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Recent blog articles published by the Human Rights Campaign 2020-02-01T08:00:00-05:00
Updated: 2 hours 50 min ago

HRC Foundation’s 2020 Time to THRIVE Conference Comes to a Close

4 hours 33 min ago

On Sunday, HRC Foundation’s seventh annual Time to THRIVE Conference held in support of LGBTQ youth came to a close after a day of workshops, award honorees, speakers and a musical performance.

HRC presented Upstander Awards to Camika Shelby and Nicole Maines, and Youth Ambassador Nicole Talbot gave a beautiful performance of the song “You Say” to wrap the weekend.

The annual event is held in partnership with the American Counseling Association and the National Education Association, with AT&T, BBVA Compass and Toyota as presenting sponsors. In its seventh year, the HRC Foundation’s premier national event addresses safety, inclusion and well-being for LGBTQ youth, and brings together youth-serving professionals to discuss best practices for working with and caring for LGBTQ youth and their families in schools, community centers, health care settings and beyond.

Following the final morning of breakout workshops, HRC Foundation Board Chair Jodie Patternson kicked off the closing plenary. Patterson is a founding member of HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council and the mother of a trans child.

“This is the very place that changed me…I am encouraged and inspired by your presence here.” - @HRC Foundation Board Chair Jodie Patterson (@jodie_GeorgiaNY) #TimeToTHRIVE pic.twitter.com/athGNQ5zjN

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 16, 2020

Camika Shebly became an advocate and activist after her 15-year-old son Nigel Shelby, who struggled with depression and had also faced homophobic bullying for being gay, died by suicide. She currently serves as a National Black Justice Coalition Black Youth Advocate and Ambassador.

Heartbreaking to hear from Judy and Dennis Shepard and Camika Shelby. Grateful for their efforts to protect LGBTQ youth! From Camika’s acceptance speech: “For Nigel & too many others school was unwelcoming & hostile.” 1/ #TimeToTHRIVE pic.twitter.com/ZLOH2gg3dC

— Tiferet Ani (@tmalkaa) February 16, 2020

“He loved singing, he loved dancing. He recorded himself all the time...He radiated joy.”

We are so proud to present Camika Shelby, who lost her son Nigel to suicide, with an Upstander Award for her incredible advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ youth. #TimeToTHRIVE ���� pic.twitter.com/mV3HA3OMX5

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 16, 2020

Transgender activist and actress Nicole Maines stars as Nia Nal/Dreamer in The CW’s hit series “Supergirl.” Dreamer is the first transgender superhero on television.

        View this post on Instagram                  

Mighty Rebekah and Dreamer! ����‍♀️����‍♀️⁣ ⁣ Congratulations @nicoleamaines on your @humanrightscampaign Upstander Award, from one trans superhero to another... even if I’m @marvel and you’re DC, we gotta stick together! ����⁣ ⁣ #TimeToThrive #MightyRebekah #Dreamer #representationmatters #transisbeautiful #youngactivist #heroproject

A post shared by Rebekah Bruesehoff (@therealrebekah) on Feb 16, 2020 at 9:56am PST

“Family support is crucial—it was my foundation...That is what every parent needs to be responsible for doing: Putting aside their own fears to love & support their kids unconditionally.” - Upstander Award recipient actress & trans advocate @NicoleAMaines ������ #TimeToTHRIVE pic.twitter.com/knor297VAZ

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 16, 2020

Other speakers included Youth Ambassadors Gia Parr, Sam Moehlig, Sameer Jha, Jacob Kanter and MaKayla Humphrey, Executive Director and CEO of the National Association of Secondary School Principals JoAnn Bartoletti, Judy and Dennis Shepard and HRC’s Sarah McBride.

������@HRC Youth Ambassador Nicole Talbot closes out this impactful and inspiring weekend with a beautiful performance of “You Say.” #TimeToTHRIVE pic.twitter.com/fTbOJWdS2z

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 16, 2020         View this post on Instagram                  

Juat showing off a small portion of the pins I've picked up the @humanrightscampaign #timetothrive conference. I have tons of resources to bring back to my school and our GSA. #pride��

A post shared by Laura Gray (@pegasuschick) on Feb 16, 2020 at 5:51am PST

#TimeToTHRIVE has come to a close. It was a very emotional weekend. Hearing stories of hardship & perseverance, rejection & loss is crucial to creating a society that is accepting. Having 1 accepting adult can reduce the risk of a suicide attempt by 40% for #LGBTQ youth

— Charlotte McConnell (@trustinkind) February 16, 2020         View this post on Instagram                  

‪What another incredible year at #TimeToThrive! Thanks @humanrightscampaign and all the other amazing orgs in attendance for the work you do on behalf of LGBTQ youth! ‬

A post shared by ACA (@americancounselingassociation) on Feb 16, 2020 at 9:06am PST

Great discussion to kick off the morning here at #TimeToTHRIVE with @dixierae4 @dm12osu @20Pres @jackryantucker.

Principals set the culture in their building and play a crucial role in ensuring schools are supportive places for LGBTQ students and staff. #principalsadvocate ��️‍�� pic.twitter.com/UsxEaeC9zt

— Greg Waples (@GWaples) February 16, 2020

The @HRC Youth Ambassadors have so much heart! Moving words by Jacob Kantor: “Home is a place where you are cared for and loved. The most solid support & truest home is in yourself. Go find your home & become the hero you once needed.” #TimeToTHRIVE

— Tiferet Ani (@tmalkaa) February 16, 2020

Day Two of HRC Foundation’s 2020 Time to THRIVE Conference Wraps

Sat, 02/15/2020 - 14:22

The second day of HRC Foundation’s seventh annual Time to THRIVE Conference concluded on Saturday after a day full of featured speakers, special guests, breakout workshops, a panel discussion and a film screening.

Time to THRIVE is held in partnership with the American Counseling Association and the National Education Association, with AT&T, BBVA Compass and Toyota as presenting sponsors. In its seventh year, HRC Foundation’s premier national event addresses safety, inclusion and well-being for LGBTQ youth, and brings together youth-serving professionals to discuss best practices for working with and caring for LGBTQ youth and their families in schools, community centers, health care settings and beyond.

.@HRC's seventh annual #TimeToTHRIVE Conference is made possible thanks to our presenting sponsors @ATT, @BBVA_USA and @Toyota. Your support makes a difference in the lives of LGBTQ youth everywhere. �� pic.twitter.com/EwzfAuU4PL

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 15, 2020

During this morning plenary, speakers include Youth Ambassadors Makayla Humphrey, Brooklyn Adele Owen, Nhandi Craig, Joseph Reed Jr., Sean Bender-Prouty and Ace Auker and, Senior Analyst of Corporate Tax Projects and Chair of the Spectrum LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group of Toyota Motor North America Brandon Willingham, HRC Foundation Welcoming School’s Johanna Eager, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of the YMCA of the USA Lynda Gonzales-Chavez, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project Amit Paley, members of HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council Lizette Trujillo and Ashley Rhodes-Courter andExecutive Director of National Parent Teacher Association Nathan Monell.

Moved to tears watching Lynda Gonzales-Chavez, Sr VP/Chief Diversity Officer of the YMCA of the USA - and my hero - speak at plenary session of HRC’s Time to Thrive conference. I could not be more proud to work for this remarkable organization. #ymca #ymcaforall #lgbtq #forall pic.twitter.com/PboJbUstiy

— Mary Capers Bledsoe (@mcbledsoe) February 15, 2020

Human Rights Campaign Youth Ambassadors’ plea to educators, “We need you! We need your support!” Attending Time To Thrive Conference, promoting inclusion, and wellbeing for LGBTQ youth. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/qJ5z7h70ZF

— Maria M. (@mer1mer2) February 15, 2020         View this post on Instagram                  

I’m not crying you are ❤️ parents of #trans and #nonbinary youth standing up for their children and all diverse youth #timetothrive

A post shared by Cathy (@cathyrenna) on Feb 15, 2020 at 6:46am PST

During the lunch plenary, attendees heard from HRC Youth Ambassadors, Nicole Talbot, Zimar Batista, Zimar Batista, Jonathan Leggette and Avi Pacheco, Rep. Angie Craig and CDC Director of the Division of Adolescent and School Health, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention Dr. Kathleen Ethier.

I was honored to speak at #TimeToTHRIVE today, and I’m proud to work with all of you, because when we have a broader range of voices at the table, all of our communities are stronger. https://t.co/X5u3LJLsnE

— Angie Craig (@RepAngieCraig) February 15, 2020

HRC Foundation’s HBCU Program Director Leslie Hall also facilitated a panel discussion about the intersecting identities of LGBTQ people of color with current and former Youth Ambassadors Nakiya Lynch, Nhandi Craig and Joseph Reed Jr., Zoey Luna and Sameer Jha.

.@HRC HBCU Program Director @MrLeslieHall leads a #TimeToTHRIVE panel discussion with HRC Youth Ambassadors on the intersecting identities of LGBTQ people of color. pic.twitter.com/0TeOSm9joJ

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 15, 2020

Throughout the afternoon, attendees took part in breakout workshops before watching a screening of the film, “The Most Dangerous Year” and participating in a Q&A session with the filmmaker and cast members in the evening.

