Updated Jun 30, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on the state of LGBTQ rights

On Wednesday, June 30, Ina Fried hosted a virtual event on the state of LGBTQ rights, taking a look at the Equality Act as it navigates Congress and the wave of anti-trans bills that have cropped up around the country. The conversation featured Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), The National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director Kierra Johnson and GenderCool Project Champion Stella Keating.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney discussed the Equality Act’s current standing in the Senate, as well as the prevalence of anti-LGBTQ and anti-trans bills.

  • On the fight to get the Equality Act passed: “[The Equality Act] is a great unfinished piece of our fight for legal equality under the law...I'm proud of the Democratic Party for being one hundred percent behind the Equality Act...but it's going to be a fight to get it done. But we're not going to stop.”
  • On the recent erosion of support on Capitol Hill for LGBTQ legislation: “It has nothing to do with partisanship. It has everything to do with hate and it has everything to do with building a political business model around racism and discrimination. People [are] saying incendiary things, dividing people for political gain, trying to benefit from division and fear.”

Kierra Johnson highlighted the anti-trans legislation affecting the LGBTQ community, trans youth. She also examined the unique issues that trans people of color face.

  • Kierra Johnson on the impact that anti-trans legislation has at the state level: “I don't think we've seen anything quite like this...it's hundreds of anti-trans bills and even more targeted at the broader LGBTQ community. But there is just an overwhelming hostility and fervor around targeting young trans kids. It looks different in different states...There is an all-out war to erase trans people, gender-nonconforming people, queer people from history and from today. ”
  • On the real impact legislation has on trans youth: “Over 40% of young people who identify as LGBTQ have attempted suicide. And so the impact of these anti-trans bills is literally telling these kids that they shouldn't exist. We're talking about 10, 11, 12, 13-year-olds...That doesn't get erased when a teacher tells you you shouldn't exist, when a legislator tells you you are not worthy of treatment in a health care center.”

Stella Keating explored her experiences speaking up for trans youth both before Congress and throughout her life, as well as how real legislation affects her and the people in her community.

  • On trans youth being told they cannot participate in sports: “Having a state legislative body that tells me that I'm not allowed to do something tells me that I am not allowed to be myself. It really is oppressive..It's a real disappointment seeing what these people don't want me to have the opportunity to do.”
  • On how the Equality Act affects the trans community: “Right now, I'm a rising junior, and I'm going to be looking at colleges pretty soon and there might be a college that's absolutely perfect for me, but I won't be protected. I could be denied just basic housing needs. I could be denied living in an apartment because I'm transgender. The Equality Act gives me the opportunity to live a normal life, to be free and to be myself.”
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