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ICYMI: Public Policy Update

NBJC Applauds the Obama Administration's Actions to Halt Anti-LGBTQ State Laws & Policies

In recent months, our nation has experienced an influx of anti-LGBT legislation introduced at the state level in the aftermath of the expansion of marriage equality nationwide last summer. These measures, passed into law in Tennessee, have tremendous impact on the lives of LGBTQ people, especially those who are Black and LGBTQ. Southern states continue to lead in halting the progress for the movements for racial justice and LGBT Equality in our nation  by continuing to implement public policies that make it harder for historically marginalized communities to live with dignity and respect, free from state-sanctioned discrimination.


On a positive note, NBJC applauds the important steps the Obama Administration has taken in the wake of these deplorable state laws. The following are a snapshot of recent key executive actions meant to combat these discriminatory laws:


  • On May 9, Attorney General Loretta Lynch delivered a passionate commitment of the federal government to fight anti-transgender legislation like HB 2 in North Carolina. The Attorney General also announced that the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against North Carolina on the grounds that HB 2 violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibiting discrimination against workers on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion. See full historic announcement HERE.


  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services finalized the rule that codifies broad nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people health facilities, programs and activities receiving federal funding under the under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Known as Section 1557, this final rule clarifies these protections under ACA that ensure access to health insurance coverage and health care for all individuals, regardless of their gender identity or nonconformity with "sex stereotypes." Read HHS press release on the final rule HERE.


  • The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice released joint guidance on May 13 which outlined clear nondiscrimination protections guaranteed to transgender students in our nation. Under the guidance, all schools receiving federal money must allow students to use the restroom and locker rooms for which gender they identify as. A school could lose funding under Title IX, if they discriminate based on a student's sex, including a student's transgender status. On May 25, 11 states filed suit against this mandate and is currently pending in federal court. Learn more about the guidance HERE.


This welcomed progress from the Obama Administration highlights the importance of elections and electing leaders that will work  to empower our communities.May the current onslaught of anti-LGBT measures and laws at the state level mobilize us all to vote — not just this presidential year– but in every election moving forward. Our lives matter and the way we ensure they matter is through the power of the vote. We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors who literally risked their lives so that we would be able to live in a more open and equitable world. We must never forget this history and responsibility to vote ensuring that their plight was not in vain.


The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.