        View this post on Instagram                  

Can. Not. Get. Enough. Of. The. Youth. Voice!!! �������������� Joseph Reed Molly Pinta Savannah Skyler Ashton Mota @humanrightscampaign #TimeToThrive #WelcomingSchools #MightyTeens #YouthVoice #youngpeoplematter #NextGeneration #Advocacy #Equality #YouAreLoved #YouAreEnough #YouthMatter #ProtectTransYouth #Love #Acceptance #SocialWorker

A post shared by Ashley Rhodes-Courter, MSW (@rhodescourter) on Feb 15, 2020 at 7:32am PST

"My identity was not a distraction, homophobia was" - @CraigNhandi speaking about school administrators who told her her sexual orientation was a distraction when she was outed by a classmate #TimeToTHRIVE

— Charlotte McConnell (@trustinkind) February 15, 2020         View this post on Instagram                  

It was a joy to present about the work of Faith, Hope & Love: Building Safer and More Welcoming Congregations for LGBTQ+ Youth at @humanrightscampaign’s #TimeToThrive conference with @therealrebekah and @lee.zandstra. We passionately believe in this work and the importance of people of faith loudly, boldly, and joyfully proclaiming that LGBTQ+ folx are whole and holy... and actively creating affirming faith spaces. Adults who work with LGBTQ+ youth in all disciplines need to be equipped for these conversations and connections to faith spaces. #faithhopeloveNJ #advocateadventures #faithfullyLGBT #affirmingfaith #lgbtqyouth #queervoices #njsynod #elca #lutheran

A post shared by Advocate. Speaker. Writer. (@jamiebruesehoff) on Feb 15, 2020 at 8:51am PST

Being in the room with so many other passionate queer and ally activists and advocates is so wonderful. Knowing there are so many resources and motivated adults out there providing support for queer youth nowadays is so heartwarming and I'm proud to be one of them. #TimeToTHRIVE

— ������ k n c ������ (@kncamb) February 15, 2020

Powerful words from my first session. Spending my weekend learning how to better support our LGBTQ+ students at the Time to THRIVE conference. Thankful to #FCCPS for sending us! ⁦@mehmspic.twitter.com/k7s2HUGhYy

— Alyssa Jacobson (@CounselorAJ) February 15, 2020

HRC Foundation’s 2020 Time to THRIVE Conference Begins

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 21:14

HRC Foundation’s 2020 Time to THRIVE Conference in support of LGBTQ youth kicked off this Friday in Washington, D.C., with an exciting opening reception filled with awards and entertainment.

The annual event is held in partnership with the American Counseling Association and the National Education Association, with AT&T, BBVA Compass and Toyota as presenting sponsors. In its seventh year, HRC Foundation’s premier national event addresses safety, inclusion and well-being for LGBTQ youth, and brings together youth-serving professionals to discuss best practices for working with and caring for LGBTQ youth and their families in schools, community centers, health care settings and beyond.

HRC Time to Thrive Plenary featuring luminaries like Don Lemon, HRC President Alphonso David and beloved activists Judy and Dennis Shepard. Already a huge weekend! #sherrsdc @HRC @ Renaissance Washington, DC… https://t.co/pQH1uiO0st

— Sherri Rase (@SherrRase) February 15, 2020

HRC presented Don Lemon, Sam Long and Jamie Clayton with Upstander Awards during the opening plenary of the conference, and trans advocate and singer and songwriter Shea Diamond closed out the night with a moving performance.

��✨Singer, song writer and trans advocate @iamsheadiamond closed out the first night of #TimeToTHRIVE with a fabulous performance.

We cannot wait for what the rest of the weekend has in store! pic.twitter.com/pzx734grRl

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 15, 2020

Don Lemon, Emmy-winning anchor for CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, came out publicly as gay in his 2011 memoir “Transparent,” and has been an outspoken voice for the LGBTQ community in the media and beyond for many years.

“Yes, I am a journalist. I’m also an American. I’m also gay. I’m also Black...I’ve also struggled like you.”@HRC is proud to present @donlemon with an Upstander Award at our #TimeToTHRIVE Conference ��️‍�� pic.twitter.com/cLWJwwJSG0

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 15, 2020

Sam Long, a transgender high school biology teacher from Colorado, is an advocate for LGBTQ-inclusive curricula in K-12 schools and an expert at developing gender-inclusive biology curricula.

“Trans people can be happy, healthy, normal, extraordinary and complex individuals. That is what young people learn when they see trans adults like me, day after day, in positive roles around them.” - #TimeToTHRIVE Upstander Award recipient Sam Long (@samlong713) pic.twitter.com/95eldYgz4q

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 15, 2020

Jamie Clayton is a transgender actress who currently stars on “The L Word: Generation Q” and is a fierce advocate for the LGBTQ community.

“I know the characters I play matter...Activism can come in many forms.” - @MsJamieClayton, #TimeToTHRIVE Upstander Award honoree ������ pic.twitter.com/7yxEMWG5R0

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 15, 2020

Other speakers included HRC President Alphonso David, HRC Youth Ambassadors Ashton Mota, Savannah Skyler, Molly Pinta, Armando Hernandez, Jr., Nakiya Lynch, Sam Moehlig and Zoey Luna, Chief Executive Officer of the American Counseling Association Rich Yep, Assistant Vice President of Public Affairs and Strategic Alliances at AT&T Scott Sapperstein, Secretary-Treasurer of the National Education Association Princess Moss, Chief Compliance Officer at BBVA Celie Niehaus and activists Judy and Dennis Shepard.

Reading the #TimetoThrive program this morning and getting excited for a weekend full of learning! Can't wait to bring back new research & strategies for supporting LGBTQ youth to @NationalPTA pic.twitter.com/Ii7nSXSdGr

— Rebecca Bauer (@Rebecca_Bauer1) February 14, 2020         View this post on Instagram                  

‪”Think about someone in your life who gave you unconditional support. It’s our job to be that person for every student. It is our job to be that kind, caring, non- judgmental individual for our education colleagues.” @hrc @NEAToday #TimeToTHRIVE‬

A post shared by Princess Moss (@princess_moss) on Feb 14, 2020 at 5:05pm PST

Loved hearing from & celebrating @HRC #Upstander @donlemon at #TimeToTHRIVE: ‘Even if these challenging times, know this - we, will be okay..’ #LGBTQ #inclusion #equity #ThankYouDon #YForAll @GlobalYMCA here in force with 60+ people!! @_MoonlitMystery pic.twitter.com/ooONRNOuDR

— Chad Nico Hiu (@chadnico) February 15, 2020

“Lift others. Those of us with privilege must create space for those with less privileges.” #MollyPinta #pintapride Thank you, Molly! #TimeToTHRIVE #timetothrive2020

— Ms. Rutkowski (@NYAZORteacher) February 15, 2020         View this post on Instagram                  

Slay. #TIMEtoThrive

A post shared by Savannah Skyler (@thesavannahsky) on Feb 14, 2020 at 4:49pm PST


NEW SURVEY RESULTS: Tennesseans Agree that Anti-LGBTQ Legislation is a Waste of Time

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 11:48

Today, HRC released new survey results showing Tennesseans’ broad opposition to anti-LGBTQ legislation in the state’s legislature. 

“For years, a group of extreme lawmakers have been targeting LGBTQ people in Tennessee, spreading misinformation and using vicious, harmful rhetoric while doing so,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “These anti-LGBTQ lawmakers have been trying to use any legislative vehicle possible to target and single out LGBTQ people in Tennessee. Yet, as these new survey results show, most people in Tennessee have no interest in pursuing divisiveness for the sake of divisiveness, and think that anti-LGBTQ bills are a solution in search of a problem. Elected officials should be looking out for all of their constituents, not targeting the most vulnerable among them to appeal to a shrinking population.” 

“The support we receive in cities like Martin, Dickson, Murfreesboro, and Morristown confirms these poll results,” said Chris Sanders, executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project. “Rural and urban voters know that Tennessee can't succeed by stigmatizing LGBTQ people with attack legislation. It's time for the Legislature to put these old battles behind us so we can build our state together.”

Full results here and below. 

On behalf of the Human Rights Campaign, Change Research surveyed 893 likely voters in Tennessee from January 30-31 in order to understand their reaction to the anti-LGBTQ legislative agenda being pushed by state legislators. A majority of voters oppose these anti-LGBTQ bills and support policies that protect the rights of LGBTQ Tennesseans.

  • Voters, including Republicans, are not demanding laws like this, and say legislators are too focused on divisive issues instead of real problems. Just 4% of all voters and 1% of Republicans say that “regulating transgender rights” is among the most important issues for the Tennessee state government to address, the least important policy priority tested. Further, a 62% majority - including majorities of voters across age, race, gender, and education divides - say that “Legislators are too focused on divisive issues and should be focusing on pressing issues that will actually have an impact on Tennesseans, like growing the economy.” 
  • The issue that Tennessee voters prioritize most is healthcare costs (41%), and a 55% majority disapprove of the job Republican leaders in the state are doing handing their #1 issue.
  • Voters decisively reject anti-transgender legislation. Majorities oppose proposed legislation that would discriminate against LGBTQ people, and strong opposition is greater than strong support for each of these policies.
  • Tennessee voters express clear opposition to policies that seek to regulate transgender minors. A 63% majority opposes a medical care ban for transgender minors, and 56% oppose a bill requiring the State Attorney General to defend anti-LGBTQ policies in Tennessee schools. Majorities also reject proposals that would make it legal for Tennesseans to discriminate against LGBTQ people. Six-in-ten voters oppose Tennessee’s new anti-LGBTQ adoption law, with strong opponents outnumbering strong supporters two-to-one. A 56% majority also opposes granting businesses a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people. 
  • Tennesseeans instead support new laws to protect the rights of LGBTQ people and a more inclusive view of society. A 57% majority of Tennessee voters say that “We need to stop stigmatizing transgender people as a society” and majorities support new policies that would protect the rights of transgender people. An overwhelming 72% of voters support “Protecting LGBTQ people against discrimination in the workplace,” and 49% strongly support this. 
  • These divisive, anti-LGBTQ bills reinforce for voters the negative things they think about Tennessee elected officials. A 57% majority disapprove of the job that Governor Lee and Republicans in the State Legislature are doing handling LGBTQ rights and just 26% say those leaders “respect the rights of LGBTQ people.” With voters supporting a more inclusive and less divisive agenda, it is no wonder that just 38% say Governor Lee and state legislators “share my values” and 55% say they are “out of touch.”

