Cyndi Lauper: If just one of us is unequal, we are all unequal

CBS News asked noted figures in the arts, business and politics about their experience in today's civil rights movement, or about figures who inspired them in their activism.

Cyndi Lauper, singer-songwriter, Tony and Grammy Award-winning composer ("Kinky Boots"), Emmy Award-winning actress ("Mad About You")

When it comes to equality, what issues/actions are most important to you?

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Courtesy Cyndi Lauper
Equality for all people is important to me. We unfortunately have many divisions in our society -- race, socio-economic, and religious being just a few -- but of particular importance is equality for women and the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. As a woman who has faced discrimination in my own profession and life, and as a friend and family of many gay and transgender people, I have seen firsthand the damaging impact these specific types of bias can have.

I will not give up until we no longer have people trying to control what a woman can and cannot do with her body, and women earn the same as men for the same work. I will not give up until gay and transgender people no longer have to fear being fired from their jobs, and gay and transgender youth no longer have to fear being kicked out of their homes.

We have an epidemic on our hands, where up to 40 percent of the homeless youth in America identify as gay or transgender, yet only 7 percent of the general youth population does the same. As a mother, I cannot imagine ever throwing a kid away, let alone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. That is why we started my True Colors Fund, so that in part we can help bridge these divides in the home so the kids and parents can stay connected and avoid the conflict that results in the young person leaving home in the first place.

We have made a lot of advances as a society, but we still have a lot of work to do to ensure that equality for all truly means equality for all. If just one of us is unequal, we are all unequal. It is important for everyone to remember that today it may be one group of people who are treated differently for who they are. While you may not be a member of that group, tomorrow it could be your group that is singled out next.

We need to embrace our diversity as a society. We are stronger together as a nation, and weaker when we let our "differences" get in the way.

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