Fairness Project

about us: fairness project

We train our state partners on the latest tested and effective messaging to gain support for nondiscrimination protections and to defeat religious refusal policies that would negate civil rights.

The Challenge

Protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations has been a priority for the movement since the 1980s. And still, the end goal of prohibiting discrimination nationwide eludes us. Many states still need to update or introduce laws that protect LGBTQ people, and a federal law, like the Equality Act, is urgently needed.

Equality Federation’s Fairness Project is about finishing the job that was started more than 30 years ago — the job of ensuring that all LGBTQ people are protected from discrimination no matter where they live and work.

Our Approach

Advocates are working all across the country to advance statewide laws and local ordinances protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination. Through our Fairness Project, we strengthen those efforts, partnering with state-based organizations and grassroots leaders to develop winning public education, legislative, and political campaigns.

In two states, Pennsylvania and Ohio, our team worked on-the-ground to create plans for building support for passage of statewide nondiscrimination laws in one to three years. Because state-based organizations often don’t have the time or capacity to embark on a thorough planning process, the Federation team took the lead, meeting with hundreds of stakeholders in Pennsylvania and Ohio and developing a campaign plan that charts a course to victory. With robust campaigns now launched and moving ahead in both states, our team remains engaged to ensure progress is steady and on course.

Our Impact

  • The Fairness Project website offers the public a place to learn more about the need for comprehensive and inclusive nondiscrimination protections. 
  • Our Fairness Project team marshaled more than $1.5 million invested in state-based campaigns.
  • In Pennsylvania, we met with e than 120 community stakeholders and leaders — engaging Democrats and Republicans, small and large business owners, and faith leaders from a variety of traditions — in order to create a plan to build support for nondiscrimination.
  • In Ohio, we interviewed more than 100 people — from lobbyists and lawmakers to advocates and activists — to learn more about the political and cultural landscape.
  • In both Ohio and Pennsylvania, we recommended and secured funding for transgender-specific organizations to do work building transgender leaders, engaging activists, and organizing specifically with faith and business leaders.
  • In both states, we secured funding to analyze how the campaigns could be more inclusive of communities of color. These recommendations were built into the final campaign plans.
  • We convened state leaders to learn more about engaging the business community, including a private meeting with business leaders who have worked on LGBTQ issues within their corporations to offer their perspective and guidance.
  • In North Carolina, we recommended that funding from the State Equality Fund go to support Moral Freedom Summer, a program bringing together young organizers to work in key counties across the state in a massive effort to educate, mobilize, and register voters. Led by the NC NAACP, a coalition of LGBTQ and other social justice groups are assisting with training and organizing across the state, ensuring that LGBTQ issues have greater visibility within Moral Freedom Summer and that the LGBTQ community learns more about critical issues like voter suppression and immigration reform.
  • We’re a partner in the Movement Advancement Project’s research on effective messaging for conflicted audiences. Our team is working to ensure that the findings and recommendations are field tested and understood by leaders working on the ground. We keep our membership apprised to new messaging and strategies to win nondiscrimination protections.

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