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HRC President on the Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Marginalized Populations

Human Rights Campaign - 3 hours 29 sec ago

Alphonso David, President of HRC, issued a statement on the disproportionate impact COVID-19 is having on marginalized populations and called on Congress to take this impact into account in future stimulus bills.

“As in all emergencies, the most vulnerable are the most at risk during the COVID-19 crisis,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Data is emerging showing Black communities are contracting and dying from the virus at particularly high rates and our own research shows the economic and health impacts this pandemic may have on LGBTQ people.

“We cannot ignore the role that bias plays in health disparities, and for that reason HRC has long called for inclusive data collection to ensure that all people are counted. Today, we call on every state to collect more data so that we can truly measure the impact on those most at risk and respond with prevention and treatment strategies that work. We call on Congress to take this impact into account in future stimulus packages so that we can urgently meet the needs of our communities.”

HRC recently published a research brief outlining the particular health and economic risks faced by the LGBTQ community during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Many in the LGBTQ community are uniquely vulnerable, as they are more likely to work jobs in highly affected industries, often with more exposure and/or higher economic sensitivity to the COVID-19 crisis, are less likely to have health coverage, and are more likely to smoke and have chronic illnesses like asthma. Read the full brief here, and find a full list of all of HRC’s efforts and COVID-19 resources at this link.

This follows on HRC’s previously published report, “LGBTQ-Inclusive Data Collection: A Lifesaving Imperative,” revealing how the failure of state and federal officials to collect full and accurate data on sexual orientation and gender identity is causing harm to LGBTQ Americans, who remain largely invisible to the government entities entrusted with ensuring their health, safety and well-being. HRC has called on the federal government to require the collection of sexual orientation and gender identity metrics where data on sex is collected.

The federal government is failing to address or even acknowledge the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people of color and the LGBTQ community

In Michigan, the Black community accounts for 35% of confirmed cases and 40% of deaths despite only representing 14% of the state population

  • Detroit Free Press: Black Americans lead in coronavirus cases, deaths in Michigan
  • Bridge Michigan: Black communities hit harder by coronavirus in Michigan, not just Detroit

The disproportionate impacts on people of color are being seen nationwide

  • ProPublica: Early Data Shows Black Americans Have Contracted and Died of Coronavirus at an Alarming Rate
  • Rolling Stone: New Map Shows COVID-19 Is Hitting People of Color Hardest
  • BET: Philadelphia Sees Disproportionate Number Of Coronavirus Positives Among Black Population
  • Washington Post: The coronavirus is infecting and killing Black Americans at an alarmingly high rate

LGBTQ people are also particularly at risk of contracting and having bad outcomes

  • NY Daily News: Coronavirus crisis puts many in LGBTQ community at ‘increased risk’ according to new report
  • The Grio: LGBTQ community uniquely impacted by COVID-19, research shows
  • The Hill: How the coronavirus presents a unique threat to the LGBTQ+ community

#HRCTwitterTakeover with Jesse Tyler Ferguson to Celebrate “Modern Family” Finale

Human Rights Campaign - Wed, 04/08/2020 - 16:25

Actors, advocate and "Modern Family" star Jesse Tyler Ferguson took over HRC's Twitter to celebrate the show's finale and talk about the future of LGBTQ rights.

Hi everyone, it’s @jessetyler - advocate, actor and star of @ModernFam. I’m doing an #HRCTwitterTakeover to celebrate the finale of #ModernFamily and share how you can help keep moving the needle forward on LGBTQ issues! pic.twitter.com/LycIvl6ZUO

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 8, 2020

Over the last 11 seasons, @ModernFam has transformed people’s perceptions of the LGBTQ community through the characters of Mitchell and Cam, showing Americans that queer people have the same hopes and ambitions in life as everyone else. - @jessetyler #HRCTwitterTakeover pic.twitter.com/etk765uMla

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 8, 2020

We stood at the forefront of the fight for marriage equality both on and off screen, joining @HRC in advocating for the eventual #SCOTUS decision that established #LoveIsLove. - @jessetyler #HRCTwitterTakeover @ModernFam https://t.co/qkyg3vsrnB pic.twitter.com/BJ6YL9BN6m

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 8, 2020

.@ModernFam also explored the trials and tribulations of LGBTQ couples hoping to create a family of their own. To this day, many same-sex couples still face discrimination when trying to have children. - @jessetyler #HRCTwitterTakeover https://t.co/I0ik3S4KMo

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 8, 2020

These last 11 years of @ModernFam have meant the world to our entire cast and we've been proud to work with @HRC in advancing LGBTQ issues like never before. - @jessetyler #HRCTwitterTakeover https://t.co/jyD52vA6hA

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 8, 2020

While @ModernFam may be coming to an end, the fight of full equality is far from over. My husband (@JustinMikita) and I are more committed than ever to working with @HRC so that no one faces discrimination for who they are or whom they love. - @jessetyler #HRCTwitterTakeover

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 8, 2020

I’ve had the pleasure of attending and speaking at multiple @HRC events across the country and am always thrilled to hear from so many LGBTQ leaders on the impactful work they're doing to make a difference in this world. - @jessetyler #HRCTwitterTakeover https://t.co/NIaOo0rp3f

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 8, 2020

I’m also proud of my husband, @JustinMikita, for his involvement as a member of both the @HRC and HRC Foundation Board of Directors - whose leadership groups constantly work to ensure every LGBTQ person is fully protected under the law. - @jessetyler #HRCTwitterTakeover

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 8, 2020

It’s more important than ever that we support organizations like @HRC as the Trump-Pence administration continues to attack the LGBTQ community. Our rights and our lives are at stake unless we take action. - @jessetyler #HRCTwitterTakeover https://t.co/MWzzO8mihB

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 8, 2020

As we speak, the Supreme Court is deciding whether sexual orientation and gender identity are protected under the Civil Rights Act - a landmark decision that would help protect LGBTQ workers nationwide. - @jessetyler #HRCTwitterTakeover https://t.co/gnEPom1kt5

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 8, 2020

It's also time that the Senate finally pass the #EqualityAct. This legislation would expand LGBTQ rights like never before, ensuring protections in housing, education, employment, credit and more. - @jessetyler #HRCTwitterTakeover @JustinMikita pic.twitter.com/byxbymxsY1

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 8, 2020

The best part is you can take action today to make a difference tomorrow. Email your Senator with help from @HRC to let elected officials know that the time for passing the #EqualityAct is now. - @jessetyler #HRCTwitterTakeover https://t.co/Ou8yV1cDsu

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 8, 2020

Thanks for joining me for this #HRCTwitterTakeover and learning how you can keep up the fight for full equality. Sign @HRC’s thank you card to the cast, crew and writers of @ModernFam - @jessetyler https://t.co/iCpgWeOMQz pic.twitter.com/Nytlf84yFG

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 8, 2020

#AM_Equality: April 8, 2020

Human Rights Campaign - Wed, 04/08/2020 - 10:05

HRC HONORED “POSE” STAR RYAN JAMAAL SWAIN (@RyanJamaal) AT THE SAN ANTONIO DINNER EARLIER THIS YEAR: Watch his powerful remarks here.

.@ryanjamaal, star of the hit show @PoseOnFX, sent a clear message while accepting the @HRC Visibility Award earlier this year: All people, regardless of their background, deserve a world that recognizes them. #PoseFX pic.twitter.com/MueV5biVo9

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 5, 2020

HRC PRESIDENT ALPHONSO DAVID ON THE WISCONSIN SPRING ELECTIONS: “Voting is one of the most sacred duties and rights we have as citizens. Yet, voters in Wisconsin were forced to choose between their health and safety and their constitutional right to vote because of a partisan ploy by Wisconsin and national Republicans,” said David (@AlphonsoDavid). Results will prove that marginalized communities, such as black and transgender voters, bore the brunt of the limited access to the ballot. Our leaders should aim to expand access to the ballot, not limit it. In the coming months, states should adopt and implement plans for vote-by-mail and other measures to ensure safe access to voting for all.  Nothing less than our democracy is at stake.” Read more from HRC.

