Metro Weekly

Nyle DiMarco: We need the Equality Act, because LGBTQ people have “no absolute protection from the government”

As a deaf LGBTQ person, DiMarco is highlighting the importance of the Act as a member of two marginalized communities

Nyle DiMarco — Photo: Instagram

Actor and model Nyle DiMarco is the latest celebrity to come out in support of the Equality Act, a landmark LGBTQ rights bill that would implement federal protections against discrimination.

DiMarco filmed a video for the Human Rights Campaign’s Americans for the Equality Act campaign, which has already featured Sally Field, Jane Lynch, Karamo Brown, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Alexandra Billings, among other LGBTQ and allied celebrities.

In his video, DiMarco discusses the importance of fighting for equality, particularly as a member of two marginalized communities — the LGBTQ community and the deaf community.

DiMarco notes that he has been discriminated against, and it’s because there is “no absolute protection from the government.”

“With protection, we live our lives without worrying about the double impact of experiencing discrimination and/or hate crimes,” DiMarco signs in the video. “We know that the government will not protect us because there is no Equality Act. We are currently tiptoeing on American soil.”

In particular, DiMarco says that Americans shouldn’t forget people “living with multiple identities.”

“We must include them as well as recognize and highlight their other identities, and protect them at all costs,” he signs.

HRC President Chad Griffin called DiMarco a “powerful and passionate voice for social justice.”

“For countless people in the US and around the world, Nyle DiMarco is an inspiring role model and advocate for equality and inclusion,” Griffin said in a statement. “As a proud Deaf and LGBTQ actor and model, Nyle is also a powerful and passionate voice for social justice. We are grateful to Nyle for joining us in the fight for full federal equality and highlighting the urgent need for Congress to pass the Equality Act.”

The House of Representatives is expected to vote today, May 17, on the Equality Act, with every Democrat and at least three Republicans voicing their support for the bill.

The Equality Act would amend 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.

However, it is expected to stall in the Republican-controlled Senate, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell making no indications that it would even receive a floor vote.

In addition, should the Act be voted on in the Senate, there’s no guarantee it would match the sweeping protections of the House version of the bill.

A group of religious leaders and social conservatives are currently working on a “compromise” version of the Act, under the guise of bolstering protections for religious liberty.

However, civil rights organizations are worried that by bolstering the right of people to use religion to justify discrimination against LGBTQ people, the Equality Act could end up being so watered down that any protections are in name only.

And, should the Act somehow make it through the Senate unscathed, Donald Trump has already indicated that he won’t sign it, with a White House official saying the bill “in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights.”

HRC slammed that stance, saying they were “disgusted but not surprised” by Trump’s refusal to support the Act.

Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

Leave a Comment: