Bill Title: Commission on LGBTQ Affairs – Established
Bill Number(s): HB0706
Bill Sponsor(s): Delegate Lily Qi (D-15, Montgomery County)
Legislative History: Referral to Health and Government Operations Committee
What will this bill do?
The bill will create a 15 member State Commission on LGBTQ affairs to assess the challenges facing LGBTQ Communities in Maryland. It is responsible for collecting data across State agencies on the implementation of LGBTQ-inclusive policies and complaints alleging discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It will study and establish best practices for inclusion of LGBTQ individuals and communities and work with local governments to pass laws that are inclusive of LGBTQ individuals. Finally, it will publish an annual report that includes recommendations on policies for LGBTQ adults and youth that work to end discriminatory practices in the State.
Why is this important?
In 2016, FreeState Justice conducted a Needs Assessment of LGBTQ Marylanders, surveying and conducting listening sessions with over 500 LGBTQ Marylanders to better understand the barriers they continue to face in accessing basic services. We learned that street harassment, affordable and LGBTQ affirming healthcare, inclusive education, reliable and non-discriminatory employment and domestic violence and sexual assault continue to be significant challenges and concerns of the community.As demonstrated by the Needs Assessment, fear and exclusion continue to prevent LGBTQ Marylanders and their families from leading safe and healthy lives with full access to dignity and rights.
By focusing on LGBTQ rights as a central priority, the LGBTQ Commission will be able to hold state institutions accountable to Maryland’s LGBTQ citizens. Its dedicated knowledge production and policy functions will advance the rights and well being of LGBTQ residents.