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Recent blog articles published by the Human Rights Campaign 2020-04-07T20:56:00-04:00
Updated: 2 hours 6 min ago

HRC Urges U.S. Food and Drug Administration to Make Swift Changes to Its So-Called Blood Ban

Thu, 04/02/2020 - 10:08

Today, HRC urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make swift changes to its antiquated policy regarding blood donations from men who have sex with men (MSM). As the world reels from the effects of COVID-19, the United States is in dire need of increased levels of blood donations. At the same time, the federal government continues to disallow a broad swath of the general population from donating blood without strict abstinence guidelines. Additionally, due to the virus, more than 4,000 blood drives have been canceled since mid-March.

Find the full letter here.

“At no time in our nation’s history has it been more critical to prioritize science and facts over fear and bias,” said Alphonso David, president of HRC. “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 HRC 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. Now, HRC is reiterating the urgent need to make swift changes to the existing policy.

Another excerpt of the letter reads, “The current one-year deferral for MSMs represents a de facto lifetime ban for gay and bisexual men and excludes over 2 million potential donors and an estimated nearly 300,000 pints of blood annually. While deferral is necessary for some donors, the current 12 month deferral period is not in line with evidence-based science. To ensure the blood supply is the safest it can possibly be, risk should be evaluated based on the individual risk behaviors of every donor, rather than on community-wide prevalence.”


#AM_Equality: April 1, 2020

Wed, 04/01/2020 - 10:19

ICYMI -- HIGHLIGHTS FROM INTERNATIONAL TRANSGENDER DAY OF VISIBILITY (TDOV): More from HRC, NewNowNext, Mashable and Teen Vogue.

  • As we honored this community, Idaho became the first state in the country this year to enact legislation that specifically singles out the transgender community for discriminatory treatment. HB 500 will bar transgender women and girls from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. HB 509 flies in the face of a recent court decision by forbidding transgender and non-binary Idahoans from changing their gender marker on their birth certificates. More from HRC, Metro Weekly, Washington Blade, Forbes and CBS.
  • Check out this new video from HRC for TDOV. Watch here.

LIFTING UP COMMUNITY VOICES -- HIV AND COVID-19: Last night, in partnership with Native Son and TheBody.Com, HRC hosted a CommUNITY Voices panel discussion around HIV and COVID-19. Panelists included HRC President Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) and HRC’s Director of HIV and Health Equity J. Maurice McCants-Pearsall (@McCantsPearsall). 

LGBTQ COMMUNITY REMAINS RESILIENT DURING COVID-19: Across the country, LGBTQ advocates and organizations are fighting to ensure our community is not forgotten during this pandemic. More from Muri Assunção (@MuriAssuncao) at New York Daily News.

  • In Atlanta, LGBTQ advocates and performers hosted a show to honor local health care workers. More from Project Q Atlanta.
  • ICYMI: LGBTQ elders are particularly vulnerable to the health risks of COVID-19 and are concerned about discrimination, in both in-home and residential care settings (60%) and with their health care provider (40%). LGBTQ older adults also face greater risks from social isolation -- a necessary public health effort during COVID-19 -- that can have a direct impact on their health and well-being. Check out HRC and SAGE’s new resource for this population here. And check out a webinar on the topic today here.

WELCOMING SCHOOLS WEDNESDAY -- POETRY WITH WELCOMING SCHOOLS!: Wednesday is the start of April and National Poetry Month. This Welcoming Schools Wednesday, HRC is celebrating by sharing some touching poems created by young children on the importance of self-acceptance as well as an interactive activity you and your families can do right from home. More from HRC

This month, we celebrate #NationalPoetryMonth, and we’re sharing some adorable poems written by some talented kids. ����❤️ https://t.co/wqknN4PTHN

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

HRC NAMED A FINALIST FOR *FIVE* SHORTY AWARDS: Check out all the nominees here.

We did it! @HRC is a finalist for 5 @ShortyAwards, including:
��News & Media
��Governments & Politics
��️‍��LGBTQ Community Engagement
��Social Activism
��Educationhttps://t.co/mAnLzNlHql

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

IN THE STATES

PRIZM, OHIO’S ONLY LGBTQ NEWS OUTLET, CEASES PUBLICATION: In his editor’s note, Ken Schneck noted COVID-19 played a role in the decision. More from Columbus Dispatch.

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

HIGH COURT OF SINGAPORE DISMISSES THREE CHALLENGES TO BAN ON SAME-SEX RELATIONS BETWEEN MEN: “HRC is deeply disappointed in the decision by the High Court of Singapore to not repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code and instead uphold the criminalization of same-sex relations between men as acts of ‘gross indecency.’” said HRC Global Director Jay Gilliam. “It also sets back the global equality movement after successful campaigns to overturn similar British colonial-era laws in places like Belize, Botswana and India. We commend the courageous work of advocates and groups fighting for the dignity of LGBTQ people in Singapore, including PinkDot, Human Dignity Trust and Oogachaga.” More from The Straits Times.

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

The Advocate reflects on the need for LGBTQ journalists; Out & About Nashville reviews an upcoming documentary about a trans woman

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!


In-Home Learning: Poetry, Queerness and Childhood Acceptance

Wed, 04/01/2020 - 09:30

Welcoming Schools Wednesdays: Activities and Resources for Inclusive Learning at Home

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. Our featured books will focus on Welcoming Schools themes: embracing all families, being an ally and respecting differences inclusive of LGBTQ identities. Don’t have the book? Don’t worry! We will provide a link to online readings to each book.

Week 2: Join Us As We Celebrate National Poetry Month!

Post submitted by: William Whitmire, HRC Communications Coordinator

This week, HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program is excited to celebrate National Poetry Month. Founded in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, poets and communities coming together to celebrate poetry’s essential place in our lives.

Poetry offers people the ability to express how they feel, who they are and what they aspire to be. As acclaimed LGBTQ poet and advocate Audre Lorde wrote, “My poetry comes from the intersection of me and my world."

We’re excited to feature some of our favorite poems and artwork created by third graders using the  Welcoming Schools “Social Justice Acrostic Poem” lesson plan. 

No Matter What by tw

no matter what you look like, you matter.

no matter who you are, you can make a difference,

the world matters.

you can make a really awesome world.

Malala by NC

Maker of schools

Awesome at speaking to millions of people

Lover of education

Amazing at school

Lots of education

And that is the end of the poem MALALA

Be You by HT

Be you,

be what you love,

Be you,

be bold,

be bright,

Shine in the light.

Activity: Make Your Own Acrostic Poem and Artwork!

An acrostic poem is a poem where certain letters in each line spell out a word or phrase. In this activity, we’ll be using the first letter of each line. 

And remember -- a poem is just words that you put together to show how you feel, or create something fun and new with your imagination. It doesn’t have to be any particular form or way. 

  • Ask your child to help you come up with a list of words or phrases on social justice movements and important issues that they care about. Examples might include: Black Lives Matter, respect all languages, animal rights, climate change, migration is beautiful, LGBTQ rights, water is life, disability rights, or March for Our Lives…
  • Once you come up with your list, ask your child to pick a word or phrase they want to make a poem about. 
  • Working with colored pencils or markers have your child write a final version of their poem using different colors and different sizes of writing for each word..
  • Once your child has written their poem, they can make a drawing to illustrate it. 
  • Proudly display the poem and art on your fridge! And share with HRC on social media! Tag @HRC on Twitter and @HumanRightsCampaign on Instagram

To find the Welcoming Schools lesson plan featuring social justice poems, check out Welcoming Schools family lessons. To find great books about families, check out these family book lists

HRC Foundation's Welcoming Schools is the nation’s premier professional development program providing training and resources such as book lists and lesson plans to elementary school educators to embrace all families, create LGBTQ and gender-inclusive schools, prevent bias-based bullying, and support transgender and non-binary students.


Celebrating the Voices of Our Bi+ and Trans Community

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 15:41

As a community, we must uplift the voices of bisexual, pansexual, queer, fluid and transgender people as these voices are too often unheard. 

With studies showing that bi+ people comprise nearly half of all people who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual, the bi+ population is the single largest group within the LGBTQ community. 

Moreover, transgender people and people of color comprise large portions of the bisexual community –– with more than 40% of LGBTQ people of color identifying as bisexual, and about half of transgender people describing their sexual orientation as bi+ –– making these groups vulnerable to further disparities that occur at the intersections of biphobia, racism and transphobia.

