BANGOR — Local activists and business owners from the LGBTQ+ community met today in Bangor in hopes to create a healthier and more welcoming work environment with a piece of legislation called the Equality Act.
Laurie Osher represents the Maine Legislature and owns a company called Environment Systems. She said her local business incorporates equality for all.
“It’s unethical to treat others poorly because they are uncomfortable with them. If people do their job well, we should encourage them to do their job well. They should not be pushed out of their jobs and the equity act gives us a national goal system to do better,” said Osher.
Tricia A. Hobbs, acting artistic director at the Penobscot Theatre Company, said it’s important to create a safe space for people in the workplace.
“I think it would cause not only safer spaces for our employees, and for our businesses but also for our patrons, and to create safe spaces where people feel welcome, where they feel represented that’s one of our goals,” said Hobbs.
Sam Bullard, co-programmer director at the Peace and Justice Center, said this meeting is about more than just human rights.
“This is a morality issue. Right now, we are treating people for who they are like we don’t belong and this is unfair and treating them like they are others. We are ‘othering’ them,” said Bullard.
The Equality Act would protect all and prevent discrimination for all, regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, or religion. The legislation was first passed in the house on Feb. 25, 2021.
“This bill prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system. Specifically, the bill defines and includes sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation,” according to congress.gov.