Right now, we are in the midst of a challenging period for our organization, our community and our nation. We are three years into the COVID-19 pandemic and two years into an unprecedented backlash against LGBTQ+ progress in the states -- a backlash coordinated by hate groups and rooted in transphobia, homophobia, racism and misogyny. These challenges take a heavy toll on every single one of us, and I want you to know I am thinking of you. I am also beyond grateful for your continued support to help us to move from the promise of liberation to its realization and to defeat hate in all its forms.
Your support is needed now more than ever -- because there is so much important work to be done.
We have to defend the rights and lives of our community, particularly our trans and non-binary family. Just a few months into 2022, state legislatures across the country are full steam ahead on their attacks on LGBTQ+ equality.
Bearing the brunt of this increasingly destructive effort are transgender young people; these attacks attempt to deny them access to medical care, prevent them from using the appropriate bathroom, and stop them from playing on sports teams with their friends. I know that states with active anti-LGBTQ+ legislation pending must be unfathomably difficult to live in. Even states lacking basic anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people can feel unsafe. Something is seriously wrong when state legislatures around the country are attacking LGBTQ+ rights for political purposes, forcing families to pack up their homes and move to another state so their children can have equal rights and legal protections. This needs to change.
We are working closely with our coalition partners to defeat these attacks -- from the court of law to the court of public opinion -- and to secure vital protections to defend our communities. That is why we are launching the Reality Flag campaign, a multi-media effort using the striking visual of an American flag with only 21 stars to draw attention to the lack of existing protections for the LGBTQ+ population across the United States. The Reality Flag campaign is designed to point out the inequalities LGBTQ+ individuals face every day and shed light on why we need the Federal anti-discrimination protections afforded in the Equality Act. From housing and educational discrimination to denial of government and health services, LGBTQ+ people, particularly those who are multiply marginalized, are confronted by hurdles to simply exist.
The Reality Flag calls out the 29 states where basic freedoms are still missing for millions of people and stands as a symbol of hope that communities can rally behind to enact meaningful change.
Not only do we need these protections for adults, but the young people growing up in the country are relying on us to make this country safer and more equitable for their futures as well. In fact, advocating for young LGBTQ+ people is a key principle covered in HRC’s Time to THRIVE Conference, our virtual space created to share resources on how to better support LGBTQ+ youth.
LGBTQ+ young people in America still face dramatically heightened rates of rejection & discrimination in school, at home & within their community. Time to THRIVE is the perfect place for all youth-serving folks to learn how to do more to support our young people, including helping them access sexual and mental health resources.
This year also marks the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 20th edition of the Corporate Equality Index, the premier survey benchmarking tool on how corporations across the United States and beyond are adopting equitable workplace policies, practices and benefits for LGBTQ+ employees.
The inaugural edition of the CEI included 319 participants, with 13 companies achieving top scores. The 20th-anniversary edition of the CEI now includes over 1,200 participants and more than 800 top scorers.
Ultimately, the growth of the CEI reflects the truth that so many leading businesses have come to embrace: leveling the playing field for LGBTQ+ workers is not simply a societal good; it is also good for business. We are thrilled about the progress that we have made with the CEI over the last 20 years.
We also recognize that, with the CEI and with all of our work, there is still so much progress we need to accomplish -- together. 2022 will be a year of continued growth and change for our organization as we carve our path toward LGBTQ+ liberation. Thank you for joining us in this fight.
Joni Madison , Interim President , Human Rights Campaign