In honor of International Transgender Day of Visibility and Bisexual Health Awareness Month, members of HRC’s staff share what it means to live at the intersection of these identities,  what visibility and resilience means to them and what it means to live at the intersection of these identities. 

“Being bi and trans means I have to assert my identity or it will get assumed away. It means knowing who I am even if others don't see me. You can be bi/pan/fluid/queer and a non-binary, binary trans or gender non-conforming person. You can be anything that feels right to you. Don't sacrifice who you are because others want to put you in a box.” –– Colin Kutney | He/Him/His | Senior Manager, State & Municipal Programs

“Resilience as a trans woman means thriving in spite of all the systems that challenge my very existence. Systems, including access to gender affirming legal documents, culturally appropriate health care, patriarchy, financial inequity and transphobia are stifling and difficult barriers for trans folks to overcome. TDOV is important because greater visibility helps to normalize trans lives in a way that brings positive changes through representation. I encourage trans youth to continually seek positive people and resources that affirm the entirety of who you are. Transition is a lifelong process, so pace yourself and make healthy decisions for you now and in the future.” –– Tori Cooper | She/Her/Hers | Director of Community Engagement

“To me, resilience as a pansexual and non-binary person means working through years of folks invalidating my sexuality and gender, navigating years of self-doubt and confusion not because of myself, but others, and coming out stronger. Resilience means finding others who are like you and basking in your shared community and understanding of the world. Resilience means looking back at my 15-year-old self and thanking them for their courage, bravery and strength in pushing through all the hardships so that I could flourish today. I love that TDOV intersects with Bi Health Month, especially since such a huge percentage of the trans and gender-expansive community is bi+. It feels like a time to celebrate so many intersections of my identity, which I'm not always allowed due to policing of my gender expression or sexuality from folks within and outside of the LGBTQ community as a non-binary pansexual person. It's also a time to make sure I'm getting check ups and taking care of my health. There are so many obstacles bi+ folks can face in terms of receiving proper health care, especially their sexual health, from fear of discrimination to income-related barriers.” –– Pallavi Rudraraju | They/Them/Theirs | Youth Well-Being Program Coordinator.


Supporting and Caring for our LGBTQ Elders During COVID-19

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 14:32

During this time of uncertainty amidst the current COVID-19 global health crisis, supporting those in our communities who are the most at risk has never been more important. That includes older adults -- especially LGBTQ older adults. With that in mind, the 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. 

LGBTQ elders are particularly vulnerable to the health risks of COVID-19 and are concerned about discrimination, in both in-home and residential care settings (60%) and with their health care provider (40%). LGBTQ older adults also face greater risks from social isolation -- a necessary public health effort during COVID-19 -- that can have a direct impact on their health and well-being. 

“This critical new resource is extremely important for LGBTQ older adults, caregivers and community members alike,” said Dan Stewart, Associate Director, HRC Foundation’s Aging Equality Project. “During this time of crisis, we must be protecting all of our community members, including LGBTQ older adults. And we need everyone to step up and do their part to keep each other safe and healthy. HRC was proud to partner with SAGE on creating this resource, and we’ll continue to work together to assist and uplift those who are most at risk in our communities.” 

“With LGBT older people at high risk for COVID-19 infection due to not only their age, but also health disparities and social isolation, it’s essential that we arm ourselves with the information we need to protect our community,” said SAGE CEO Michael Adams. “To that end, SAGE is pleased to partner with HRC to provide this important resource.” 

HRC is committed to taking care of our entire LGBTQ family, from our youngest to our oldest. In addition to this new resource for older LGBTQ adults, last week HRC launched a new initiative, titled “Welcoming Schools Wednesdays” for students who are now learning from home. The initiative offers a book and a related activity every Wednesday, adapted from HRC Foundation Welcoming School’s teacher lesson plans, for parents to use with children at home. 

HRC will continue to provide resources and support and to connect LGBTQ people of all ages and from all walks of life during this time. For a full list of all of HRC’s efforts and resources during this global health crisis, please visit this link. For more from SAGE on COVID-19, please visit this link


HRC Global Alumni Share How Their Work Is Changing During the COVID-19 Crisis

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 12:15

Since the COVID-19 pandemic broke, it is impacting global LGBTQ advocacy in numerous ways. Global advocates are having to quickly change their work to support emergency assistance, manage communities in crisis and organize everything online. Much of this is happening in places and with communities that do not always have easy access to the internet and online support or safe physical spaces to connect virtually.

HRC recently spoke to advocates from our Global Alumni Network about how they are changing how they work with LGBTQ community members in their countries during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Bisi Alimi (@BisiAlimi)
Nigeria/UK
Bisi Alimi Foundation

Since the break of COVID-19 globally, we have had to rethink our work with LGBTQ people in Nigeria. As the world goes on lockdown, many LGBTQ Nigerians will have to return to abusive and homophobic homes, and many others will be homeless. 

We are creating safe, informative and empowering online spaces to sustain community. We have set up interactive webinars to provide information and support for LGBTQ people and virtual meditations to deal with the anxiety that comes with COVID-19.

Hazel Tshepang (@AWOSHe_Trans)
Botswana
African Women for Sexual Health and Gender Justice (AWOSHe)

Our organization staff are finding innovative ways to adjust to the drastic changes: We hold activities via WhatsApp, an effective and inexpensive way to come together. There, we can educate our community about COVID-19 and what it means for LGBTQ people.

We also track human rights violations more than ever in quarantined areas because we know that discrimination does not stop just because of a pandemic. And we are proactive about telling LGBTQ people, trans and queer ones in particular, who feel insecure or under threat to report those incidents to us. 

Mariano Ruiz (@marianoruizrg)
Argentina
Association for Diverse Families of Argentina

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. 

After a detailed survey of each person's situation, we are shifting to work hand-in-hand with the national government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide non-perishable food assistance and delivery to their homes. Additionally, we are also surveying the needs of people living with HIV and access to medication.


(Photo credit: FNU Ahadujjaman)

Rasel Ahmed
Bangladesh/US
Community organizer, filmmaker, and founding editor of the first Bangladeshi LGBTQ magazine
Roopbaan

As a queer Bangladeshi currently living aboard, I worry about hijra (a gender-based community who identify themselves neither male nor female) and khoti (effeminate men). While housing and health care remain a top issue for the hijra community, their primary sources of income, such as badhai (blessings for newborn), cholla (collecting tolls in their jurisdiction) and sex work, have come to halt due to a countrywide lockdown. Moreover, relief work often excludes members of these communities because of personal stigma.

For support, local Bangladeshi LGBTQ members and organizations are currently coordinating short and long-term support i.e. food, cash and medicine to hijra community members affected by COVID-19.

Svetlana Zakharova (@RuLGBTNet)
Russia
Russian LGBT Network

In Russia, problems that the LGBTQ community face are seen as secondary at best and generally not worth solving at all. We have arranged more psychological support for people like an online chat and voice hotline with a psychologist. 

We know that growing anxiety leads to increasing amounts of violence. Particularly when people are locked-in with their abusers, the system fails to deal with their threats and problems. So we have created more online spaces for the community, understanding this kind of support is what’s needed most now. 

HRC applauds the extraordinary work of these and the many other resilient advocates around the world. We continue to be in solidarity with them, lift up their voices and amplify their needs and the needs of their communities.


#AM_Equality: March 31, 2020

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 10:11

TODAY IS INTERNATIONAL TRANSGENDER DAY OF VISIBILITY (TDOV): “Transgender and non-binary people face significant cultural, legal and economic challenges, but continue to bravely share their stories, boldly claim their seats at the table and tirelessly push equality forward. The transgender and non-binary community’s pride, power and resilience should be a lesson to us all,” said HRC President Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid). “As we celebrate International Transgender Day of Visibility, we must never forget those who still feel invisible even in their own communities and who may live every day with fear of discrimination or violence, and we must resolve to fight for a world where every transgender and non-binary person is respected and protected.” More from HRC.

  • Check out this new video from HRC for TDOV. Watch here.

IDAHO BECOMES NATIONAL INNOVATOR IN DISCRIMINATION: It also becomes the first state in the country this year to enact legislation that specifically singles out the transgender community for discriminatory treatment. HB 500 will bar transgender women and girls from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. HB 509 flies in the face of a recent court decision by forbidding transgender and non-binary Idahoans from changing their gender marker on their birth certificates. Both laws are unconstitutional and will result in litigation at the cost of the Idaho taxpayer, which is particularly appalling during these uncertain times. More from HRC, Metro Weekly, Washington Blade, Forbes and CBS.

