May 3, 2017
Contact: Amy Lebowitz, Camino PR / 212-255-2575

NEW YORK — On Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) reintroduced The Equality Act with over 240 cosponsors. The federal legislation would extend LGBTQ people the same level of protection from discrimination guaranteed to other groups under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) Interim Executive Director Sung Yeon Choimorrow issued the following statement in response:
“The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum strongly supports the reintroduction of The Equality Act. Discrimination against the LGBTQ community continues to hinder Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women, transgender and gender non-conforming people from defining and making decisions about their bodies, families and communities. Nearly 325,000 AAPI adults identify as LGBT — and those members of our community experience discrimination in employment, pay equity, health care, immigration, housing and others areas key to social justice and reproductive freedom.

“In one survey by the National LGBTQ Task Force, 98 percent of LGBT AAPI respondents reported some form of discrimination during their lifetime — and 75 percent reported experiencing discrimination or harassment based on their sexual identity. Additionally, AAPI transgender people experience unique barriers. Research by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), National LGBTQ Task Force and the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) revealed that AAPI transgender respondents reported unemployment rates at twice the national average, reported high rates of poverty and experienced alarming rates of harassment and assault in school and workplaces.
“Our communities will never achieve racial and gender equity while members of our community continue to experience discrimination and oppression based on their gender and sexual identities. When we fail to protect those most vulnerable, our whole movement suffers. NAPAWF applauds this legislative effort to address discrimination and continues to advocate for social and political transformation that advances each member of our community toward a more just and caring society.”


The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF): NAPAWF is the only multi-issue, progressive, community organizing and policy advocacy organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander women and girls in the U.S. NAPAWF’s mission is to build a movement to advance social justice and human rights for Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls.