Many of our proudest moments in America’s history came from brave activists and organizers who fought to promote equality and inclusion for women, the LGBTQIA+ community, and people of color. Because of their tireless dedication to putting our communities first, we’ve benefited from their efforts such as The Woman Suffrage Procession, Stonewall, Obergefell v. Hodges, Selma, Roe v. Wade, and the Civil Rights Act – just to name a few.
However, we are now facing a reality where hard-fought victories such as women’s reproductive rights have been overturned and human rights for people from LGBTQIA+ groups are in danger, which will disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), and LGBTQIA+ communities throughout the country. If past and current events have taught us anything, we only have each other to lift one another up and we came too far to go back to an unequal America.
Now, more than ever, we must put our communities first.
- End discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics. All of it. Period.
- Create programs and legislation that fight for equity based on intersectional needs identified by activists already in those spaces, affecting everything from our schools to our foreign relations.
- Level the playing field for access to affordable healthcare, and remove unnecessary gatekeeping.
- Fight for equal pay, and undo the systems that have led to this disparity in the first place.
- Provide wraparound survivor-led support, free from judgment or bias, for those who have experienced harassment, violence, and trauma.
We are stronger when we stand together. For a long time, the fight for equality and inclusion has fallen to women, the LGBTQIA+ community, and people of color. Their intersectional needs have led to powerful allegiances working together to move mountains and enact real change that benefits everyone, especially in underserved populations. Despite progress made, we still have a long way to go to truly create a society that works for all of us.
For instance, women’s needs are still vastly overlooked on issues from employment to healthcare. Women in the US do an average of 242 minutes of unpaid work every day, compared to 148 minutes for men, and only earn 84% compared to men in similar jobs. And that doesn’t account for racial wage gaps.
In healthcare, the needs of women, especially women of color, are often dismissed. In particular, our country is in a maternal mortality crisis that exists squarely at the intersection of race and gender: black and indigenous mothers are three times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes. This is a problem at the core of our healthcare system and is one that cannot wait to be addressed.
As for the LGBTQIA+ community, here are some recent statistics:
Inequality affects more than quality of life – it affects life itself. This must change. Biological sex or assigned gender should never be a barrier to anything.
How We Plan to Do It
Civil Rights and Protections:
- Illegalize discrimination for housing, employment, or financial assistance on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics.
- Heighten legal standards for gender, sex, and sexual identity discrimination to the same level as racial and religious discrimination.
- Pass federal laws affirmatively protecting the right to privacy for decisions that affect our own bodies and occur in private spaces.
- Mandate the federal recognition of non-binary gender identity, including in federal documents.
- Employ policies that take into account the intersectional nature of discrimination.
- Codify policies that promote human rights for the global LGBTQIA+ community with bills like Global Respect Act (H.R. 3485).
- Pass the Gay and Trans Panic Defense Act (H.R. 2629) to help provide legal protections for LGBTQIA+ community members from violent perpetrators.
- Close the wage gap between men and women by appropriating funds to the Department of Labor to study methods for increasing wage and benefit transparency.
Families and Children:
- Pass the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (H.R. 3488) to prevent discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status in the foster care system.
- Pass the Student Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 4402) to prevent discrimination in the education system.
- Create national standards for paid family leave (currently there are none).
- Incentivizing a focus on diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality in our school systems.
- Ensure LGBTQIA+ individuals and communities are heard by reaching out and directly soliciting their input for all legislation.
- Codify Roe v. Wade to strengthen pro-choice movement and protect women’s reproductive rights and bodily autonomy.
- Ban discrimination on the basis of intersex traits, sexual orientation, or gender identity in healthcare, including a ban on gender-affirming treatment exclusions.
- Take on inequities in healthcare, especially at the intersection of race and gender.
- Encourage affirming health care that treats intersex individuals with dignity, and ban medically unnecessary nonconsensual surgery on intersex children.
- Provide mental health support to anyone who seeks it, including minors who otherwise wouldn’t have autonomy due to parental control over healthcare.
- Increase access to reproductive care including birth control, abortion, prenatal care, early life care, resources and classes for new parents, and more, focusing first on communities with very little or no access.
- Increase access to high-quality medical care and emotional support for incarcerated pregnant women and mothers.
- Take immediate federal action to reduce Black maternal mortality rates across the nation. Black women often face structural racism and implicit bias when seeking quality healthcare that white women do not.
- Provide funding for wraparound survivor-led trauma support for those who have experienced gender-based violence (GBV) and harassment.