THE FINAL EPISODE OF “MODERN FAMILY” AIRS TONIGHT: Since first airing in 2009, “Modern Family” has introduced us to characters who truly depict the rich diversity around us. Cam and Mitchell’s relationship highlights the progress of same-sex couples across the country -- from full marriage equality to adoption rights -- and shows the viewing audience that LGBTQ people are just like them. The show’s cast has advocated for the queer community off-screen as well, with Jesse Tyler Ferguson (@jessetyler), who plays Mitchell Pritchett, and husband Justin Mikita (@JustinMikita) advocating for the Equality Act. Read more from HRC.

Cam & Mitchell in @ModernFam show us that love is love no matter who you call your family.

We’re proud to call so many members of the cast & crew, including @jessetyler, part of our @HRC family. Bid the Pritchett family farewell on April 8. #ModernFamily https://t.co/Mqh69LiH0G pic.twitter.com/63Ca8H71AN

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 7, 2020

WELCOMING SCHOOLS WEDNESDAY -- SHINE YOUR LIGHT ON EVERYBODY WITH LUPITA NYONG’O: Each week while most students are out of school due to COVID-19, HRC Foundation's Welcoming Schools will offer a book and a related activity adapted from our teacher lesson plans for parents to use with children at home. This week’s book is Sulwe, by Lupita Nyong’o (@Lupita_Nyongo). Read more and see the lesson plan from HRC.

FINDING RESILIENCE AND COMMUNITY THROUGH A VIRTUAL SEDER: A Seder is a dinner held during Passover, the holiday that commemorates the Exodus from Egypt, which begins at sundown today. “We’re trying to tailor it to the reality that people are living in,” said Matthew Adler (@MatahAdler), a program manager at the Edlavitch DC Jewish Community Center (EDCJCC), which is holding its first-ever virtual Seder tomorrow evening. “The message of Jewish history is that even after we go through hard times, we manage to rebuild… And I think that’s the same for LGBTQ communities -- we’re resilient.” Read more from HRC.

JOIN HRC FOUNDATION’S WELCOMING SCHOOLS FOR A WEBINAR ON REMOTE TEACHING: The webinar will be held on Thursday, April 9, at 3:30pm EDT. Learn more here.

Are you making a quick pivot to remote teaching? @HRC’s Welcoming Schools is here to help!

Join @HRC for a free educator webinar in response to #COVID19 this Thursday at 3:30 p.m. EDT. Register now at https://t.co/kerZq284MK pic.twitter.com/n1KIo2MELR

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 7, 2020

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME SEQUEL CONFIRMED, WILL STAR ORIGINAL CAST: More from NewNowNext.

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

INTER-AMERICAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS RULES PERU IS RESPONSIBLE FOR TORTURE OF TRANSGENDER WOMAN: This is the first time the Court has ruled on a complaint of torture from an LGBTQ person. Read more from Openly (warning -- upsetting descriptions at link).

READING RAINBOW - Bookmark now to read on your lunch break!

NewNowNext speaks with out lesbian and WWE star Daria Berenato; The Advocate launches new virtual series, “Inside With The Advocate,” featuring LGBTQ celebs

Have news? Send us your news and tips at AMEquality@hrc.org. Click here to subscribe to #AM_Equality and follow @HRC for all the latest news. Thanks for reading!


HRC President on the Wisconsin Spring Elections

Human Rights Campaign - Tue, 04/07/2020 - 20:56

After numerous shifts and changes over the last few days, voters went to the polls today in Wisconsin’s Spring Elections putting their lives at risk in order to participate. In response, HRC President Alphonso David issued the following statement: 

“Voting is one of the most sacred duties and rights we have as citizens. Yet, voters in Wisconsin were forced to choose between their health and safety and their constitutional right to vote because of a partisan ploy by Wisconsin and national Republicans. 

“Results will prove that marginalized communities, such as black and transgender voters, bore the brunt of the limited access to the ballot.  These results are directly contrary to rulings that the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court effectively mandated upon the state. Across Wisconsin, voting locations were closed leaving major urban counties like Milwaukee with only a handful of locations for hundreds of thousands of voters. At least 10,000 voters requested their absentee ballots in a timely fashion but did not receive them - forcing them to put their lives at risk to wait in hours-long lines to participate. 

“President Trump and his anti-equality allies recently announced a $10 million voter suppression campaign, the first of its kind in at least the last 40 years, to make it harder than ever before for people to vote.  As if that isn’t bad enough, they are now taking advantage of this pandemic to keep voters from having their say. 

“Our leaders should aim to expand access to the ballot, not limit it. In the coming months, states should adopt and implement plans for vote-by-mail and other measures to ensure safe access to voting for all.  Nothing less than our democracy is at stake.”


HRC Global Fellows: Collaborating with LGBTQ Advocates in Albania

Human Rights Campaign - Tue, 04/07/2020 - 15:31

Last October, HRC Global welcomed Sidita Zaja, an activist and executive director of United Pro LGBT in Albania.This past February, I traveled to Albania to work with Zaja and community advocates in support of their campaign for LGBTQ acceptance and supportive policies.

Albania is a small, largely mountainous country on the Mediterranean coast of Eastern Europe’s Balkan Peninsula. It has a rich history, oscillating from Ottoman rule to occupation by Fascists, then a lengthy period of self-imposed isolation and communism. Its language is unique in the region, and it is considered one of the most secular nations. This history and culture has defined the lives of Albania’s LGBTQ citizens.

While Albania decriminalized same-sex sexual relations and adopted some protections against hate crimes and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, there are significant challenges to enforcement. For many LGBTQ activists, despite often low levels of public acceptance and difficult economic conditions, there are immediate opportunities to achieve progress, build support and make a real difference in the lives of LGBTQ people.

In my visit, I saw a close-knit community that was committed to making change and remarkably united in its goals. Meeting with Zaja and other LGBTQ advocates, I shared the history of the LGBTQ movement in the U.S. and the lessons we’ve learned. 

#HappeningNow

First day of Workshop for Pride Campaign 2020 in Albania with@taylorntbrown from @HRC, who is sharing, learning and collaborating with #HRCGlobalFellows & LGBTQ advocates as they expand their movement for equality and human rights. pic.twitter.com/IdJZywu9KB

— Historia Ime (@Historiaime) February 17, 2020

During my time there, I met with HRC’s allies and institutional partners, toured the facilities of Albania’s first shelter exclusively for LGBTQ people and showed HRC’s support at this year’s Miss Trans Albania 2020 contest.

HRC is focused on strengthening global equality movements, and collaborations like this, through HRC’s Global Fellows Program, are a big part of that effort. The Fellows Program facilitates knowledge-sharing, meaningful relationships and on-going dialogue among fellows, HRC Global staff and other innovative thinkers across equality movements.

It is through this work--when we are on the ground and engaging firsthand with community members--that HRC Global connects movements across borders. Through this all, we are providing support and guidance for LGBTQ advocates, and learning from these advocates as well. Our time working together strengthens our collective movements and gives me great hope for the future.


A Modern Farewell

Human Rights Campaign - Tue, 04/07/2020 - 10:35

Post submitted by Digital Strategist Brandon Hooks and Associate Director of Digital and Social Media Hayley Miller

Since first airing in 2009, “Modern Family” has introduced us to characters who truly depict the rich diversity around us. Cam and Mitchell’s relationship highlights the progress of same-sex couples across the country - from full marriage equality to adoption rights - and shows the viewing audience that LGBTQ people are just like them.

