Federal Advocacy

Legislative Priorities


We know that LGBT people face disparities in nearly every realm of life, such as mental health and substance use disparities, barriers in access to health insurance coverage and healthcare, and disproportionate victimization. Sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data are critical to accurately assessing the current problems that LGBT people experience and developing effective policies and programs to address them. However, many federal surveys don’t collect demographic data on sexual orientation, and even fewer collect demographic data on gender identity. The LGBT Data Inclusion Act would improve federal population surveys by requiring the collection of voluntary, self-disclosed SOGI information. The bill would:

  • Require any agency conducting a survey that collects demographic data to identify appropriate methods of obtaining SOGI data.
  • Require any survey that collects demographic data to include SOGI measures.
  • Require reports published on said demographic data to include information on SOGI data.

The LGBT Data Inclusion Act is sponsored by Representative Raul Grijalva.


The Mental Health in Schools Act will provide $200,000,000 in competitive grants of up to $1 million each. It expands the scope of the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Program by providing on-site licensed mental health professionals in schools across the country. Funding will be distributed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which will set guidelines and measure the outcomes of the funded programs.

  • Helping provide professional help for the 1 out of 5 youth who suffer from some form of mental illness
  • Addressing mental health problems when students are young, instead of waiting until they have drifted into drug use, crime, depression, or suicide
  • Keeping costs low, because mental health costs are very little compared to the costs placed on social services and the prison system when mental health is neglected
  • Saving lives, by funding school employed or community employed mental health professionals who help prevent suicide by identifying at-risk youth and counseling students before their problems spiral out of control

The Mental Health in Schools Act is sponsored by Representative Grace Napolitano


In relation to the same important topic addressed with the Stop Harming Our Kids Resolution of 2015, the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act is the first federal bill introduced with the intent to eliminate so-called “conversion therapy” in America. As expressed above, this falsely labeled form of “therapy” has been proven as ineffective and dangerous to those who undergo the trauma of this detrimental practice. The Chief Professional Officer of the American Counseling Association (ACA) has asserted official support of this piece of legislation, in accordance with the Association’s intended duty to advocate for proposed legislation that serves to protect the mental health of Americans. This bill would eliminate the practice of so-called “conversion therapy” by deeming it unlawful for any person to:

  • Enact “conversion therapy” upon an individual in exchange for monetary compensation
  • Advertise for the endowment of “conversion therapy” where such advertisement claims: to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity, to eliminate or minimize romantic or sexual attractions towards one’s own gender, or that these efforts do not possess significant risk to those who receive the “therapy.”

All facets of this bill shall be enforced through the applicable terms and provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act is sponsored by Senators Cory Booker and Patty Murray and Representative Ted W. Lieu.

EQUALITY ACT – H.R. 2282/ S. 1006

LGBT people commonly experience discrimination in accessing public accommodations, such as in restaurants, stores, or in transportation. They also experience discrimination when attempting to rent or buy a home. Recent studies have found that transgender people have half the ownership rate of non-transgender people, and about 1 in 5 transgender people experience homelessness. This bill seeks to ensure equality for the LGBT population by amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to:

  • Include sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation in public accommodations
  • Expand categories of public accommodations where people or groups cannot be segregated or discriminated against.
  • Revise public school desegregation standards to provide for the assignment of students without regards to sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Prohibits programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance from discriminating against persons based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity
  • Prohibits employers from discriminating against persons based on sexual orientation or gender identity

The Equality Act is sponsored by Senator Jeff Merkley and Representative David N. Cicilline.


Children entering foster care undergo required physical health assessments, but there are no assurances that each child receives a mental health screening. While some states already conduct an initial mental health assessment, their timeframes can vary from days to months, if at all. This bill mandates that our foster care system recognizes the importance of mental health for at-risk youth.

  • Calls for an initial mental health screening within 30 days for all children entering foster care
  • Requires a follow up comprehensive mental health examination if any mental health issues are identified in the initial screening

The Timely Mental Health for Foster Youth Act of 2017 is sponsored by Senator Roy Blunt and Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence


In 2010, Campus Pride released a study on LGBTQ students involved in higher education. The study found that gay and lesbian students are nearly twice as likely to experience harassment as straight students and seven times more likely to indicate that the harassment was based on their sexual orientation. Transgender students are almost twice as likely to experience harassment compared to cisgender (non-transgender) students and four times more likely to indicate their harassment was based on their gender identity than their cisgender peers. This bill will:

  • Mandate colleges and universities that receive federal aid to establish an anti-harassment policy that prohibits the harassment of enrolled students based upon their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion.
  • Require colleges to distribute their anti-harassment policy to all students and employees, including prospective students and employees, upon request.
  • Authorize a competitive grant program for institutions of higher education to initiate, expand, or improve programs to: prevent the harassment of students; provide counseling or redress services to students who have been harassed or accused of subjecting other students to harassment; and train students, faculty, or staff to prevent harassment or address harassment if it occurs.
  • Appropriate $50 million on an annual basis for this competitive grant program.

The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2017 is sponsored by Senator Patty Murray and Representative Mark Pocan


According to a 2015 U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) study, 58 percent of all American children had witnessed or been a victim of crime in the previous year. These types of adverse experiences – which can include abuse, neglect, or witnessing crime, parental conflict, mental illness, and substance abuse – are known as traumatic experiences, and they can lead to severe health and behavioral complications that can impact children throughout their lives. Young people who experience four or more traumatic events are three-times more at risk of heart disease or lung cancer, while those who experience six or more traumatic events are 30-times more likely to attempt suicide. For Native children, these health risks are especially pointed – nationwide, suicide is the second leading cause of death among Native young people ages 10-34, and 22 percent experience post-traumatic stress – the same rate as newly returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. This bill will:

  • Establish a Task Force to Identify Best Practices: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Department of Education, DOJ, and relevant tribal agency professionals would work to identify a set of best practices that improve capacity and coordination for the identification, referral, and support of children and families that have experienced trauma.
  • Disseminate Best Practices: Training tools establishing trauma-informed best practices would be expanded for major federal programs serving children who experience trauma.
  • Train Law Enforcement: Law enforcement information sharing, awareness of child trauma, and officers’ training on the impacts of trauma would be improved by a coordination center streamlining such efforts.
  • Improve the Understanding of Trauma: Research and data collection on the prevalence of trauma would be improved by directing the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct studies identifying both barriers and opportunities to improving trauma coordination, as well as ways boost service delivery, and information sharing.
  • Foster Community CoordinationNew tools would be created for coordinating bodies to identify needs, collect data, build skills, and leverage resources to build on pilot programs breaking down silos and creating flexibility to pool and boost access to resources among multiple agencies.

The Trauma-Informed Care for Children and Families Act of 2017 is sponsored by Senator Heidi Heitkamp and Representative Danny Davis


This bill will improve LGBT data collection efforts by:

  • Mandating the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take steps to improve the collection of sexual orientation and gender identity information in the National Violent Death Reporting System.
  • Authorizing $X million to the Centers for Disease Control to be competitively granted to states to train death investigators on how to collect sexual orientation and gender identity information for decedents.

The LGBT PRIDE Act is sponsored by Representative Sean Patrick Maloney.