DIGITAL ORGANIZING IN THE TIME OF COVID-19: “As our nation navigates these uncharted waters, we can’t allow this pandemic to suppress civic engagement or voter participation; otherwise, the virus becomes a threat not only to public health but to the future of our democracy…” writes Geoff Wetrosky (@gwetrosky), HRC National Campaigns Director. “In light of COVID-19, it has never been more important to quickly identify and adopt virtual organizing techniques that maximize civic engagement while maintaining a commitment to the health and safety of organizing staff and volunteers.” More from Morning Consult.

HRC & SAGE RELEASE CRITICAL NEW REPORT ON CHALLENGES OLDER LGBTQ ADULTS FACE DURING COVID-19 CRISIS: LGBTQ elders are particularly vulnerable to the health risks of COVID-19 and are concerned about discrimination, in both in-home and residential care settings (60%) and with their health care provider (40%). LGBTQ older adults also face greater risks from social isolation -- a necessary public health effort during COVID-19 -- that can have a direct impact on their health and well-being. Read more from The Advocate and HRC

  • To keep up this important conversion, HRC, SAGE and Lambda Legal are co-hosting a webinar TOMORROW on how COVID-19 impacts LGBTQ older adults. More from HRC

Join lawyers and advocates from @HRC, @LambdaLegal and @SAGEUSA for a discussion about how #COVID19 impacts LGBTQ older adults on Wednesday, April 1 at 3:15 p.m. EDT. https://t.co/wS043ecrAb pic.twitter.com/Gl77LGLeWQ

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 30, 2020

HRC MOURNS LEXI, TRANS WOMAN KILLED IN HARLEM: According to reports, Lexi was fatally stabbed at work in Harlem River Park. “I really looked up to her because of her tolerance and respect,” said Lavonia Brooks, a friend of Lexi. “Lexi had a beautiful heart, she was very gifted.” Brooks also noted that Lexi loved poetry, makeup and fashion. More from HRC.

TUESDAY TWEET -- LGBTQ PEOPLE COUNT AND THAT’S WHY WE MUST TAKE THE CENSUS: “It’s vitally important for all of us to be counted in the Census,” said Nick Morrow (@nrmorrow), HRC’s acting communications director. “Critical funding for programs that support our communities, and LGBTQ people specifically, are determined by the Census.” More from Washington Blade.

  • While the census only offers binary gender options, non-binary people should still ensure they are counted. More from Rebellious Magazine.
  • For more context, check out HRC’s report on 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 here.

What’s at stake for the LGBTQ community with the #2020Census?
- ��Proper funding for state/federal programs
- ��️Fair representation in Congress
- ��️Direct say in our country's future
Pledge to complete your Census form today. https://t.co/8QXua1tgFx

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 30, 2020

MEET THE NEWEST MEMBERS OF HRC’S PARENTS FOR TRANS EQUALITY COUNCIL MEMBERS: HRC Foundation is pleased to announce the new additions to the Parents for Transgender Equality National Council: Mehereen Baig, Stephen Chukumba, Luchina Fisher and David J. Parr, Yma Johnson, Kim Parke, Jennifer Solomon and Adamalis Vigil. More from HRC.

HRC MOURNS THE LOSS OF LORENA BORJAS TO COVID-19: Said Tori Cooper, HRC's Director of Community Engagement (@MsToriCooper1): “The skies gained another star last night. Lorena Borjas was a star on earth who fought passionately for the rights of Latinx and trans folks, for the incarcerated, for sex workers and migrants. Her death is yet another tragic loss from COVID-19 and serves as a reminder to all that one person can make a difference in the lives of many. Rest in Power Lorena. Eres una estrella ahora.” More from PinkNews.

NEW RESOURCE FROM TLDEF FOR TRANS AND NON-BINARY COMMUNITY DURING COVID-19: The guide includes a ‘know your rights’ guide for those seeking medical care. More from Washington Blade.

HOW TO SUPPORT LGBTQ COLLEGE STUDENTS DURING COVID-19: More from Natasha Piñon (@natashapinon) at Mashable.

TODAY IS EQUAL PAY DAY: Did you know that women on average make just 82 cents for every dollar a man earns, with an even wider wage gap for women of color? Learn more here.

IN THE STATES

LGBTQ MICHIGANERS NEED INCLUSIVE NON-DISCRIMINATION PROTECTIONS: More from Capital News Service.

MICHIGAN’S OutCenter MOVES OPERATIONS ONLINE TO SUPPORT LOCAL LGBTQ COMMUNITY: More from The Herald Palladium.

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

GENDER-EXPANSIVE RAPPER BAD BUNNY (@sanbenito) SHOWS OFF MASCULINE AND FEMININE PERSONAS IN NEW MUSIC VIDEO: More from NewNowNext.

STAR TREK: MAJOR CHARACTER REVEALED TO BE QUEER: More from Pride.com.

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

UNITED KINGDOM LAUNCHES ITS FIRST LGBTQ-SPECIFIC TV CHANNEL: More from Gay Times.

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

NPR chats with Jonathan Van Ness (@JVN) about self-care during self-isolation; Chicago Magazine interviews Cameron Esposito

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 Honors International Transgender Day of Visibility

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 08:00

Today, HRC honors International Trans Day of Visibility. Held annually on March 31, International Transgender Day of Visibility is a time to celebrate transgender and non-binary people around the globe and acknowledge the courage it takes to live openly and authentically. Advocates also use the day to raise awareness around discrimination and violence that trans people still face.

“Transgender and non-binary people face significant cultural, legal and economic challenges, but continue to bravely share their stories, boldly claim their seats at the table and tirelessly push equality forward. The transgender and non-binary community’s pride, power and resilience should be a lesson to us all. As advocates, we must commit to learning together and building a world where every person can truly thrive,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “As we celebrate International Transgender Day of Visibility, we must never forget those who still feel invisible even in their own communities and who may live every day with fear of discrimination or violence, and we must resolve to fight for a world where every transgender and non-binary person is respected and protected.”

In honor of the day, HRC released a new video featuring some of its transgender and non-binary staff and volunteers discussing the need for visibility, the power of transgender and non-binary voices and the litany of bills in the states attacking this community.

On the same day we celebrate the power and visibility of transgender and non-binary people, Idaho has become a national innovator in discrimination, having passed and signed into law first-of-its-kind anti-transgender legislation. It also becomes the first state in the country this year to enact legislation that specifically singles out the transgender community for discriminatory treatment. Yesterday, Governor Brad Little signed two pieces of discriminatory anti-transgender legislation, commonly referred to as HB 500 and HB 509, even as his state and the world reel from the effects of COVID-19. HB 500 will bar transgender women and girls from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. HB 509 flies in the face of a recent court decision by forbidding transgender and non-binary Idahoans from changing their gender marker on their birth certificates. Both laws are unconstitutional and will result in litigation at the cost of the Idaho taxpayer, which is particularly appalling during these uncertain times.

Idaho is riding a wave of dangerous bills in the states that attack transgender and non-binary Americans, and especially transgender youth. Already in 2020, we have more than 60 anti-transgender bills filed across the United States -- that’s more than three times as many anti-transgender bills as were filed in all of 2019. This includes more than 20 bills that would prohibit transgender youth from receiving gender-affirming care and more than 20 bills that would prohibit transgender youth from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. These bills are opposed by more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1000 child welfare organizations, 40 major businesses and 1,800 parents of transgender and non-binary children from all 50 U.S. states and Washington D.C.

There is an epidemic of violence against the transgender and non-binary community, and especially against Black transgender women. In November 2019, ahead of Transgender Day of Remembrance, HRC Foundation released “A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in America in 2019,” a heartbreaking report honoring the trans people killed and detailing the contributing and motivating factors that lead to this tragic violence. Sadly, 2019 saw at least 26 transgender or gender non-conforming people in the U.S. fatally shot or killed by other violent means. In 2020, we have seen at least five such deaths. We say at least because too often these stories go unreported -- or misreported.

