Actress Jane Lynch has become the latest high-profile person to release a video urging Congress to pass the Equality Act, as part of the ongoing “Americans for the Equality Act” series.
Filmed by award-winning directors Dustin Lance Black and Paris Barclay, the series is part of a public awareness campaign launched by the Human Rights Campaign to explain the benefits of the LGBTQ rights measure and urge Americans to apply pressure to their elected representatives to ensure it passes.
The series, modeled after a similar campaign that advocated for marriage equality prior to the 2012 election, previously released videos featuring Academy Award-winning actress Sally Field and her son Sam Greisman, transgender singer and songwriter Shea Diamond, transgender rights advocate Blossom Brown, actress Justina Machado, actress Jamie Lee Curtis, actress and University of California professor Alexandra Billings, writer and producer Gloria Calderon Kellet, actress Marcia Gay Harden, Queer Eye‘s Karamo Brown, and actors Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita.
Black, in addition to directing the series, filmed his own video advocating for the act as well.
In her video, Lynch recounts her coming out process and speaks about how important it is to pass the Equality Act to ensure future generations don’t have to fear discrimination for living authentically as themselves.
“We live in a democracy, and we were founded on the notion that every man has the right to pursue happiness. And I know, growing up, that’s why it was my deep, dark secret, being gay, is because I knew that I probably wouldn’t get the support I was enjoying pretending to be straight,” Lynch says.
“Right now, kids all over the country are living with the fear of their identification, knowing that, if it were exposed, they could be denied a job, they could be denied housing, they could be fired, they could lose their children,” she adds. “And I just don’t want kids feeling like they have to hide who they are, who they were born as. And that’s why we need to pass the Equality Act right now.”
Currently, about half of all LGBTQ Americans live in one of 30 states without statewide legal nondiscrimination protections.
The Equality Act would amend the federal civil rights laws to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally-funded programs and jury service.
The “Americans for the Equality Act” series is planning to release additional videos in the coming weeks featuring twin actors Charlie and Max Carver, director Paris Barclay and his husband, Christopher, and model, actor, and deaf activist Nyle DiMarco.
The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Equality Act on Friday, May 17.
Advocates will continue lobbying on behalf of the bill when it hits the U.S. Senate, even though it is unlikely that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will allow a vote on it.
Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, thanked Lynch for taking part in the campaign.
“Jane Lynch is a trailblazing actress whose visibility, authenticity, and advocacy is giving hope to millions,” Griffin said in a statement. “Jane is a committed champion for our community who uses her global platform to educate, advocate, and to inspire us to take action. … It’s past time for Congress to take action and pass legislation providing clear, comprehensive nationwide non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans.”
Watch Lynch’s video below: