Wyoming Equality Continues Fight for LGBT Rights [VIDEO]
Wyoming still has a long way to go to ensure equal rights for LGBT people, says the new leader of Wyoming Equality.
"Ever since the passage of marriage, the public perception is that LGBT citizens have equal rights. They don't," says Laramie resident John King, the group's new chairman. "We still need workplace protections, we still need public accommodation protections. We also need housing protections."
According to WyomingEquality.org, the state has few laws and policies driving equality for LGBT people. King says a big part of the issue is the state's small LGBT community -- estimated at less than 13,000 -- which accounts for only 2.9 percent of Wyoming's adult population.
"There's not a lot of out people in the state," King says.
"People out there just don't know people that are LGBT," King says. "Once you actually get to know somebody that's in that category, you see that they're just normal people, they're good people, and we're no risk."
"It's easy to dismiss what you don't know or people that you don't know," King says. "The biggest thing that we can do in this state is just be proud of who you are and come out of the closet."
King says Wyoming Equality is looking for new membership and donations to help them press the issue in Wyoming communities and at the state legislature in Cheyenne.
"It goes back to just taking it city-by-city," King says. "We're just going to go to each city and try to get the local people in each city to embrace us."
"Hopefully that pressure is what's going to ultimately change the state legislature," King adds.
King says Laramie is the only Wyoming city that has protections in place, though other cities have made progress.
Jackson officials unanimously approved a non-discrimination resolution in December.
Gillette on Sept. 18 adopted a similar resolution. While both measures lack legal teeth, they are designed to encourage action by the Wyoming Legislature.
State legislators defeated an LGBT anti-discrimination bill during the 2015 session.