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Recent blog articles published by the Human Rights Campaign 2020-04-07T20:56:00-04:00
Updated: 2 hours 15 min ago

#AM_Equality: March 25, 2020

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 10:03

HRC PRESIDENT ALPHONSO DAVID IN THE HILL -- “THE SUPREME COURT MUST NOT LICENSE TAXPAYER-FUNDED DISCRIMINATION”: “The Supreme Court recently announced it will hear a case to decide whether a local government contractor can pick and choose which civil rights laws it follows,” writes David (@AlphonsoDavid). “The consequences of the Court’s decision could be profound and far-reaching. If the Court decides that organizations can pick and choose which non-discrimination laws they follow, it could open a floodgate of discrimination in child welfare services against not only LGBTQ people, but also people of different faiths, single women and people with disabilities. It’s crucial that the Supreme Court uphold the lower court ruling rejecting the argument that religious agencies performing public child welfare services have a special right to discriminate.” Read the full op-ed in The Hill

More than 400,000 children in foster care across the U.S. deserve a loving home. @HRC President @AlphonsoDavid discusses how a #SCOTUS case will decide if government-funded child welfare agencies can discriminate against LGBTQ individuals. @thehill https://t.co/4HYmKUg41j

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 24, 2020

HRC IS TURNING TO VIRTUAL ORGANIZING IN THE AGE OF COVID-19: While there is much uncertainty about what lies ahead in the coming weeks and months for our country, one thing the COVID-19 crisis has made even more clear is that the stakes of the election this November could not be higher. Last week, HRC shifted its Equality Convention to a virtual volunteer convention featuring speeches by both Jaime Harrison (@harrisonjaime) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren). Volunteers from across the country joined together to learn about HRC’s new tools and resources. Learn more about how you can get involved from HRC

WELCOMING SCHOOLS WEDNESDAY -- HRC LAUNCHES WEEKLY PROGRAMMING WITH 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. Week One focuses on The Family Book by Todd Parr (@toddparr), which celebrates the many different ways to be a family. Read more from HRC

HRC MOURNS THE LOSS OF PLAYWRIGHT TERRENCE MCNALLY: More from HRC

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of longtime HRC supporter Terrence McNally.

Both on and off the stage, he was a voice for many in the LGBTQ community. We send our condolences to his husband, Tom Kirdahy, and those who loved him. https://t.co/Tu7IHmMLk6

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 24, 2020

LGBTQ HOMELESS PEOPLE WORRY ABOUT ACCESS TO HOMELESS CENTERS, SHELTERS DURING COVID-19 HEALTH CRISIS: One in five LGBTQ people live in poverty, and 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. More from Reuters and HRC

IN THE STATES

GREENVILLE COUNTY COUNCIL IN S.C. VOTES TO NULLIFY ANTI-LGBTQ RESOLUTION: More from Greenville News

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

FX’S “POSE” (@PoseOnFX) DONATES SHOW’S REAL MEDICAL SUPPLIES TO NEW YORK CITY HOSPITAL TO ASSIST WITH RESPONSE TO COVID-19: More from The Advocate

10-TIME IRELAND NATIONAL TRACK AND FIELD TITLE WINNER DENIS FINNEGAN COMES OUT AS GAY: “I hope just telling my story might help one person notice there’s more acceptance out there,” said Finnegan (@denisfinnegan1). More from the Washington Blade

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

LGBTQ PRIDES AND OTHER EVENTS ARE BEING CANCELLED OR POSTPONED AROUND THE WORLD DUE TO COVID-19: Read more from Forbes

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

Pride covers 17 LGBTQ movies to watch while social distancing; PopSugar shares 23 of Jazz Jennings’ (@JazzJennings__) most inspiring quotes 

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!


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

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 16:08

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 1:

Book: The Family Book by Todd Parr

The Family Book celebrates the many different ways to be a family. Whether you have two moms or two dads, a big family or a small family, a clean family or a messy one, Parr assures kids that no matter what kind of family you have, every family is special in its own unique way. For those who don’t have the book at home, not to worry -- you can use this video of Parr reading the book aloud. We encourage you to interact with your children as you read together. Pause on different pages to talk with your child about what they are seeing. 

  • Do you know of any families where they have different skin tones (though maybe not green, yellow or purple as in the book)? 
  • Do you know what a step-mom is or what adoption is? 
  • Do some families really look like their pets? 

Activity: Draw Your Family Todd Parr Style

  • Take a look at the illustrations in the book and notice how they are very simple yet expressive -- most people have round faces with many different hairstyles drawn with only a few lines -- straight, curly, long, wavy. Notice that the bodies are also drawn with only a few lines -- short or tall, smaller or bigger. 
  • Have your child draw your family -- including any pets or important stuffies -- using crayons, colored pencils or markers, encouraging them to use wackadoodle colors as Todd Parr does in his book! 
  • Proudly display 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 The Family Book, check out Welcoming Schools family lessons. To find more 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.


#AM_Equality: March 24, 2020

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 10:10

SAM MANZELLA (@_sammanzella) AND KATE SOSIN (@shoeleatherkate) WRITE FOR NEWNOWNEXT ON THE HARDSHIPS LGBTQ WORKERS ARE FACING FROM COVID-19: Using data from HRC’s report on COVID-19, they write, “A disproportionate number of LGBTQ Americans [are] facing dire consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. Of the multiple sources NewNowNext spoke to, most are fear-stricken, sharing that their access to liveable income, health care or basic necessities like food or safe housing are in jeopardy.” Read the full piece here.

  • Last week, HRC released a research brief on the unique vulnerabilities of the LGBTQ community during the COVID-19 crisis. Read more from HRC and The Hill.

ICYMI -- ON SATURDAY EVENING, HRC HOSTED A VIRTUAL INTERFAITH PRAYER SERVICE: The service, titled “Remaining Home in Faith: An Interfaith Prayer Service,” as a part of its “Coming Home to Faith: A Search for Common Ground” tour. Faith can be a source of comfort for many during difficult times, and as people are no longer able to visit their places of worship in person, this virtual service was a time for LGBTQ people of faith and allies to come together and find community in a welcoming setting. More from HRC.

HRC IS PROUD TO JOIN OUR PARTNERS IN SIGNING ONTO A LETTER TO DENOUNCE THE RISE OF CRUEL, DISCRIMINATORY ANTI-ASIAN RACISM AND VIOLENCE TAKING PLACE IN THE WAKE OF COVID-19: More from HRC.

TUESDAY TWEET -- YESTERDAY MARKED 10 YEARS SINCE THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT WAS SIGNED INTO LAW: More from HRC.

