Colorado Springs LGBTQ nonprofit: more work lies ahead after historic win

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COLORADO SPRINGS — The LGBTQ community celebrating a historic win Monday. 

“People don’t have to be worried about being fired from their jobs because of who they are are, and not the quality of their work,” said Jessie Pocock, Executive Director for Inside Out Youth Services. 

This comes after the Supreme Court ruled the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Monday’s news means gay, lesbian and transgendered people are also now protected under that act.

Pocock says it’s an important change for LGBTQ employees.

“In the past they could look towards, ‘Oh, you know, I want to do this work in this community,’ but they weren’t promised if they left this state that they would be protected from being fired for being LGBTQ. They might have had the protections here and they could you know, use those benefits and be protected, but if they went to another state, they weren’t guaranteed that. So this is really, really important in terms of affirming that they get to have whole lives,” Pocock said.  

But she says the fight for equality continues.

“Right now it’s legal for federally funded entities like colleges and hospitals, or adoption agencies, to discriminate against LGBTQ people, and so we still really need Congress to pass the Equality Act,” Pocock said. 

Inside Out Youth Services works to support the local LGBTQ community, serving more than 300 teens and adults in 2019,  and also worked to educate more than 700 adults to build connections with LGBTQ youth. 

“Protections is one thing, but access to a living wage is another. And this is a really, really important issue that our community still need to address. Transgender people are four times more likely to make household income of $10,000 less per year compared to the general population. We see even wider gaps for black and brown transgender women,” Pocock said. 

Pocock, who previously served on the Colorado State Civil Rights Commission, says there are still sexual orientation discrimnation based cases coming across the commission’s desk. 

“I think you know, those things as well as issues that we’re seeing in terms of police brutality and lots of discrimination and issues in our community is why people are still taking to the streets 50 years after the Stonewall Riots. We are not there yet,” Pocock said. 

Click here to learn more about Inside Out Youth Services.

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