In the past decade, activism and legal action have advanced the cause of equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and non-binary individuals substantially. Despite these gains, a majority of LGBTQ Americans still endure unequal conditions in nearly all spheres of life, denied the protections and rights that allow other individuals to succeed in the workplace, manage their health, create the families they wish, serve their country, live in safety, and more.

Secure LGBTQ Workplace Discrimination Protections

We must pass legislation that protects LGBTQ employees from discrimation. Our own state has no laws protecting LGBTQ individuals from workplace harrassment or discrimination. Nor does Georgia offer protection from bias in lending or job applications. We have to rectify this.

Support LGBTQ Students And Youth

Many states across the country, including ours, offer no protections for LGBTQ students from harassment or discrimination. These students experience bullying, assault, and homelessness at a disproportionate rate, and represent one of the most vulnerable populations in our country. Not only do I support legislation and policies at the federal level to create protections for these students, I believe we must invest money throughout the country in greater support systems to help prevent further exploitation of those who are often children.

We must also fight to allow transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity. President Trump’s decision on this issue is reprehensible.

Ensure Equal Access to Quality Healthcare

Georgia is not the only state whose Medicaid policy does not support transgender patients receiving treatment related to their gender identity. It specifically does not cover “transexual surgery” an equally vague and hateful term that allows further discrimination. Additionally, in Georgia, as in many states, there is no protection against discrimination in health insurance pricing or eligibility for LGBTQ people. LGBTQ Americans face poorer health outcomes compared to their straight or binary neighbors, friends, and relatives, and we must work to close these gaps by ensuring that every American has access to affordable, quality healthcare. Medicare for all is where we must begin. Furthermore, we have to combat the exclusion of HIV and AIDS patients from appropriate treatment, a reprehensible outcome of our current system.

Reinforce Family Rights By Reversing Adoption Restrictions

To counter the attempts of state legislatures to restrict the adoption rights of LGBTQ parents, we need national legislation to prohibit this last bastion of legal discrimination. This is how we prevent the motions of state legislatures to restrict the adoption rights of LGBTQ parents from succeeding.

There is much more to this fight for equality, and I am committed to it.