HRC Survey of LGBT Wyomingites Proves There’s Great Need for this Work
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights organization, announced that it will have a continuously staffed presence in Wyoming to build on the tremendous momentum for equality in the state. Working closely and collaboratively with other local and state-based advocacy groups, HRC Wyoming will work to pass enduring legal protections for LGBT people in housing, employment and public accommodations; work to improve the lived experience of LGBT people in workplaces and faith communities; work to prevent harassment and violence against LGBT people; reduce the stigma of HIV/AIDS; and support LGBT youth in schools. This work could not come at a more critical time. A recent HRC survey of LGBT Wyomingites found that there is both a great need and appetite for this work.
“Now is the moment to seize and capitalize on the grand opportunity to recognize the dignity and worth of LGBT Wyomingites,” said Brad Clark, HRC Director of Programmatic Development. “We will work with partner organizations across the state to change hearts and minds to advance LGBT equality.”
HRC is no stranger to Wyoming. With more than 1,700 members and supporters throughout the state, HRC was a primary funder of the 2013 effort to pass a statewide comprehensive nondiscrimination bill. Similarly, HRC was instrumental to the effort to grant domestic partnerships to same-sex couples. In addition to that, HRC also helped city leaders in Jackson Hole extend non-discrimination protections to city employees on the basis of sexual orientation/ gender identity and offer benefits to same-sex married spouses. The impact of the HRC Foundation’s programs on the state is clear and impactful: companies participate in our groundbreaking Corporate Equality Index; cities are rated in the Municipal Equality Index; and Wyoming hospitals have more inclusive policies in place because of our Healthcare Equality Index.
"Our state and federal constitutions hold all citizens are created equal. We want to show the country Wyoming is a welcome place for the LGBT community-- in attracting tourists, to recruiting businesses, and for providing a safe and inclusive quality of life for every person in this state, “ said State Representative Dan Zwonitzer. “The Human Rights Campaign will be a solid resource as the state continues to evolve in our beliefs regarding the LGBT friends and neighbors already present throughout our communities."
This work couldn’t come at a more important time. Earlier this year, HRC commissioned a survey of LGBT people in the state. The assessment shows LGBT people are contributing members of their communities, but face daunting amounts of discrimination. Key findings from the survey show 46 percent of respondents have called the state home for more than 20 years, half are in committed relationships and 55 percent volunteer in their respective communities.
However, the survey also found more than a third have experienced harassment at work, one quarter have experienced employment discrimination, 23 percent of respondents have experienced harassment at their place of worship and 47 percent have experienced harassment on the street.
“While it’s clear that we’re making tremendous progress every day, it’s also clear there is work to do to achieve full equality for all of Wyoming’s citizens,” said Clark. “The survey results are evidence that LGBT Wyomingites face a significant number of obstacles in their daily lives.”
HRC Wyoming will be able to rely on the full resources of the Human Right Campaign — from religion and faith to legislative advocacy to public education. Programming elements from HRC Foundation’s Children, Youth & Families; Health and Aging; Youth and Campus Engagement; and Workplace Equality programs will also be used to advance equality.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality. HRC Wyoming works to expand LGBT equality throughout the state and is generously supported by the HRC Foundation.
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