Advance LGBTQ Rights and Equality

2021 Blueprint of Federal Social Policy Priorities: Recommendations to the Biden-Harris Administration and Congress

Over the past decade, the nation has made unprecedented progress toward LGBTQ equality, including the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015 by the U.S. Supreme Court. However, neither the federal government nor most states have explicit statutory nondiscrimination laws protecting people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. LGBTQ people do not have full civil and statutory protection under the law as defined in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Due to the lack of these policy safeguards, LGBTQ people continue to experience widespread discrimination, which impacts employment, housing, and access to education, among other things. Over 25 percent of LGBTQ respondents had experienced discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in the past year (Center for American Progress, 2020). Discrimination remains a widespread threat to LGBTQ people’s well-being, health and economic security. In addition, they are disproportionately affected by violence, including intimate partner violence, hate crimes and bullying.

NASW calls on national leaders to:

  • Pass the Equality Act (S. 788/H.R. 5 in the 116th Congress) prohibiting discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in a wide variety of areas including public accommodations.
  • Ban conversion therapy.
  • Ensure implementation of Bostock v. Clayton County across federal agencies.
  • Reverse the ban on transgender service in the military.
  • Establish an interagency working group to address anti-transgender violence.
  • Invest in programs to support LGBTQ youth who are homeless.
  • Establish uniform data collection standards incorporating sexual orientation and gender identity into federal surveys.
  • Reinstate the gender identity question within the National Survey of Older Americans Act (OAA) participants and enforce new OAA mandates for each State Unit on Aging and Area Agency on Aging to engage in outreach to LGBTQ older people and collect data on the needs of this group and the extent to which the entity meets those needs.