The Affordable Care Act has been crucial to providing health care coverage for the LGBTQ community and those living with chronic health conditions like HIV.

As the #COVID19 crisis spreads, we need affirming care for all. #ACA10 https://t.co/V9HiCLephL

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 23, 2020

HIV ADVOCATES AND COMMUNITY LEADERS ARE APPLYING THE KNOWLEDGE THEY GAINED FROM THE EARLY DAYS OF THE HIV EPIDEMIC TO TODAY’S COVID-19 GLOBAL HEALTH CRISIS: More from NBC.

SUPREME COURT ISSUES RULING IN COMCAST CORP. v. NATIONAL AFRICAN AMERICAN-OWNED MEDIA: More here.

Important thread from @Sifill_LDF on the Supreme Court’s #Comcast ruling and its harmful impact on our civil rights. https://t.co/Ca0ytuuWtJ

— Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) March 23, 2020

IN THE STATES

JANE CLEMENTI WRITES ON THE IMPORTANCE OF OPPOSING ANTI-TRANSGENDER BILLS IN STATE LEGISLATURES: “Not only is it wrong for elected officials to try to dictate and control the very personal journey that trans youth face, but it is also incredibly harmful for them to hear their unique identities discussed and codified as if something is wrong with them,” writes Clementi (@ClementiJane), the co-founder and chief executive of the Tyler Clementi Foundation (@TylerClementi). Read the full letter to the editor at The New York Times.

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

100-YEAR-OLD POLISH ACTOR WITOLD SADOWY COMES OUT AS GAY: “For me, the most important thing is the survival of the truth,” Sadowy said. More from The Advocate.

LGBTQ AND ALLIED ACTORS AND PERFORMERS CAME TOGETHER FOR A BENEFIT ON THE ROSIE O’DONNELL SHOW: More from Towleroad.

Love seeing @KChenoweth on The Rosie O’Donnell Show wearing our “everyone” t-shirt! �� pic.twitter.com/hqduE1tFfQ

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 23, 2020

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

HRC EXPLAINS FIVE WAYS COVID-19 IS IMPACTING GLOBAL LGBTQ ADVOCACY: More from HRC.

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

AP Stylebook shares a new topical guide to assist with and help guide coverage of COVID-19; The Advocate interviews Drag Race’s Rock M. Sakura (@RockMSakura) on social distancing, the experience of being on Drag Race and ways to support drag performers (warning -- spoilers at link!)

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!


“Remaining Home in Faith”: Finding Resilience and Faith in Times of Uncertainty

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 19:17

On Saturday evening, HRC hosted a virtual interfaith service, titled “Remaining Home in Faith: An Interfaith Prayer Service,” as a part of its “Coming Home to Faith: A Search for Common Ground” tour. The tour aims to work to establish common ground with prominent houses of worship and faith traditions across the country. 

The current and necessary practice of social distancing during the COVID-19 global health crisis is difficult for many people, but can be especially hard for the LGBTQ community. Many of us are facing this crisis while also grappling with other incredible hardships, from being isolated from chosen family and friends who acknowledge and affirm our identities, to facing the loss of income, jobs, housing and other living necessities. Faith can be a source of comfort for many during difficult times, and as people are no longer able to visit their places of worship in person, this virtual service was a time for LGBTQ people of faith and allies to come together and find community in a welcoming setting. 

Faith and community leaders from many different religious traditions and backgrounds came together for the virtual service, including HRC President Alphonso David; Senior Minister Carmarion Anderson; Ret. Bishop Gene Robinson; Rabbi Denise Eger; Rev. Michelle Higgins; Pastor Josh Scott; Imam Abdullah Antepli; Candidate for Ordination J.J. Warren; and HRC Foundation Religion & Faith Program Director Michael Vazquez. 

The words of faith and community leaders such as Toni Morrison, Howard Thurman, Rev. Pauli Murray, Maya Angelou and Thomas Merton were also featured prominently in the service, as were passages from scripture. Speakers also discussed themes such as water and the washing of hands, cultivating resilience and perseverance during times of adversity, finding hope through relationships with faith, friends and family and recognizing the power and dignity of the LGBTQ community. 

The virtual service was grounded in the reminder that we are not alone, and that we can find strength, resilience and hope during this difficult time both through our faith and in the knowledge that the LGBTQ giants who have come before us have shown us a way forward. 

During the service, HRC President Alphonso David said: 

“I look at the giants who came before us -- footsoldiers for justice like Harvey Milk, Bayard Rustin, Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and countless others -- who wrestled with discrimination and oppression, and a government who did not care about their lives or our lives. These leaders drew strength from each other in the face of incredible obstacles and went on to elevate and validate our communities, and built a framework for a more equal nation. 

“Their practice was justice. Their practice was resilience. Their practice was love. Every day, they decided to start again; every day, they made their communities and the world a little better, more joyful, and more free. It is this practice that I call on all of us to embrace anew.” 

During this difficult time, HRC is dedicated to providing resources to the LGBTQ community, and creating spaces where the LGBTQ community can come together and support each other. For more of what HRC is doing around this crisis, click here


Virtual Volunteering With HRC

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 15:09

While there is much uncertainty about what lies ahead in the coming weeks and months for our country, one thing the COVID-19 crisis has made even more clear is the stakes of the election this November could not be higher. HRC’s work to defeat Donald Trump is already underway and we need your help more than ever.

Here are five actions you can take immediately to ensure Trump is replaced by a pro-equality president:

1. Join Our Virtual HRC "Team"
Studies show friend-to-friend contact is as much as 9x more effective than traditional outreach for calls to action like voting. That’s why HRC is launching our new advocacy app, ‘TEAM’. By downloading this app, you can directly engage your own personal contacts via SMS text, email, and social media about the pro-equality issues they care about. Friend-to-friend outreach allows HRC supporters like you to engage in meaningful conversations as trusted messengers with your networks and move those who may not already be involved with HRC to take actions like sharing videos and social content, to recruiting HRC members and volunteers, and promoting virtual volunteer events. Sign up today! go.JoinTeam.com/HRC

2. Promote HRC's Election and Voting Resources
Visit HRC.org/Election2020 to:

  1. Pledge to get three friends to vote.
  2. Join HRC’s mobile action network to confirm your voter registration status and receive information about volunteer opportunities.
  3. Recruit individuals from your networks to become members of HRC.

In the coming weeks and months, this site will be updated with additional actions people can take as well as a series of online trainings we developed to prepare people to engage in HRC’s electoral work remotely.