#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 14, 2020

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 10:32

HRC RELEASES COMING OUT RESOURCE FOR BLACK LGBTQ PEOPLE: Coming Out: Living Authentically as Black LGBTQ People, a valuable resource for members of the Black LGBTQ community, comes during Black History Month, a time when we recognize and celebrate the long history of Black leadership in the LGBTQ movement. “For those of us who identify as Black and LGBTQ, coming out can present a variety of challenges, and this important resource serves as a guide as we navigate our very personal journeys to living authentically,” said HRC President Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid). “Although we come from a wide range of cultural, regional and ethnic backgrounds, we often share similar experiences -- and barriers -- in coming out.” Find the resource and learn more at HRC

ANTI-LGBTQ BILL PROHIBITING TRANSGENDER STUDENT FROM COMPETING ON TEAMS ALIGNED WITH THEIR GENDER IDENTITY STALLED IN AL HOUSE COMMITTEE: “This bill... is discriminating plain and simple,” said HRC Alabama State Director Carmarion Anderson. “Transgender people are people. Transgender men are men. Transgender women are women. This bill is misguided and regional stigma, discrimination and misinformation about who transgender youth are.” More from WTVM and AL.com.

NBC HONORS BLACK HISTORY MONTH WITH LGBTQ TRAILBLAZERS, NAMES HRC PRESIDENT ALPHONSO DAVID, BAYARD RUSTIN, LORI LIGHTFOOT AMONG LIST OF HISTORY-MAKING PIONEERS: From 1960s civil rights activist Bayard Rustin to Chicago’s first Black woman and LGBTQ mayor Lori Lightfoot (@LightfootForChi), Black LGBTQ Americans have long made history with innumerable contributions to politics, art, medicine and many other fields. More from Gwen Aviles (@gwenfaviles) and Ariel Jao (@arieljao) at NBC.

FEEL-GOOD FRIDAY -- SIX YEARS AGO TODAY, ACTRESS AND ADVOCATE ELLEN PAGE (@EllenPage) CAME OUT AT HRC’S TIME TO THRIVE CONFERENCE: The seventh annual Time to THRIVE Conference starts today in Washington, D.C. Learn more here

As we celebrate #ValentinesDay and kick off @HRC's seventh annual #TimeToTHRIVE Conference, take a look back at @EllenPage's inspirational speech from our inaugural conference when she came out publicly on Feb. 14, 2014. ❤️������������ pic.twitter.com/bB3mIsaFSx

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 14, 2020

HRC’S NICOLE COZIER SPEAKS ON THE IMPACT OF DWYANE WADE SUPPORTING HIS 12-YEAR-OLD TRANS DAUGHTER: “Dwayne Wade did exactly what we want parents and advocates to do which is loving his daughter unconditionally, presenting his daughter in her authenticity unapologetically,” said HRC’s Senior Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Nicole Cozier. More from Tobias Rodriguez (@tobiasjroad) at ABC7

"@DwyaneWade did exactly what we want parents and advocates to do, which is loving his daughter unconditionally." @HRC’s Nicole Cozier spoke with @ABC7News about the beautiful message of love and acceptance Wade has displayed for his trans daughter. pic.twitter.com/Ljh7cyu94M

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 14, 2020

ALLEGHENY COUNTY, P.A. CITY COUNCIL APPROVE BAN PROTECTING LGBTQ YOUTH AGAINST SO-CALLED “CONVERSION THERAPY”:  “[T]his measure before us today is about bringing to an end, as a matter of law, a harmful and discredited practice, [and] it is also about preserving human dignity,” said Councilor Paul Klein, the bill’s sponsor. More from Hannah Lynn (@hanfranny) at Pittsburgh City Paper.  

USA TODAY’S SUSAN MILLER WRITES THAT PROGRESS TOWARD LGBTQ EQUALITY ‘IS A JAGGED LINE’: Miller (@susmiller) discusses significant breakthroughs and ongoing challenges toward LGBTQ equality in the past decade, from banning so-called “conversion therapy” to protect LGBTQ youth to pushing back against anti-LGBTQ legislation across various states. “Progress is ‘a jagged line,’” Miller writes. “There’s backlash, but sometimes it’s like a rubber band. And we emerge from that backlash, growing much further.” More from USA Today.

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

NEW DOCUSERIES VISIBLE: OUT ON TELEVISION HIGHLIGHTS LGBTQ REPRESENTATION IN AMERICAN TELEVISION: “Like any good story, [Visible] has heroes, villains, triumphs, obstacles, conflict, and catharsis,” writes Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya. “It contains many messages at once, but there’s one that stands out across it all: Television still needs more LGBTQ stories, and it needs LGBTQ people creating them.” Visible: Out On Television is a new five-part docuseries from Apple TV+. More from Upadhyaya (@KaylaKumari) at The AV Club.

REFINERY29 SHARES A LIST OF THE MOST UNFORGETTABLE QUEER LOVE STORIES IN FILM: Check out the list from Elena Nicolaou (@elenawonders) from Refinery29.
GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

YOUNG LGBTQ PEOPLE IN VIETNAM FACING STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION, TAUGHT BEING LGBTQ IS A “DISEASE”: Advocates are calling on the Vietnamese government to take action to promote LGBTQ equality. “We need stronger steps from the government to tackle discrimination and create a safe and inclusive educational environment for our youth,” said director Ngo Le Phuong Linh of the ICS Centre, an advocacy rights group in Vietnam. More from Kate Hodal (@katehodal) at The Guardian

  • Human Rights Watch’s new report Vietnam: LGBT Youth Unprotected documents how pervasive myths about sexual orientation and gender identity in Vietnam contribute to violence and discrimination.

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 Releases Coming Out Resource for Black LGBTQ People

Thu, 02/13/2020 - 10:48

Today, HRC released Coming Out: Living Authentically as Black LGBTQ People, a resource for members of the Black LGBTQ community. The launch of this valuable resource comes during Black History Month, a time when we recognize and celebrate the long history of Black leadership in the LGBTQ movement, including the ways in which Black LGBTQ and allied trailblazers have been and remain at the center of the fight for equality.

“For those of us who identify as Black and LGBTQ, coming out can present a variety of challenges, and this important resource serves as a guide as we navigate our very personal journeys to living authentically,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Although we come from a wide range of cultural, regional and ethnic backgrounds, we often share similar experiences -- and barriers -- in coming out. But, as demonstrated time and time again by Black leaders who have always been at the front of the struggle for LGBTQ equality, we know how important it is to live as our true selves, and have our full stories told and contributions recognized.”

This HRC Foundation resource details the unique experiences of Black people when considering coming out, including grappling with faith traditions and teachings that may condemn or reject LGBTQ identities. The resource also details the ways in which Black culture and history are also inextricably tied to queer identities throughout history. The resource also discusses the ways in which Black LGBTQ people must contend with the realities of systemic racism and anti-Blackness that influence all facets of their daily lives -- including their LGBTQ identities.

“For my transgender son and for each of us, coming out and living our full identities is a process that can’t be measured,” said HRC Foundation Board of Directors Co-Chair Jodie Patterson. “But as leaders of our families, parents need to be equipped with information, understanding and a language that fits the current time. For years I stumbled, trying to grasp fundamental facts about my own transgender son. I thought being black and trans was a super wicked problem. Now I understand it to be powerful. This is the exact guide I would write -- years later with all the love and experience I’ve earned.”

The release of this guide comes just before the HRC Foundation’s seventh annual Time to THRIVE Conference kicks off on February 14 in Washington, D.C. Time to THRIVE is the HRC Foundation’s premier gathering for educators, counselors and other youth-serving professionals, bringing together these experts to discuss best practices for working with and caring for LGBTQ youth and their families in schools, community centers, health care settings and beyond. The Conference also features HRC’s Youth Ambassadors, who represent the HRC Foundation by using their voices and experiences to raise awareness about the most pressing concerns facing LGBTQ youth and HRC’s programs that promote well-being for LGBTQ youth.

“When I was coming out, I didn’t have a guide to tell me that there was more than one way to be Black and queer,” said HRC Youth Ambassador Nakiya Lynch. “It’s important that Black LGBTQ youth know that they can be who they are without sacrificing either identity, and still be valid. I’m so glad they can have guidance that’s actually applicable to their experience!”

After coming out, some LGBTQ people report that they are able to better communicate with their family and friends, leading to stronger relationships and greater mutual understanding. While many Black LGBTQ people have similarities in their coming out journeys, no two coming out experiences are identical. This guide serves as a place to begin exploring the process.


