Press Releases

Friday, July 24, 2015

Latina Advocates Respond to Introduction of Equality Act

Press Release
loretta Kane, Camino Public Relations Phone: 917.410.7242 Email:

Urge lawmakers to increase protections for LGBTQ immigrants and people of color

WASHINGTON, DC - The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) commends the efforts of lawmakers and advocates to address the discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people in employment, housing, public accommodation, education, and credit, through the introduction of the Equality Act. The Equality Act, introduced yesterday by Senators Jeff Merkley (OR), Tammy Baldwin (WI) and Cory Booker (NJ) and Representative David Cicilline (RI-01), would enshrine legal protections for LGBTQ people against discrimination in a range of settings. However, the legislation does not address the human rights violations experienced by LGBTQ immigrants in detention and deportation or the endemic violence experienced by LGBTQ people of color, including violence at the hands of police and Immigration Custom Enforcement (ICE) officials.

Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of NLIRH, issued the following statement:

“For issues like housing and employment discrimination, the Equality Act is groundbreaking, and represents a critical step forward in ending the discrimination that LGBTQ people experience every single day. We applaud the leadership of Senators Merkley, Baldwin and Booker, and Representative Cicilline, for their commitment to equality. No one should be fired from their job or denied a place to live simply because of who they are or whom they love.

“Unfortunately, these types of discrimination are far from the only injustices LGBTQ people experience. As an organization committed to social justice, and to protecting the human rights of all, regardless of immigration status, we are deeply concerned that this legislation fails to address the needs of all members of our community. We cannot achieve true equality when queer and trans immigrants are denied their basic rights, torn from their families, and denied healthcare by an inhumane and unworkable immigration system. We cannot achieve full equality when trans women of color continue to experience appalling rates of violence, including at the hands of police and ICE officials.

“We look forward to working with our champions in the House and Senate to advance legislation that addresses the lived experiences and priorities of all LGBTQ people, including LGBTQ people of color and our undocumented hermanas and hermanos.”


The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is the only national reproductive justice organization dedicated to building Latina power to advance health, dignity, and justice for 26 million Latinas, their families, and communities in the United States through leadership development, community mobilization, policy advocacy, and strategic communications.