Advance Full Equality
for LGBT People

In 2000, the Fund began working to advance equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people so they can thrive and live life with dignity and hope. Over the last two decades, our grantee partners have delivered tremendous gains for the LGBT community and advanced our nation’s core values. But we still have a long way to go.

In January 2022—after 21 years and more than $105 million in grants—we announced that we will be winding down our investments in LGBT Equality over the next two years. The following sections describe our more recent strategies and the work still ahead.

The Work So Far

Freedom and equality are not new values.
They define our collective aspirations as a nation.

Today, solid majorities of Americans support laws and policies aimed at reducing discrimination against LGBT people. People across the country have come to understand that the strength and the success of our communities and our economy depend on the diverse talents and skills of all people. We’re all better off when everyone has a chance to thrive.

But the fact is, it’s still legal in most states to deny people housing or refuse to serve them in a restaurant or other business—simply because they are gay or transgender.

Only 23 States Protect Gay People from Discrimination

22 States and DC

Prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

1 State

Prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation only

27 States

Don’t prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity

Map of U.S. states that deny equal civil rights protection to LGBT people

The Work Ahead

In June 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gay and transgender people are protected from employment discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Outside of employment, however, more than half of LGBT people still lack basic civil rights protections because they live in a state without them. In other words, it is still legal in most states to deny people housing, refuse to serve them in a restaurant or other business, or allow taxpayer-funded programs to
turn away people simply because they are gay or transgender.

It’s time to end this unfair patchwork and extend equal protections from coast to coast.

Federal Funding

Federally funded programs are still allowed to discriminate against LGBT people.

Public Accommodations

LGBT Americans experience discrimination in public accommodations, such as restaurants, motels, retail stores, and doctors’ offices.


Studies show that an array of stigma and discrimination against LGBT people undermines their ability to have stable, safe, and affordable housing.

How We’ll Get There

Secure Equal Civil Protections

We’ve been standing up for the principle that discrimination against LGBT people is profoundly harmful, morally wrong, and it is long past time for the federal government to respond. To this end, we have supported:

  • Freedom for All Americans Education Fund

  • State-based Equality Organizations

  • National Organizations

  • Research and Communications

The United States is viewed around the world as a land of opportunity and freedom—a place where people who work hard, follow the law, and meet their responsibilities have a chance to get ahead and make a positive difference. We’re closer to making this vision a reality for LGBT Americans—and for everyone—but the work continues.

All men are created equal. No matter how hard they try, they can never erase those words. That is what America is about.

Harvey Milk