The show’s cast has advocated for the queer community off-screen as well, with Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Mitchell Pritchett) and husband Justin Mikita - member of both the HRC and HRC Foundation Board of Directors - advocating for the Equality Act.

Thank you @JesseTyler Ferguson and @JustinMikita for joining @HRC and partners to pass the #EqualityAct.

This critically important legislation would finally add explicit and consistent federal LGBTQ non-discrimination protections to our nation’s civil rights laws. pic.twitter.com/tB8uMbrJK3

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) May 3, 2019

In 2010 at our 14th annual National Dinner, HRC presented the National Arts & Culture Award to “Modern Family.”

HRC also honored cast member Ty Burrell with the Ally for Equality Award in 2014.

Sofía Vergara joined HRC’s #StoptheHate Pulse memorial video, created by Ryan Murphy, Ned Martel and their colleagues at Ryan Murphy Television, honoring the 49 lives taken – most of them young, LGBTQ and Latinx - in the attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016.

It is hard to believe that back when the show first aired on September 23, 2009, marriage equality wasn’t the law of the land and both the Defense of Marriage Act and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” were still on the books. So much in our country has changed since the show first aired 11 years ago, but its messages of love and acceptance and the value of family are more relevant now than ever before.

Be sure to sign HRC’s digital thank you card to the cast and crew of "Modern Family" for the show’s 11 groundbreaking seasons.

You can watch the Pritchett family one last time during the series finale on April 8. 


#AM_Equality: April 7, 2020

Human Rights Campaign - Tue, 04/07/2020 - 10:14

“THE MOST MARGINALIZED ARE ALSO THE MOST AT RISK” -- NEW VIDEO FROM NOWTHIS FEAT. HRC TELLS THE STORIES OF LGBTQ PEOPLE IMPACTED BY COVID-19: More from NowThis.

'The most marginalized are also the most at risk' — Here's how COVID-19 is hitting LGBTQ+ extra hard

Learn more: https://t.co/ieOK61CfBZ pic.twitter.com/hD86e35RIp

— NowThis (@nowthisnews) April 6, 2020

AN UPDATE ON GENDER AFFIRMING CARE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC: “We know that gender-affirming medical and surgical care are essential to the long-term well-being of our transgender and gender diverse patients, families and communities. Just because these procedures have currently been classified as non-urgent does not mean we consider them to be non-essential. As health care professionals, we also recognize that the postponement of these essential surgeries can take a dangerous mental health toll on our patients.” Read more from guest contributors Carl G Streed Jr. MD, MPH (@cjstreed) and Jennifer Siegel MD (@siegenatorJS) at the Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery at Boston Medical Center here.

TUESDAY TWEET -- HRC PRESIDENT ALPHONSO DAVID SPEAKS WITH MTV NEWS TO DISCUSS TAKING THE ORG’S ACTIVISM VIRTUAL: “This crisis is going to have an impact on how people interact with each other, not only for purposes of political organizing and the elections, but generally,” David said (@AlphonsoDavid). “We have an obligation to make sure that we are protecting all disadvantaged and marginalized groups. And one of the keys to doing that is shifting to digital organizing to make sure that we can get the word out, we can get the messages out and we can keep people engaged.” Read more from Christianna Silva (@christianna_j) at MTV News

Even as we adjust to this new reality, our activism does not stop. Read more about how @HRC is taking our fight for full equality online and what you can do to get involved. https://t.co/VdcPOMqpHj

— Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) April 6, 2020

TRANS VISIBILITY MARCH TO BE HELD VIRTUALLY ON OCTOBER 3: More from Los Angeles Blade

BRIDGING THE GAP: FINDING SUPPORT FOR LGBTQ PEOPLE IN THE GOSPELS: To mark Lent and Palm Sunday this year, HRC Religion and Faith Program Director Michael Vazquez (@mvsebastian) sat down with Jesuit Priest and Editor-at-Large of America Media, Father James Martin (@JamesMartinSJ). Read more of their conversation from HRC

 IN THE STATES 

VIRGINIA GOVERNOR SIGNS BILL INTO LAW TO OFFER AN ADDITIONAL “X” GENDER MARKER OPTION ON DRIVER’S LICENCES: More from HRC

LGBTQ SENIOR LIVING FACILITY TO OPEN IN OHIO: More from Yahoo News.

  • HRC Foundation and Advocates and Services for LGBT Elders (SAGE) have released a new resource that explains the reasons why LGBTQ older adults are particularly vulnerable during the COVID-19 health crisis and helps to ensure they are getting the care they need. More from HRC.

 GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

SIMPLY THE BEST -- HRC CELEBRATES “SCHITT’S CREEK,” WHOSE SERIES FINALE AIRS TONIGHT: While we have many reasons to love “Schitt’s Creek” -- Moira’s wig wall being just one of them -- it’s the show’s exploration of LGBTQ issues and characters that truly makes it such a standout. David Rose, played by Dan Levy (@danjlevy), breaks barriers by being one of television’s few openly pansexual characters. Read more from HRC

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

ICYMI -- HRC ON HUNGARY’S PROPOSED ANTI-LGBTQ LAW: “It is shameful that just a day after Hungary’s Parliament granted emergency powers to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to confront the global COVID-19 crisis, one of its first actions is to attack the transgender community,” said HRC Global Director Jay Gilliam. “This is just one example of how governments are restricting the freedoms and rights of LGBTQ people and other marginalized communities, unnecessarily putting lives at risk in the midst of a global pandemic.” More from HRC

READING RAINBOW - Bookmark now to read on your lunch break!

BuzzFeed reports on how the LGBTQ community in the U.K. is supporting each other during COVID-19

Have news? Send us your news and tips at AMEquality@hrc.org. Click here to subscribe to #AM_Equality and follow @HRC for all the latest news. Thanks for reading!


HRC President on Senator Bernie Sanders’ Tremendous Advocacy

Human Rights Campaign - Tue, 04/07/2020 - 09:19

After a strong campaign that expanded the national debate on many important topics, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders withdrew from the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary. In response, HRC President Alphonso David issued the following statement:

“Throughout his campaign and career in public service, Senator Bernie Sanders has driven equality forward for marginalized communities and energized voters from every walk of life. He created a movement centered on issues of justice that elevated issues long overlooked on the national stage.

“People of every community responded to the Senator’s call for changes to a status quo that has failed to address a variety of issues affecting marginalized communities across the nation. This important conversation will continue thanks to Senator Sanders’ tireless efforts.

“We look forward to working with the 3.1 million members of the Human Rights Campaign and Senator Sanders to mobilize pro-equality voters and ensure we elect pro-equality leaders at every level of government this fall.”


Finding Resilience and Community Through a Virtual Seder

Human Rights Campaign - Tue, 04/07/2020 - 09:01

As a program manager at the Edlavitch DC Jewish Community Center (EDCJCC), Matthew Adler has a monumental task at hand: to help organize the center’s first-ever virtual Seder. Adler holds a planning role at The Kurlander Program for GLBTQ Outreach and Engagement (GLOE), which is housed within the EDCJCC. He leads on organizing volunteers and community leaders to take part in events. He also engages in outreach to the Jewish LGBTQ community and their allies -- in his words, making sure they “have a place to call home.”

With that goal in mind, every year for the past 12 years, GLOE has co-presented a National Rainbow Seder with HRC Foundation’s Religion and Faith Program. “Usually the Rainbow Seder is exclusively focused on the LGBTQ community; however, this year it’s going to be a mix of our content and some of our people with some of the broader community,” explains Adler. In spite of these new and very challenging circumstances, GLOE and the EDCJCC are still making sure that LGBTQ people are welcomed and included in this year’s virtual Seder in a variety of ways. 

