With the Supreme Court decision to recognize marriage equality as a national right, 2015 will go down as a historic year in the LGBT equality movement. It’s a victory that’s been over 40 years in the making, but the celebration should be a marker of progress, not an end point. We need to make sure we don’t stop until equality in ensured for all people, across all fronts. Here’s what’s next for the LGBT movement.
End Employment, Housing and Insurance Discrimination
Marriage equality is a huge step forward. But did you know that LGBT individuals and couples are still being denied housing and insurance, or fired from their jobs based on their sexual orientation? A staggering 31 states still have no law against housing and employment discrimination, and 42 have no law requiring LGBT inclusive insurance protections.
Stop Bullying by Students, Teachers and School Staff
Bullying is already a very serious issue at schools across the US. Add in the factor of being a LGBT youth or teen, and the statistics get really scary: LGBT youth and teens are twice as likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol, and are four times more likely to attempt suicide. Bullying has a negative effect on LGBT youth and teens’ ability to focus and receive an adequate education, a huge disadvantage as an adult. And 24 states have no law protecting LGBT students— another major hurdle we need to overcome as a nation.
Ensure Basic Safety from Violence
It’s a painful fact that members of the LGBT community experience more violence than straight people. Violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity is on the rise, making up over 21% of hate crimes in 2013, according to the FBI. The statistics around this are startling and sobering, and a clear message that we have to keep supporting violence prevention programs, and push the country past anti-LGBT discrimination.
Let’s Do This
With record support for LGBT rights across the nation, there’s never been a better time to push for full equality. New legislation is being proposed to establish national standards, and make sure state-by-state interpretations of employment, housing and insurance rights aren’t leaving LGBT people out in the cold. And there’s so much more we can do— start conversations, sign petitions, show your support. Marriage equality isn’t an end, it’s a pathway to getting things done all the way. Or as Tori and Shanté told us in their 'Love is Love' video, “We’ve got work to do.” Let’s get started!