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 13, 2020

Thu, 02/13/2020 - 10:18

VIRGINIA LGBTQ CIVIL RIGHTS BILL COULD BE BLUEPRINT FOR LGBTQ PROTECTIONS IN THE SOUTH: Last Thursday, the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates approved a landmark bill that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes in areas including housing, employment and public accommodation. “When I first got here, we had people who were hostile to LGBTQ people, then we had people who were personally very welcoming,” said Virginia State Senator Adam Ebbin (@AdamEbbin). “Now we’ve gotten to the point where people not only have relationships with LGBTQ people, but they know it’s the right thing to do. They don’t want to be left behind by history.” More from Nico Lang (@Nico_Lang) at Vox

Virginia is charting a course for other states to follow. This progress is testament to the power of elections and the need for all LGBTQ people and our allies to mobilize, organize and VOTE. https://t.co/JOkVA1S1XS

— Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) February 12, 2020

DWYANE WADE CHANGES LIVES BY SUPPORTING HIS TRANSGENDER DAUGHTER: “He’ll likely even save some of their lives,” writes USA Today’s Nancy Armour (@nrarmour) on the powerful impact Wade and Gabrielle Union will make by simply loving and unconditionally supporting their 12-year-old daughter Zaya. Said HRC President Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid): “They’re not tolerating their child. They’re embracing and loving their child for being who their child is.” Read more from Nancy Armour at USA Today.

  • “This is such a teaching moment”:  Jodie Patterson (@jodie_GeorgiaNY), HRC Foundation Board Co-Chair and Founding Member of the Parents for Trangender Equality Council, shared a message of support to LGBTQ parents on NBC. “Just take a deep breath and listen, really immerse yourself in the world that your child is in so that you can be in the same world.” More on NBC.

THANKFUL THURSDAY -- DWYANE WADE’S SON ZAIRE WRITES HEARTFELT POST SUPPORTING HIS SISTER AND BEST FRIEND ZAYA: “I don’t care what they think Z, you are my best friend and I love you kid, and if it means anything, just know there’s no love lost on this side,” reads his Instagram post. Read more from Today.

NEW REPUBLIC REPORTS ON THE ONGOING LEGISLATIVE ATTACKS ON TRANS YOUTH ACROSS COUNTRY: While H.B. 1057, a bill that would have criminalized doctors for providing trans-affirming health care to trans youth, failed in a South Dakota Senate Committee, eight other states have filed version of the same legislation.  “We’re seeing that some of these bills have marginally different pieces—be it in the language of the law or the enforcement mechanisms,” said HRC’s Nick Morrow (@NRMorrow), describing it as a “spaghetti at the wall” approach to see what type of anti-LGBTQ legislation sticks. Read more from Sydney Bauer (@femme_thoughts) in the New Republic.

NY GOV. CUOMO LAUNCHES “LOVE MAKES A FAMILY” CAMPAIGN TO LEGALIZE SURROGACY FOR LGBTQ INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES: More from WRGB.

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

ASIAN STONEWALL UK SPORTS CHAMPION AMBASSADOR AMAZIN LETHI (@amazinlethi) TALKS ABOUT IMPROVING ASIAN AND LGBTQ REPRESENTATION IN SPORTS: More from Gay Times.

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

ANNUAL LGBTQ REPORT SHOWS RISE IN ANTI-LGTBQ HATE SPEECH AND VIOLENCE IN ISRAEL: More from the Times of Israel.

READING RAINBOW - Bookmark now to read on your lunch break!
QVoiceNews remembers LGBTQ artist Allee Willis, a prolific songwriter and ‘Queen of 

Kitsch’; Towleroad shares heartwarming moment when classmates surprise transgender teen with life-changing birthday gift

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!


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 12, 2020

Wed, 02/12/2020 - 10:00

WE’RE NOT CRYING, YOU ARE -- FORMER NBA SUPERSTAR DWYANE WADE TALKS WITH ELLEN ABOUT HOW PROUD HE IS OF ZAYA, HIS 12-YEAR-OLD TRANSGENDER DAUGHTER: Wade (@DwyaneWade) says that since Zaya’s coming out, he and his wife, Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu), have been striving to educate and create a supportive foundation for her. “Now it's our job to one, go out and get information, to reach out to every relationship that we have,” Wade told Ellen Degeneres (@TheEllenShow) during an appearance Tuesday on her show. “We're just trying to figure out as much information as we can to make sure that we give our child the best opportunity to be her best self.” More from ENews, NBC and The Hill

.@DwyaneWade — you are giving so much light and hope to young LGBTQ people, especially those who may not feel accepted as their true selves. Grateful to you & @itsgabrielleu for being such incredible allies and supportive parents. https://t.co/BBWxGqQYH0

— Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) February 11, 2020

WHAT WE’RE READING WEDNESDAY -- 2020 HRC YOUTH AMBASSADOR SAM MOEHLIG TALKS ABOUT GIVING LGBTQ YOUTH A VOICE: “The best way for an educator or other people to help the youth and make their lives easier is to respect them and to believe that what they are telling you is true. Just something as simple as, ‘What can I do to help you? What do you want from me?’” Moehlig said. More from Karla Peterson (@Karla_Peterson) at the San Diego Union Tribune.

NEW YORK AMONG BEST STATES FOR LGBTQ PROTECTIONS -- BUT FEDERAL LAW STILL NEEDED: “Having a federal law that provides protections is absolutely critical,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow (@SarahWarbelow). “We have been working with members of Congress to support the Equality Act. It is an amendment to our basic civil rights laws that would ensure, regardless of where you live, that you would be guaranteed discrimination protections in employment, in housing, in education.” More from WAER.

OHIO STATE REP. MARY LIGHTBODY INTRODUCES BILL TO PROTECT LGBTQ YOUTH AGAINST SO-CALLED “CONVERSION THERAPY”: “The practice of conversion therapy is a dangerous and discredited practice that is based on a false claim that being LGBTQ+ is a mental illness that must be cured,” said Rep. Lightbody (@MaryLightbody). “Ohio must step up to join these other states and localities in ending this practice and prevent future harm.” Read more here.

NBC EXIT POLL SHOWS STRONG TURNOUT FOR LGBTQ AND EQUALITY VOTERS: More from NBC.

4.7% of Granite Staters are LGBTQ but tonight exit polls show LGBTQ voters are representing 7% of the electorate in the New Hampshire primary. LGBTQ voters and Equality Voters are punching above their weight and continue to be a constituency to court. https://t.co/MdRMrJ3u2y

— Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) February 12, 2020

 GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

NORTHERN IRELAND POLICE ARREST FOUR MEN IN CONNECTION WITH MURDER OF LGBTQ JOURNALIST AND ACTIVIST LYRA MCKEE: More from PinkNews

UNIV. OF TORONTO PROFESSOR DEVELOPS APP TO HELP BRAZILIAN TRANS WOMEN AVOID VIOLENCE, AND FIND SAFETY AND SUPPORT: Professor Monica Malta (@MonicaMalta7) developed the app called Dandarah. More from Now Toronto

 READING RAINBOW - Bookmark now to read on your lunch break!
BBC reports on discovery of a 200-year-old diary highlighting tolerance toward same-sex relations dating back to 1810

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!


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 11, 2020

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 10:21

IN A WIN FOR TRANS AND NON-BINARY YOUTH ACROSS SOUTH DAKOTA, ANTI-TRANS BILL IS DEFEATED IN STATE’S SENATE COMMITTEE: “Across South Dakota, transgender and non-binary youth and their families were able to stand up, make their voices heard and make a difference,” said HRC President Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid). “It’s heartening to see how strongly South Dakotans stood against HB 1057 and that elected officials in the state are standing up against the misinformation and anti-transgender attacks that came from the bill’s proponents.” More from Daily Kos, Dakota News Now and The Daily Beast.

BREAKING: #HB1057 in South Dakota, which would have done incomprehensible harm to trans kids, was moved to the 41st day of the session --- essentially killing the bill.

Congratulations to all of the advocates who worked around the clock to defeat this dangerous bill. #SDLeg

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 10, 2020

TUESDAY TWEET -- I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE -- HOW NON-BINARY TEEN QUINNCY PARKE OF SOUTH DAKOTA FOUGHT BACK AGAINST THE HARMFUL LEGISLATION TARGETING TRANS AND NON-BINARY YOUTH: “Kids like me deserve the opportunity to consult with our doctors, our parents and our physicians to make the decisions that are right for us,” said Parke. Watch the video here.

“They’re addressing a problem that just

does

������

exist.”

South Dakota was on the brink of passing a bill that would do reprehensible harm to trans & non-binary kids, and several states are now on the same path.

Here’s what’s really at stake for trans & non-binary youth. pic.twitter.com/PQjYfIocQ9

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 11, 2020

HRC TO HONOR SNL STAR BOWEN YANG AT 25TH ANNUAL NORTH CAROLINA DINNER: The trailblazing comedian, writer and actor will receive the HRC Visibility Award on February 22 in Charlotte. “Through his hilarious representation on and off the screen, Bowen Yang is inspiring LGBTQ young people and many others to embrace their authentic selves,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “As one of SNL’s openly gay and the only Asian American cast member, Yang is boldly moving visibility forward.” More from HRC, Bustle, New York Daily News and Trilby Beresford (@trilbyberesford) at The Hollywood Reporter.

OVER 200 MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS IN THE SOUTH SIGN OPEN LETTER OPPOSING BILLS THAT TARGET TRANS YOUTH: “These bills run counter to the growing consensus in the medical community that improving access to gender-affirming care is a central means of improving health outcomes for transgender people,” stated the letter, which was coordinated by the Campaign for Southern Equality (@SouthernEqual). More from Nico Lang (@Nico_Lang) at NBC

2020 HRC YOUTH AMBASSADOR ASHTON MOTA IS WORKING TO SUPPORT INDIVIDUALS, PAVING WAY FOR TRANSGENDER RIGHTS: “Being able to be that voice and kind of be a role model for people that are figuring out their gender identity or just their identity overall is just like really inspiring to me,” said Mota. “Regardless of what other people think, you know who you are and you’ve always known who you are.” Mota will be speaking at this year’s HRC Foundation Time to THRIVE Conference, which kicks off Friday. More from Nicole Defuedis (@Nicole_DeFeudis) at the Lowell Sun

ACROSS THE COUNTRY, TRANS PEOPLE CHALLENGING BANS ON UPDATING ID DOCUMENTS FOR THOSE CONVICTED OF CRIME: While specific law language varies, The Marshall Project has determined that least 17 states automatically ban people with some criminal convictions from changing their name, either permanently or temporarily. More from ABA Journal.