In September, HRC announced it is significantly expanding its work dedicated to justice for the transgender community through the Transgender Justice Initiative. The organization is advancing new initiatives that address the urgent needs of the transgender community, with specific attention to community members deeply impacted by racism, sexism and transphobia. This major effort includes a focus on economic empowerment; capacity-building programs; targeted task forces in communities hardest hit hard by the epidemic of anti-trans violence; and expanded public education campaigns. To learn more about HRC’s work on transgender equality, visit HRC.org/transgender. HRC offers a guide to reporters on how to cover transgender-related stories, which can be found here.


Amid Global Pandemic, Idaho Governor Brad Little Prioritizes and Signs Anti-Transgender Legislation

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 20:54

Today, HRC responded to the news that Idaho Governor Brad Little has signed two pieces of discriminatory anti-transgender legislation, commonly referred to as HB 500 and HB 509, even as his state and the world reel from the effects of COVID-19. HB 500 will bar transgender women and girls from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. HB 509 flies in the face of a recent court decision by forbidding transgender and nonbinary Idahoans from changing their gender marker on their birth certificates. Both laws are unconstitutional and will result in litigation at the cost of the Idaho taxpayer, which is particularly appalling during these uncertain times. 

“We are living in an unprecedented global health crisis, with confirmed cases of COVID-19 increasing on a daily basis in Idaho, across the United States and around the world, but Governor Brad Little and the Idaho legislature have decided to prioritize the demonization of transgender people,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “This is unacceptable, and a gross misuse of taxpayer funds and trust. Idaho is leading the way in anti-transgender discrimination, and  at a time when life is hard enough for everyone, Idaho’s elected leaders will be remembered for working to make their transgender residents’ lives even harder. Shame on Governor Little and the legislators who championed these heinous pieces of legislation.” 

Idaho is now a national innovator in discrimination, having passed and signed into law first-of-its-kind anti-transgender legislation. It also becomes the first state in the country this year to enact legislation that specifically singles out the transgender community for discriminatory treatment. 

H.B. 500 forbids transgender girls from being able to play on sports teams with other girls, and it will subject all girls to the risk of invasive, expensive, and inappropriate testing.  It is so clearly unconstitutional that Idaho’s current Attorney General and five previous Attorneys General of Idaho all urged the legislature and Governor to prevent the bill from becoming law.  Yet, legislators and the governor did not listen and signed taxpayers up to bear the cost of defending this discriminatory legislation in court. 

HB 509 flouts a recent decision by a federal court and, again contrary to the advice of the Idaho Attorney General, guarantees that Idaho taxpayers will be paying to defend yet another discriminatory law - this time one that impedes transgender people from obtaining a birth certificate updated with the correct gender marker. 

The bills were also opposed by business groups and medical professionals. Last week, the Human Rights Campaign and Freedom for All Americans re-released a letter signed by 40+ national businesses opposing anti-transgender legislation such as the bills signed into law by Governor Little. 

HRC is grateful to the leadership of groups and activists on the ground that have been fighting against the spate of anti-LGBTQ legislation in Idaho, especially the coalition Moving Towards Freedom. The coalition is made up of the ACLU of Idaho, Add The Words, Beloved Bodies, Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, Legal Voice, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, and the Pride Foundation.


HRC Mourns Lexi, Trans Woman Killed in Harlem

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 14:04

HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Lexi, a 33-year-old transgender woman killed in Harlem, New York on March 28. Lexi’s death is believed to be the fifth violent death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in this year in the U.S. 

According to reports, Lexi was fatally stabbed at work in Harlem River Park. She was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead. No arrest has been made at this time, though witnesses watched the alleged attacker leave the scene. HRC will update this blog as more details are known about Lexi and her death.

“I really looked up to her because of her tolerance and respect,” said Lavonia Brooks, a friend of Lexi. “Lexi had a beautiful heart, she was very gifted.” Brooks also noted that Lexi loved poetry, makeup and fashion.

Lexi engaged in sex work and it is believed her attacker also did. According to one report, 80% of street-based sex workers reported violence. Nearly nine in ten transgender people engaging in sex work or suspected of engaging in sex work reported being harassed, attacked, sexually assaulted or mistreated in some other way by police, according to the 2015 U.S. Trans Survey. Out of those who were working in the underground economy at the time they took the survey, nearly 41% were physically attacked in the previous year and over one-third were sexually assaulted in that same time.

In many instances, the criminalization of sex work can exacerbate the epidemic of violence targeting the transgender community, particularly transgender women of color. These tragic figures underscore the urgent need to decriminalize sex work, bringing workers out of the shadows and closer to critical services and protections.

There is an epidemic of violence against the transgender and non-binary community, and especially against Black transgender women. In November 2019, ahead of Transgender Day of Remembrance, HRC Foundation released “A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in America in 2019,” a heartbreaking report honoring the trans people killed and detailing the contributing and motivating factors that lead to this tragic violence. Sadly, 2019 saw at least 26 transgender or gender non-conforming people fatally shot or killed by other violent means. We say at least because too often these stories go unreported -- or misreported.

There are currently very few explicit federal legal protections for transgender or gender-expansive people. At the state level, transgender and gender non-conforming people in New York are explicitly protected in employment, housing or in public spaces, and they are covered under the state’s hate crimes legislation. Nationally, despite some marginal gains in state and local policies that support and affirm transgender people, recent years have been marked by anti-LGBTQ attacks at all levels of government. 

We must demand better from our elected officials and reject harmful anti-transgender legislation appearing at the local, state and federal levels because it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color. The intersections of racism, transphobia, sexism, biphobia and homophobia conspire to deprive them of necessities to live and thrive.

HRC will continue to hold the Trump-Pence administration and all elected officials who fuel the flames of hate accountable at the ballot box.

"The only way to combat hateful legislation is to vote. Trans communities must make their voices heard by supporting affirming policies and politicians," said Tori Cooper, HRC Director of Community Engagement. "Trans people of color are disproportionately victims of violence -- 91% of trans persons murdered in the U.S. in 2019 were Black trans women."

This epidemic of violence that disproportionately targets transgender people of color -- particularly Black transgender women -- must cease.

For more information about HRC’s transgender justice work, visit hrc.org/Transgender.


Meet the Newest Members of HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality National Council

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 12:54

HRC Foundation is pleased to announce the new additions to the Parents for Transgender Equality National Council: Mehereen Baig, Stephen Chukumba, Luchina Fisher and David J. Parr, Yma Johnson, Kim Parke, Jennifer Solomon and Adamalis Vigil. 

The council is a coalition of some of the the nation's leading parent-advocates working for equality and fairness for transgender people, with the intention of connecting, mobilizing and amplifying many of the most powerful voices of love, inclusion and support for transgender equality. 

"There is no advocacy voice more powerful than that of parents who are fighting for the rights and dignity of their children,” said HRC Senior Director of Programs and Partnerships Ellen Kahn. “These parents are fueled by, and channel the energy, love and commitment of the thousands of parents of trans and non-binary children across the country who are doing extraordinary work every day to keep their children safe at home and at school. HRC Foundation is grateful to the families represented on our Parents for Transgender Equality National Council — these dedicated, fierce parents are on the front lines of changing hearts and minds."

Meet our newest Parents for Transgender Equality National Council members:

Mehereen Baig (she/her/hers)
Trenton, NJ


Mehereen Baig is a mother to three boys, ages 20, 17 and 14, with the two eldest being cisgender and the youngest being transgender. As an immigrant from Pakistan, Mehereen came to the United States at four-years-old and was raised in a conservative, traditional Muslim family. While in college she broke a cultural norm by marrying outside of her customs and nationality to an American convert to Islam. She and her ex-husband raised their children in the folds of a loving, Islamic household and despite the end of a 25 year marriage, continue to co-parent together, alongside Mehereen’s new family. They are united as strong advocates for all of their boys regardless of their children’s beliefs and self-identity. It has not been the easiest journey for her to face abandonment and rejection from some members of her family, but armed with constant education and an open heart, she fiercely shields her sons from facing the same challenges.

Mehereen is an educator of 26 years at the elementary level. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Literacy with a specialty in Bilingual Literacy. Within her district, she is currently working to bring an LGBTQIA curriculum to classrooms ranging from elementary to high school. She is also a leading advocate in educating and helping newcomers from around the world better understand how to navigate and function within the U.S. school system. She reaches out to new immigrant families in the community and works with them to acclimate them comfortably into setting up a successful foundation for education. She is a union representative at the school level which allows her to bridge the common understanding between staff and administration.