A Seder is a dinner held during Passover, the holiday that commemorates the Exodus from Egypt. A seder, which means “order” in Hebrew, is a ritual meal that proceeds in a specific order and includes eating certain foods, reading, sharing stories and singing. 

“For the four cups of wine or grape juice that are typically drunk at a Seder, we provide an LGBTQ-themed reading for each of those,” says Adler. “In addition, there will be a facilitator who will be leading three different breakout sections of LGBTQ folks who want to talk about aspects of the Seder.” 

Hosting and attending a Seder virtually is a new experience for Adler, and he’s not alone. Adler knows that Jews across the world will likely be marking this holiday in different ways than they have before.

“There’s very specific symbolic items that you have to have,” says Adler. “Maybe you will be able to get [them], but maybe you won’t. So what we’re trying to do is make it so that people who don’t have all those objects are still able to get at the meaning behind the Seder.” 

Although aspects of the Seder are lost when going virtual, there are also other things that could be gained.

“[Having a virtual Seder] could make it more accessible for people,” Adler explains. “For example, someone who is elderly and can’t leave their home, but they can set up a Zoom call… [N]ot to minimize the negative challenges… but we can also find that speck of positivity.” 

Adler also sees parallels between the current COVID-19 situation and hosting a virtual Seder instead of one that’s in person. “We’re trying to tailor it to the reality that people are living in,” he emphasizes. “For me, that’s what Judaism is about. It’s about living in the moment and being able to take tradition and meld it with the current reality.” 

For LGBTQ Jews and all Jewish people, Adler also has a message: “Don’t give up,” he says. “The message of Jewish history is that even after we go through hard times, we manage to rebuild… And I think that’s the same for LGBTQ communities -- we’re resilient.” 

HRC’s Religion & Faith program is proud to support GLOE and the Edlavitch Jewish Community Center of Washington, D.C. To learn more about the Seder and to register, click here.


Simply the Best: Celebrating “Schitt’s Creek”

Human Rights Campaign - Mon, 04/06/2020 - 15:05

Imagine the lavish lifestyle you’ve grown accustomed to is stripped away and you’re forced to move to a small town in the middle of nowhere. For the Rose family, this is reality in the beloved Canadian sitcom “Schitt’s Creek.”

Co-created by father-son duo Eugene and Dan Levy - a member of the HRC family - the show portrays the ups and downs of readjusting to unforeseen life circumstances and how we have to adapt to the changes around us. Over the past six seasons we’ve witnessed the family’s unforgettable members, Alexis, David, Johnny and Moira, navigate their new normal after losing nearly everything to a financial planner-turned-embezzler. From Moira’s venture into local politics to Johnny's entrepreneurial endeavor with the town’s motel, we have followed along closely as caricatures of former wealth and privilege evolved into the three-dimensional characters we now welcome onto our screens every week.

While we have many reasons to love “Schitt’s Creek” - Moira’s wig wall being just one of them - it’s the show’s exploration of LGBTQ issues and characters that truly makes it such a standout. David Rose, played by Dan Levy, breaks barriers by being one of television’s few openly pansexual characters. Rather than simply throw out the term in a passing conversation and call it a day, the show takes the time to explore what David’s pansexuality means to him and showcase a part of the LGBTQ community commonly overlooked in mainstream media. His open conversation with best friend Stevie in the episode “Honeymoon” hits at the heart of what we all know to be true: Sexual orientation focuses on who a person is, not the labels they may carry.

The latest @EW digital cover story has us all in the feels. ���� Thank you @danjlevy and @olreid for giving us such a beautiful love story on @SchittsCreek! https://t.co/6oow10U1VW

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 25, 2020

“Schitt’s Creek” also pushes the envelope by making LGBTQ acceptance the norm rather than the exception. Television shows of the past traditionally explored queer issues by casting the community as an “other” that people eventually came to tolerate through getting to know LGBTQ characters firsthand. In the humble town of Schitt’s Creek, however, one’s sexual orientation or gender identity is never called into question. In fact, the townspeople never seem to bat an eye at David’s pansexuality or his relationship with Patrick (played by Noah Reid), and instead embrace them as part of the community. This representation speaks volumes for queer people around the world living in rural areas and sends the message that acceptance can be found anywhere. The one challenge we do witness to this theme of acceptance, found in the form of Patrick coming out to his parents, ends up becoming a heartfelt moment showing how most parents want to ensure their children are happy no matter whom they love or who they are.

There’s a lot to appreciate about “Schitt’s Creek” and the characters we’ve grown to love over the past few years, but it’s the show’s LGBTQ representation that will always be in our hearts. Through David, Patrick and the people of Schitt’s Creek, we’ve seen how queer people do not have to accept the tragic plots once prescribed to us through television and instead can live happy, fulfilling lives just as everyone else.

To “Schitt’s Creek,” there’s just one last thing to say: You’re simply the best.

You can tune into the finale of “Schitt’s Creek” on Tuesday, April 7 at 8|7 C. 


#AM_Equality: April 6, 2020

Human Rights Campaign - Mon, 04/06/2020 - 10:20

TRUMP, ALLIES OUT-OF-STEP WITH U.S. CATHOLIC VOTERS: Last week, Trump’s campaign announced its “Catholics for Trump” coalition -- elevating extremists and cementing Trump and his campaign as out of step with modern Catholic voters. U.S. Catholics are more likely to support LGBTQ rights than the average American largely due to Catholic values of inclusion and justice. More from HRC.

  • PRRI: 72% of white Catholics and 71% of Hispanic Catholics support LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections versus 69% of all Americans
  • PRRI: 68% of Catholics describe themselves as “more supportive” of transgender rights versus 62% of all Americans

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND HRC CALL FOR STATEMENT ASSURING EQUAL TREATMENT AT FRANKLIN GRAHAM-BACKED COVID-19 FIELD HOSPITAL: “We call on Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse to issue a public statement assuring LGBTQ+ New Yorkers that they will receive equal treatment and respect at this operation. Mount Sinai Hospital, one of many medical centers undertaking the herculean task of caring for our city’s sick, and the City of New York must continue to closely monitor the field hospital to ensure the rights of all New Yorkers being treated at the facility,” reads a statement by Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) (@RepEspaillat).

MONDAY MUST READ -- RACIAL DISPARITIES IN COVID-19 RESPONSE: The federal government is failing to address or even acknowledge the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people of color and the LGBTQ community. Instead, they have limited access to health care by refusing to reopen the ACA exchanges and spouted untruth after untruth about the crisis. Trump, Pence and our entire federal government are failing us. “We may be waiting for a racial time bomb to explode with this disease,” writes Charles Blow (@CharlesMBlow) in The New York Times.

When it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, "people like to say 'we’re all in this together,'" writes @CharlesMBlow. "Black people have every right to respond, 'but will we all emerge from it together?'" https://t.co/f0guX6Gewp

— New York Times Opinion (@nytopinion) April 3, 2020

LGBTQ HELPLINES SEEING SURGE IN CALLS DURING COVID-19: More from Gay Star News.

  • HRC shared resources for struggling LGBTQ young people here.
  • Homeless LGBTQ youth are struggling to find shelter during quarantine: More from Chronicle of Social Change.
  • Casa Ruby (@CasaRubyDC), an LGBTQ community center in D.C., is fighting like hell to protect our community during COVID-19. More from Washington Blade.

COVID-19 STIMULUS PLAN EARMARKS $155 MILLION FOR HIV ORGANIZATIONS: More from The Advocate.

