Trevor Advocacy

Federal Legislative Priorities

LGBT DATA INCLUSION ACT – H.R. 3273/S. 1570

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 and Sen. Tammy Baldwin.


MENTAL HEALTH IN SCHOOLS ACT – H.R. 2913/S. 1370

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 and Senator Al Franken.


THERAPEUTIC FRAUD PREVENTION ACT OF 2017 – H.R. 2119/S. 928

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.


TIMELY MENTAL HEALTH FOR FOSTER YOUTH ACT – H.R. 1069/S. 439

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


TYLER CLEMENTI HIGHER EDUCATION ANTI-HARASSMENT ACT OF 2017 – H.R. 2151/ S. 954

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


TRAUMA-INFORMED CARE FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES ACT OF 2017 – H.R. 1757/ S. 774

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: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


LGBT PRIDE Act/TO PROVIDE A REQUIREMENT TO IMPROVE DATA COLLECTION EFFORTS – H.R. 2895

As a result of widespread discrimination, LGBT people are at a disproportionate risk for violent death. Currently, most states do not adequately record the sexual orientation and gender identity of individuals who experience a violent death. Data collection is crucial to identify trends and disparities in violent deaths by sexual orientation and gender identity, and to distribute resources appropriately to address these concerns and reduce the risk of violent death. 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 $25 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.


SAFE SCHOOLS IMPROVEMENT ACT – H.R. 1957

Students in America’s schools are often targeted for bullying and harassment due to their actual or perceived gender identity and/or sexual orientation. Bullying and harassment contributes to high school dropouts and absenteeism, negatively impacts academic performance, and may severely impact the physical and psychological health of students. Research has shown that in schools with enumerated anti-bullying and harassment policies, there are higher levels of reporting and teacher intervention, reducing the number of bullying incidents and increasing the well-being of students. The Safe Schools Improvement Act will reduce and prevent the bullying of students by:

  • Requiring local educational agencies (LEAs) to establish policies that explicitly prevents and prohibits conduct such as bullying and harassment that impacts students’ ability to participate in school programs or otherwise creates a hostile environment that adversely affects students’ education
  • Mandates students, parents, and educational professionals to be annually notified of the prohibited conduct, and provide parents and students with grievance procedures related to bullying conduct
  • Releasing to the public annual data on the incidence and frequency of bullying and harassment conduct at the individual school and LEA levels
  • Collecting state data through The National Center for Education Statistics on bullying and harassment and conducting an independent biennial Department of Education evaluation of programs and policies to combat bullying and harassment in schools

The Safe Schools Improvement Act is sponsored by Representative Linda Sanchez.


EVERY CHILD DESERVES A FAMILY ACT – H.R. 2640/S. 1303

LGBT youth are at a disproportionate risk for homelessness, and approximately 60 percent of homeless LGBT youth were previously in the foster care system. Many LGBT youth become homeless after experiencing harassment, violence, and discrimination in the foster care system, increasing their risk of poverty, incarceration, and other experiences leading to poor health outcomes. Currently, there is a shortage of qualified individuals willing to foster or adopt a child. The Every Child Deserves a Family Act will open more homes to foster children and decrease the time children of all gender identities and sexual orientations wait to find a permanent, loving, and accepting family by:

  • Prohibiting discrimination in adoption or foster care placements based on the sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status of any prospective adoptive or foster parent, or the sexual orientation or gender identity of the child involved for any entity receiving Federal assistance, or contracts with an entity receiving Federal assistance
  • Providing technical assistance through the Department of Health and Human Services to relevant entities to identify laws and procedures inconsistent with this Act, and provide guidance in expanding inclusive recruitment efforts
  • Requiring the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study to determine whether states have complied with this Act, and report findings to congress who may take additional enforcement actions

The Every Child Deserves a Family Act is sponsored by Representative John Lewis and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.