3. "Operation Swing State"
Our staff has identified a set of states that will be pivotal to the outcome of the Election where we need to build capacity now. By joining, you will receive regular updates and routine voter contact opportunities including our weekly recurring volunteer virtual phone bank into these states. Starting now, every Tuesday through the Election, HRC staff and volunteers are calling into Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to help our on-the-ground organizing staff identify and mobilize HRC members and Equality Voters to get engaged in this year. Support and training will be provided via email, webinar, and phone or text message by HRC staff. Please sign up to join our ‘Swing State Squad’ now: HRC.im/SwingStateSquad

4. Sign Up For Virtual Volunteer Shifts
HRC is transitioning many in-person volunteer opportunities to virtual or remote events on Community Hub, our volunteer engagement platform. Community Hub requires all prospective volunteers to complete a brief application and in turn, shows them opportunities to get engaged in our volunteer communities. We will be rolling out more virtual actions you take over the coming days and weeks. Check out and bookmark the event page: HRC.im/VolunteerShifts

5. Join or Renew Your Membership
Support HRC and our organizing work by joining or renewing your membership this year and inviting friends to join as members for as little as $5. If you are not able to volunteer right now--your membership ensures we can still communicate with you about our work and you can help support the infrastructure HRC has built to deliver change on Election Day.


Five Ways COVID-19 Impacts Global LGBTQ Advocacy

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 10:58

COVID-19 continues to disrupt everyday work life for a growing majority of Americans. As an advocate for global LGBTQ equality, that disruption feels even more acute, with the rapid spread of the virus to 159 countries and the ever-evolving restrictions on international travel and in-country movement. 

While connecting with people around the world today has never been easier, the work of global LGBTQ advocacy often requires bringing people together beyond borders. This is particularly the case for those living in places where the fight for rights is already difficult and the need for engaging with international allies has great impact. 

How do LGBTQ advocates recognize the ways COVID-19 is impacting that work and support those feeling the crunch, even as they continue to safeguard gains made, push back against anti-LGBTQ agendas and care for their community and own well-being? 

Here are five ways COVID-19 is impacting global LGBTQ advocacy:

1. Harder to support the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community: For many global advocates, their work begins locally by supporting their community members. Yet in communities that are quarantined, serving the most vulnerable becomes more difficult. 

Huang Haojie, director at Wuhan LGBT Center in China, recently told CNN about challenges faced by people living with HIV who are facing barriers in getting their medications. Across the Middle East, groups are finding ways to reach community members trapped with abusive families or struggling with isolation under lockdowns.

2. More difficult to carry out programs, be visible and raise funds: LGBTQ organizations around the world rely on delivering programs for support from donors and, often, increasing visibility to educate the public about their needs and secure new members, supporters and allies. 

COVID-19 is forcing organizations around the world to cancel meetings and events. Not hosting in-person celebrations on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB) on May 17 and Pride in June may mean less donor and community support, especially as governments and donors turn their resources toward responding to COVID-19 and saving local economies.

3. Fewer chances to safely and securely connect: While everyone sees the current ability to connect through screens, there is still nothing like face-to-face contact. Cancellation of convenings like HRC’s Global Innovative Advocacy Summit means fewer chances for LGBTQ advocates to be in the same room with each other and have deep discussions about their work and lessons-learned. 

Connecting in physical spaces builds trust and security that virtual spaces cannot always do. With the loss of access to physical workspaces and community centers and the lack of access to secure broadband internet, advocates may not always feel comfortable working and talking about LGBTQ issues at home and online.

4. Greater opportunities for governments to restrict freedoms, not be held accountable: As more governments declare local and national emergencies in response to the pandemic, they are restricting movement and association. As the International Center for Not-for-profit Law noted, “Governments can use a crisis as a pretext to infringe rights.” New government powers can easily have a negative impact on LGBTQ people. For example, China’s use of surveillance technology to track citizen movements could easily track LGBTQ people. 

Global advocacy gatherings like the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Reviews (UPR) gives advocates opportunities to hold their governments accountable to human rights obligations. HRC planned to support the advocacy efforts of Global Alumni at the UPR pre-sessions in Geneva before its cancellation.

5. Risks of burnout, need for self-care: During normal times for global advocates, it is already hard being on the frontlines everyday. Now, it can be even harder and more isolating as we lose our sense of normalcy, financial security and health and well-being. With a greater risk of exhaustion, there’s even more need for self-care at this time. 

We all should recognize the extraordinary work advocates around the world are doing and give the space, time and resources to take a break and take care of their own physical and mental health.

HRC continues to find meaningful ways to engage with our international partners and the global advocacy community, bring the community together virtually and spread LGBTQ equality around the world. As we do this, we invite you to join us by acknowledging the new realities of global LGBTQ advocates and continuing to support our movement’s work.

For more information about HRC’s work around the world, subscribe to our newsletter and visit hrc.org/Global


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: March 23, 2020

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 10:36

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

  • David also joined MSNBC to discuss HRC’s new report and how the LGBTQ community is at increased risk during this global health crisis. Watch here

“LGBTQ communities are unfortunately disproportionately impacted here.”

On @MSNBC, @HRC President @AlphonsoDavid talked about the unique way #Covid19 impacts the LGBTQ community — economically and health wise. pic.twitter.com/0fYb0bHyjY

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 21, 2020

HRC MOURNS MONIKA DIAMOND, BLACK TRANS WOMAN KILLED IN NORTH CAROLINA: HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Monika Diamond, a 34-year-old Black transgender woman and business owner killed in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 18. Through her work, Diamond spent her adult life creating community and spaces for LGBTQ people in Charlotte and beyond to come together and celebrate their lives. She was a chosen mother to countless. Diamond’s death is believed to be the fourth violent death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2020. More from HRC

MUST-READ MONDAY --  EDUCATING BI+ YOUTH ON HEALTH AND COMMUNITY DURING BISEXUAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH: HRC Youth Ambassador and 21-year-old activist Nakiya Lynch knows how important it is to ensure that bi+ youth and young adults understand the health risks and realities facing the bi+ community. “It’s so important to uplift trans bi+ youth,” says Lynch. More from HRC

Bi+ people can be resilient and work to overcome hardships in health care settings and beyond by being visible and sharing stories. That’s what @HRC Youth Ambassador Nakiya Lynch aims to do in their work every day. #BiHealthMonth https://t.co/1T8YDonmHm

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 22, 2020

LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST HHS PROPOSAL TO GUT NON-DISCRIMINATION PROTECTIONS FOR LGBTQ AMERICANS: The proposed rule issued by the Trump administration in November would reverse a 2016 Obama-era rule prohibiting discrimination in HHS-funded grant programs and permit federally funded organizations to turn people away claiming conflicts with religious beliefs. More from Julie Moreau (@JEMoreau) from NBC.