FOR THE FIRST TIME, SAME-SEX COUPLES INCLUDED IN COUNT OF MARRIED WORKERS IN U.S. ECONOMY: Previously, only different-sex couples were counted. More from CNN.

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!
ACTRESS, AUTHOR AND ACTIVIST MARIA BELLO IS ENGAGED TO CHEF GIRLFRIEND DOMINIQUE CREEN: Bello was honored with the HRC Equality Award at the 2015 HRC Austin Gala. More from People.   

Congratulations to longtime @HRC supporter @maria_bello on your engagement! We can't wait to welcome highly accomplished chef @dominiquecrenn, who is the only 3 Michelin Star female chef in the U.S., to the HRC family. https://t.co/0R3pTMaT44

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 10, 2020

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

HEAR THOSE WEDDING BELLS? TODAY MARKS THE FIRST FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY IN NORTHERN IRELAND: Robyn Peoples and Sharni Edwards will be among the first to take advantage of the new law. Read more about the couple from Suyin Haynes (@suyinsays) at TIME.

  • HRC Foundation tracks developments in the legal recognition of same-sex marriage around the world. Learn more about the work here

Today, #LoveWins as marriage equality in Northern Ireland takes effect. ������ https://t.co/D27c1WppF6

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 11, 2020

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 to Honor Saturday Night Live Star Bowen Yang at the 25th Annual North Carolina Dinner

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 08:59

Today, HRC announced that comedian, writer and actor Bowen Yang will be honored with the HRC Visibility Award at the 25th Annual HRC North Carolina Dinner on Saturday, February 22 at Le Meridien Charlotte. 

“Through his hilarious representation on and off the screen, Bowen Yang is inspiring LGBTQ young people and many others to embrace their authentic selves,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “As one of SNL’s openly gay and the only Asian American cast member, Yang is boldly moving visibility forward. We are incredibly excited to honor Bowen Yang with HRC’s Visibility Award at the 2020 HRC North Carolina Dinner.”

Yang is a Brooklyn-based comedian, writer and actor, who is best known as a part of the cast for Saturday Night Live’s 45th season. Yang is the show’s first Chinese-American cast member. He was a writer for SNL and wrote for one season before moving on-screen. Yang can currently be seen in the recurring on Comedy Central’s Awkwafina is Nora from Queens. Alongside co-host Matt Rogers, Yang is a co-host of the popular podcast Las Culturistas, which has been featured in The New York Times, New York Magazine, Splitsider and Time Out New York. On television, he has guest starred on Broad City and High Maintenance, and he is currently a recurring guest on John Glaser Loves Gear. Yang has also featured in romantic comedy Is It Romantic, directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson. This past year, Yang was featured in TIME as one of the “23 People Who Are Changing What’s Funny Right Now” and again as one of their TIME 100 NEXT: Artists.

Set to take place at Le Meridien Charlotte, the 2020 HRC North Carolina Dinner brings together HRC’s most active members and supporters in the Charlotte area to raise crucial funds in the fight for LGBTQ equality. Tickets and further information are available at https://www.hrc.org/events/north-carolina-gala.


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 10, 2020

Mon, 02/10/2020 - 10:10

HRC IS TRACKING MORE THAN 600 PIECES OF STATE LEGISLATION THAT COULD AFFECT THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY: While many of those determined to be anti-LGBTQ will be defeated, this number shows that our fight is far from over. These bills include thoses that attack the most vulnerable LGBTQ Americans, including transgender children. More from Kate Sosin (@shoeleatherkate) at NewNowNext.

HRC is tracking 600+ pieces of potentially anti-LGBTQ legislation around the country.

These bills include ones that attack the most vulnerable LGBTQ Americans, including transgender children.

While many will be defeated, our fight is far from over. https://t.co/WpTQRnwu4x

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

MONDAY MUST READ -- WASHINGTON BLADE SHARES EMOTIONAL INTERVIEW WITH ASYLUM SEEKER IN ICE CUSTODY: Yariel Valdés González (@valdes_yariel), a contributor to the LGBTQ paper, was granted asylum by a U.S. judge -- only to have the decision appealed by ICE. The Blade’s Michael Lavers (@mklavers81) visited González in custody, where they discussed his journey, singing Lady Gaga songs during their travels together and González’s hope “to begin a new life in the U.S. without fear of persecution.” Read this powerful piece in Washington Blade.

The @WashBlade's reporting on the plight #LGBTQ migrants and asylum seekers has continued since Yariel entered @ICEgov custody last March, but this coverage has obviously become personal. Here are my thoughts about it https://t.co/kN8XzMqCqL @valdes_yariel

— Michael K. Lavers (@mklavers81) February 4, 2020

PROPOSED STATE LEGISLATION BLOCKING TRANS YOUTH FROM HEALTH CARE IS DANGEROUS AND CRUEL: Writes Columbia University Associate Professor Tey Meadow (@dr_tey). “[This movement] ignores the evolving consensus among physicians and psychologists that active facilitation of the gender identities of trans youths -- acknowledgment, support, associated medical care -- is the single biggest predictor of the physical, psychological and emotional well-being of these youths.” More from The Washington Post.

92ND ACADEMY AWARDS SPOTLIGHTED LGBTQ ARTISTS AND PERFORMERS: The 92nd Academy Awards saw an Oscars win by LGBTQ legend Elton John (@eltonofficial) and incredible performances by genre bending artist Janelle Monáe (@JanelleMonae) and performer and fashion icon Billy Porter (@theebillyporter). More from HRC and The Advocate.

“I’m so proud to stand here as a Black, queer artist telling stories. Happy #BlackHistoryMonth!"

We’re proud to call Janelle Monáe a member of the @HRC family and present her with HRC Equality Award next month. What an incredible performance! Congrats, @JanelleMonae! #Oscars pic.twitter.com/jybW0TKqqT

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 10, 2020

NEW HRC VIDEO -- VIRGINIA STATE REP. JENNIFER BOYSKO ON WHAT THE VIRGINIA VALUES ACT MEANS TO HER:

“I’m doing this for my daughter.”

Thank you Rep. @JenniferBoysko for sharing why the Virginia Values Act matters to you.

Every child deserves to be protected from discrimination. pic.twitter.com/xzd0Wqlh9Z

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

MEET SETH OWEN, ONE OF HRC’S 2020 CLASS OF YOUTH AMBASSADORS: Owen knows what it means to turn struggle into activism. After leaving his unaccepting home, the efforts of his supportive teachers to raise money for him to attend Georgetown University went viral. He is the founder of a scholarship foundation to help students like him. More from The Hill’s Changing America.

CHARLESTON, S.C., POLICE DEPARTMENT BECOMES FIRST IN THE STATE TO LAUNCH SAFE PLACE PROGRAM FOR LGBTQ CITIZENS: The department noted the decision was made due to the rise in hate crimes and the deaths of four trans women of color in the state due to violence. Read their full statement here.

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

CIVIL RIGHTS LAWYER & JOURNALIST ATTACKED IN GROZNY -- CRIME APPEARS TO BE “ENDORSED” BY CHECHEN AUTHORITIES, “TOLERATED” BY THE KREMLIN: Marina Dubrovina and Elena Milashina have been involved in shedding light on the violence inflicted by the Chechen government on LGBTQ people. More from Human Rights Watch.

EIGHT MEN IN MAURITANIA SENTENCED TO PRISON ON SUSPICION OF BEING LGBTQ: They were arrested at a birthday party misreported to authorities as a same-sex wedding, according to Human Rights Watch.

ITV PRESENTER PHILLIP SCHOFIELD COMES OUT AS GAY: More from Manchester Evening News.

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

South Florida Sun-Sentinel speaks to Jeanette Jennings, mother of Jazz Jennings, about her efforts to stop anti-transgender bills in their home state

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!


Ohio’s LGBTQ Laws Rated in HRC’s Annual State Equality Index

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 12:53

HRC Foundation and the Equality Federation Institute released their 5th annual State Equality Index (SEI), a comprehensive report detailing statewide laws and policies that affect LGBTQ people and their families, and assessing how well states are protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination. Ohio falls into the category, “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality”

“As LGBTQ people continue to face an onslaught of attacks from the federal administration in Washington, the Human Rights Campaign’s 2019 State Equality Index (SEI) documents how states were instrumental in advancing equality through pro-LGBTQ legislation, policies and proposals,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “In the absence of federal non-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community, states must put policies in place to ensure equality for their residents, workers and visitors. In 2020 and beyond, the Human Rights Campaign will continue to work with our partners to defeat anti-LGBTQ legislation in the states and secure new protections for our community, both at the state and federal level. Already, we see the promise of even more protections passing state legislatures in 2020, including action taken in Virginia advancing the Virginia Values Act.”

Due to the lack of explicit, comprehensive civil rights protections for LGBTQ people at the federal level, the rights of millions of LGBTQ people and their families vary depending on which state they live in. In 30 states, LGBTQ people remain at risk of being fired, evicted or denied services because of who they are. These top-rated states and Washington, D.C., have robust LGBTQ non-discrimination laws covering employment, housing and public accommodations.

