly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, education, public accommodations, housing, credit, and other settings. The Equality Act passed the House in March.

LGBTQ people face discrimination in all areas of their lives. Recent Williams Institute research has documented discrimination against LGBTQ people in employmenthousingpublic accommodationshealth care, and other settings.

“The Equality Act would make clear that discrimination against LGBTQ people is prohibited under federal law,” said Christy Mallory, Legal Director at the Williams Institute. “It would also help to remedy the widespread harassment and discrimination that LGBTQ people experience at work, school, and when trying to access services.”


Demographics and Socioeconomic Characteristics

  • There are an estimated 13 million people ages 13 and older who identify as LGBTQ in the U.S.
  • 22% of LGBTQ adults live in poverty in the U.S. compared to 16% of non-LGBT people.
  • 27% of LGBTQ adults experience food insecurity compared to 17% of non-LGBTQ adults.
  • LGBTQ people of color are more likely to live in poverty than white LGBTQ people: 37% of Latino/a LGBT people, 31% of Black LGBT people, 23% of Asian LGBTQ people, and 22% of multiracial LGBTQ people live in poverty, compared to 15% of white LGBTQ people.
  • Among LGBTQ people, 38% of multiracial people, 37% of Black people, and 32% of Latino/a people report not having enough money for food in the past year, compared to 22% of white LGBTQ people.

Employment

  • There are approximately 8.1 million LGBTQ workers ages 16 and older in the U.S., including 7.1 million LGB and 1 million transgender workers.
  • An estimated 4.1 million of them live in states without statutes prohibiting sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment.
  • 9% of LGBTQ adults are unemployed compared to 5% of non-LGBTQ people.
  • Williams Institute analysis of data collected by Gallup found that 60% of LGB people report being fired from or denied a job compared to 40% of heterosexual people. 

Housing

  • There are approximately 11 million LGBTQ adults ages 18 and older in the U.S. An estimated 5.6 million of them live in states without statutes prohibiting sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in housing.
  • Williams Institute analysis of Gallup data found that 15% of LGB people report being prevented from moving into or buying a house compared to 6% of heterosexual people.
  • 17% of LGB adults and 30% of transgender adults have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives, compared to 6% of the general population.

Education

  • There are over 3.5 million LGBTQ students ages 15 and older in the U.S. An estimated 2.1 million of them live in states without statutory protections against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination at school. 

Public Accommodations

  • An estimated 6.9 million LGBTQ adults live in states without statutes prohibiting sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in public accommodations. 

LGBTQ people would also gain express protections under the Equality Act from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in credit, jury service, and federally funded programs.

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