LEADING INTO THE FUTURE: CELEBRATING WOMEN LEADERS THIS WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: Launched in advance of the 2018 midterms, HRC’s Women LEAD initiative brings together members of our HRC family from across the country to strengthen and elevate the impact of women and people across marginalized genders in the HRC community. “HRC Women LEAD launched in advance of the 2018 midterms because we knew when women organize, advocate and lead -- we all win,” said HRC Development Director Maya Rao. More from HRC

BUILDING INCLUSIVITY CONTINUES AS SCHOOLS TRANSITION ONLINE: Daily Voice Plus’ Donna Christopher reports how lessons on inclusivity shouldn’t end as schools move into virtual or remote teaching. Parents and educators can access a number of resources and projects available and free online, including from HRC Foundation’s own Welcoming Schools, to continue building inclusive environments. More from Daily Voice Plus

NATIVE COMMUNITIES LIVING WITH HIV ARE FACING INCREASED RISKS FROM COVID-19: More from HRC.

Today is National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, and in these uncertain times, it’s important that those in Native communities living with HIV understand their increased risks and take the necessary precautions against #COVID19. #NNHAAD https://t.co/74zxGoGove

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 20, 2020

STILL FIGHTING HARD -- SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (@EWARREN) DROPS IN ON HRC’S VIRTUAL EQUALITY CONVENTION: More from HRC

Look who showed up! ���� Thank you @ewarren for taking the time to check in with our members and volunteers during our virtual Equality Convention and of course for always being a fierce supporter of equality. https://t.co/r04wLMJfnq

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 20, 2020

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

A WEIGHT OFF MY SHOULDER -- ARGENTINA’S FIRST OPENLY GAY BASKETBALL PLAYER SEBASTIAN VEGA ON COMING OUT: More from Reuters

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

The Philadelphia Sunday spotlights how Kendall Stephens is creating positive change in the Philly LGBTQ community; NewNowNext shares queer-themed videos and content to watch on YouTube during social distancing 

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 Mourns Monika Diamond, Black Trans Woman Killed in North Carolina

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 15:58

HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Monika Diamond, a 34-year-old Black transgender woman and business owner killed in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 18. Diamond’s death is believed to be the fourth violent death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2020

Diamond was active in the Charlotte LGBTQ and nightlife community and was the co-owner and founder of Ncphyne Promotion Company LLC, an event promotion company that is about to honor its 10th anniversary, according to its Facebook page. She also was the co-CEO of the International Mother of the Year Pageantry System -- a pageant that honors LGBTQ mothers. 

Through her work, Diamond spent her adult life creating community and spaces for LGBTQ people in Charlotte and beyond to come together and celebrate their lives. She was a chosen mother to countless. She was a business owner, a loving friend and she did not deserve to have her life taken from her. 

WBTV reports that Charlotte police and paramedics responded to a call about a disturbance, where they were met by a group of people who noted a woman, Diamond, was experiencing shortness of breath. After Diamond was placed in an ambulance, she was shot several times. No additional people were harmed in the shooting. Prentice Bess, 34, has been arrested for the shooting and faces a charge of murder.

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. Transgender and gender non-conforming people in North Carolina are not explicitly protected in employment, housing or in public spaces, and they are not 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. 

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.


HRC Releases Research Brief on the Vulnerabilities of the LGBTQ Community During the COVID-19 Crisis

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 14:41

Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation published a research brief outlining health and economic risks faced by the LGBTQ community during the COVID-19 public health crisis. This brief provides critical data for policymakers and community advocates working to address the health and safety needs of the community during this crisis.

“We are facing a global public health crisis, and as in all emergencies, the most marginalized are at increased risk,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Many in the LGBTQ community may lack the resources to effectively combat COVID-19, lacking access to paid sick leave or living without health coverage, and are more likely to work in an industry that has been most affected by the pandemic, putting them in greater economic jeopardy or increasing their exposure to the virus. It is also critical to understand the challenges facing the LGBTQ young person who has been sent home from school to face family rejection or the LGBTQ senior who is more likely to be living alone during this crisis. It is important to know and understand the unique impact of the virus on the LGBTQ community so that we can prepare to weather this crisis as we have weathered crises before -- by uniting as a community and helping those in greatest need.”

Last week, HRC joined public health officials and coalition partners at the National LGBT Cancer Network, GLMA and other organizations in outlining our concerns and laying out specific steps to minimize any disparity for the LGBTQ community and individuals living with HIV. 

LGBTQ people are more vulnerable to the health risks of the virus. They are less likely to have health coverage, are more likely to smoke and have asthma, and have a variety of chronic illnesses:

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

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

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

Further, given the severity of this pandemic, HRC has taken steps to protect the health and safety of our staff, members, volunteers, supporters and all those who are fighting so hard to advance equality and build a better world for all of us. Specifically, HRC will, among other things, cancel or postpone all of our public events, including our gala dinners in Nashville on March 14, Los Angeles on March 28 and Houston on April 4. HRC will instead host volunteers and board members from across the country for a virtual Equality Convention on Friday, March 20. Find a full list of all of HRC’s efforts and resources at this link. Read the full brief here.


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: March 20, 2020

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 10:28

OUR HISTORY HAS PREPARED US FOR THIS -- A MESSAGE FROM HRC PRESIDENT ALPHONSO DAVID (@AlphonsoDavid) ON COVID-19: The LGBTQ community has known adversity. In fact, we have drawn much of our strength and power from times of great uncertainty. As we have time and again, we must raise our voices together to fight for our community, to lift each other up and to vote out those who are not protecting us. More from HRC

MAJOR HEALTH, EDUCATION AND CHILD WELFARE ORGANIZATIONS OPPOSE STATE-BASED LEGISLATION TARGETING TRANS YOUTH, LGBTQ COMMUNITY: The letter is released as Idaho passes two anti-transgender bills that attack youth in sports and transgender Idahoans seeking to update their birth certificates. “Harmful legislation, such as the torrent of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced across the country, deeply affect youth-serving professionals’ ability to do their job -- caring for America’s young people,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “The letter released today underscores the widespread professional and public opposition to anti-LGBTQ legislation and clearly warns states that LGBTQ discrimination will harm states’ education, health care and child welfare.” More from HRC and Metro Weekly

Amidst a pandemic spreading throughout our nation, Idaho lawmakers are choosing to focus their attention NOT on the health and safety of their constituents, but instead on attacking trans people. https://t.co/zI6vbuxypx

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 18, 2020

ON SATURDAY -- HRC TO HOST VIRTUAL INTERFAITH PRAYER SERVICE: HRC will host a virtual interfaith service, titled “Remaining Home in Faith: An Interfaith Prayer Service,” as a part of its “Coming Home to Faith: A Search for Common Ground” tour. The service, which will be hosted on Zoom on Saturday evening and posted publicly by HRC on Sunday, comes as HRC canceled or postponed all of its public events through the weekend of April 4 in light of the current global health crisis.

