California's key role in protecting and advancing LGBTQ+ rights

As some states make attempts to dismantle protections, California has been at the forefront of passing legislation safeguarding LGBTQ+ rights.

"People look up to us, and there's a responsibility that we have as California legislators and policymakers to uphold this long tradition of not being afraid to be the first and to fight for our most vulnerable Californians, which includes our LGBTQ+ community," said California's Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara.

The U.S. Senate has the opportunity to pass legislation with much significance for LGBTQ+ Americans with the Equality Act.

Decades in the making, the Equality Act aims to give new protections to LGBTQ+ Americans. The bill is meant to stop discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.

"Personally, to me, this act is very important because I was fired. I was terminated from employment because of being trans," said Sharon-Franklin Brown, board president of Christopher Street West.

The Equality Act would update federal laws - everything from housing and education to public accommodations and employment.

The House passed the Equality Act earlier this year. Still, its fate remains uncertain as it goes to the Senate for consideration.

"It's taken a long time and our fight for equality is really far from over," Lara said.

"If that were to pass, it sends that clear message that our lives matter, that my life matters," Brown said.

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