The SEI’s assessment of statewide LGBTQ-related legislation and policies in the areas of parenting laws and policies, religious refusal and relationship recognition laws, non-discrimination laws and policies, hate crime and criminal justice laws, youth-related laws and policies and health and safety laws and policies has placed each state in one of four distinct categories:

  • Seventeen states and the District of Columbia are in the highest-rated category, “Working Toward Innovative Equality”: California, Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; District of Columbia; Illinois; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Minnesota; Nevada; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; Oregon; Rhode Island; Vermont; and Washington
  • Three states are in the category “Solidifying Equality”: Hawaii; Iowa; and New Hampshire
  • Two states are in the category “Building Equality”: Utah and Wisconsin
  • Twenty-Eight states are in the lowest-rated category “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality”: Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; Florida; Georgia; Idaho; Indiana; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Michigan; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Virginia; West Virginia; and Wyoming

“The State Equality Index highlights how far we have come in the fight for LGBTQ equality in each state. For years, we’ve been working with our member organizations to pave the way for nationwide protections by winning state and municipal laws that make discrimination illegal. We’re keeping that momentum going. We have big plans for a future where we can thrive in all the places we call home,” said Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director of the Equality Federation. “This year, we will work with members on a host of issues, including non-discrimination legislation in places like Virginia and Ohio. Together, we are impacting the lives of millions of LGBTQ Americans. We can, and we will win this fight.”

Last year, the pro-equality majority in the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, a bill to establish comprehensive federal protections for LGBTQ people. But as HRC and other civil rights organizations work toward establishing these critical federal protections, accelerating progress at the state level is critical.

This SEI report comes as 38 state legislatures and the District of Columbia have opened their sessions -- and with several good bills introduced, including the Virginia Values Act, a bill that would modernize Virginia's existing human rights laws and provide non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in public employment and housing. In New Jersey, the governor has signed a bill to ban anti-LGBTQ “panic defenses.”

Unfortunately, we have also seen the introduction and passage of bad legislation, including a Tennessee bill that would allow child welfare organizations -- including taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies -- to turn away qualified Tennesseans seeking to care for a child in need, including LGBTQ couples, interfaith couples, single parents, married couples in which one prospective parent has previously been divorced or other parents to whom the agency has a religious objection. In South Dakota, the state House of Representatives passed a bill that effectively bars instructors who teach grades K-7 in the state’s public schools from instructing students on gender identity or gender expression.

Advancing LGBTQ non-discrimination protections at the state and federal level is supported by a wide swath of Americans. A recent PRRI survey found that 71 percent of Americans support LGBTQ non-discrimination laws like the Equality Act. A map of this patchwork of laws can be found here.

HRC’s full State Equality Index report, including detailed scorecards for every states, and a preview of the 2020 state legislative session is available online at www.hrc.org/sei.


Michigan’s LGBTQ Laws Rated in HRC’s Annual State Equality Index

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 12:45

HRC Foundation and the Equality Federation Institute released their 5th annual State Equality Index (SEI), a comprehensive report detailing statewide laws and policies that affect LGBTQ people and their families, and assessing how well states are protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination. Michigan falls into the category, “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality.” 

“As LGBTQ people continue to face an onslaught of attacks from the federal administration in Washington, the Human Rights Campaign’s 2019 State Equality Index (SEI) documents how states were instrumental in advancing equality through pro-LGBTQ legislation, policies and proposals,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “In the absence of federal non-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community, states must put policies in place to ensure equality for their residents, workers and visitors. In 2020 and beyond, the Human Rights Campaign will continue to work with our partners to defeat anti-LGBTQ legislation in the states and secure new protections for our community, both at the state and federal level. Already, we see the promise of even more protections passing state legislatures in 2020, including action taken in Virginia advancing the Virginia Values Act.”

Due to the lack of explicit, comprehensive civil rights protections for LGBTQ people at the federal level, the rights of millions of LGBTQ people and their families vary depending on which state they live in. In 30 states, LGBTQ people remain at risk of being fired, evicted or denied services because of who they are. These top-rated states and Washington, D.C., have robust LGBTQ non-discrimination laws covering employment, housing and public accommodations.

The SEI’s assessment of statewide LGBTQ-related legislation and policies in the areas of parenting laws and policies, religious refusal and relationship recognition laws, non-discrimination laws and policies, hate crime and criminal justice laws, youth-related laws and policies and health and safety laws and policies has placed each state in one of four distinct categories:

  • Seventeen states and the District of Columbia are in the highest-rated category, “Working Toward Innovative Equality”: California, Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; District of Columbia; Illinois; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Minnesota; Nevada; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; Oregon; Rhode Island; Vermont; and Washington
  • Three states are in the category “Solidifying Equality”: Hawaii; Iowa; and New Hampshire
  • Two states are in the category “Building Equality”: Utah and Wisconsin
  • Twenty-Eight states are in the lowest-rated category “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality”: Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; Florida; Georgia; Idaho; Indiana; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Michigan; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Virginia; West Virginia; and Wyoming

“The State Equality Index highlights how far we have come in the fight for LGBTQ equality in each state. For years, we’ve been working with our member organizations to pave the way for nationwide protections by winning state and municipal laws that make discrimination illegal. We’re keeping that momentum going. We have big plans for a future where we can thrive in all the places we call home,” said Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director of the Equality Federation. “This year, we will work with members on a host of issues, including non-discrimination legislation in places like Virginia and Ohio. Together, we are impacting the lives of millions of LGBTQ Americans. We can, and we will win this fight.”

Last year, the pro-equality majority in the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, a bill to establish comprehensive federal protections for LGBTQ people. But as HRC and other civil rights organizations work toward establishing these critical federal protections, accelerating progress at the state level is critical.

This SEI report comes as 38 state legislatures and the District of Columbia have opened their sessions -- and with several good bills introduced, including the Virginia Values Act, a bill that would modernize Virginia's existing human rights laws and provide non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in public employment and housing. In New Jersey, the governor has signed a bill to ban anti-LGBTQ “panic defenses.”

Unfortunately, we have also seen the introduction and passage of bad legislation, including a Tennessee bill that would allow child welfare organizations -- including taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies -- to turn away qualified Tennesseans seeking to care for a child in need, including LGBTQ couples, interfaith couples, single parents, married couples in which one prospective parent has previously been divorced or other parents to whom the agency has a religious objection. In South Dakota, the state House of Representatives passed a bill that effectively bars instructors who teach grades K-7 in the state’s public schools from instructing students on gender identity or gender expression.

Advancing LGBTQ non-discrimination protections at the state and federal level is supported by a wide swath of Americans. A recent PRRI survey found that 71 percent of Americans support LGBTQ non-discrimination laws like the Equality Act. A map of this patchwork of laws can be found here.

HRC’s full State Equality Index report, including detailed scorecards for every states, and a preview of the 2020 state legislative session is available online at www.hrc.org/sei.


Nevada Rates High for Pro-LGBTQ Laws in HRC’s Annual State Equality Index

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 12:35

HRC Foundation and the Equality Federation Institute released their 5th annual State Equality Index (SEI), a comprehensive report detailing statewide laws and policies that affect LGBTQ people and their families, and assessing how well states are protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination. Nevada falls into the category, “Working Toward Innovative Equality.” 

“As LGBTQ people continue to face an onslaught of attacks from the federal administration in Washington, the Human Rights Campaign’s 2019 State Equality Index (SEI) documents how states were instrumental in advancing equality through pro-LGBTQ legislation, policies and proposals,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “In the absence of federal non-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community, states must put policies in place to ensure equality for their residents, workers and visitors. In 2020 and beyond, the Human Rights Campaign will continue to work with our partners to defeat anti-LGBTQ legislation in the states and secure new protections for our community, both at the state and federal level. Already, we see the promise of even more protections passing state legislatures in 2020, including action taken in Virginia advancing the Virginia Values Act.”

Due to the lack of explicit, comprehensive civil rights protections for LGBTQ people at the federal level, the rights of millions of LGBTQ people and their families vary depending on which state they live in. In 30 states, LGBTQ people remain at risk of being fired, evicted or denied services because of who they are. These top-rated states and Washington, D.C., have robust LGBTQ non-discrimination laws covering employment, housing and public accommodations.

The SEI’s assessment of statewide LGBTQ-related legislation and policies in the areas of parenting laws and policies, religious refusal and relationship recognition laws, non-discrimination laws and policies, hate crime and criminal justice laws, youth-related laws and policies and health and safety laws and policies has placed each state in one of four distinct categories:

  • Seventeen states and the District of Columbia are in the highest-rated category, “Working Toward Innovative Equality”: California, Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; District of Columbia; Illinois; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Minnesota; Nevada; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; Oregon; Rhode Island; Vermont; and Washington
  • Three states are in the category “Solidifying Equality”: Hawaii; Iowa; and New Hampshire
  • Two states are in the category “Building Equality”: Utah and Wisconsin
  • Twenty-Eight states are in the lowest-rated category “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality”: Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; Florida; Georgia; Idaho; Indiana; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Michigan; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Virginia; West Virginia; and Wyoming

“Nevadans should be proud to know that the Silver State is a leader in the fight for full, lived LGBTQ equality. As we look forward to introducing even more legislation to advance LGBTQ civil rights and social justice, we urge the Senate to pass the Equality Act and ensure every American is protected from discrimination. Thank you to our partners at HRC Foundation, Equality Federation Institute and Equality California for fueling the state-based equality movement,” said André Wade, Silver State Equality State Director. 