  • If you would like to RSVP to attend the virtual prayer service, please email your full name, outlet affiliation, role and cell phone number to Madeleine Roberts at madeleine.roberts@hrc.org.

FEEL FOOD FRIDAY -- ACTOR LACHLAN WATSON SHARES A POWERFUL MESSAGE TO LGBTQ YOUTH: More from HRC

Lachlan Watson, best known for their role on @sabrinanetflix, received the HRC Visibility Award at our Arizona Gala Dinner. Thank you for being an advocate for the non-binary and trans community both on and off screen! ��️‍�� pic.twitter.com/KaoEttzjhf

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

VIRGINIA VALUES ACT MAKING LGBTQ HISTORY IN THE SOUTH: Virginia Values Act is on its way to the governor’s desk to become law. Once this bill is enacted, Virginia will be the first state in the South to have non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, the first state in more than 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 where none existed before. More from HRC

  • Opponents of equality are threatening to gut reforms that would protect all Virginians from discrimination. Take action in support of the bill here.

NEWNOWNEXT’S KATE SOSIN WRITES ON WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE TRANS AND NEED TO GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM: Sosin (@shoeleatherkate) shares advice from Dr. Nick Gorton (@RNickGorton), a trans ER doctor and primary care physician at Lyon-Martin Health Services in San Francisco, and Dallas Ducar (@DallasDucar), a clinical lead for mental health services at the Massachusetts General Hospital Transgender Health Program. More from NewNowNext

LGBTQ COMMUNITY MAY BE “PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE” TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC: More from Louisville Courier Journal’s Savannah Eadens (@SavannahEadens) in USA Today.

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

GAY TIMES SPOTLIGHTS BIG FREEDIA (@bigfreedia), HER IMPACT IN THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY AND THE MUSIC INDUSTRY: More from Sam Damshenas (@samdamshenas) at Gay Times.

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

STATE DEPARTMENT REPORT GIVES FRAGMENTED OVERVIEW OF ONGOING HOSTILITY AND VIOLENCE FACED BY LGBTQ PEOPLE ACROSS THE GLOBE: The annual State Department’s Human Rights Report reveals a broad picture of LGBTQ abuses across the globe yet also omits anti-LGBTQ abuses in several countries including Russia, Egypt and Brazil. More from Council for Global Equality

COVID-19 LOCKDOWN EXPOSES LGBTQ PEOPLE TO FAMILY ABUSE IN THE MIDDLE EAST: More from Reuters

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

Metro shares that Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness (@jvn) is being creative during social distancing, reveals a DIY TV station starring his cat Harry Larry; NewNowNext shares 11 queer books to read by LGBTQ authors or featuring LGBTQ characters; Vulture highlights artist Salman Toor (@Salmantoor)

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 Bi+ Youth on Health and Community During Bisexual Health Awareness Month

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 10:23

HRC Youth Ambassador and 21-year-old activist Nakiya Lynch knows how important it is to ensure bi+ youth and young adults understand the health risks and realities facing the bi+ community. 

As someone who works at the Department of Social Services in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and advocates to make sure LGBTQ people are educated on topics like sexual health, they do education and outreach  every day. 

“Education is extremely important for all queer people,” says Lynch. “There’s so much … general ignorance about [sex education] that it hinders queer people from learning important things.” 

As a result of bias, biphobia and erasure, bi+ people face worse health disparities than their gay, lesbian and straight peers, with higher rates of mood disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders, cancers and more. Those numbers are even more alarming among bisexual transgender and non-binary people, people of color or people with disabilities. Bi+ people are also less likely to be out to their health care providers

The lack of knowledge about different bi+ identities (meaning bisexual, pansexual, queer and fluid identities) is widespread, even among bi+ people themselves, as is a multitude of negative stereotypes. Whether Lynch is chatting with friends in casual conversations, or speaking with the kids they work with, the topic of bi+ identities often comes up. 

“There’s so much controversy about what it means to be bi+,” explains Lynch. “But it’s usually all coming from non-bi+ people tryna’ tell us about our identities! We lack the ability to tell our stories without immediately being told we’re wrong about our own experiences.”

Uplifting the stories of bi+ people is one way to push back against negative rhetoric, and lifting up the voices of bi+ trans youth is especially important. HRC Foundation’s recent Bi+ Youth Report found that 58% of transgender and gender-expansive youth identify as bi+. Lynch, who is genderqueer and panromantic asexual, understands firsthand why supporting youth at the intersections of those identities is key.

“It’s so important to uplift trans bi+ youth,” says Lynch. “It’s so easy to feel invalid if you’re queer and trans at the same time, but it’s also so wonderful! It’s important that everyone knows that there’s no limit on how queer you’re ‘allowed’ to be! … You only have one life, [so] you have to spend it being yourself and surrounded by people who celebrate that.” 

Another way to push back against negative stereotypes about bi+ people is through the many actors, musicians, athletes and influencers who are coming out as bi+. Their visibility offers bi+ youth more chances to see themselves reflected, and to discover who they are. One of Lynch’s favorite bi+ icons is Janelle Monáe.

“She was the first R&B artist that I actually saw myself in,” said Lynch. “It meant a lot to be that she wasn’t afraid to be herself unapologetically.” 

The theme of this year’s Bi Health Month is resilience. To Lynch, “resilience means that you continue to live. Despite everything, you continue to live the life…that makes you the most happy.” 

Bi+ people can be resilient and work to overcome hardships in health care settings and beyond by being visible and sharing stories, and that’s exactly what Lynch aims to do in their work every day.


LEADing into the Future: Celebrating Women LEADers this Women’s History Month

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 16:03

Launched in advance of the 2018 midterms, HRC’s Women LEAD initiative brings together members of our HRC family from across the country to strengthen and elevate the impact of women and all marginalized genders in the HRC community.

This year, in advance of the most pivotal election of our lifetimes, HRC held its first Women LEAD summit to gather a national community of LEADers for a series of trainings, workshops and community building.

“HRC Women LEAD launched in advance of the 2018 midterms because we knew when women organize, advocate and lead - we all win. And it'll be because of women that we see a similar force for change in 2020 and beyond,” explained HRC’s Development Director Maya Rao. “The timing of the inaugural HRC Women LEAD Summit was intentional. We wanted to kick off the new year and 2020 alongside the women who are championing equality in their communities across the country."