STOP CHILD ABUSE IN RESIDENTIAL PROGRAMS FOR TEENS ACT – H.R. 3024

LGBT youth in America are often placed in unregulated residential treatment facilities that market to desperate parents who deem their child’s sexual orientation or gender identity as unacceptable. Because of a lack of federal oversight and lack of unified regulations among states regarding licensing and regulations of residential facilities, LGBT youth are put at greater risk. The GAO reported that in just one year (2005), 1,619 program employees in 34 states were involved in incidents of abuse, including substantiated accounts of starvation, excessive use of physical restraints and isolation, severe verbal abuse and intimidation, and medical malpractice. Survivors of Institutional Abuse (SIA) reported 300 deaths on their In Memorial page, deaths linked to starvation, medical malpractice, beatings and suicide. This legislation would require residential treatment programs to enforce a set of minimum health and safety standards, specifically prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ youth and young people with mental illness. This legislation would:

  • Prohibit all programs from withholding food, water or shelter from a child, putting a child in seclusion, and all other forms of physical and mental abuse
  • Require licensed medical staff on hand at all times in case of an emergency and require all staff members to be properly trained in recognizing and responding to signs of child abuse and neglect, and mental health crises
  • Allow youth to stay in contact with their parents so that they know their children are safe, and provide uninhibited access to a child abuse reporting hotline
  • Publicly disclose any past record of child abuse and their state licensing status so families can make informed decisions about where to send their children
  • Prohibit programs from using anything other than safe and evidence-based treatment — meaning that any form of junk science such as conversion therapy or electric shock would be banned in these programs

The Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act is sponsored by Representative Adam Schiff and Representative George Miller.


MENTAL HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT ACCESSIBILITY ACT OF 2017 – H.R. 1253

As a result of LGBTQ+ discrimination, lack of a strong support system, and stigma, LGBTQ+ people have at a higher risk of experiencing mental health conditions. (NAMI). Being in a hostile and unsupportive environment raises the risk for self-harm, depression, and thoughts of suicide. NAMI has also reported that the LGBTQ+ community has a 20-30% of LGBTQ+ people abusing substances in comparison to 9% of the general population.  LGBTQ+ youth are disproportionately impacted by mental health conditions, making access to mental health services vital. SAMHSA has identified that there are mental health professional disparities in every state. Therefore, mental health service providers need aid in having enough staff and resources to adequately serve their communities. This legislation would provide more assistance to mental health services by:

  • Allowing the US Department of Health and Human Services to make loans and loan guarantees to physiatrist and substance abuse treatment facilities for the purpose of construction and renovation, as well as the ability to refinance those loans
  • Establishing a Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Trust Fund that create funds to use for block grants for community mental health services

The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Accessibility Act of 2017 is sponsored by Representative Derek Kilmer.


CHIP MENTAL HEALTH PARITY ACT – H.R. 3192

LGBTQ+ youth are coming out at earlier ages than before the previous years. Coming out is a very stressful process for many people for fear of unsupportive families and disownment. LGBTQ+ youth also fear that coming out could warrant bullying and mistreatment in their schools and social environment. The trauma these youths have to struggle with can pave path to mental health conditions and suicide. The Center for Disease Control reports that suicide is the third leading cause of death for children ages 10-14 and the second leading cause of death for children ages 15-24 (2015). The Children’s Health Insurance Program Mental Health Parity Act would allow children to have access to mental health services by expanding program services. This legislation would:

  • Add mental health services, substance use services, and behavioral health treatment services as part of basic care coverage for children’s health insurance.
  • Ensure access to care by adding children mental health services as a requirement for state insurance plans

The CHIP Mental Health Parity Act is sponsored by Representative Joseph Kennedy III.