Although Mehereen is fairly new to the news of her son coming out to their family, she is well versed in unconditional acceptance in diversity and outspoken within the Islamic community.

Stephen Chukumba (he/him/his)


Stephen Chukumba is a single father of four children, Asha Ming, Chima, Duran and Nokosi. One of Stephen’s children identifies as a transgender boy and since his son’s coming out, Stephen has made it his mission to disabuse the world of its ignorance and intolerance of LGBTQ people and the issues they face. 

Stephen is a scrum master at Capital One, where he is an active member of several business resource groups devoted to assisting the members of minority and disenfranchised groups.

As a member of the Human Rights Campaign’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council, PFLAG and GLAAD, Stephen leverages his membership in these powerful advocacy platforms to speak and educate about the unique challenges faced by people of color raising transgender youth.

Luchina Fisher (she/her/hers) and David J. Parr (he/him/his)
Connecticut


Luchina is an award-winning writer and filmmaker, whose upcoming documentary Mama Gloria is about a trailblazing 73-year-old Black transgender woman who started a charm school for homeless trans youth. David is an award-winning clinical psychologist who implemented and currently oversees the nation’s first Female Integrated Treatment facility for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, where he has worked for nearly two decades. Together, they are the proud parents of Gia, Luc and Mateo. 

When Gia transitioned at the start of eighth grade in their small town in Connecticut, the family wrote a “coming out” letter to all the middle school students and their parents. The overwhelmingly supportive response from the entire community led the family to take their positive story public through the national storytelling campaign, The GenderCool Project, which aims to show who trans youth are, not what they are. Luchina penned a first-person essay for Good Morning America and the family's story has since been featured on Megyn Kelly Today, The New York Times, People and CBS This Morning. Now 16, Gia is a HRC Youth Ambassador, GenderCool Project Champion and one of The Advocate’s 2019 Champions of Pride. She was featured in Gap's 2019 Pride campaign and was featured in the season 2 finale of Pose.

Yma Johnson (she/her/hers)
Ann Arbor, Michigan


Yma Johnson is the proud mother of Seti, her 19-year-old non-binary child. She is also a board member for Stand with Trans, an organization that provides free support groups and resources to trans youth and their families throughout southeast Michigan and in the San Francisco Bay Area. Yma is from Ann Arbor, MI and co-founded that city’s Stand with Trans support group.

She considers it a privilege to support her child as they move fluidly across and through their varied and beautiful gender expressions. She wants every transgender, gender non-conforming and gender creative child to have the benefit of a safe, supportive home and loving community.

Yma has a master’s degree in creative writing from Eastern Michigan University and a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Michigan. She has participated in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at multiple organizations and is a staunch ally for the LGBTQ community. Over the course of two decades, Yma has championed social justice causes, including environmental protection, women's rights, equitable health care access and inmate rights. She currently sits on several boards, steering committees and task forces.

Kim Lesher (she/her/hers)
South Dakota


Kim Lesher lives in South Dakota with her husband and three kids. Kim's family has lived in South Dakota for nearly the entirety of their lives. She holds a Bachelor's degree and works as a paraeducator at her local high school. Kim became drawn into transgender advocacy after seeing her non-binary child Quinn's ethusiasm and passion for it. Unlike a lot of parents of transgender children, she is able to speak out when she sees injustice in legislation and other areas. Kim recognizes that her child Quinncy is old enough to make the decision to be honest and open to the world, and she is following their lead just as much as they are following hers.

Jennifer Solomon (she/her/hers)
Miami, Florida

Jennifer and her husband, Jeffrey Solomon, live in Miami along with their four children, two of whom are part of the LGBTQ community. Their oldest daughter just celebrated her second wedding anniversary with her beautiful wife. Cooper is the youngest and identifies as gender non-conforming. While his gender identity is male, his gender expression is fabulously female.

A pediatric registered nurse by profession, Jennifer chooses to spend her time advocating for all LGBTQ youth to live safe and healthy lives as their authentic selves.

She is the founder and president of PFLAG South Miami Chapter. She has created a safe space for families to gather, receive support, give advice and become allies for their loved ones.

For the last five years Jennifer has been a member of Miami Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) LGBTQ Safe School Advisory Council, where she works with local organizations to provide the superintendent and school board members tools and guidance to ensure the school environment is a safe place for learning. She also serves on the MDCPS Student Services Advisory Committee.

While in kindergarten, Cooper and Jennifer presented a proposal to the school board to implement HRC’s Welcoming Schools curriculum and were successful in getting the fourth-largest school district to incorporate diversity education into their schools.

Jennifer is an outspoken ally on the local and state level as a speaker for organizations such as Equality Florida and the YES institute. As a strong advocate, she has testified in Tallahassee TN against anti-LGBTQ bills and at the Miami Dade Commission fighting to protect LGBTQ youth from so-called “conversion therapy.” Her family’s journey of raising a gender non-conforming child has been featured in the Miami New Times as well as a segment on NBC and NPR.

Sharing her family’s experience with raising a child who redefines what it means to be a boy will hopefully help educate others and make the world a kinder, gentler place for all children.

Adamalis Vigil (she/her/hers)
Palmview, Texas


Adamalis Vigil is a nail salon owner from Palmview, Texas and the proud parent of three children, including her transgender daughter. Adamalis advocates for transgender inclusivity in both her personal life as the mother of a transgender daughter and in her professional life as the owner of a nail salon. In addition to regularly meeting with school leadership to address anti-transgender bullying her daughter faces, Adamalis’ nail salon is listed on the Rio Grande Valley Resource List -- a list of local LGBTQ-friendly business -- and people from all over the Rio Grande Valley come to her business for their inclusive service. Adamalis has required all staff to be trained in gender inclusiveness to ensure all customers, especially LGBTQ customers, have a good experience at her salon. Adamalis firmly believes that having a trans child has made her a better person and hopes that with her actions and other actions of inclusivity in her community, there will be chain reactions of kindness, so that her daughter will have a better future.

We would like to thank Adam & Amber Briggle, Amy D'Arpino, JR Ford,  Jessica Girven, Jeanette Jennings (emeritus member), Ea McMillan Porter, Peter and Sarah Tchoryk, Dr. Louis Porter II and Sarah and Brian Watson for their service. These incredible advocates have ended their term on the National Parents for Transgender Equality Council. 


#AM_Equality: March 30, 2020

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 10:36

FOUR MAJOR EMPLOYERS JOIN 40 OTHERS IN OPPOSING STATE-BASED ANTI-TRANSGENDER LEGISLATION: On the eve of Idaho potentially becoming the first state in the nation this year to pass a law specifically targeting transgender people, Chobani, GoDaddy, Hewlett Packard Inc. and Verizon today joined more than 40 major employers in a previously released open letter, calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose bills that target LGBTQ people, and transgender children in particular. These business leaders stress the importance of fairness and opportunity for their customers, their employees and their employees’ families. Read more from HRC

ALEXANDRA BOLLES (@anorianb) AND LAURA DELLOSTRITTO FROM THE BISEXUAL RESOURCE CENTER (@BRC_Central) TAKE OVER HRC’S TWITTER TO HONOR BI HEALTH MONTH: Read more here

10/ At @BRC_Central, we know that bi+ people grow resilience by acknowledging unique hardships' impact on our well-being, while also recognizing that we grow stronger by building community and working together against anti-bi+ antagonism. #HRCTwitterTakeover #BiHealthMonth

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

MONDAY MUST-READ -- HOW THE CORONAVIRUS AID, RELIEF AND ECONOMIC SECURITY (CARES) ACT IMPACTS LGBTQ PEOPLE: HRC supports many of the provisions in this bill, especially those that will help LGBTQ people, though we recognize the bill is not perfect. We will continue to work with Congress to ensure that further steps are taken to address our country’s needs in this difficult time. Learn more from HRC

SAGE CEO MICHAEL ADAMS (@Adams_SAGEUSA) WRITES FOR THE ADVOCATE ON THE IMPORTANCE OF TAKING CARE OF LGBTQ ELDERS DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS: Read the full op-ed here

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

SERIES FINALE OF “WILL & GRACE” TO AIR ON THURSDAY, APRIL 23: More from NewNowNext