The summit weekend featured special guest speakers, personal leadership advancement and opportunities to build community among LEADers at HRC through spirited discussion, practical insights and impactful networking.

Speakers and panels included an opening plenary with the Honorable Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General and a 2020 panel with JoDee Winterhof, HRC’s Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs; Lynne Bowman, HRC’s Deputy Campaign Director; Rebecca Marques, HRC’s Texas State Director who outlined HRC’s path ahead to taking back the White House and key state elections.

The summit also featured a conversation on the importance of women in elected office and the changing landscape of women in politics. Participants included Winterhof, HRC’s National Press Secretary Sarah McBride, Texas Representative Julie Johnson and Vice President of Minneapolis City Council Andrea Jenkins.

“From city government to national office, pro-equality women are running for office at all levels across the country, and it is mission critical to support these HRC endorsed candidates,” said McBride. “The inaugural HRC Women LEAD Summit highlighted the importance of women in elected office and provided the tools and resources necessary to support women candidates up and down the ballot.”

HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow led a session on how HRC is working to combat attacks on LGBTQ equality at home and around the world through legislatures and the courts.The summit also featured a panel on how best to support to support transgender youth and strategies for cultivating greater acceptance and inclusion for transgender children led by Ellen Kahn, HRC’s Senior Director of Programs and Partnerships.

Participants left the weekend firmly rooted in the HRC community with new tools in their path to personal leadership and advocacy.

The stakes are higher than ever before, and HRC Women LEAD is a concentrated effort to engage and activate equality-minded folks to take up the fight for inclusive LGBTQ equality with renewed energy and force. At this pivotal moment in history, women and people across marginalized genders and of all backgrounds are coming together more than ever to unify their voices for change.


Our History Has Prepared Us For This. A Note from HRC President Alphonso David on COVID-19

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 14:55

OUR POWER AND OUR CHALLENGE

The LGBTQ community has known adversity. In fact, we have drawn much of our strength and power from times of great uncertainty. From blatant discrimination to government indifference, from the AIDS crisis to relentless attacks on who we are and who we love, from bills attacking our transgender siblings to regulations removing protections that have existed for decades, we have seen our fair share of struggle. But in each of these struggles, we have banded together to overcome challenges that seemed insurmountable. With your help, we have harnessed our fear and our anger and turned them into strength.

Now, we are living in an extraordinary moment yet again. As the world watches the spread of COVID-19, many of us, myself included, are concerned and afraid for ourselves and our loved ones. And that fear cannot be minimized. But it can be the basis for action. As we have time and again, we must raise our voices together to fight for our community, to lift each other up and to vote out those who are not protecting us. 

THE UNIQUE ROLE OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN

The strength of the Human Rights Campaign comes from its members and supporters: 3.1 million strong, all around the world. Together, we have worked to shape public opinion, win elections, pass laws, defeat bad legislation and remove from office those who attack our community.  We have raised millions of dollars to support equality around the world. We have partnered with coalition allies and created communities, even for those who felt isolated. You helped us build this power, and we are deeply grateful. 

COVID-19 affects all of us, but it has a disproportionate impact on LGBTQ people. Some key statistics: 40 percent of all industries that LGBTQ people work in are likely to be impacted by COVID-19, impacting 5 million LGBTQ people; a disproportionate number of LGBTQ people work in restaurants (15%) compared to their non-LGBTQ peers (6%); and 17 percent of LGBTQ people lack health insurance. And our aging population and folks with compromised immune systems are at a greater risk. 

As we have done before in times of crisis, we will use our power to push for legislative and policy changes that will help our community. We will support aid packages and push lawmakers to include provisions and funding for our community. We will work in coalition to identify the communities most affected by this crisis and not rest until our lawmakers directly address the needs of our community and others. We will be counting on you, and our army of grassroots supporters, to support our lobbying and advocacy efforts, and we will use every ounce of our strength to ensure our community gets through this. 

And anti-equality lawmakers won’t rest either. Even in this pandemic, lawmakers in state legislatures are still pushing anti-LGBTQ laws. We need you to continue fighting them as hard as they’re fighting to discriminate against us.

Further, we will give each other places to connect and spaces to grieve, celebrate and gather -- even if they are only virtual. We have a robust infrastructure, built by our volunteers and community leaders, and an even broader reach. Because of this, we will be able to engage with you online and on the phone and we will discuss plans for gathering in person when it is safe to do so. 

And, we will continue to build on the important work of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, which creates programs and research that have been key in addressing the inequities and inequalities that LGBTQ people face. From working with hospitals and healthcare providers to better serve LGBTQ people, to improving the inclusivity of the workplace and schools to ensuring justice for transgender people in this country, our Foundation has made a huge difference in the daily lives of LGBTQ people. And in this crisis, our programs are responding to educate the public and meet the needs of our community. We’re working in coalition with partners across the LGBTQ movement and beyond. And we’re continuing to engage with local activists to understand what more we can do to help. This work will continue to have an incalculable effect on pushing equality forward. 

THE ELECTION 

You already know that this is the most important election of our lifetimes: one where the very future of the LGBTQ community and our nation hang in the balance. This pandemic has only crystallized why it is so important that we defeat Donald Trump and Mike Pence and elect competent, pro-equality leaders in November. Lives are literally at risk and this administration has shown us time and time again that they are asleep at the wheel.

We have already seen you activate around this election: LGBTQ voters are turning out in record numbers in primary contests across the country. Now, we have to continue to engage, in whatever ways we can, to ensure we win. We have so much at stake already: the future of our democracy, the value of the rule of law, the future of the Supreme Court and the judiciary, the importance of passing the Equality Act which will prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people and the moral and legal responsibility to fight for the rights and dignity of transgender people, especially trans women of color. if we don't vote, we are leaving our fate, and our rights, to be determined by someone else. And, as painfully highlighted by the handling of this crisis, it is even more clear that we need new leadership. We will be with you every step of the way to make sure that happens.  

WHAT YOU CAN DO

We cannot stop fighting. We cannot stop fighting an administration who treated this pandemic like a political stunt and has endangered the lives of millions, who has from day one undermined our rights, welfare, and progress. We cannot stop fighting to ensure that our community gets the resources and support that it needs. We cannot stop fighting anti-equality lawmakers who -- while we are facing a national crisis -- are moving ahead with divisive, discriminatory legislation in the states that harms our most vulnerable. We cannot stop fighting until all communities achieve equity and equality. We need you.

This is an abnormal time amid an already abnormal few years. We can get through this. I know this, because we have gotten through crises before. But we cannot do it alone; we have to stand together. 

Please be safe, please continue to wash your hands and please don’t give up.


