2021 Equity Challenge Day 18: Equity and the LGBTQIA+ Community

No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.

Marsha P. Johnson

American gay rights activist

The freedom to live life openly and equally.

To experience the same basic rights and civil liberties as all people.

The rights and protections to parent children, attend school and work free from harassment and harm, to build meaningful relationships (personal and intimate) that are not put in jeopardy by society and equitable access to health care and housing.

These are just a fragment of the many rights that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA+) people fight for in order to live free of discrimination and prejudice based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

LGBTQIA+ people have been fighting for equity for decades. The catalyst of the modern LGBTQIA+ movement is attributed to the Stonewall riots (named after the Stonewall Inn, a historic gay bar in New York City). On June 29, 1969, during a period of harassment on LGTBQIA+ establishments, the Stonewall Inn was raided by New York City police. The patrons of the bar fought back in protest of the raids which led to six days of demonstrations. As we look at the history of the LGBTQIA+ movement and the strides the community continues to make, we must recognize the role and contributions that Black transgender women played in leading the movement. George M. Johnson discusses this in “My Stonewall is Black.”

In just the last 10 years, the LGBTQIA+ movement has seen historic progress, such as the overruling of the Defense of Marriage Act, allowing for same-sex marriage, and the Supreme Court ruling that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQIA+ employees from workplace discrimination nationwide.

Despite these triumphs, the LGBTQIA+ community is still subject to discrimination, rooted in homophobia and transphobia: dislike of or prejudice against LGBTQIA+ people. The community still lacks legal protection in many states. . In Michigan, there are at least four anti-equality laws on the books, according to the Human Rights Campaign, and there’s also a lack of pro-equality laws.  On top of this, one-third of LGBTQIA+ people report facing discrimination in 2020 across many sectors (Center for American Progress). Some examples of this discrimination are being refused health care, housing, and education, and obtaining accurate documents and government-issued identification. Today’s challenge will provide a deeper look at the inequities the LGBTQ community continues to face



Read this report to understand how ongoing discrimination shows up for LGBTQIA+ people. (20 minutes)

Read this piece on how schools struggle to support LGBTQIA+ students. (5 minutes)

Read this article to better understand how sexual orientation and gender identity differ using continuums. (10 minutes)


Watch this video where LGBTQIA+ families discuss what makes a family. (3 minutes)

Watch this video on Trans Awareness Week 2020. (5 minutes)

Watch this video to deepen your understanding of the Stonewall Riots. (10 minutes)


Take this quiz to test your knowledge and learn more about LGBTQIA+ anti-discrimination laws and policies in the United States (10 minutes).

Reflect And Share:

  1. How did today’s material make you feel? What did you learn from today’s material? 
  2. What are ways you can create a more inclusive environment that does not center on homophobia or transphobia? Think of your school, workplace, home, religious group, etc. 


Start the conversation. Send the tweet. Share your story. Make the Facebook post. Sharing what you learn and experience with your family, friends, and co-workers is the first step toward allyship.

Join thousands in conversation by using hastag #EquityChallenge or #TakeTheEC21