Human Rights Campaign to have larger presence in Nebraska

Posted By: Jenn Hatcher
jhatcher@klkntv.com

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights organization, announced that it will have a continuously staffed presence in Nebraska to build on the tremendous momentum for equality in the Cornhusker State. Working closely and collaboratively with other local and state-based advocacy groups, HRC Nebraska will work to pass enduring legal protections for LGBT people in housing, employment and public accommodations; work to improve the lived experience of LGBT people in workplaces and faith communities; work to prevent harassment and violence against LGBT people; reduce the stigma of HIV/AIDS; and support LGBT youth in schools. This work could not come at a more critical time. A recent HRC survey of LGBT Nebraskans found that there is both a great need and appetite for this work.

“Now is the moment to seize and capitalize on the grand opportunity to recognize the dignity and worth of LGBT Nebraskans,” said Brad Clark, HRC Director of Programmatic Development. “We will work with partner organizations across the state to change hearts and minds to advance LGBT equality.”

HRC is no stranger to Nebraska. With more than 7,000 members and supporters throughout the state, HRC was a primary funder of the 2012 effort to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance in Omaha and provided key technical support in Lincoln. Similarly, HRC was instrumental to the effort earlier this year to pass a statewide employment nondiscrimination law. The impact of the HRC Foundation’s programs on the Cornhusker State is clear and impactful: companies participate in our groundbreaking Corporate Equality Index; cities are rated in the Municipal Equality Index; and Nebraska hospitals have more inclusive policies in place because of our Healthcare Equality Index.

“We look forward to working with HRC to advance LGBT equality across our state,” said State Senator Danielle Conrad.  “Working together I know we can do more to advance Nebraska values like strong families, workplaces that are free of discrimination and educational and economic opportunity for all citizens.”

This work couldn’t come at a more important time. Earlier this year, HRC commissioned a survey of LGBT people in the state.  The assessment shows LGBT people are contributing members of their communities, but face daunting amounts of discrimination. Key findings from the survey show 57 percent of respondents have called the state home for more than 20 years, more than half are in committed relationships, and 59 percent volunteer in their respective communities.

However, the survey also found 41 percent have experienced harassment at work, more than one in five have experienced employment discrimination and one-third of LGBT respondents in rural areas have experienced harassment in school on a weekly basis. The survey also discovered 22 percent of respondents have experienced harassment at their place of worship and 57 percent have experienced harassment on the street.

“While it’s clear that we’re making tremendous progress every day, it’s also clear there is work to do to achieve full equality for all of Nebraska’s citizens,” said Clark. “The survey results are evidence that LGBT Nebraskans face a significant number of obstacles in their daily lives.”

HRC Nebraska will be able to rely on the full resources of the Human Right Campaign — from religion and faith to legislative advocacy to public education. Programming elements from HRC Foundation’s Children, Youth & Families; Health and Aging; Youth and Campus Engagement; and Workplace Equality programs will also be used to advance equality.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality. HRC Nebraska works to expand LGBT equality throughout the state and is generously supported by the HRC Foundation.