SENATOR TAMMY BALDWIN (D-WI) ON THE NEED FOR MORE LGBTQ ELECTED OFFICIALS: “This upward cycle of representation and leadership builds the foundation of a political pipeline. When supplemented with sufficient financial resources, this pipeline, at its best, ensures that those often left outside of the decision-making room have a viable path in,” writes Senator Baldwin (@tammybaldwin). “And right now, there is an urgent need for a strong, inclusive pipeline for LGBTQ people.” More from The New York Times.

IN THE STATES 

NEW YORK STATE PASSES LEGISLATION TO SUPPORT INDIVIDUALS AND COUPLES, INCLUDING LGBTQ PEOPLE, WHO ARE BUILDING THEIR FAMILIES: 

Today, New York passed the Child-Parent Security Act, important legislation that will support & protect individuals & couples who rely on medical advances to build their families. This is a crucial victory for LGBTQ New Yorkers seeking to have a child. https://t.co/nSiobMM4ix

— Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) April 2, 2020

WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISC. WILL EXPAND ACCESS AND EASE OF ABSENTEE VOTING: “In the age of COVID-19, expanding access to absentee and mail-in voting is absolutely crucial to ensuring a safe and smooth voting process,” said HRC Wisconsin State Director Wendy Strout. “[This] decision strengthens our democracy and opens the door for more participation in the Wisconsin Spring Election. The Human Rights Campaign applauds the court for its inclusive decision as well as civil rights groups and leaders across Wisconsin for their advocacy to remove barriers to safe voting across the state.” 

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

GENDER-SEGREGATED QUARANTINES IN PANAMA AND PERU PUT TRANSGENDER PEOPLE AT RISK: More from Oscar Lopez (@oscarlopezgib) at Reuters.

READING RAINBOW - Bookmark now to read on your lunch break!

The Randy Report interviews Justin Utley (@JustinUtley), an LGBTQ musician; Book Riot highlights 15 books for middle schoolers with LGBTQ themes; WMFE looks at a show of local LGBTQ performers to raise funds for non-profits during COVID-19

Have news? Send us your news and tips at AMEquality@hrc.org. Click here to subscribe to #AM_Equality and follow @HRC for all the latest news. Thanks for reading!


An Update on Gender Affirming Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Human Rights Campaign - Mon, 04/06/2020 - 08:00

Post submitted by Carl G Streed Jr. MD, MPH (Research Lead), Jennifer Siegel MD (Medical Director), Center for Transgender Medicine & Surgery at Boston Medical Center

By now, we all have seen the impact of COVID-19 on our daily lives. We have been quarantining and physically distancing from our loved ones, witnessed hospitals overwhelmed by the crisis and seen people lose their jobs and livelihoods. Some of us may have already experienced personal loss. We know LGBTQ communities are particularly vulnerable to both the economic and health impacts of the virus--because they are more likely to work in industries highly-impacted by the pandemic, such as service industries--and they may have more health risk factors that exacerbate the disease, like smoking.

As part of their response to the pandemic, hospital systems across the country have postponed non-emergency surgeries and procedures in order to prioritize care for COVID-19 patients. This includes many gender-affirming procedures, which are now unfortunately on hold.

We know that gender-affirming medical and surgical care are essential to the long-term well-being of our transgender and gender diverse patients, families and communities. Just because these procedures have currently been classified as non-urgent does not mean we consider them to be non-essential. We know that gender-affirming care is indeed lifesaving, but we also know that right now the immediate health of the public is paramount. While our transgender and gender-diverse patients understand this, we know that understanding reasons for postponing procedures does not make these postponements any less distressing.

As health care professionals, we recognize that the postponement of these essential surgeries can take a dangerous mental health toll on our patients, many of whom have waited years and gone through a long--and often painful--process in order to finally get them scheduled. We want to be sure that our patients know that we are still here for them during this stressful and painful time. If you or a loved one has had gender-affirming care postponed due to COVID-19, you are not alone.

Our Center for Transgender Medicine & Surgery at Boston Medical Center is still fielding phone calls, conducting telemedicine visits and managing hormone therapy. We do not know of any shortages of hormone therapy at this time, and we ask that patients do not "stock up" or "hoard" medications as that could potentially lead to a temporary shortage. We need to look out for each other and be sure that everyone is getting the care they can at this time -- so please reach out to your trans siblings to let them know they are supported and loved.

If you are struggling, please find some resources below. And please reach out to your doctor or local LGBTQ center for any personal questions:

HRC Resources:

  • HRC’s COVID-19 Resources (click here)
  • Direct Online and Phone Support Services for LGBTQ Youth (click here)
  •  Healthcare Equality Index: List of LGBTQ-friendly hospitals (click here)

 External Resources:

  • The National Center for Transgender Equality has an information and resource page called The Coronavirus (COVID 19): What Trans People Need To Know. (click here
  • The LGBT Cancer Network has an information and resource page called CoronaVirus Information. (click here)
  • Fenway Health has an information and resource page called COVID-19 Information  (click here) , they also have a information packet called COVID-19 and Considerations for People Living with HIV and LGBTQIA+ People (click here)
  • The CDC has a website for COVID-19 information, resources, and guidelines. (click here)

Mental Health:

  • Mental Health America has a list of COVID-19 resources (click here) 
  • Trans Lifeline provides a peer support hotline and grants for trans people in need. You can call their hotline at 877-565-8860. (click here)
  • Trevor Project (click here) provides access to counselors to youth by phone call (1-866-488-7386), online chat, or text (text START to 678678). They also have an online community for LGBTQ youth ages 13-24.
  • SAGE runs a National LGBT Elder Hotline that provides crisis response and helps connect people with community resources. Call their hotline at 877-360-LGBT and request to speak to someone in either English or Spanish. (click here)
  • Fenway Health runs an LGBT Helpline and a Peer Listening Line, which people can call from across the country. Call 888-340-4528 for adults 25+. Call 800-399-PEER for those under age 25. (click here)
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (click here) or call at 800-273-8255.
  • CenterLink provides a directory of LGBT community centers. (click here)
    • Note: do not walk into a community center if you are sick or have been exposed. Call them and ask if there are virtual support groups. 
  • The Grayken Center for Addiction at Boston Medical Center has a website page for COVID-19 recovery resources. (click here)
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) has a Disaster Distress Helpline, call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
  •  LGBTQ National Help Center provides peer-support, community connections and resource information to the LGBT community. They have multiple hotlines and chat rooms. (click here)
  • Crisis Textline that provides crisis resources, and where you can text or message a crisis counselor about COVID-19. (click here)
  •  The Association of LGBTQ Psychiartrists (click here) is a community of psychiatrists that advocates on LGBTQ mental health issues. They have a directory to search for psychiatrists. (click here
  • National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network provides mental health resources for queer and trans people of color. (click here)
  • Talkspace (click here) and Better Help (click here) are both online therapy platforms, each have searches where you can find therapists providing LGBT care.
  • Pride Counselling connects you with licensed therapists online who specialize in the LGBT community. (click here

Medical:

  • The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has a map of community health centers you can search. (click here to find a local one)
    • Note: Do not just walk into a community health center - make sure you call ahead.
  • GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality has trans specific resources about health care. (click here)
  • Point of Pride created these information slides about navigating COVID-19 and chest binding. (click here)

Mutual Aid Resources: 

  • Mutual Aid Hub is a map of member-led groups providing resources and aid to community members around the country. (click here to find a local one)
    • This is a database of localized resources, including many mutual aid resources. (click here)
  • Collective Care provides a database of mutual aid resources and information. (click here)

Housing:

  • If you experience trans discrimination in relief shelters and services call the contacts below.
    • Lambda Legal National Help Desk, toll free: (866) 542-8336
    • FEMA Hotline: (800) 621-3362 
    • Equal Access for Transgender People: A Guide for Shelters (click here) 
    • The Centers for Disease Control provides resources to support people experiencing homelessness. (click here)
  • Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association provides updates (click here) and resources (click here) around affordable housing and other social services for people living in Massachusetts.

