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APA opposes state bills targeting LGBTs

WASHINGTON - The American Psychological Association is committed to promoting the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We are therefore seriously concerned about the recent wave of state-level legislation discriminating against these individuals. Our association has a long history of supporting protections for LGBT people, including in those areas currently under attack — most notably employment, marriage and public accommodations.

APA is calling for passage of the federal Equality Act to provide protections for LGBT people against such unfair and harmful treatment. The adoption of such legal protections offers one way to reduce this undue burden of discrimination faced by LGBT people.

Additionally, APA has adopted policies opposing discrimination and human rights violations broadly and has addressed bias toward and by religious groups. As a key example, a 2008 APA resolution states: "The American Psychological Association encourages actions that promote religious and spiritual tolerance, liberty, and respect, in all arenas in which psychologists work and practice, and in society at large." APA maintains that there are alternative ways to address complex issues and resolve conflicts within our diverse country without resorting to potentially harmful legislation.

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Based on the findings of psychological research, we have learned that discrimination presents a significant source of stress for LGBT people and has substantial adverse effects on their health and well-being ( www.apa.org/about/policy/discriminatory-legislation.aspx ). As APA's 2015 Stress In America survey found, nearly one-fourth of the survey respondents who identified as LGBT reported that they had been unfairly stopped, searched, questioned, physically threatened or abused by police officers, and a third stated that they had unfairly not been hired for a job. Other forms of discrimination reported by LGBT respondents included being threatened or harassed, receiving poorer service than others, or being treated with less courtesy or respect.

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