U.K.’S FIRST-EVER LGBTQ-FOCUSED CHANNEL, OUTTV, WILL DEBUT THIS WEDNESDAY: More from PinkNews

RAPPER DA BRAT COMES OUT IN INSTAGRAM POST: More from Billboard

Congrats to rapper Da Brat on coming out in a beautiful post celebrating her relationship. ��Welcome to the family! https://t.co/51CAiAdclo

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 28, 2020

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

LGBTQ ORGANIZATIONS RESPOND TO COVID-19 HEALTH CRISIS: “What we are seeing at this time, particularly in places where it is hard to be out as LGBTQ or as living with HIV, these folks are particularly vulnerable in this moment when governments are calling for their citizens to quarantine,” said HRC Global Director Jay Gilliam. “If you are in quarantine with family and your family is not a place where it is safe to be out, you are more vulnerable.” Read more from The Bay Area Reporter


Four Major Employers Join 40 Others Opposing State-Based Anti-Transgender Legislation

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 15:24

Written by: 

Nick Morrow, Nick.Morrow@HRC.org, 865-386-8244
Angela Dallara, Angela@freedomforallamericans.org, 646-430-3925

On the eve of Idaho potentially becoming the first state in the nation this year to pass a law specifically targeting transgender people, Chobani, GoDaddy, Hewlett Packard Inc. and Verizon today joined more than 40 major employers in a previously released open letter, calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose bills that target LGBTQ people, and transgender children in particular. These business leaders stress the importance of fairness and opportunity for their customers, their employees and their employees’ families. This letter was released earlier this month, but has been updated with these new, additional business signers.

The signers note, “We are deeply concerned by the bills being introduced in state houses across the country that single out LGBTQ individuals - many specifically targeting transgender youth - for exclusion or differential treatment. Laws that would affect access to medical care for transgender people, parental rights, social and family services, student sports, or access to public facilities such as restrooms, unnecessarily and uncharitably single out already marginalized groups for additional disadvantage. They seek to put the authority of state government behind discrimination and promote mistreatment of a targeted LBGTQ population.”

“Businesses succeed when they are innovative, welcoming and open to all,” said Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights Campaign. “Harmful legislation —  especially the torrent of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced across the country —  deeply affect businesses’ ability to recruit and provide opportunities to their customers and employees. Right now, we are asking Governor Little of Idaho to veto two anti-transgender bills, which were — amid this global pandemic — shockingly considered and passed by the legislature. This type of legislation would harm transgender people in Idaho, and affect the state’s reputation and ability to recruit and retain talent and investment. There is widespread corporate and public opposition to anti-LGBTQ legislation. It’s simple: businesses and voters writ large do not want anti-LGBTQ discrimination in their states and communities, particularly in these trying times.”

“America’s business community has consistently taken a strong stand opposing legislation that discriminates against LGBTQ workers and customers,” said Kasey Suffredini, Freedom for All Americans CEO and National Campaign Director. “Business leaders understand that discrimination is bad for business, and their economic competitiveness relies on fair and inclusive work environments for their employees. This is more important than ever in the midst of a national public health crisis that is threatening millions of Americans’ economic security. In this moment, state lawmakers should be focused on passing laws to protect Americans’ livelihoods, not threatening to pass laws that discriminate, jeopardizing future state economic development and risking driving business away. We’re proud of the business leaders who signed this letter. They know how important it is for them to speak up when their team members and their families are threatened by misguided policies.”

The letter was released by America Competes (a program of Freedom for All Americans) and the Human Rights Campaign. Here is a full list of companies that have signed on to the letter: 

AEO Inc.

Airbnb

Amalgamated Bank

Amazon

American Airlines

Apple

Asana, Inc.

AT&T

Bayer US LLC

Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc.

Boehringer Ingelheim USA

Capital One

Corning Incorporated

Chobani 

CSAA Insurance Group

Dow Inc.

Dropbox Inc.

Eastern Bank

Google

GoDaddy

Hewlett Packard Inc.

Hilton

IBM

IKEA North America Services, LLC

Instacart

Levi Strauss & Co.

Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics

Lyft, Inc.

Marriott International, Inc.

MassMutual

Microsoft

Mobilize

Nike, Inc.

PayPal

Salesforce

SunLife

Sustainable Food Policy Alliance, including member companies Danone North America; Mars, Incorporated; Nestlé USA; and Unilever United States

TechNet

Trillium Asset Management

Uber

Unilever United States

Verizon


#HRCTwitterTakover With Bisexual Resource Center to Honor #BiHealthMonth

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 14:11

1/ Hey Twitter! This is Alexandra Bolles (@anorianb) and Laura DelloStritto from the Bisexual
Resource Center (@BRC_Central). We’re here today for an #HRCTwitterTakeover to talk about #BiHealthMonth! pic.twitter.com/XFA3V6MFaL

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

2/ This March, we’re celebrating the 7th annual #BiHealthMonth. @BRC_Central founded the campaign in 2014 to address the social, economic and health disparities the bi+ community faces and inspire action to improve bi+ people's health. #HRCTwitterTakeover https://t.co/Bwq4RP1iD7

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

3/ Studies show that bi+ people comprise nearly half of LGBTQ people, making bi+ people the largest group within the LGBTQ community. But the LGBTQ community as a whole can do more to address bi+ folks' specific needs. #HRCTwitterTakeover https://t.co/f4nAvLDPZN

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

4/ Bisexual, pansexual, queer and fluid people experience far worse physical, sexual, social and mental health outcomes compared to their lesbian, gay and straight peers. #HRCTwitterTakeover https://t.co/N71RZBgqYg

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

5/ Moreover, bi+ people are far less likely to disclose our sexual orientation to, or have it taken seriously by, medical professionals, making it harder for us to get the care we need. #HRCTwitterTakeover #BiHealthMonth https://t.co/2kKC7Yz1TZ

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

6/ When bi+ people do come out, both to health care providers and to our friends and family, we often must confront harmful and damaging antagonism directed toward our bisexual+ identity. #HRCTwitterTakeover #BiHealthMonth

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

7/ This #BiHealthMonth, @BRC_Central & @PPMASS released a new resource, titled “Sexual Health Tips for the Bi+ Community & Best Practices for Providers.” #HRCTwitterTakeover https://t.co/OzpqbnOZYq pic.twitter.com/1zjEamxRtE

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

8/ Our new resource aims to combat the negative sexual health outcomes for bi+ people & to educate health care providers on how to best care for their bi+ patients. If we work together, we can help our community live happier and healthier lives! #HRCTwitterTakeover #BiHealthMonth pic.twitter.com/x27SpwPzaT

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

9/ One constant we see this month and in our work every day is the incredible resilience displayed by bi+ people despite the hardships that we constantly work to overcome.

That’s why the theme of this year’s #BiHealthMonth is “Resilience.” #HRCTwitterTakeover pic.twitter.com/GkbmKAgdXy

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

10/ At @BRC_Central, we know that bi+ people grow resilience by acknowledging unique hardships' impact on our well-being, while also recognizing that we grow stronger by building community and working together against anti-bi+ antagonism. #HRCTwitterTakeover #BiHealthMonth

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

11/11 This #BiHealthMonth, know that you’re not alone. The bi+ community is diverse, inclusive and here to welcome you with open arms. @BRC_Central has many resources for us and our allies. Stay proud and stay resilient! #HRCTwitterTakeover pic.twitter.com/g5HS0bLqwf

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

How The CARES Act Impacts LGBTQ People

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 10:27

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate passed a $2 trillion package to help address the COVID-19 crisis. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748) would provide significant assistance to individuals, families, health care providers, small businesses and key sectors of the economy. The House of Representatives is expected to pass the legislation on Friday and the president is expected to sign it into law. HRC supports many of the provisions in this bill, especially those that will help LGBTQ people, though we recognize the bill is not perfect. We will continue to work with Congress to ensure that further steps are taken to address our country’s needs in this difficult time.

