For Immediate Release
Alexis Squire, Equal Rights Center, 202-370-3209


WASHINGTON – March 23, 2016, the Equal Rights Center (ERC), together with leading LGBT advocates, hosted a webinar to discuss issues surrounding gender identity discrimination in public accommodations.

LGBT panelists included Laura E. Durso, Director of LGBT Progress at the Center for American Progress (CAP); Kylar W. Broadus, Associate Professor of business law at Lincoln University; and Harper Jean Tobin, Director of Policy of the National Center for Transgender Equality. The webinar was moderated by Kristen Barry, Public Accommodations Manager of the Equal Rights Center (ERC).

The webinar’s focus derived from a forthcoming ERC report titled “Room for Change.” The report identifies potential differential treatment between cisgender women and transgender women, as well as women of color and trans women of color. Among the key findings, 75 percent of trans women experienced adverse differential treatment, and 40 percent of trans women experienced negative interactions including either verbal abuse, disrespect, being ignored, inappropriate comments, being followed by security or threats or acts of violence.

During Durso’s presentation, she referenced an earlier ERC and CAP study, “Clearly, there is still a lot that needs to be done in order to allow trans people to live without discrimination,” she said.

Broadus gave context to the factor of race, adding that, “If you’re a person of color and gender non-conforming, you’re subjected to heightened suspicion and surveillance in ordinary civic life.” He highlighted another key finding from the study where in districts without public accommodation protections for trans people, trans women of color faced higher rates of verbal harassment and other forms of negative interactions than their white peers. Similarly, for districts with public accommodation protections for trans people, white trans women experienced significantly less negative interactions (19 percent) than their trans women of color counterparts (81 percent.)

Tobin shifted gears to discuss the advocacy focus of public accommodations in the gender identity space. Federal law prohibits sex discrimination in education, jobs, housing and health care but does not cover public accommodations.

“I think the Room for Change report is a good look at the discrimination that has happened to trans people in their lives,” Tobin concluded.

For more information on these topics, check out the official annotated slides for the webinar and soon-to-be-released Room for Change report.


About the Equal Rights Center (
Originally formed in 1983, the Equal Rights Center (ERC) is a national non-profit civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C. With members located in every state and the District of Columbia, the ERC works nationally to promote equal opportunity in housing, employment, disability rights, immigrant rights, and access to public accommodations and government services for all protected classes under federal, state, and local laws.

About Laura E. Durso, Director of LGBT Progress, Center of American Progress:

Laura E. Durso is Senior Director of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at American Progress. Using public health and intersectional frameworks, she focuses on the health and well-being of LGBT communities, data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity, and improving the social and economic status of LGBT people through public policy. Prior to joining American Progress, Durso was a public policy fellow at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, where she conducted research on the LGBT community, including LGBT homeless and at-risk youth, poor and low-income LGBT people, and the business impact of LGBT-supportive policies.

About Kylar Broadus, Associate Professor of Business Law, Lincoln University:

Kylar Broadus is an associate professor of business law at Lincoln University. Broadus also serves on the William’s Institute Faculty Advisory Counsel and is part of the GenIUSS Group, a project that focuses on transgender data collection issues. Previously, Broadus served as the Executive Director for the Trans People of Color Coalition, chair to the board of directors of the National Black Justice Coalition and in 2012, won the Susan J. Hyde Activism Award for Longevity in the Movement at the Task Force’s National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change.

About Harper Jean Tobin, Director of Policy, National Center for Transgender Equality:

As Director of Policy, Harper Jean Tobin coordinates all aspects of advocacy on federal administrative policies and regulations for NCTE and works to provide information for the public about laws and policies that affect transgender people. She also serves on the board of HIPS, an organization that promotes rights, health and safety for those involved in sex work, sex trade, or drug use in the DC area. Previously, Tobin worked at the National Senior Citizens Law Center’s Federal Rights Project. Her writing on transgender equality and other issues has appeared in numerous publications.

ERC Logo

Start typing and press Enter to search