Major Health, Education & Child Welfare Organizations Oppose Legislation Targeting Trans Youth

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 12:20

Today, major child welfare organizations representing more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1000 child welfare organizations released an open letter calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose dozens of bills that target LGBTQ people, and transgender children in particular. In too many states, like Idaho, lawmakers are focusing on passing bills that attack our nation’s most vulnerable, instead of focusing on how to help the American people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The signers note: “As organizations committed to serving the best interests of all children, we are deeply alarmed at the torrent of bills introduced in state legislatures around the country this year that would directly harm transgender people, and particularly transgender children. These appalling proposals would compromise the safety and well-­being of the young people we all have the duty and obligation to support and protect. All of our nation’s children deserve equal protection and treatment when accessing health care, and when attending school. These anti-­transgender bills promote discrimination and do harm to students, their families, and their communities.” 

“Harmful legislation, such as the torrent of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced across the country, deeply affect youth-serving professionals’ ability to do their job — caring for America’s young people. The vast majority of youth-serving professionals know when transgender and non-binary youth have access to gender-affirming services, competent care and affirmation, their risk of depression, anxiety and other negative mental health outcomes is greatly reduced,” said HRC President Alphonso David.  The letter released today underscores the widespread professional and public opposition to anti-LGBTQ legislation and clearly warns states that LGBTQ discrimination will harm states’ education, health care and child welfare. I applaud the signatories of this letter for their dedication to empowering LGBTQ people across the country.”

This letter is released as the Idaho Legislature passed HB 500, a discriminatory anti-transgender bill that would bar transgender women and girls from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. Additionally, the legislature has passed HB 509, which forbids transgender Idahoans from changing their gender marker on birth certificates to match their gender identity. These bills are heading to Governor Brad Little for his signature. HRC stands in opposition to this legislation and is asking Gov. Little to veto them.

The organizations currently signed on to the open letter include the American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; American Counseling Association; Association of Title IX Administrators; Child Welfare League of America; National Association of School Psychologists; National Association of Secondary School Principals;  National Education Association; National PTA; Physician Assistants LGBT Caucus; and Society of Pediatric Nurses.


Virginia Values Act Is Making LGBTQ History in the South

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 10:50

Post submitted by HRC Senior Regional Campaign Organizer Narissa Rahaman

In August 2019, HRC endorsed and committed to invest in and help elect 27 pro-equality candidates across Virginia. The historic endorsements marked the beginning of HRC’s largest field, digital and direct mail program in the Commonwealth of Virginia — and it paid off. 

On Election Day, HRC celebrated a huge victory. Virginia’s newly elected pro-equality majorities in both the House and Senate allowed for a slate of pro-LGBTQ legislation to move forward this session.

Last week the Virginia General Assembly closed out a banner legislative year with legislators advancing protections and equality for LGBTQ Virginians who call the Commonwealth home, and we couldn’t have done it without you. From Election Day in 2019 through the end of the legislative session in March,  you took action at the ballot box, via email and by phone to make sure your voice was represented and heard in Richmond. 

HRC staff has been on the ground in Richmond working with Equality Virginia to advance the historic Virginia Values Act (SB 868), landmark bipartisan non-discrimination legislation, through both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly. 

Thanks to your work the Virginia Values Act is on its way to the governor’s desk to become law. Once this bill is enacted, Virginia will be the first state in the South to have non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, the first state in more than 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 where none existed before.

But there’s still work to do. Opponents of equality are threatening to gut reforms that would protect all Virginians from discrimination at work, in housing, in credit and in public places before the bill is signed into law. And it could happen: Under Virginia law, the governor can add amendments and send bills back to the General Assembly. 

The governor needs to know HRC members and supporters are in favor of a clean bill without any amendments. Take action here: hrc.im/SignVVA

And there’s more: 

  • Bills waiting to be signed by the governor:
    • SB 657 and HB 1041 - Removes unnecessary and invasive requirements that prohibit many transgender residents from correcting the gender marker on their birth certificate. 
    • SB 246 - Adds a non-binary gender marker option on state driver’s licenses and IDs for transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming Virginians. 
    • HB 1429 - Prohibits a health insurance carrier from denying or limiting coverage to a transgender individual.
  • Bills the governor has signed into law:
    • A bill that requires the Department of Education to develop and make available policies regarding the treatment of transgender students in primary and secondary schools.
    • A bill that prohibits state-licensed health care providers from engaging in the dangerous, discredited practice of so-called “conversion therapy” with minors.
    • A bill that requires the reporting of hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity along with other protected characteristics.

Thanks to our members and supporters and Virginia’s pro-equality lawmakers, we are making real change across the commonwealth. But there is still work to be done. Learn more about how you can get involved with HRC in Virginia as we work to elect pro-LGBTQ candidates up and down the ballot this year by visiting hrc.org/Virginia.


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: March 19, 2020

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 10:17

PRESS CALL TODAY -- HRC TO DISCUSS PASSAGE OF FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND ANTI-TRANSGENDER LEGISLATION IN IDAHO: HB 500 is a discriminatory anti-transgender bill that would bar transgender women and girls from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. Additionally, the legislature has passed HB 509, which forbids transgender Idahoans from changing their gender marker on birth certificates to match their gender identity (read more from Keith Ridler (@kridler) at Associated Press). These bills are heading to Governor Brad Little for his signature. HRC stands in opposition to this legislation and is asking Gov. Little to veto them.

  • The call will be held today, March 19 at 11:00 a.m. ET. Interested media can RSVP to press@hrc.org for call-in information.

COVID-19 CREATED DISRUPTION FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS ACROSS THE U.S., LGBTQ STUDENTS TO FACE CHALLENGES AND DIFFICULTIES: As millions of students see their lives turned upside-down by a global pandemic, LGBTQ students are facing additional challenges. “I rely on this institution for my therapy, for medical treatment, and my whole support system is on campus,” said Reed Cooper, a 20-year-old junior attending DePauw University. More from Katelyn Burns (@transscribe) at Vox

1/ #COVID19 has caused unprecedented disruption for college students across the U.S. Many colleges and universities are shutting down the campus completely -- asking students to leave and/or not return after spring break.https://t.co/rXMu5oB7fA

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 17, 2020

THANKFUL THURSDAY: ������ VISIBILITY CREATES HOPE -- EVAN RACHEL WOOD (@EvanRachelWood) SHARES POWERFUL MESSAGE FOR THE BI+ COMMUNITY: More from HRC

“I see you. You see me.” ������

To mark #BiHealthMonth, @HRC is proud to honor @EvanRachelWood, a longtime advocate and voice for the bi+ community. pic.twitter.com/A7JkbaaXUs

