February 25, 2021 (New York, NY) — Athlete Ally responded today to news that the Equality Act (HR5) has passed the House of Representatives, and will now move on to the Senate where it faces an uncertain future. Still, the House passage of the Equality Act, which would amend existing federal civil rights laws to extend protections for LGBTQ+ Americans, marks a historic moment for equality and the rights of all Americans to live free from discrimination.
The Equality Act would add specific protections for LGBTQ+ Americans under federal law, codifying last year’s US Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County. This would mean that LGBTQ+ athletes at all levels of sport would be protected from discrimination while using the bathrooms or locker rooms they prefer, and that LGBTQ+ athletes, coaches and sport media would be protected from discrimination at hotels, restaurants and arenas while traveling for sport events and competitions. The Equality Act would also update federal civil rights laws to address discrimination against all women, people of color, and LGBTQ people in areas such as transportation, retail spaces, and taxpayer-funded programs, and would make it illegal for someone to be sexually harassed while shopping or on transportation. Equality Act passage in the Senate would require support from at least 10 Republicans.
“We applaud the members of Congress who voted to pass the Equality Act in the House today,” said Hudson Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of Athlete Ally. “We hope to see bipartisan support for the rights of all Americans to live free from discrimination. Regardless of whether the Equality Act passes in the Senate, we must keep up the fight for LGBTQ+ Americans to be safe, welcome and included in all areas of life, especially and including while playing the sports they love.
We are also deeply concerned by the more than 20 state bills which have already been introduced this year threatening to ban transgender youth from sports. These bills do nothing to address the widespread threats to girls and women’s sports. When transgender youth have access to sports, data shows that girls’ participation in sport does not decrease. Inclusion and equality make our teams stronger, and helps youth athletes learn the valuable skills of teamwork and discipline that shape them into leaders. Access to sport is a human right, and Athlete Ally will never stop fighting for the fundamental human rights of us all to be respected.”