Despite recent progress toward acceptance across America, the LGBT community in the Deep South continues to face significant barriers to equality, as few states offer protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
In each of the Southern states, for example, employers may fire or refuse to hire a person because of their sexual orientation – and no Southern state prohibits discrimination against LGBT people in public accommodations or housing. In addition, LGBT youth often encounter harassment and bullying in school, and the community is frequently victimized by violent hate crime.
We’re working in the courts to ensure that LGBT people achieve full equality under the law. Our work has a national reach but is focused primarily on the Southeast, where relatively few organizations advocate for the LGBT community.
In recent years, we’ve launched groundbreaking cases to:
- Challenge gay-to-straight “conversion therapy” as fraudulent;
- Obtain equal government benefits for veterans;
- Protect LGBT children from violence and harassment in school;
- Ensure the parental rights of LGBT people;
- Protect the right to proper medical treatment and safe housing for transgender prisoners;
- Force states to recognize the rights of same-sex couples; and
- Protect the First Amendment rights of LGBT students.
Through our Teaching Tolerance project, we’re also reaching out to America’s schools to combat bullying and help create nurturing, equitable learning environments where all students feel welcome. For instance, we’ve distributed more than 50,000 copies of our classroom film Bullied and its teaching kit to educators across the nation.
In addition, our Intelligence Project is monitoring and exposing the activities of anti-LGBT hate groups that disseminate demonizing propaganda and promote a climate of bigotry and violence against the LGBT community.