Human Rights Campaign focuses on LGTBQ Issues

Monday, June 21, 2021
Human Rights Campaign focuses on LGTBQ Issues
For Pride Month, Eyewitness Newsmakers focused on social issues and legislation affecting the LGBTQ community.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- For Pride Month, Eyewitness Newsmakers focused on social issues and legislation affecting the LGBTQ community.

Guests were Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign and Tori Cooper, from the Human Rights Campaign Transgender Justice Initiative. The HRC is the world's largest LGBTQ rights organization. They spoke on Newsmakers via Zoom from Washington, D.C.

This week, the Department of Education ruled Title IX applies to gay and transgender students in schools that receive federal funding.

The Human Rights Campaign applauded the decision. HRC President Alphonso David said Title IX will prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

"As a practical matter, this means that students who confront discrimination at school can file complaints with the Department of Education and their claims will be adjudicated by the department, consistent with this interpretation under law," David said.

The HRC's Tori Cooper said, "This is a huge win for youth, it's a huge win for kids, it's a huge win for sports, and certainly it's a huge win for transgender folks, and for non-binary community members also."

She added, "It provides protection and acknowledges that trans and gender non-conforming folks' existence is valid in sports and participation in sports is valid; it's needed and it's protected."

David said the ruling goes beyond sports.

"LGBT kids face harassment, unfortunately at much higher rates than non-LGBTQ kids so this would cover harassment," he said, adding "This would cover being denied equal access to services. This would cover being denied benefits of certain programs or activities, so I also think is important for us to highlight those other components of daily practice that this interpretation would now cover."

The HRC is working for Senate passage of the Equality Act. It passed the House in February.

David says the measure is not only about gay and transgender rights.

"When the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed, it did not include places of public accommodation that we consider today; retail stores, transportation hubs. Those spaces are not considered public accommodations in the traditional sense."

He added, "So, we have to modify our existing law to protect all of us. It's not just LGBTQ people. It's LGBTQ people, people of color, women religious minorities. This bill would protect all of us."

Seven in 10 voters say they support equality, but 2022 will be a watershed year for anti-LGBTQ legislation, the HRC president said. "When we look at all of the bills that have been introduced in states around the country; more than 250 - 24 of them have been signed, and you ask those elected officials, what is the problem that you're actually solving? They aren't able to answer that question."