In 2016, Equality California Institute, in partnership with the Transgender Law Center, launched and led the nation’s most ambitious campaign to educate the public about transgender Californians and the challenges they face. Transform California aimed to accomplish three main objectives: to educate California the public about transgender people; develop relationships, leaders and spokespeople within the transgender community; and research the most effective messaging about transgender people.
In 2016, Equality California Institute, supported by The California Endowment, successfully expanded its groundbreaking program to reduce LGBTQ health inequalities. Through Health Happens with Equality, we have trained 2,000 health-care providers at more than 90 clinics and healthcare organizations about the needs of LGBTQ and undocumented people, established health action teams with partner LGBTQ, healthcare and immigration organizations from across the state focused on meeting the unique healthcare needs of each community, and convened community town halls in cities across the state focused on LGBTQ healthcare and navigating the changing landscape of access to care under the Trump administration.
Together with the advisory committee and the law firm of Latham & Watkins LLP, we are developing a Safe and Supportive School Equality Index, a metric to measure school districts’ efforts to prevent bullying and promote LGBTQ acceptance and programs that support LGBTQ students. The metric evaluating each school district will be released publicly to help members of the LGBTQ community and allies to advocate for better school programs supporting at-risk LGBTQ students. The program will also provide training and support for teachers and staff to recognize at-risk LGBTQ students and to prevent bullying.
Equality California is committed to ending stigma against people living with HIV by educating legislators and mobilizing the LGBTQ community, and those who are disproportionately impacted by HIV. A key priority to replace fear-based, stigmatizing laws that criminalize HIV-status with evidence-based, nondiscriminatory laws that protect public health. Equality California is one of the founding members of Californians for HIV Criminalization Reform, a broad coalition of people living with HIV, community activists, and healthcare and civil rights organizations working to modernize California’s HIV criminal laws.
In 2016, Equality California Institute launched the statewide education campaign, #TakeIt: I’m PrEP’d, to educate the LGBTQ community and healthcare providers on the availability and benefits of pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, the daily pill to prevent HIV, and other forms of HIV treatment and prevention.
Our campaign targets gay and bisexual men and transgender women, especially from communities of color, who are often most at risk for HIV. Equality California is committed to working to end the epidemic by getting to zero – zero transmission, zero HIV-related deaths and zero HIV stigma.
California Faith for Equality is now a program of the Equality California Institute. After working with faith communities to promote LGBTQ equality and safeguard religious freedom for nearly a decade, California Faith for Equality’s network of hundreds of faith leaders is now working with Equality California to advance acceptance and equality for the LGBT community.
Equality California Institute leads a collaborative of LGBTQ centers from across the state that conducts outreach, education and enrollment assistance for immigrants seeking administrative relief and citizenship. Equality California Institute also recruited and facilitated immigration law trainings for more than 50 lawyers and legal professionals so that they can provide pro-bono legal assistance.
The Equality California Leadership Academy is an advanced program designed to identify LGBTQ leaders and to support them in becoming effective agents of change. Utilizing a combination of ‘in person’ trainings, mentorship and opportunity identification, EQCA conducts these 25 person leadership institutes in Southern California, Northern California and the Central Valley to prepare fellows for leadership roles as elected or appointed government officials or on corporate boards.
Equality California Institute partners with the Comcast Foundation to offer a four-week fellowship program in Sacramento for college students with a passion for government and LGBTQ advocacy. Fellows gain first-hand experience working with legislators, policymakers and their staff and develop key leadership skills. Fellows also meet with prominent community members and LGBT leaders from diverse backgrounds to learn about how advocacy and public service can fuel meaningful policy change.
Fair Share for Equality brings together hundreds of LGBTQ community leaders, elected officials and policymakers from across California to address the widespread disparities that LGBTQ people face, and to work to allocate a “fair share” of budgetary resources to advance the health and well-being of California’s LGBTQ community. A full day conference is held each year in either Sacramento or Los Angeles. Critical findings and program recommendations from the event are compiled into a report that is delivered to the governor’s office, members of the legislature, and other federal, state, and local government officials.