The key features of the legislation are:

  • Expanded unemployment insurance
    • $600 per week increase
    • Incentives for states to eliminate waiting periods
    • Extended number of weeks of eligibility
  • Direct payments to individuals and families
  • Aid to hospitals and other health care providers
  • Loans and grants to small business and non-profits
  • Loans to larger companies to retain workers and maintain liquidity
  • Aid to states

The bill also expands programs that disproportionately impact LGBTQ people, particularly around health care:

  • Additional $90 million for the Ryan White Care Act for HIV/AIDS care and treatment.
  • Additional $65 million for housing for people living with AIDS (HOPWA).
  • Require that Medicare Part D plans provide up to a 90-day supply of a prescription medication if requested by a beneficiary during the COVID-19 emergency period.
  • Includes language to ensure that states are able to receive the 6.2% FMAP increase, the funding formula used to apportion money under Medicaid.  
  • Additional $25 million for carrying out activities under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act.   
  • $4 billion for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Emergency Solution Grants to prevent, prepare for and respond to COVID-19, address needs of individuals and families who are homeless or receiving homeless assistance. It also allocates funds to geographic areas with the greatest needs, and for the benefit of unsheltered and sheltered homeless and those at risk of homelessness.
  • $5 billion in additional funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant to provide child care assistance to health care sector employees, emergency responders, sanitation workers and other workers deemed essential.

Since 2020 is a major election year and the COVID-19 outbreak is making it even harder for people to vote, the bill includes $400 million in election assistance for states to expand vote by mail, early voting and online registration. 

This package is the third major bill that Congress has passed to address the crisis. Additional measures are expected as the full impact of the crisis becomes clearer.

To learn more about how LGBTQ people are impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, be sure to check out HRC’s Foundation newest report, “The Lives and Livelihoods of Many in the LGBTQ Community are at Risk Amidst COVID-19 Crisis.” 


#AM_Equality: March 27, 2020

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 10:10

HRC PRESIDENT ALPHONSO DAVID JOINS SLATE’S LGBTQ PODCAST, “OUTWARD,” TO DISCUSS COVID-19’S IMPACT ON THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY: David (@AlphonsoDavid) joined hosts J. Bryan Lowder (@jbryanlowder), Rumaan Alam (@Rumaan) and Christina Cauterucci (@c_cauterucci) to look at comparisons between the COVID-19 health crisis and the early days of the HIV and AIDS epidemic, and talk about how the LGBTQ community can stay organized while we’re unable to come together. More from Slate

TODAY -- HRC HOSTS WEBINAR AT 3PM EDT ON COVID-19 AND PERSONS LIVING WITH HIV: More from HRC

ANTI-LGBTQ CARDINAL BLAMES COVID-19 HEALTH CRISIS ON LGBTQ PEOPLE: “The harmful words of Cardinal Burke are immoral and unjustifiable,” said HRC Religion & Faith Program Director Michael Vazquez (@mvsebastian). “He is putting countless Catholics around the world at risk with his statement, including LGBTQ people. At the same time, he is further stigmatizing LGBTQ people who are uniquely impacted by COVID-19. In this moment of crisis, the Catholic Church must lead by encouraging social distancing and supporting the most vulnerable communities -- including the LGBTQ community.” Read more from The Advocate

FRIDAY FEELING -- ADVOCATING FOR COMPETENT HEALTH CARE AND VISIBILITY AS A BI+ MAN: “For many, growing up bi+ means having a hard time finding the right words to describe yourself,” writes HRC Senior Writer for Online Strategy Ryan Carey-Mahoney (@thegoodcarmah). “For some bi+ men, that means pushing part of you aside to live a life in the closet -- and for others, that means coming out as something we’re told is more ‘real’ like gay, or to a shrieking chorus of ‘it’s just a phase’ invalidation. We, as a collective community, need to do better. And there’s no better time to engage than right now as we commemorate Bisexual Health Awareness Month.” Read more from HRC

HRC JOINS MORE THAN 270 ORGANIZATIONS CALLING ON CONGRESS TO PASS COVID-19 RELIEF LEGISLATION THAT PROTECTS EVERY AMERICAN -- ESPECIALLY THOSE WITH DISABILITIES: More from HRC

AMERICA’S HEALTH CARE SYSTEM LEAVES LGBTQ PEOPLE AND PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV ESPECIALLY VULNERABLE TO COVID-19: “There is no federal law that expressly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “If I live in one of those 29 states where there are no affirmative protections and I’m facing discrimination in the allocation of services, where do I go?” Read more from Nico Lang (@Nico_Lang) at VICE

IN THE STATES

TRUMP-PENCE ADMIN FILES TRANSPHOBIC STATEMENT OF INTEREST IN CONN. COURT CASE: More from HRC

The Trump-Pence administration is once again attacking the trans community and reaffirming its dangerous stance towards LGBTQ people. We will continue to fight so all transgender people - especially trans youth - are treated fairly in every part of society. https://t.co/KTmoTmR88B

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 26, 2020

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

“SCHITT’S CREEK” STARS DAN LEVY (@danjlevy) AND NOAH REID (@olreid) ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THEIR CHARACTERS’ HAPPY ENDING: Read more from The Advocate

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

THE JIMME FOUNDATION, AN LGBTQ RIGHTS ORGANIZATION IN INDIA FOUNDED BY HRC GLOBAL INNOVATOR HARISH IYER (@hiyer), HAS LAUNCHED A FUNDRAISER TO SUPPORT SEX WORKERS IN MUMBAI: More from Openly

SECOND ADMINISTRATIVE COURT OF ANKARA, TURKEY HAS OVERTURNED A BAN ON LGBTQ ACTIVITIES IN THE CITY: More from Kaos GL

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

Outsports shares a list of 39 LGBTQ sports books to check out

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: March 26, 2020

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 10:16

IDAHO IS FOCUSING ON ANTI-TRANSGENDER LEGISLATION INSTEAD OF THE REAL CRISIS, COVID-19: “What makes these bills particularly hurtful for trans people in Idaho is the timing of the legislation,” writes Nico Lang (@Nico_Lang). “They were pushed through the state Senate during the same week that municipalities across the country took measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. And yet in Idaho, little has been done to stop its citizens from contracting coronavirus.” Read the full piece from VICE

  • Said HRC State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley (@CthrynOkly), “[This bill] is legislation that is based purely in misinformation about trans youth, and it is targeting trans youth for discriminatory treatment. For any trans person in Idaho, they are now on notice that their government is willing to make laws that are based on fear and not facts.” 

HRC PRESIDENT ON TRUMP “SHADOW DIPLOMAT” AND CABINET BIBLE STUDY LEADER BLAMING LGBTQ PEOPLE FOR COVID-19 PANDEMIC: Late last night, reports surfaced of Ralph Drollinger blaming LGBTQ people for “God’s consequential wrath” and the COVID-19 pandemic. Said HRC President Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid), “LGBTQ people around the country and around the world are struggling to cope with this global pandemic. They are worried about their health, their livelihoods and their families. Our country is in crisis, and rather than placing the blame to marginalized communities that are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, our leaders and their advisors must focus in, buckle up and flatten the curve.” More from HRC and NBC Out

THANKFUL THURSDAY -- WOMEN ON THE RISE: SPOTLIGHT ON LGBTQ LEADERS & ALLIES: From trailblazing figures of our past, to champions on the front lines of today’s movement, women have been at the heart of the fight for equality. For Women’s History Month, HRC is shining a light on openly LGBTQ women leaders and allies who are leading on LGBTQ-inclusive bills in the battleground states of Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin, as well as in our nation’s capital. Read more from HRC

For #WomensHistoryMonth, HRC is highlighting trailblazing women across battleground states who are running for office, have been elected and are advancing equality for LGBTQ people. https://t.co/FDfTsnAhir

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

 IN THE STATES

 YOUR LOCAL QUEER BUSINESS NEEDS YOUR SOCIAL-DISTANCED SUPPORT! 

  • Read more about how to support LGBTQ businesses and non-profits in Washington, D.C. from Austa Somvichian-Clausen (@austaclausen) at Thrillist
  • Read more about how to support LGBTQ businesses in Chicago from Jessi Roti (@JessiTaylorRO) at Thrillist

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

 “SCHITT’S CREEK” STARS DAN LEVY (@danjlevy) AND NOAH REID (@olreid) GRACE THE DIGITAL COVER OF ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: More from EW

Make a wish, David and Patrick. �� In our new digital cover story, #SchittsCreek stars @danjlevy and @olreid take us inside the journey that saw two business partners become soulmates: https://t.co/AnFr6IQRMY Story by: @shananaomi pic.twitter.com/sV0C3CvvY8

— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) March 25, 2020

DOMINIQUE PROVOST-CHALKLEY (@DominiqueP_C), STAR OF “WYNONNA EARP,” COMES OUT AS QUEER: More from Autostraddle

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

ANDORRA TO CONSIDER LEGALIZING MARRIAGE EQUALITY IN THE COMING MONTHS: More from NewNowNext

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

Star Observer reports on a new series from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation about a trans high schooler 

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!


