WASHINGTON, DC Today, Freedom & Opportunity For All, a national campaign advocating for the urgent passage of the Equality Act, and The Trevor Project, the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people, are speaking out about the need for Congress to pass the Equality Act to protect LGBTQ youth nationwide. The Equality Act is federal legislation that would modernize our nation's civil rights laws by including explicit protections for LGBTQ people, as well as improving protections for women, people of color, and people of all faiths.
According to The Trevor Project's 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, LGBTQ youth across the country are at heightened risk for suicidal ideation, mental health challenges, food insecurity, and discrimination. Seventy-five percent of LGBTQ youth reported that they had experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity at least once in their lifetime. Additionally, 42 percent of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth. Those who experienced discrimination in the past year attempted suicide at more than twice the rate of those who did not.
The Trevor Project estimates that more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth between the ages of 13 and 24 seriously consider suicide each year in the U.S. and at least one attempts suicide every 45 seconds.
"Discrimination places LGBTQ youth at higher risk for suicide. Our government must address these harms and enshrine federal non-discrimination protections into law," said Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project. "It's past time for the Senate to pass the Equality Act and protect LGBTQ people from being treated differently in all areas of society simply because of who they are or who they love."
Currently, 29 states do not have laws that explicitly protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. Without the Equality Act, LGBTQ Americans, including young people, remain vulnerable to being evicted from their homes, kicked out of a business that's open to the public, denied health care, or denied government services in a majority of states simply because of who they are.
The majority of Americans, hundreds of members of Congress, and more than 600 organizations including civil rights, education, health care, and faith-based organizations have endorsed the Equality Act. More than 400 major U.S. businesses — including dozens of Fortune 500 companies — and more than 60 business associations have also publicly supported the federal legislation.
The Equality Act also expands protections to millions of women who aren't covered under existing federal anti-discrimination laws and expands the types of public spaces and services that can't discriminate against people of color and people of all faiths ensuring that women cannot be charged more by a dry cleaner for cleaning a shirt; that taxis and car-sharing services cannot refuse service to Black people; or that an accountant cannot refuse to work for someone because he disagrees with their religion.
The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people. The Trevor Project offers a suite of 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifeline, TrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as the world's largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth, TrevorSpace. Trevor also operates an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, an advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and a research team to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide. More information can be found at www.TheTrevorProject.org .
Freedom & Opportunity For All is a national campaign advocating for the urgent passage of the Equality Act historic federal legislation that would modernize and improve our nation's civil rights laws by including explicit, permanent protections for LGBTQ people, as well as women, people of color, and people of all faiths. The campaign supported by hundreds of the nation's top leaders in civil rights, faith, education, health care, and advocacy is co-founded and led by 16 of the nation's leading advocates for equality, including Center for American Progress; Equality Federation; Freedom for All Americans; GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders; GLSEN; Human Rights Campaign; Lambda Legal; National Black Justice Coalition; National Center for Lesbian Rights; National Center for Transgender Equality; National LGBTQ Task Force; National Women's Law Center; PFLAG National; SAGE; Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund; and The Trevor Project. More information can be found at www.PassTheEqualityAct.com .