Trump & Pence Ignoring Disproportionate Impacts Of COVID-19

Human Rights Campaign - Fri, 04/03/2020 - 16:12

The federal government is failing to address or even acknowledge the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people of color and the LGBTQ community. Instead, they have limited access to health care by refusing to reopen the ACA exchanges and spouted untruth after untruth about the crisis. Trump, Pence and our entire federal government are failing us. 

In Michigan, African Americans account for 35% of confirmed cases and 40% of deaths despite only representing 14% of the state population

Detroit Free Press: African Americans lead in coronavirus cases, deaths in Michigan

Bridge Michigan: Black communities hit harder by coronavirus in Michigan, not just Detroit

The disproportionate impacts on people of color are being seen nationwide

ProPublica: Early Data Shows African Americans Have Contracted and Died of Coronavirus at an Alarming Rate

Rolling Stone: New Map Shows COVID-19 Is Hitting People of Color Hardest

BET: Philadelphia Sees Disproportionate Number Of Coronavirus Postives Among Black Population

LGBTQ people are also particularly at risk of contracting and having bad outcomes

NY Daily News: Coronavirus crisis puts many in LGBTQ community at ‘increased risk’ according to new report

The Grio: LGBTQ community uniquely impacted by COVID-19, research shows

The Hill: How the coronavirus presents a unique threat to the LGBTQ+ community

While Trump, Pence and their administration are failing to address the topic, Leaders in Congress are bringing it much needed attention

Black Enterprise: Democratic lawmakers want to collect racial data on virus testing in the wake of COVID-19

Sen. Kamala Harris: Harris, Lawmakers Urge HHS to Address Racial Disparities in Access to Testing and Treatment during the Coronavirus Pandemic


HRC Hosts Virtual Social Hour in Mississippi

Human Rights Campaign - Fri, 04/03/2020 - 13:06

HRC volunteers in Mississippi organized a virtual social hour for members and supporters on April 2. Joined by HRC Mississippi staff, this was an opportunity to hear what HRC is up to these days and to connect with like-minded folks from around the state.

“The virtual happy hour was a great opportunity to bring people together from across the state and create community during these difficult times,” said HRC Mississippi volunteer leader and Federal Club member Justin Kelly. “I hope we can continue to grow our group and maybe even make some new connections along the way.”

As COVID-19 sweeps the world, hundreds of thousands of people have contracted the virus, and every community has been affected. The LGBTQ community in the U.S. — along with many communities around the globe — will face unique challenges due to its economic and health care situations.

HRC is committed to continue connecting with our members and supporters in Mississippi in an effort to provide support and encourage each other in our shared work for full equality in our state.

We look forward to future virtual social hours until we are able to see each other in person.  

Take a look at HRC’s issue brief, “The Lives and Livelihoods of Many in the LGBTQ Community are at Risk Amidst COVID-19,” now.


#AM_Equality: April 3, 2020

Human Rights Campaign - Fri, 04/03/2020 - 10:31

HRC RESPONDS TO FDA’S UPDATED SO-CALLED BLOOD BAN: According to the updated policy, the FDA has shortened the deferral policy for men who have sex with men (MSM) from 12 months to three months. “While this change by the FDA is a step in the right direction, it still bases itself in bias rather than science. This is progress from the FDA. But our work is not yet done,” said HRC President Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid). “This announcement by the FDA reduces the waiting period of time to 3 months and shrinks its untenable, virtual ‘ban’ on blood donations for gay and bi+ men.  But creating policy based on identity as opposed to risk is irrational and given the current COVID-19 crisis, it is more critical than ever to prioritize science and facts over fear and bias.” More from HRC, Washington Blade and BuzzFeed.

  • Alongside Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), HRC held a virtual press conference on the decision. Watch here.
  • Prior to this announcement, HRC called on the FDA to make swift changes to its antiquated policy regarding blood donations from MSM. More from HRC.

BREAKING: @US_FDA is changing the blood donation deferral period from 12 to 3 months for gay & bi+ men. Although this is a step forward that will slightly increase the pool of potential donors during the #COVID19 pandemic, more needs to be done.

— Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) April 2, 2020

TRUMP ADMIN REFUSES TO REOPEN ACA MARKETPLACE: Said HRC President Alphonso David: “Over 20 million Americans and almost one-in-five LGBTQ people lack health coverage. By not reopening the ACA exchange, Trump is making the LGBTQ community, and every marginalized community across this nation, more vulnerable to the virus. Yet again, Trump has failed us when we needed presidential leadership most Americans need the exchange reopened, President Trump must act now.” More from HRC.

FRIDAY PRIDE-DAY -- LGBTQ PRIDES ACROSS THE GLOBE TEAM UP TO HOST A VIRTUAL PRIDE IN JUNE: While the full event is still in the planning stages, the organizers of more than 800 Pride events affected by COVID-19 are working together to create a global, digital Pride event. More from Reuters.

HRC MOURNS TARACH MA NIALLAIS, LGBTQ ADVOCATE LOST TO COVID-19: More from Irish Central.

FATHER JAMES MARTIN ON BRIDGING THE GAP FOR LGBTQ PEOPLE OF FAITH: More from HRC.

IN THE STATES 

CALIFORNIA STUDY ON LGBTQ ELDERS AND COVID-19: More from The Pride LA.

  • HRC Foundation and Advocates and Services for LGBT Elders (SAGE) have released a new resource that explains the reasons why LGBTQ older adults are particularly vulnerable during the COVID-19 health crisis and helps to ensure they are getting the care they need. More from HRC.

LOCAL LGBTQ COMMUNITIES STRUGGLING AND FINDING COMMUNITY DURING COVID-19: Check out how communities and New Jersey and Louisville, KY are handling the pandemic.

EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF MISSOURI NAMES FIRST-EVER OPENLY LGBTQ BISHOP: The Rev. Deon Johnson, an openly gay man, officially will become the 11th bishop of the diocese when he is consecrated on June 13. More from St. Louis Public Radio.

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

QUEER ICONS TEAM UP FOR FUNDRAISER TO HELP THEATRE COMMUNITY DURING COVID-19: Those involved include Tessa Thompson (@TessaThompson_x) and Michael Urie (@michaelurie). Get the exclusive from Variety.

  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson (@jessetyler) and Zachary Quinto (@ZacharyQuinto) will livestream a reading of Terrence McNally’s play Lips Together, Teeth Apart to honor the late gay playwright and raise funds for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund. More from Advocate.

GIVE YOUR QUARANTINE MEALS A QUEER EYE MAKEOVER WITH ANTONI! More from Metro.

        View this post on Instagram                  

EP#5: Cooped Up Chicken ��. The chicken may be cage-free but we sure aren’t ��. Chicken, literally any kind, beans, also literally any kind and other goodies make a meal. Donate if you can to @feedingamerica link in bio ❤️

A post shared by Antoni Porowski (@antoni) on Mar 20, 2020 at 12:45pm PDT

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

IN FIRST ACT FOLLOWING POWER GRAB, HUNGARY PRIME MINISTER ATTACKS TRANS COMMUNITY: Viktor Orban’s administration introduced a bill to replace “gender” with “birth sex” on all legal documents within hours of him being granted the ability to make decisions without consulting other lawmakers. More from Pink News and Reuters.

ALL PLAINTIFFS APPEAL FOLLOWING HIGH COURT OF SINGAPORE’S DISMISSAL OF THREE CHALLENGES TO BAN ON SAME-SEX RELATIONS BETWEEN MEN: More from Channel News Asia.

NEW DUTCH STUDY SHOWS REPORTS OF ANTI-LGBTQ DISCRIMINATION IN SCHOOLS HAS RISEN OVER PAST FIVE YEARS: More from NL Times.