“Shadow Diplomat” and Cabinet Bible Study Leader Blames LGBTQ People for COVID-19 Pandemic

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 15:54

Late last night, reports surfaced of Ralph Drollinger blaming LGBTQ people for “God’s consequential wrath” and the COVID-19 pandemic. Drollinger has been called a “shadow diplomat” by the New York Times and leads a weekly Bible study group for President Donald Trump’s cabinet including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Housing & Urban Development  Secretary Ben Carson, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Azar and Carson are also on the COVID-19 Task Force. In response, Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights Campaign, issued the following statement:

“LGBTQ people around the country and around the world are struggling to cope with this global pandemic. They are worried about their health, their livelihoods, and their families. At a moment where we need to pull together by recognizing our shared humanity and mutual dependence, there are some of low moral character who see it as an opportunity to continue to try to divide us.

“Drollinger’s horrific assertions are ludicrous. Our government’s top leaders depend on him for moral advice and give him regular and direct access. His shameful views cannot be ignored. 

“Our country is in crisis, and rather than placing the blame on marginalized communities that are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, our leaders and their advisors must focus in, buckle up and flatten the curve.

“We need leadership that embraces fact and science. A leader whose priority is to improve and save lives. Donald Trump is not that leader.”

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.


Women on the Rise: Spotlight on LGBTQ Leaders & Allies

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 14:52

From trailblazing figures of our past, to champions on the front lines of today’s movement, women have been at the heart of the fight for equality. For Women’s History Month, HRC is shining a light on openly LGBTQ women leaders and allies who are leading on LGBTQ-inclusive bills in the battleground states of Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin, as well as in our nation’s capital.

All across the country women are running for office, winning and advancing the rights for LGBTQ people.

In a huge 2018 midterm victory, Gretchen Whitmer defeated anti-LGBTQ Attorney General Bill Schuette, and as her first order of business, Whitmer signed an executive order to provide workplace protections for LGBTQ employees of the state. Building off this momentum, she has joined openly LGBTQ state legislators in support of amending the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act to guarantee protections in housing, workplace and public accommodations to all LGBTQ people living in the state. Gov. Whitmer also made history by flying the Pride flag for the first time in Michigan’s Governor’s office, signifying to all LGBTQ Michiganders that their leader sees them, accepts them and will fight for them.

Pro-equality Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered #Pride flags to fly on Michigan’s Capitol building for the first time ever. ��️‍����️

Thank you, @GovWhitmer, for showing solidarity with the LGBTQ community this #PrideMonth. https://t.co/6cH3MITuA3

— HRC in Michigan (@HRC_MI) June 19, 2019

Many battleground states such as Michigan and Ohio have fallen into the lowest category for LGBTQ-inclusive laws and policies, and women legislators are joining pro-equality governors like Whitmer by introducing protection bills.

This year, Ohio’s State Rep. Mary Lightbody introduced a bill to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and abusive practice of so-called “conversion therapy,” and State Sen. Mallory McMorrow introduced a similar bill in Michigan. Both of these bills would dramatically improve the lives of many Americans by helping end the patchwork of protections that currently leaves so many at the mercy of their ZIP code to define their rights.

Allyship toward LGBTQ equality extends from local government all the way up to the U.S. Congress. 

Under Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, pro-equality women in the House helped make history and passed the Equality Act. Two of these congresswomen were Nevada Reps. Dina Titus and Susie Lee, who have been longtime advocates of LGBTQ rights. In addition to voting in favor of pro-equality bills, Rep. Titus is leading on them -- including introducing the Globe Act, which would restore the State Department’s role in defending LGBTQ people’s rights around the world. 

Rep. Susie Lee has also been fighting alongside HRC for three years -- tirelessly empowering LGBTQ and Equality Voters to turn out and vote, to be represented in federal surveys that decided funding for programs and to hold elected leaders accountable for anti-LGBTQ views.

I’m proud to be an ally to @HRC & the LGBTQ community. Know that I’m w/ you every step of the way. That’s why I helped introduce the #EqualityAct, which will add gender ID & sexual orientation to the Civil Rights Act. All I can say is: it’s about damn time. Let’s keep fighting. pic.twitter.com/xlAlLnnEKD

— Rep. Susie Lee (@RepSusieLee) March 15, 2019

Women’s representation is intersectional, and many leaders in the states are also openly LGBTQ. 

More than ever, we are seeing openly LGBTQ women winning office and making history especially in swing states: 

  • Tammy Baldwin: Openly lesbian U.S. senator from Wisconsin 
  • Krysten Sinema: Openly bisexual U.S. senator from Arizona 
  • Nickie Antonio: Openly lesbian Ohio state senator and sponsor of the Ohio Fairness Act 
  • Dana Nessel: Openly lesbian attorney general of Michigan
  • Melanie Scheible: Openly bisexual state senator of the Nevada State Legislature 
  • Sarah Peters: Openly pansexual state assemblywoman of the Nevada State Legislature  
  • Pat Spearman: Openly lesbian state senator of the Nevada State Legislature 
  • Dallas Harris: Openly lesbian state senator of the Nevada State Legislature  
  • Jocasta Zamarripa: Openly bisexual state rep of Wisconsin State Legislature 

LGBTQ women of color are representing, leading and pushing our movement forward. 

Of these openly LGBTQ officials, women of color like Nevada legislators, Pat Spearman and Dallas Harris have supported underserved communities by passing a sweeping set of pro-LGBTQ bills, like expanding protections for those living with HIV and AIDS. Meanwhile, Wisconsin State Rep. Jocasta Zamarripa has partnered with HRC for Bi Visibility Day and helped raise awareness of the health disparities facing bisexual people, especially bisexual people of color. 

#BiHealthMonth #WomensHistoryMonth #TBT: Take a look back at Wisconsin's 8th District State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa (@repjocasta’s) @HRC_WI #twittertakeover. She spoke about being a proud bi Latinx Wisconsinite & the importance of representation. https://t.co/UqvrJ29Llf

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 19, 2020

As we lift up these women and countless others moving our movement forward, we must join them by ensuring we are turning out to vote in primaries and this November.


Advocating for Competent Health Care and Visibility as a Bi+ Man

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 14:22

Post submitted by Ryan Carey-Mahoney, Senior Writer for HRC’s Online Strategy team and one of two co-chairs of HRC’s Bi+ Employee Resource Group.

About a month ago, I was scrolling through Twitter and came across a hashtag that seemed tailor-made for me: #BisexualMenExist. With just a click, I found stories and photos of bi+ men from all over who were reclaiming and affirming their identity to the world.

Even in 2020, bisexual, pansexual, queer and fluid-identified men still have to prove our existence.

For many, growing up bi+ means having a hard time finding the right words to describe yourself. For some bi+ men, that means pushing part of you aside to live a life in the closet — and for others, that means coming out as something we’re told is more “real” like gay, or to a shrieking chorus of “it’s just a phase” invalidation.

For much of my adolescence, I chose the former. I told myself it wasn’t *that* hard to be closeted: I could enjoy dates with girls my age because I was attracted to them and had mostly male friends (as I’d come to learn, many of whom were also in the closet.)

But, whether I wanted it to or not, my truth pushed its way to the surface and ravaged my mental health. During my senior year of college, I started experiencing intense bouts of depression, irritability and self-hatred — at my lowest, I felt like I didn’t want to live at all and I began to take it out on my body. 

There came a point where I knew I had to choose: live my life as an out bisexual man or, potentially, have no life to live at all. Almost to the day that I first saw the #BisexualMenExist hashtag, I celebrated my six-year anniversary of coming out for the very first time, and, despite some hurdles that came with it, I’ve never looked back.

My story, unfortunately, isn’t a unique one. While I am out and proud now, many in the bi+ community are suffering — mentally, physically and emotionally — in silence.

We, as a collective community, need to do better. And there’s no better time to engage than right now as we commemorate Bisexual Health Awareness Month in March. Together, we need to uplift bi+ voices in our lives, consider the unique health and economic issues facing those in the bi+ community and do our part to dismantle biphobia every chance we get.

For me, that starts with sharing my story here and with the hope that doing so compels others to share theirs. Not to prove that we exist, but to get us to a world where our existence isn’t even questioned.


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