As America approaches the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots — the event that kicked off the long road to begin to recognize rights for the LGBTQ community in the United States — many are unaware that the struggle is actually still continuing, and that individuals within that community still face huge discriminating factors in their day-to-day lives.
According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll released this week, 45 percent of Americans believe — wrongly — that federal anti-discrimination laws are already on the books protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, or queer individuals against being fired, evicted, or denied other services due to their identities. Only 23 percent correctly know that such protections don’t actually exist.
It’s not as if Americans aren’t supportive of such measures, either. When it comes to protections against discrimination by private enterprises, nearly 3-in-5 Americans have expressed support for change.
POLL-Americans' perception of LGBTQ rights under federal law largely incorrect: Reuters/Ipsos – Thomson Reuters Foundation https://t.co/WjQQY1Synz
— Gonades Urbaines (@gonadesurbaines) June 11, 2019
Fifty-seven percent believe a business shouldn’t be allowed to deny services to LGBTQ individuals on the basis of the owner’s or employee’s religious beliefs, and 62 percent believe discrimination based on religious ideals shouldn’t justify refusing employment to someone on their sexual or gender identities, the poll found.
Yet in 30 states across the country, that is the reality that LGBTQ people face. The situation is particularly dire for members of that community, as a majority of LGBTQ individuals in America live within those 30 states, according to data compiled by the Human Rights Campaign.
The fact that, in so many places across America, a person can be denied basic human rights, is a major reason why there’s a push to pass the Equality Act, which seeks to end such discrimination. Having already passed in the House of Representatives, it faces steep opposition in the Senate. President Trump is expected to veto the bill if it defies the odds and passes in the upper house of Congress, according to HuffPost.