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HRC launches Reality Flag campaign to raise Equality Act awareness

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Photo courtesy of HRC
Photo courtesy of HRC

The Human Rights Campaign launched its "Reality Flag" campaign on Feb. 23, to bring awareness and support to basic freedoms for LGBTQ+ Americans missing in 29 states.

"The Reality Flag campaign is designed to point out the inequalities LGBTQ+ individuals face every day — in our own voice," said Joni Madison, interim HRC president. "From housing and educational discrimination to denial of government and health services, LGBTQ+ people are confronted by hurdles to simply exist every day."

"Something is seriously wrong when state legislatures around the country are attacking LGBTQ+ rights for political purposes, forcing families to pack up their homes and move to another state so their children can have equal rights and legal protections," said Madison. "This needs to change. The Reality Flag not only calls out the 29 states where basic freedoms are still missing for millions of people but stands as a symbol of hope that communities can rally behind to enact meaningful change."

According to the HRC, about two-thirds of LGBTQ+ people have reported experiencing discrimination.

Millions of LGBTQ+ people in the United States are at risk of being evicted from homes, kicked out of businesses that are open to the public, surcharged unnecessarily for goods and services, and in many states, denied healthcare, home loans, taxis or car sharing, and government services.

The federal Equality Act is federal legislation that would ensure comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people in the United States across key areas of life, including housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service. It was passed by the House of Representatives in February of 2021. Its fate now lies with the Senate.

What is the Reality Flag?
The Reality Flag is an altered version of the American flag, with 29 of the stars removed, which represents each state that lacks comprehensive protections for LGBTQ+ people.

The Human Rights Campaign plans to unveil an 85-foot banner featuring the Reality Flag, which will be placed across the front of the HRC's headquarters in Washington, DC — six blocks from the White House.

What to expect from the Reality Flag campaign
The Reality Flag campaign will feature content across traditional and social media platforms, including a series of video advertisements created by the Emmy Award—winning director, producer, and creator of Amazon's Transparent, Joey Soloway.

Soloway's videos will highlight real stories and lived experiences of LGBTQ+ people who have been impacted by discrimination. The vignettes will inspire and move audiences, while showing an urgent need for passing the Equality Act.

"When I was approached about partnering with HRC on this campaign, I jumped at the opportunity and immediately signed on," said Soloway, "not only because of the important opportunity to help lift up stories and amplify the voices of LGBTQ+ people across the country but because I believe this campaign has the potential to fundamentally shift the conversation around equality in a way that brings more people together than ever before, to ensure we are all equally protected and represented under the law.

"Just meeting and working with the amazing LGBTQ+ people who shared their stories of discrimination in front of the camera meant so much to so many of us behind the camera — especially since a majority in our production crew identify as LGBTQ+ and could relate to the experiences of the brave storytellers we worked with. It's an honor to be able to do this work, and to be a part of this important campaign."

Some of the stories Soloway will introduce through the Reality Flag campaign are:

  • Staci J, a proud Lesbian Navy veteran who was refused medical treatment by a Minnesota doctor because of her sexual orientation.
  • Queen, a Transgender woman, who experienced discrimination at the hands of her landlord in North Carolina. When Queen called him for a repair, he spotted a Transgender flag inside her home. He went on to berate Queen and shortly thereafter asked her to move out.

    Soloway's video vignettes will be highlighted through an advertising campaign that will include partnerships with 20 national media platforms, including TV, print, display, audio, social, search, and video, among others. HRC anticipates over 30 million impressions during the launch.

    For more information, visit https://www.hrc.org/campaigns/equality-act.