In 2018, our 43 state-based member organizations made a lot of headway despite the tough political struggles at the national level. Equality Federation is a strategic partner to our member organizations, making sure that the whole movement for LGBTQ equality and justice is linked, from one end of the country to the other. We are only as strong as our collective efforts to address discrimination in each state and build power through sharing lessons from our victories and learning from our losses.
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Using our sophisticated voter outreach tools and coaching, quality messaging guidance, and organizational and leadership development support, Equality Federation’s member organizations won bans on conversion therapy in 5 new states (Delaware, Hawai’i, Maryland, New Hampshire, Washington), bringing the conversion therapy ban total to fifteen. Massachusetts and Anchorage, Alaska, saved transgender nondiscrimination protections at the ballot. And, state leaders succeeded in codifying nondiscrimination protections all across the nation: New Hampshire passed a non-discrimination law covering gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations; Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and Michigan’s Civil Rights Commission issued statements to interpret existing sex protections to include both sexual orientation and gender identity, to name a few.
Our 2018 Leadership Conference in New Orleans was our biggest ever and featured a diverse array of workshops, community events and plenary speakers. We again held our popular regional leadership summits around the country, in Chicago, Central Massachusetts and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Also in 2018, we convened leaders from intersectional organizations in Ohio, Kentucky, and Louisiana to address discriminatory HIV laws.
Our movement continues to grow and strengthen. Thanks to a year of extensive hands-on work to build a new, staffed member organization through our Emerging States Program, we recently celebrated the launch of OutNebraska. We expect to have more state-based organizations joining the Fed family in the next year!
The achievements of our members in 2018 are especially impressive as they were accomplished alongside robust electoral efforts in the midterm elections. From Equality Florida to Equality Ohio to Georgia Equality to Equality California—so many leaders helped usher in the historic wave of women, people of color, and LGBTQ elected officials. I am hopeful about all we’re going to accomplish in 2019 as we head toward the 2020 election season.
Thank you for your ongoing support,