District of Columbia

LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in the States

LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in Washington, DC:

Since 1973, LGBTQ non-discrimination in Washington, DC has protected people across the district from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation – and in 2006, non-discrimination protections were expanded to explicitly include gender identity. These protections were adopted by the City Council first as Title 34, then later as the District of Columbia Human Rights Act in 1977, with the expanded protections adopted in 2006. 

The Path to LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in Washington, DC:

  • 1973: The D.C. City Council passes Title 34, an expansive human rights law that includes prohibitions against discrimination based on sexual orientation, among many other protected classes. The adoption of this law makes Washington, D.C. one of the first major cities in the country to provide protections for gay, lesbian, and bisexual people. The victory is a testament to the organizing work of what became the Gay  & Lesbian Activists Alliance.
  • 1977: The D.C. City Council adopts the D.C. Human Rights Act, including nearly identical language from Title 34, preserving the protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation.
  • 1977-2006: Local and national organizations engage in conversations about who LGBT people in Washington, D.C. are, and support for fully comprehensive non-discrimination grows.
  • March 8, 2006: The D.C. Human Rights Act is updated to ensure residents of the District are protected from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on gender identity and expression. Prior to the this, the Human Rights Act had been used in cases involving transgender individuals, but the law was not explicitly inclusive, so organizations led by the DC Trans Coalition pushed forward.
  • September 13, 2012: The D.C. Office of Human Rights launches a groundbreaking public education campaign dedicated to helping more residents in Washington, D.C. understand the lives of transgender people. The campaign builds awareness and understanding of the transgender community like never before.
  • May 2, 2016: The Human Rights Amendment Act takes effect in Washington, D.C., repealing the Armstrong Amendment, a provision in the D.C. Human Rights Act that exempts religious schools from complying with the law’s prohibitions from discriminating against students based on sexual orientation.

Last Updated January 11, 2018