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LGBTQ & Violence Against Women Act

By Charlotte Robinson, March 26, 2021

When the House of Representatives passed an historic amendment to the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021 (VAWA) last week this established a first-ever grant program to support LGBTQ survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault & stalking with an emphasis on programs providing support to transgender women who are also Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). The grant program was established through an amendment to the law that was sponsored by Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) & Congresswoman Marie Newman (IL-03). Ellen LaPointe, President & CEO of Fenway Health stated, “Fenway Health is grateful for the leadership shown by Congresswomen Pressley & Newman in championing this bill. Gender-based violence, domestic & intimate partner violence in the LGBTQIA+ community & maltreatment of transgender women, especially BIPOC women, by law enforcement & or emergency shelter programs are significant problems that require racially equitable & innovative prevention programming from community-based organizations.” VAWA was first enacted in 1994. When it was reauthorized in 2013 new language was added to the law to explicitly include people with gay & lesbian partners. The bill passed by the House last week explicitly includes, for the first time, transgender & gender diverse people. Lauren Kourabas, Program Director of Fenway Health’s Violence Recovery Program concluded, “There were more reported murders of transgender people in 2020 than in any previous year. Most of those victims were BIPOC women. Sadly, another 11 transgender women have already lost their lives to violence in 2021. This is an urgent crisis requiring immediate & on-going intervention.” The Senate must now act swiftly & pass this legislation to help protect all people in the United States from gender-based violence. For More Info…

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