05.14.15

Congressional Resolution Calls for End to Homophobia and Transphobia

Washington D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced a Congressional resolution in support of the goals and ideals of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The resolution was introduced with more than 60 cosponsors.

This resolution highlights the more than nine million Americans, including two and half million school-aged young people, who identify as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

“Unfortunately, homophobia, transphobia and discrimination against the LGBT community can still be found in communities across our nation and around the world. Whether it is in the form of hatred, exclusion, bigotry or violence, it is unacceptable,” said Congresswoman Lee.  “I hope this resolution is another step in the direction of full equality and acceptance for all.”

The resolution outlines the specific effects of anti-LGBT violence, homelessness and health disparities, especially related to mental health, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS. 

Anti-LGBT violence is the third most frequent bias crime in the United States, amongst those reporting these crimes. Transgender women, people of color and young people often face the most severe violence as a result of these crimes.

The resolution expresses particular concern for school-age victims of homophobia and transphobia. 

According to a 2011 survey by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, eighty percent of students that identify as LGBT were harassed because of their sexual orientation in the last year.  Sixty-four percent of them felt unsafe at school and thirty percent had skipped an entire day of school in the past month because of safety concerns. 

“No young person should feel unsafe in their school, community or home because of their gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation.  Ensuring the safety and health of our young people should be our highest priority,” added Congresswoman Lee, who serves on the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees education funding.

Because of discrimination, LGBT young people are four times more likely to attempt suicide, engage in risky behaviors and/or use drug and alcohol.

The resolution was introduced to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on May 17th. May 17th marks the day that the World Health Organization declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1990. 

The day has been marked since 2004. In 2014, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia was marked in 130 countries, including 37 with anti-LGBT laws. Nearly 1,300 organizations reported hosting a total of 1,600 events to mark the day.

This resolution has won the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign and the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, of which Congresswoman Lee serves as Vice Chair and is a founding member.

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Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the Whip’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.