Last year, the pro-equality majority in the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, a bill to establish comprehensive federal protections for LGBTQ people. But as HRC and other civil rights organizations work toward establishing these critical federal protections, accelerating progress at the state level is critical.

This SEI report comes as 38 state legislatures and the District of Columbia have opened their sessions -- and with several good bills introduced, including the Virginia Values Act, a bill that would modernize Virginia's existing human rights laws and provide non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in public employment and housing. In New Jersey, the governor has signed a bill to ban anti-LGBTQ “panic defenses.”

Unfortunately, we have also seen the introduction and passage of bad legislation, including a Tennessee bill that would allow child welfare organizations -- including taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies -- to turn away qualified Tennesseans seeking to care for a child in need, including LGBTQ couples, interfaith couples, single parents, married couples in which one prospective parent has previously been divorced or other parents to whom the agency has a religious objection. In South Dakota, the state House of Representatives passed a bill that effectively bars instructors who teach grades K-7 in the state’s public schools from instructing students on gender identity or gender expression.

Advancing LGBTQ non-discrimination protections at the state and federal level is supported by a wide swath of Americans. A recent PRRI survey found that 71 percent of Americans support LGBTQ non-discrimination laws like the Equality Act. A map of this patchwork of laws can be found here.

HRC’s full State Equality Index report, including detailed scorecards for every states, and a preview of the 2020 state legislative session is available online at www.hrc.org/sei.


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 7, 2020

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 10:21

HISTORY -- VIRGINIA LEGISLATURE ADVANCES CRITICAL PROTECTIONS TO LGBTQ VIRGINIANS: The bill will grant non-discrimination protections to Virginians on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and several other characteristics. The legislation must now go through a few more procedural votes before heading to the governor’s desk. “Today, history was made in Virginia, and LGBTQ Virginians are one step closer to being protected from discrimination. No one should be discriminated against simply because of who they are or whom they love,” said HRC President Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid). “This day would not have been possible without the years and years of tireless work from advocates across the commonwealth, or the voters in Virginia who filled the halls of the General Assembly with pro-equality champions who fulfilled their promises.” More from HRC, Washington Blade, The Hill, The Washington Post and The Associated Press.

  • HRC joined its partners and pro-equality lawmakers in Richmond to celebrate this history-making legislation. Watch here.

History made in Virginia as the legislature advances the Virginia Values Act, extending long delayed non-discrimination protections to LGBTQ people and other protected classes. #VALeg https://t.co/C3pWIudWE9

— Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) February 6, 2020

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY -- HRC ON THE GROUND IN RICHMOND FOR THIS HISTORIC EVENT:

.@HRC is proud to be on the ground in Richmond to celebrate the passage of the Virginia Values Act through both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly.

After years of legislative stalemates, this bill will finally grant non-discrimination protections to Virginians. pic.twitter.com/gQzjFqt49c

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 6, 2020

ADVOCATES PLAN RALLY TO OPPOSE TRANSPHOBIC BILLS IN SOUTH DAKOTA: More from KELO.

MORE THAN 200 ANTI-LGBTQ LAWS INTRODUCED IN STATE LEGISLATURES: Julie Moreau (@JEMoreau) breaks down this onslaught of anti-LGBTQ bills, which overwhelmingly attack the most vulnerable LGBTQ Americans -- including transgender youth. More from NBC.

ARCHITECT OF OBAMA’S HIV POLICY CALLS OUT TRUMP-PENCE FOR DANGEROUS RECORD ON HIV AND AIDS: Despite a disturbing record on HIV and AIDS, the Trump-Pence administration announced an initiative to end HIV transmission in the United States by 2030 one year ago. Take an inside look at how the administration and its policies are undermining that objective from Greg Millett in The Hill.

TODAY IS NATIONAL BLACK HIV & AIDS AWARENESS DAY: This evening, HRC will host a discussion focusing on HIV and AIDS in the Black community. If you are a member of the press interested in attending, please contact elliott.kozuch@hrc.org.  More from HRC.

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

COCA-COLA TAKES OUT PRO-EQUALITY ADS IN NEWSPAPERS ACROSS SWITZERLAND: More from PinkNews.

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

Metro Weekly reviews artist and HRC staffer Laya Monarez’s (@layamonarez) incredible art exhibit, which opened last week at the DC LGBTQ Center; Pink News interviews a couple from Belfast that plans to make history as one of the first same-sex couples to wed in Northern Ireland; NewNowNext interviews trans actor Scott Turner Schofield (@turnerschofield) about his role on the show ‘Studio City’

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!


Educating the Educators: The Impact of HRC’s Time to THRIVE Conference

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 10:09

Dr. Eduardo Reyes is a high school principal and elementary school board member from California who is always looking to expand his knowledge and grow professionally — particularly when it comes to supporting his LGBTQ students.

A straight, cisgender ally, Reyes has attended HRC Foundation’s Time to THRIVE Conference every year since its inception, taking lessons he has learned and putting them into action to create a more inclusive and welcoming school culture back home in California.

The premier national conference to promote safety, inclusion and well-being for LGBTQ youth, Time to THRIVE engages a broad audience of youth-serving professionals, including K-12 educators, mental health providers, pediatricians, recreational athletic coaches, religious leaders, youth development staff and more. Time to THRIVE provides a comprehensive opportunity to build LGBTQ awareness and cultural competency, learn current and emerging best practices and gather resources from leading experts and national organizations in the field.

HRC spoke with Reyes about what he’d like you to know about Time to THRIVE’s impact on LGBTQ students in his schools, and why all youth-serving professionals should register.

Why did you decide to attend the conference in its inaugural year?
I have always been an advocate of LGBTQ youth and I thought I had all of the information to help our students. But I was faced with a few situations where I realized I didn’t have the tools, information and resources to truly support our students. I also felt that within the school culture there were instances where our LGBTQ students were not being acknowledged. I needed to find the resources to ensure we had a school culture that fully embraced everyone.

Our 2020 conference will be your seventh. What brings you back year after year?
Time to THRIVE is where I recharge my batteries. There are so many workshops and great guest speakers — it’s never the same. I routinely get new information and enjoy sharing experiences with and hearing from other educators and leaders about what they’re doing and what challenges they have been able to overcome. It’s inspiring to continually learn new skills and gain new resources I can then transmit to an entire school community.

How has implementing those resources improved your school community?
If you make equality a priority, it becomes a priority — and it has to start from the top, and students see that. You have to be a model for creating change and be outspoken about the fact that when you are responsible for creating a safe environment for everyone, that means everyone, not just one group. I’ve seen students who are free to be themselves — they’re no longer hiding. I’ve watched students push back on ignorance and biases.

Why is Time to THRIVE so important for youth-serving professionals?
There are still a lot of beliefs and misconceptions that do not support, but rather isolate and discriminate against, LGBTQ youth — they could be faith beliefs or cultural biases or a number of other reasons. I truly believe to have an inclusive environment, it cannot be just one person, it has to be everyone. And I believe you start by informing and educating the educators. This conference is extremely important for every educator, as well as anyone who works with students, because you must have the information to support, embrace, respect, acknowledge and celebrate differences within our student population. This work is literally saving lives.

Time to THRIVE will be held February 14-16, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Register now at TimeToTHRIVE.org, take a look at this year’s lineup of speakers, special guests and workshops and watch highlights from previous conferences.


HISTORY: Virginia Values Act Passes, Extending Critical Protections to LGBTQ Virginians

Thu, 02/06/2020 - 14:30

HRC celebrated the passage of the Virginia Values Act through both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly, a bill that will grant non-discrimination protections to Virginians on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and several other characteristics. Similar legislation passed through the Virginia Senate several times in recent years, but was blocked by anti-equality lawmakers in the House of Delegates. In the 2019 election, voters in the commonwealth elected pro-equality majorities to both houses of the General Assembly, making this victory possible. The legislation must now go through a few more procedural votes before heading to the governor’s desk. 

In addition to sexual orientation and gender identity, the bill also extends protections to Virginians on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, and status as a veteran. Virginia will be the first state in the South to have non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, the first state in over a decade to add sexual orientation and gender identity to existing non-discrimination law, and the first state since 1993 to add a prohibition on discrimination in public accommodations (protecting all Virginians) where none existed before.

“Today, history was made in Virginia, and LGBTQ Virginians are one step closer to being protected from discrimination. No one should be discriminated against simply because of who they are or whom they love,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “This day would not have been possible without the years and years of tireless work from advocates across the commonwealth, or the voters in Virginia that filled the halls of the General Assembly with pro-equality champions who fulfilled their promises. HRC is proud to have worked to elect pro-equality lawmakers across Virginia in 2019, and we are thrilled to see that effort culminate in this important victory today. We’re especially grateful for the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, Senator Adam Ebbin, and Delegate Mark Sickles, each of whom made this day possible. We also thank the patrons in each chamber, Sens. Jennifer Boysko and Jennifer McClellan in the Senate and Dels. Mark Levine and Delores McQuinn in the House.”

Virginia is home to 257,400 LGBTQ adults. Under current Virginia law, LGBTQ people are not explicitly protected from discrimination, meaning they are at risk of being fired, evicted or denied service in restaurants or stores. Virginia is one of only five states without protections in public accommodations for any protected class. The new law will bring Virginia into the 21st century, and into alignment with Virginia voters, by modernizing and expanding existing human rights law.

The bill requires private employers with six or more employees to comply with the new protections. In addition, all state government employees and school board employees will be covered under the law. It will also update Virginia's Fair Housing Act to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. 

