FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 25, 2021
CONTACT: Kathy Melley, (617) -791-0708
(BOSTON, MA) — Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, which would explicitly prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment, housing, federally funded programs and public accommodations, including health care settings, retail stores, banks and transportation. The need for these protections is clear. While our nation’s civil rights laws protect people on the basis of race, color, national origin, and in most cases, sex, disability, and religion, they do not explicitly provide non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Discrimination against LGBTQ+ people is particularly pervasive in health care. A survey by Lambda Legal found more than half of lesbian, gay or bisexual survey respondents and 70 percent of transgender people had experienced discrimination while seeking health care.
Statement of Emily Stewart, executive director of Community Catalyst, in response to passage of the Equality Act by the U.S. House of Representatives:
“We applaud the House for passing the Equality Act, which is a critical step toward protecting the rights of and ending discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in our country. As health advocates, we know that LGBTQ+ people too often face unfair and discriminatory barriers to health care. Discrimination and bias in our health system discourages LGTBQ+ people from getting the care they need, endangering their lives. The discrimination LGBTQ+ people face in health setting has also been shown to contribute to stress and other physical and mental health conditions that undermine LGBTQ+ people’s overall health and well-being.
“No one should have to live with the worry that they will be discriminated against when seeking health care, or any other service, because of who they are. All people have the right to live the life they choose and get access to the services they and their families need, free of discrimination.
“The Equality Act is an important step toward affirming the rights and dignity of LGBTQ+ people and ending inequities for LGBTQ people in health, health care and all aspects of life. We commend the House for passing the Equality Act, and urge the Senate to swiftly follow suit.
About Community Catalyst:
Community Catalyst is a leading non-profit national health advocacy organization dedicated to advancing a movement for health equity and justice. We partner with local, state, and national advocates to leverage community power so all people can influence decisions that affect their health. Health systems will not be accountable to people without a fully engaged and organized community voice. That’s why we work every day to ensure people’s interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and health care are made: in communities, state houses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit http://www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @CommCatHealth.