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This redesigned American flag reveals how many states deny basic freedoms to LGBTQ people

‘The Reality Flag’ was created by the Human Rights Campaign to raise awareness and support for the Equality Act.

This redesigned American flag reveals how many states deny basic freedoms to LGBTQ people

Sometimes a statistic is better understood visually. As a way to illustrate the severity of more than half the states in this country denying basic comprehensive protection to LGBTQ+ people, the advocacy group Human Rights Campaign (HRC) removed 29 stars, one for each state, from the American flag.

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By removing the stars, HRC is aiming to raise awareness for the Equality Act and the millions of LGBTQ+ people currently living without the protection of basic freedoms like obtaining housing, employment, healthcare, education, and public accommodations. Created with WPP agencies VMLY&R, BCW, Wavemaker and Hogarth, the “Reality Flag” campaign includes PSAs shot by Emmy Award-winning director and producer Joey Soloway.

The Equality Act passed the House last February, exactly a year ago, and now awaits a Senate vote. Meanwhile, an October poll by the nonprofit Public Religion Research Institute found that 82% of Americans support laws that protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination.

The need for federal protection is urgent: An online tracker from the group Freedom for All Americans shows more than two dozen anti-trans bills were introduced in several states last week alone.

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According to HRC, the Equality Act has been endorsed by more than 60 business associations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, and the National Association of Manufacturers, as well as over 160 Fortune 500 companies, such as Coca-Cola, General Electric, Home Depot, Kraft Heinz, Levi Strauss & Co., and Target.

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity.

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