Cast members of the hit Netflix show "Queer Eye" are lending their star power to push lawmakers to pass the Equality Act, legislation which would ensure federal protections for LGBTQ individuals.
Four members of the show's “Fab Five” spoke at the Library of Congress Wednesday on a panel about LGBTQ youth, moderated by Washington Post opinion writer Jonathan Capehart.
"Depending on the state in this country you can be fired for all sorts of things. You have discrimination at jobs, you have discrimination in school," said Jonathan Van Ness about the importance of the bill.
His co-star Antoni Porowski said passing the bill would send an important message to LGBTQ youth around the country.
Porowski said it would be important for "LGBTQIA youth growing up today, if they felt the assurance and the confidence that their heterosexual and/or cisgender counterparts felt, in terms of basic civil rights."
"That affects you on a macro level in how you are perceived by society, and also on a personal level of what your self-worth is," he added.
Van Ness spoke more about his support for the bill with The Hill, calling passage "so important because so many of our states in this country don’t protect people by basis of their sexual orientation or their gender."
“So, basically what we really need is to have some sort of federal legislation that does protect people who are LGBTQIA+ in states like Kentucky, Missouri, Alabama where you can be fired and you can be discriminated against for who you love and what gender you are,” Van Ness said.
The cast also turned their discerning eye to Washington, weighing in on the lawmakers who they think are most in need of their fashion and grooming help.
Van Ness, Porowski and co-star Bobby Berk all agreed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse passes standalone bill to provide B for Israel's Iron Dome Pelosi vows to avert government shutdown McConnell calls Trump a 'fading brand' in Woodward-Costa book MORE (R-Ky.) was the lawmaker most in need of a “Queer Eye”-style makeover.
“I would say Mitch McConnell in his entirety is really upsetting,” Van Ness told The Hill. “He’s just, everything, the weight of the world and of the oppression is weighing on him and it is showing.”
Van Ness also took a shot at former Rep. Trey GowdyTrey GowdyTrey Gowdy sets goal of avoiding ideological echo chamber with Fox News show Fox News signs Trey Gowdy, Dan Bongino for new shows Pompeo rebukes Biden's new foreign policy MORE (R-S.C.).
"The hair is insane, it's always been insane," he said.
Several members of the Congressional LGBTQ Equality Caucus were in attendance at the panel and reception, including caucus co-chairs Reps. Mark TakanoMark Allan TakanoHouse clears bill to provide veterans with cost-of-living adjustment Legislation assuring automatic VA enrollment is more vital than ever before Yellen tries to tamp down Democrats fury over evictions ban MORE (D-Calif.), Sharice DavidsSharice DavidsKatie Hill launches effort to protect Democratic majority in House GOP ramps up pressure on vulnerable Democrats in spending fight Rep. Tim Ryan becomes latest COVID-19 breakthrough case in Congress MORE (D-Kan.) and Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.).
The Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination based on one’s gender identity or sexual orientation. The bill has stalled in previous years but was reintroduced in the current Congress in March by Rep. David CicillineDavid CicillineDemocrats seek to cool simmering tensions Hillicon Valley —Apple is not a monopoly, judge rules Judge rules Apple is not 'illegal monopolist' in high-profile Epic case MORE (D-R.I.) and is sponsored by 237 Democrats and 2 Republicans.
The bill also has the support of prominent business groups. But while it is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled House, it has an uncertain path in the GOP Senate.
Before Wednesday's event, the "Queer Eye" cast members were also shown a selection of items from the Library’s collection, including handwritten notes by civil rights icon Rosa Parks and a pearl necklace and bracelets worn by Mary Todd Lincoln.
The show's cast was also spotted at the Capitol.
Queer eye sighting at the capitol! (He liked my glasses) pic.twitter.com/Kbz7C1AqC6— Niv Elis (@NivElis) April 4, 2019
The third season of "Queer Eye" premiered on Netflix on March 15.