READING RAINBOW - Bookmark now to read on your lunch break!

Nerdist celebrates queer love stories in film and TV

Have news? Send us your news and tips at AMEquality@hrc.org. Click here to subscribe to #AM_Equality and follow @HRC for all the latest news. Thanks for reading!


Trump, Allies Out-of-Step with U.S. Catholic Voters

Human Rights Campaign - Thu, 04/02/2020 - 19:02

Trump’s campaign will announce his “Catholics for Trump” coalition -- elevating extremists and cementing himself and his campaign as out of step with modern Catholic voters. 

U.S. Catholics are more likely to support LGBTQ rights than the average American largely due to Catholic values of inclusion and justice 

PRRI: 72% of white Catholics and 71% of Hispanic Catholics support LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections versus 69% of all Americans 

PRRI: 68% of Catholics describe themselves as “more supportive” of transgender rights versus 62% of all Americans

Throughout his administration, Trump has elevated Catholic anti-equality extremists:

C-Fam’s Austin Ruse

Austin Ruse said “sexual orientation and gender identity is code for odious sexual behavior and gender lunacy” [Reuters]

Ruse said that Matthew Shepard’s death was a convenient excuse for supporters of “the gay agenda” to pass LGBTQ-friendly policies. [Media Matters]

The Trump Administration invited Ruse’s organization, C-Fam, to be part of the U.S. delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women. [The Guardian

American Principles Project’s Sean Fieler:

Fieler said “The problem with gay marriage...is it promotes a very harmful myth about the gay lifestyle. It suggests that gay relationships lend themselves to monogamy, stability, health and parenting in the same way heterosexual relationships do. That’s not true.” [New York Times]

Fieler said “unlike the gay lifestyle, the transgender lifestyle has not been, and perhaps never can be, normalized.” [Daily Signal]

Fieler’s company was awarded a federal grant by the Trump Administration to promote an app that sowed doubt about contraception. [The Guardian]

Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjorie Dannenfelser

Marjorie Dannenfelser was on the board of anti-LGBTQ SPLC-designated Hate Group Alliance Defending Freedom. [ADF

Dannenfelser applauded the administration for allowing medical providers to deny lifesaving care to LGBTQ people. [Reuters

Dannenfelser worked with Mike Pence on the Trump administration's failed campaign to repeal Obamacare and make it harder for LGBTQ people to gain access to affordable health care. [Reuters]


HRC Responds to FDA’s Updated Policy on So-Called Blood Ban

Human Rights Campaign - Thu, 04/02/2020 - 14:07

Today, HRC responded to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) announcement that it was updating its antiquated policy regarding blood donations from men who have sex with men (MSM). According to the updated policy, the FDA has shortened the deferral policy for MSM from 12 months to three months.

“While this change by the FDA is a step in the right direction, it still bases itself in bias rather than science. This is progress from the FDA. But our work is not yet done,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “This announcement by the FDA reduces the waiting period of time to 3 months and shrinks its untenable, virtual ‘ban’ on blood donations for gay and bi+ men.  But creating policy based on identity as opposed to risk is irrational and given the current COVID-19 crisis, it is more critical than ever to prioritize science and facts over fear and bias.”

Earlier this morning, in a letter to the FDA, HRC once again urged the agency to make swift changes to this policy in the face of COVID-19 that is based on risk not status.  Due to the virus, more than 4,000 blood drives have been canceled since mid-March. 

“At no time in our nation’s history has it been more critical to prioritize science and facts over fear and bias,” David said this morning.  “Our response will define us for generations. As the global pandemic wears on, the integrity and safety of the blood supply in this country must be preserved, strengthened, and maintained. Continuing to enforce the de facto prohibition on blood donation by sexually active gay and bisexual men does not reflect the best science available. We must right this wrong now and without delay.” 

The Human Rights Campaign has repeatedly asked for changes to the federal policy on blood donations, since the FDA adopted its initial, discriminatory policy in 1983. Ten years ago in 2010, HRC renewed its call to change the policy to be more fully inclusive of LGBTQ Americans. In 2015, following a new change to the policy that required MSM to be abstinent for a year, HRC again affirmed that this approach was unacceptable.


HRC Responds to Trump Refusing to Reopen Obamacare Exchanges

Human Rights Campaign - Thu, 04/02/2020 - 10:36

Today, HRC responded to the Trump administration’s decision against reopening the Affordable Care Act’s Healthcare.gov marketplaces to new customers despite millions of Americans living without health insurance during a global pandemic.

"Our country is in crisis. Americans are finding themselves jobless, lying awake at night trying to find ways to make ends meet and put food on their tables. The last thing people should worry about in a pandemic is access to health care,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Over 20 million Americans and almost one-in-five LGBTQ people lack health coverage. By not reopening the ACA exchange, Trump is making the LGBTQ community, and every marginalized community across this nation, more vulnerable to the virus. Yet again, Trump has failed us when we needed presidential leadership most. Americans need the exchange reopened, President Trump must act now.”

Last month, HRC released a research brief highlighting the fact that LGBTQ people are more vulnerable to the health risks of the virus. They are less likely to have health coverage, are more likely to smoke and have asthma, and have a variety of chronic illnesses:

  • 17% of LGBTQ people lack health coverage;
  • One in five LGBTQ people have not seen a doctor when they needed to because they couldn’t afford it;
  • 37% of LGBTQ adults smoke every day compared to 27% of non-LGBTQ people;
  • 21% of LGBTQ people have asthma, compared to 14% of non-LGBTQ people;

LGBTQ people are more likely to work jobs in highly affected industries, often with more exposure and/or higher economic sensitivity to the COVID-19 crisis:

  • One in five LGBTQ people live in poverty and 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ;
  • The top 5 industries that LGBTQ adults work in are industries heavily impacted by COVID-19, affecting more than 5 million LGBTQ workers or 40% of LGBTQ workers (compared to 22% of non-LGBTQ individuals working in those industries);
  • A disproportionate number of LGBTQ people work in restaurants (15%) compared to their non-LGBTQ peers (6%) and the median wage in 2018 for food preparation and service occupations is $11.09 per hour;
  • Only 29% of respondents to HRC Foundation’s 2018 LGBTQ Paid Leave Survey said their employer offers paid leave specifically for medical reasons and that they were eligible to use it.

Further, given the severity of this pandemic, HRC has taken steps to protect the health and safety of our staff, members, volunteers, supporters and all those who are fighting so hard to advance equality and build a better world for all of us. Specifically, HRC will, among other things, cancel or postpone all of our public events, including our gala dinners. Find a full list of all of HRC’s efforts and resources at this link. Read the full brief here.


Bridging the Gap: Finding Support for LGBTQ People in the Gospels

Human Rights Campaign - Thu, 04/02/2020 - 10:18

Lent is a time of reflection and contemplation, a time when many Christians think about ways that they can become closer to God and to each other. To mark the season this year, HRC Religion and Faith Program Director Michael Vazquez sat down with Jesuit Priest and Editor-at-Large of America Media, Father James Martin. 

Father Martin began his ministry to LGBTQ Catholics after the tragic shooting at Pulse that claimed 49 lives, most of them LGBTQ and Latinx, in June 2016. Since then, he has made it a priority to connect with and advocate for LGBTQ Catholics to ensure they feel welcome in the Church, and to encourage other non-LGBTQ people in the Church to do the same. During the conversation, Vazquez and Father Martin discussed stories in the Gospels that support LGBTQ inclusion in the church, and what Father Martin imagines as the future of the Catholic Church and LGBTQ people. 

Below are excerpts from their conversation. More of their exchange can be read here, and HRC will share a video covering more of the discussion as Lent continues. 