For years, the Human Rights Campaign has worked with Equality Virginia and others to expand Virginia’s non-discrimination protections to include LGBTQ people. However, despite majorities in both the House and Senate supporting the legislation, former Speaker Kirk Cox refused to bring the legislation up for a vote. Cox and former House Majority Leader Tim Hugo not only acted counter to members of their own caucus and the Virginia public, but also counter to the desires of their own base. According to polling, LGBTQ non-discrimination protections have overwhelming support among Virginians, including a majority of Virginia Republicans. Over the past several elections, HRC has successfully elected pro-equality champions at every level of Virginia’s state government. 

In August 2019, the Human Rights Campaign endorsed 27 candidates and committed to invest over $250,000 to elect pro-equality candidates across Virginia. The endorsements marked the beginning of HRC’s largest ever field, digital and direct mail program in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

From Northern Virginia to Hampton Roads, HRC field organizers were deployed to mobilize 1.2 million Equality Voters across the commonwealth. In 2018, HRC used sophisticated analytics to identify and mobilize 57 million “Equality Voters” nationwide who prioritize LGBTQ-inclusive policies including marriage equality, equitable family law, and laws that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. In Virginia’s 2019 state legislative elections, HRC targeted and turned out these voters in the 27 districts where HRC made an endorsement.

HRC is a proud member of the Virginia Values Coalition. The Virginia Values Coalition was founded on the shared belief that discrimination is wrong and that we are called to treat others as we want to be treated. Members include national and regional organizations, along with faith leaders, parents, law enforcement officers, veterans and people of all political ideologies committed to protecting their LGBTQ neighbors from discrimination. 


Celebrating Community-Led Organizations This National Black HIV & AIDS Awareness Day

Thu, 02/06/2020 - 13:23

Post submitted by HRC HIV & Health Equity Program Coordinator Dimetri O'Brien

National Black HIV & AIDS Awareness Day is observed each year on February 7 to increase HIV education, testing, community involvement and treatment among Black communities. With members of the Black and African American community making up 44.1% of total reported deaths from HIV, and those in the Latinx community making up 16.3% of total deaths in 2017, according to the CDC, work in these communities is an urgent priority. This year’s theme for NBHAAD, which is coordinated by the Strategic Leadership Council, is “We’re in This, Together,focusing on increasing HIV education among Black communities. 

To mark this year’s awareness day, the HRC Foundation’s HIV & Health Equity Program is highlighting a community organization providing meaningful and vital services for those living with HIV in Virginia.

The Fredericksburg AIDS Support Team (FAST) began as a support group in 1989, providing services for those living with HIV in the Fredericksburg and Culpeper, Virginia, areas. In 1992, with a robust group of volunteers-turned-board members, FAST organized under the name Fredericksburg Area HIV/AIDS Support Services, and since then has been the leading service provider for those living with HIV in the Fredericksburg area,  and in Caroline, Culpeper, Fauquier, King George, Madison, Orange, Prince William, Rappahannock, Spotsylvania, Stafford and Westmoreland counties. 

FAHASS offers medical case management, mental health services, housing assistance and more. Its  initiatives educate people about the transmission of HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections, as well as emphasizing the need for testing to reduce stigma among those they serve and beyond. FAHASS also provides the most-up-to-date information about HIV and resources related to health and wellness. 

On this National Black HIV & AIDS Awareness Day, HRC is proud to stand “Together For Love” with FAHASS as it continues to be a shining beacon of service while reducing stigma and ending the epidemic one day at a time. 

HRC is committed to working with our allies, partners, members and supporters to end the HIV & AIDS epidemic and the stigma surrounding HIV & AIDS. Learn more about HRC Foundation’s work here.


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 6, 2020

Thu, 02/06/2020 - 10:02

TODAY -- VIRGINIA POISED TO PASS LONG-DELAYED, CRITICAL PROTECTIONS FOR LGBTQ VIRGINIANS: Today at 10:45 a.m. ET at the Virginia State Capitol, elected officials and advocates will hold a press conference ahead of the floor votes on the Virginia Values Act, which will grant non-discrimination protections to Virginians on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability and status as a veteran. For more information, contact press@hrc.org.

  • When passed, Virginia will be the first state in the South to have non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, the first state in over a decade to add sexual orientation and gender identity to existing non-discrimination law and the first state since 1993 to add a prohibition on discrimination in public accommodations (protecting all Virginians) where none existed before.
  • In August, HRC endorsed 27 candidates and committed to invest over $250,000 to elect pro-equality candidates across Virginia. The endorsements marked the beginning of HRC’s largest-ever field, digital and direct mail program in the state.

SENATE MAJORITY FAILED AMERICAN PEOPLE BY ACQUITTING DONALD TRUMP AND VOTERS MUST ACT NOW: “This is a sad day for our country. It is crystal clear that Donald Trump abused his power to subvert the next election, worked to cover it up, and lied about his motives and actions. Senators who have doubts about the evidence refused to seek the truth, but instead were this President’s accomplices in the cover up. This is profoundly troubling and a blow to the rule of law,” HRC President Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) said. More from HRC.

DOZENS OF CORPORATIONS AND SMALL BUSINESSES SIGN LETTER OPPOSING DISCRIMINATION IN TENNESSEE: The open letter, signed by 35 corporations and 107 small businesses, opposes discrimination against LGBTQ Tennesseans and calls on lawmakers to not pursue any further harmful bills this legislative session. This letter was organized by the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce with support from Freedom for All Americans, HRC and GLAAD. More from HRC and CNBC.

BREAKING: 35 corporations & 107 small businesses are calling on Tennessee lawmakers to stop attacking LGBTQ people through harmful legislation. Tennesseans and businesses agree — bills that target LGBTQ people are bad for Tennessee and its economy. #tnleg https://t.co/dkEcseKtgz

— Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) February 5, 2020

THANKFUL THURSDAY -- KRISTIN CHENOWETH EXPLAINS HOW HER FAITH AND LGBTQ ALLYSHIP GO HAND-IN-HAND: Chenoweth (@KChenoweth) was honored with the Ally for Equality Award at HRC’s Greater New York Gala last weekend. More from HuffPost and The Cut.

JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF HATE CRIMES ACT INTRODUCED WITH BIPARTISAN SUPPORT: HRC has joined other LGBTQ and civil rights groups in supporting the bill. More from Los Angeles Blade.

MEET SOUTH DAKOTA’S FRED DEUTSCH, THE ANTI-LGBTQ EXTREMIST PUSHING TO LEGISLATE HARM AGAINST TRANS KIDS: The legislation, which has passed the South Dakota House of Representatives, bars transgender youth and their parents from making decisions about their medical care, and allows the state to arrest and imprison doctors providing care for trans and gender non-conforming youth. More from HRC.

South Dakota is pushing legislation that will do incomprehensible harm to trans kids.

See what the SD Speaker of the House Haugaard said about this vulnerable community. #SDLeg #HB1057 pic.twitter.com/58QjhfIPur

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

CALIFORNIA GOV GRANTS POSTHUMOUS PARDON TO BAYARD RUSTIN: Rustin, the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, was openly gay and in 1953 was arrested under a discriminatory “morals charge”. He spent nearly two months in jail. While he was a key strategist who greatly influenced Martin Luther King Jr., Rustin is too often left out of civil rights history. More from Los Angeles Times.

MEET MOLLY PINTA, ONE OF HRC’S 2020 CLASS OF YOUTH AMBASSADORS: Pinta, who founded the LGBTQ Pride festival in her Chicago suburb, is just one of the incredible advocates joining HRC’s new class of youth ambassadors. More from Chicago Tribune.

STATE COLLEGE, PA. TO HOST ITS FIRST-EVER LGBTQ PRIDE PARADE: The city recently earned a score of 100 on HRC’s Municipal Equality Index. More from Centre Daily Times.

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

ACTOR JAMEELA JAMIL COMES OUT AS QUEER ON TWITTER: “I added a rainbow to my name when I felt ready a few years ago, as it’s not easy within the south Asian community to be accepted, and I always answered honestly if ever straight-up asked about it on Twitter,” she (@jameelajamil) wrote in a note posted to Twitter. “It’s also scary as an actor to openly admit your sexuality, especially when you’re already a brown female in your thirties.”

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

Mary Emily O’Hara (@MaryEmilyOHara) writes in AdWeek about how the trans flag got added to the list of emojis

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!


Senate Majority Failed American People by Acquitting Donald Trump and Voters Must Now Act

Wed, 02/05/2020 - 17:33

Today, HRC responded to the U.S. Senate’s narrow vote to acquit Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, despite members of both parties supporting his conviction.

“This is a sad day for our country. It is crystal clear that Donald Trump abused his power to subvert the next election, worked to cover it up, and lied about his motives and actions. Senators who have doubts about the evidence refused to seek the truth, but instead were this President’s accomplices in the cover up. This is profoundly troubling and a blow to the rule of law,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “We are a nation of laws, built on a promise in the Constitution that no one is above the law — especially those elected to serve the public, and that includes the president. The impeachment clause is not the only Constitutional remedy. The Senate majority has failed its Constitutional role. So in November, voters must make their disapproval known to those who have rejected justice and vote to remove Donald Trump from office.”

On Wednesday, the Senate voted 52-48 and 53-47, respectfully, to acquit Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, following a truncated trial  in which witnesses and documentary evidence were not permitted.

Last month, the Human Rights Campaign called for a fair and thorough trial and urged the Senate to ensure full accountability for the American people.

In December, HRC announced its support for the formal impeachment of Donald Trump. In September, HRC expressed support for a formal inquiry into the alleged corruption of Donald Trump in attempting to force the government of Ukraine to investigate a chief political rival by withholding foreign aid that had already been approved by Congress.


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