DO NO HARM ACT – H.R. 3222

In most recent years, there have been a series of legal cases that have been brought up regarding refusal of service based on faith and belief. Unfortunately, with the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) a couple of years back, some people have used religious freedom as a legal backing for refusal of service. LGBTQ+ people have had a particularly difficult time with wedding services, employment discrimination, family planning services, etc. The purpose of the Do Not Harm Act is to prohibit discrimination and harm that could be done through RFRA. This legislation would:

  • Amend RFRA to exempt certain provisions in the legislation that have been used in the past to dodge federal protections
  • Prohibit the evasion of laws that protect children from abuse, labor, and exploitation based on religious beliefs
  • Prohibit the denial of healthcare to people and healthcare services that a provider bases on their personal religious beliefs
  • Prohibit overriding employment nondiscrimination laws and policies that have been enacted through public and/or private authorities based on religious beliefs
  • Prohibit the refusal of government-funded services that have been sealed through a contract based on religious beliefs
  • Prohibit noncompliance of employment responsibilities by governmental employees based on religious beliefs.
  • Prohibit the denial of public goods, services, facility, and accommodations based on religious beliefs

The Do Not Harm Act is sponsored by Representative Joseph Kennedy III.


MEDICAID COVERAGE FOR ADDICTION RECOVERY EXPANSION ACT – S. 1169/H.R. 2687

LGBTQ+ youth are at a higher risk for substance abuse and are more likely to be users of illicit drugs than their heterosexual counterparts. SAMSHA reported that around 54.0% of sexual minority young adults used illicit drugs in the past year. Sexual minorities aged 18 to 25 are also more likely to be users of cocaine, LSD, and inhalants. Additionally, sexual minorities have been reported to experience more substance abuse disorders from 2014-2015, relating to alcohol and illicit drug use. It has been reported that LGBTQ+ people need more substance abuse treatments and therefore need more access and resource to get on the path to recovery. The Medicaid Coverage for Addition and Recovery Expansion Act serves to expand substance abuse services under Medicaid. This legislation:

  • Give the states the option to provide inpatient care for the treatment of substance abuse disorders to people age 21-65
  • Alter the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) Exclusion that limits Medicaid coverage for substance abuse treatment to facilitates with 15 beds or less. The alteration would expand coverage for large substance abuse facilities, paying for up to 40 beds.
  • Allows substance abuse patients who are receiving treatment in said facilities to maintain coverage for other medical services needed.
  • Establishes a new grant program that funds substance abuse disorder treatment facilities that provide treatment to at-risk youth under 21 years old. The grant program makes sure not less than 15% of the funding is granted to treatment in rural communities.

The Medicaid Coverage for Addiction Recovery Expansion Act is sponsored by Senator Richard J. Durbin and Rep. Bill Foster.


Real Education for Healthy Youth Act – S. 1653/H.R. 3602

Sex education in schools has historically only focused on information pertaining to heterosexual students. As a result, LGBTQ youth have not been provided information on sexual health that is relevant to them. The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act would ensure that federal funding is allocated to comprehensive sexual health education programs that provide young people, including LGBTQ youth with the skills and information they need to make informed, responsible, and healthy decisions. This legislation sets forth a vision for comprehensive sexual health education programs in the United States. This legislation:

  • Provides young people with comprehensive sex education programs that:
  • Promotes and upholds the rights of young people to information in order to make healthy decisions about their sexual health
  • Provides the information and skills all young people need to make informed, responsible, and healthy decisions in order to become sexually healthy adults and have healthy relationships
  • Provides information about the prevention of unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, dating violence, sexual assault, bullying, and harassment
  • Provides resources and information on topics ranging from gender stereotyping and gender roles and stigma and socio-cultural influences surrounding sex and sexuality
  • Ensures that sex education programs are culturally appropriate and inclusive of youth with varying gender identities, gender expressions, and sexual orientations

The Real Education for Healthy Act is sponsored by Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Barbara Lee.


Cady Housh and Jason Flatt Teen Suicide Prevention Act – H.R. 3552

Since 2010, suicide has been the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10–24 with more than 100 young people lost each week. According to the 2013 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Behaviors Survey, 17 percent of high school students reported seriously considering suicide during the last year of high school and about 8 percent of high school students attempt suicide during that period. Eighty percent of students show warning signs before attempting suicide. This legislation:

  • Amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to require that teachers, principals, counselors, and other school leaders receive youth suicide awareness and prevention training.

The Cady Housh and Jason Flatt Teen Suicide Prevention Act is sponsored by Rep. Emanual Cleaver.