What do you recommend for LGBTQ people who are looking to come home to the Church?

Continue to look for a place where you feel welcome. There are changes happening. If you’re in a big city and you’re an LGBT person, you might have five or six parishes to choose from. If you’re in a smaller town or if you have an [anti-LGBT] pastor, you might feel really on the outs, but the key is to remember that you are just as much a part of the church as anybody else, and to keep looking for a place where you feel welcome. 

In so many of the Gospel stories, Jesus is basically saying to people, look, there’s no us and them. There’s just us... There's no one who should be shut out. It’s all about bringing people in. I think that’s a message that the whole church needs to hear. 

One of those stories is the story of the woman at the well. What other Gospel stories compel folks to love the LGBTQ community and to support them?

The man born blind is another great Gospel story to meditate on. Jesus is going through Jericho and he sees a man and he says, “What do you want me to do for you?” And [the man] says, “I want to see.” And Jesus gives him his sight back. I think there's a deeper meaning in that story, which is that Jesus asked the man what he wants. 

I was talking to a transgender person who said to me, we know our needs better than anyone else. And so, rather than kind of imposing things, or preaching about them, or issuing condemnations or statements about them, why not ask them what they want and what they need? 

What can I do for you? What do you want me to do for you? It’s a really important spiritual question for people.

Another of those stories is the story of Lazarus -- tell us a little about Lazarus, too. 

The story of Lazarus, I think, is my favorite Gospel story so I could talk about it for a long time, but I think one of the most obvious parts of the Lazarus story is Jesus saying to Lazarus, “Come out.” So many wonderful metaphors... Let's say for the young kid who was trying to understand himself, to hear God say, “Come out.” … Christ calls [LGBTQ people] back into the community and back into life. 

What do you imagine as the future of the Catholic Church?

The trend that more and more Catholics are coming out in their families is just going to make the Church change, because as more and more Catholics come out, more and more families are changed. As more and more families are changed, more and more parishes are changed all over the world. And as more and more parishes are changed, more and more bishops are changed and dioceses are changed. And so it's just happening. 

Faith is a core part of civic life. Around the world, people look to their faith as a source of guidance, a source of hope and a source of inspiration. LGBTQ people, as well as our families, friends and allies, are no different. The HRC Foundation Religion and Faith Program is working to build a world where LGBTQ people of faith are celebrated for every part of who they are, while fighting to ensure that religion is not used as a weapon of hate and discrimination. Thanks to the work that’s being done by HRC and by countless others, faith communities around the world have grown to become increasingly more welcoming, inclusive and affirming of the LGBTQ community and our right to equality. Learn more here

For Lent, check out HRC’s Lenten Devotional campaign, which honors and celebrates the ways that religion and faith unite us -- in our places of worship and in our communities. 


#AM_Equality: April 2, 2020

Human Rights Campaign - Thu, 04/02/2020 - 10:13

ICYMI -- HRC RESEARCH BRIEF ON THE UNIQUE VULNERABILITIES OF THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS: The research brief outlined health and economic risks facing the LGBTQ community. “We are facing a global public health crisis, and as in all emergencies, the most marginalized are at increased risk,” said HRC President Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid). “It is important to know and understand the unique impact of the virus on the LGBTQ community so that we can prepare to weather this crisis as we have weathered crises before -- by uniting as a community and helping those in greatest need.” More from HRC and Blavity.

  • Meet the trans woman running Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 response: Dr. Rachel Levine (@SecretaryLevine) is the commonwealth’s Secretary of Health. More from Dawn Ennis (@lifeafterdawn) at Forbes.

NEW HRC VIDEO -- SNL’S  BOWEN YANG ACCEPTS HRC VISIBILITY AWARD:  Yang shares a great message on encouraging LGBTQ people to embrace their authentic selves during his acceptance speech. Watch here.

As one of @nbcsnl’s openly gay and the first Chinese-American cast member, Bowen Yang is inspiring generations to come. We were proud to honor him with the @HRC Visibility Award in February for his work encouraging LGBTQ people everywhere to embrace their authentic selves. ���� pic.twitter.com/lBHP5369EO

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 1, 2020

THANKFUL THURSDAY -- DESPITE SOCIAL DISTANCING, LGBTQ PEOPLE ARE CREATING COMMUNITY AND COMING TOGETHER DIGITALLY: “The LGBTQ community, in particular, has an experience of needing to connect using the internet, when there oftentimes aren’t other options,” said Michael Vazquez (@mvsebastian), HRC’s religion and faith program director. “We are also uniquely positioned in a way to engage in digital work because the LGBTQ community has such a long experience having to mobilize this way.” More from NBC.

  • Check out how the Wisconsin LGBTQ community is turning online during these times from Shepherd Express.
  • On TikTok, users are hosting drag shows from their homes -- highlighting their charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent through social media. More from BuzzFeed.

"Just because people are stuck at home does not mean that our activism stops." - @AlphonsoDavid

Read more about how we're expanding our digital footprint, from virtual interfaith engagement to mobilizing Equality Voters across the country.https://t.co/ZN1fjPB7Co

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 1, 2020

INCLUSION IN CHILD WELFARE DURING COVID-19: Social distancing requires new strategies for client engagement and creates new opportunities to ensure clients access services without encountering challenges related to their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Learn more from HRC’s All Children-All Families team here. More from Wisconsin Gazette.

TOMORROW -- HRC TEXAS STATE DIRECTOR JOINS MOVE TEXAS FOR A DISCUSSION ABOUT SOCIAL DISTANCING AND THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY:

Another week of #SocialDistancing means another week of MOVE University LIVE from our living rooms to yours. This week, we're joined by @_RebeccaMarques, Texas State Director for @HRC to talk about the state of LGBTQIA+ rights in the lone star state.

--> https://t.co/weUgRRc9aR pic.twitter.com/VievHT5u0g

— MOVE Texas (@MOVE_texas) March 31, 2020

CELEBRATING THE BI+ TRANS COMMUNITY: About half of transgender people describe their sexual orientation as bi+. More from HRC.

TRANSGENDER MAN NAMED SOCIAL WORKER OF THE YEAR: Zander Keig of Jacksonville, Florida, has been named Social Worker of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers. More from Dallas Voice.

SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER RELEASES REPORT DOCUMENTING U.S. BASED HATE GROUPS IN 2019: While the report details a slight decline in overall groups, there is an increase in white nationalist, anti-LGBTQ and anti-immigrant hate groups. Read the full report here.

NEW RESEARCH SHOWS TRANS COMMUNITY AT HIGHER RISK FOR MENTAL HEALTH DIFFICULTIES; AFFIRMING CARE AND COMMUNITY LOWERS RISKS: More from The Endocrine Society.

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

GAY MAN FROM GHANA GRANTED ASYLUM TO THE U.S. AFTER APPEAL: The man, who was attacked by a group after he was outed as gay, was initially denied asylum because the judge claimed he could “avoid further prosecution back home if he kept his sexuality a secret.” More from U.S. News and World Report.

HRC GLOBAL ALUMNI SHARE HOW THEIR WORK IS CHANGING DURING COVID-19: More from HRC.

“We are working on providing assistance to LGBTIQ refugees who live in Argentina. Most of them have jobs in the informal economy. Due to the forced quarantine, they are not able to work and, as a result, need food assistance.” - @marianoruizrg pic.twitter.com/LgEeToeU6I

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 1, 2020

READING RAINBOW - Bookmark now to read on your lunch break!

Pride highlights five transmasculine figures throughout history; Los Angeles Times looks at a photo series celebrating the Black trans community

Have news? Send us your news and tips at AMEquality@hrc.org. Click here to subscribe to #AM_Equality and follow @HRC for all the latest news. Thanks for reading!


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