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 18, 2020

HRC JOINS OVER 100 ORGANIZATIONS IN OPEN LETTER TO MEDIA AND HEALTH OFFICIALS ON INCREASED RISK OF COVID-19 TO LGBTQ POPULATIONS: “As the media and health communities are pushed into overdrive about COVID-19, we need to make sure the most vulnerable among us are not forgotten,” notes Dr. Scout, the Deputy Director for the National LGBT Cancer Network in the open letter. More from The Bay Area Reporter

COVID-19 LEAVES LGBTQ SENIORS VULNERABLE TO ISOLATION AND LONELINESS: More from Philip Van Slooten (@P_VanSlooten) at the Washington Blade

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

THE ADVOCATE INTERVIEWS ACTOR THEO GERMAINE ON THE BEAUTIFUL VARIETY OF TRANS AND NON-BINARY STORYTELLING: With breakout roles in Netflix’s The Politician and Showtime’s Work in Progress, actor Theo Germaine (@TheoGermaine) shows two vastly different approaches to trans storytelling on TV. More from Jeffrey Masters (@jeffmasters1) at The Advocate

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

DIANA ZURCO TO DEBUT AS ARGENTINA’S FIRST TRANSGENDER NEWS ANCHOR: “It is an invitation to society that says: ‘This is me; behind me there are more people like me who want to express themselves,’” Zurco (@DianaZurco) told AP on her trailblazing role. More from The Associated Press.

OVER 140 LGBTQ COUPLES MARRY IN COLLECTIVE WEDDING IN MEXICO CITY: More from Andalusia Knoll Soloff (@Andalalucha) on NBC.

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

LGBTQ Nation recognizes LGBTQ nurses fighting the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide; Austrostraddle shares 42 Hulu streaming shows featuring lesbian and bisexual+ women; Forbes on queer jazz singer Samantha Sidley (@samanthasidley) and her debut album 

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!


Despite Coronavirus, LGBTQ Voters Continue Historic High Turnout

Wed, 03/18/2020 - 09:52

This presidential primary every exit poll, in every state, shows one consistent trend: LGBTQ voters are fired up and turning out in record-high numbers.

From New Hampshire and South Carolina, to Texas and Illinois, LGBTQ voters have more than doubled — and in some cases tripled — their proportion in the population.

Over the last two decades, our rights have been on the ballot, spurring LGBTQ people to register and participate in politics more than many other demographic groups. LGBTQ voters have consistently punched above their weight and solidified themselves as a constituency to court.

For more information on LGBTQ and Equality Voters in states with primaries and caucuses in March, go to HRC’s March State Voter Snapshot.

TUESDAY’S PRIMARIES - CNN Exit Polling

State

LGBTQ Voters as % of Primary Voters

LGBTQ people as % of Adults

Arizona

10%

4.5%

Florida

8%

4.6%

Illinois

10%

4.3%

 

PREVIOUS PRIMARIES - CNN Exit Polling

State

LGBTQ Voters as % of Primary Voters

LGBTQ people as % of Adults

Alabama

7%

3.1%

California

9%

5.3%

Colorado

9%

4.6%

Maine

14%

4.9%

Massachusetts

13%

5.4%

Michigan

9%

4.0%

Minnesota

8%

4.1%

Mississippi

8%

3.5%

Missouri

12%

3.8%

New Hampshire

8%

4.7%

North Carolina

7%

4.0%

Oklahoma

10%

3.8%

South Carolina

7%

3.5%

Tennessee

8%

3.5%

Texas

10%

4.1%

Vermont

10%

5.2%

Virginia

8%

3.9%

Washington

9%

5.2%


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: March 18, 2020

Wed, 03/18/2020 - 09:49

LGBTQ VOTERS CONTINUE TO SHOW UP IN HISTORIC HIGH TURNOUT: This presidential primary every exit poll, in every state, shows one consistent trend: LGBTQ voters are fired up and turning out in record-high numbers. From New Hampshire and South Carolina, to Texas and Illinois, LGBTQ voters have more than doubled -- and in some cases tripled -- their proportion in the population. For more information on LGBTQ and Equality Voters in states with primaries and caucuses in March, go to HRC’s March State Voter Snapshot.

WE’RE THE ONES WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR: AT THE CROSSROADS OF COVID-19 AND HIV: Director of HIV & Health Equity J. Maurice McCants-Pearsall (@McCantsPearsall) writes on how people living HIV and HIV advocates can address COVID-19. “When we think of Americans with compromised immune systems, we must consider people living with HIV (PLWH),” writes McCants-Pearsall. “We will weather this crisis as we have weathered crises before -- by taking care of one another, by supporting each other and by ensuring we are doing all that we can to protect and empower the most vulnerable.” Read more and find additional information on COVID-19 at HRC

People living with HIV and HIV advocates are viewing #COVID19 through a unique lens. More from @HRC. https://t.co/74zxGoGove

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 17, 2020

WHAT WE’RE READING WEDNESDAY -- FIVE WAYS HRC IS RESPONDING TO TRUMP’S LATEST ATTACKS ON LGBTQ IMMIGRANTS, REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS: The Trump-Pence administration keeps trying to shut our borders in order to block immigrants, asylum-seekers and refugees from getting to the U.S. HRC has worked with our allies and partners to push back at every opportunity and try to restore America’s place as a beacon of hope for the world’s most vulnerable people. More from HRC

FAMILIES AND INDIVIDUALS NEED ADEQUATE PAID LEAVE NOW MORE THAN EVER: Learn more at HRC

Adequate paid leave is integral to protecting families and individuals both during and well after the #COVID19 outbreak. Learn about our work supporting paid leave for LGBTQ people and why Congress must act. https://t.co/SVhfuANj61

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 17, 2020

IN THE STATES 

DISTRICT COURT RULES THAT ALASKA CANNOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST TRANSGENDER PEOPLE: Jennifer Fletcher, a librarian with the state legislature, won a lawsuit after the state refused to cover medical procedures related to her transition. More from Alex Bollinger (@alexpbollinger) at LGBTQ Nation

LOUISVILLE, KY. PASSES ORDINANCE SUPPORTING LGBTQ-OWNED BUSINESS: More from Neal Broverman (@nbroverman) at The Advocate

ADVOCATES CALL FOR RELEASE OF TRANS WOMAN DETAINED IN MALE IMMIGRATION DETENTION CENTER IN ARIZONA: Alejandra Alor Reyes has been detained for nine months in an immigration facility for men, where she continues to experience sexual assault and harassment. More from Pink News.

LGBTQ ACTIVIST GLORIA CASAREZ HONORED WITH NEW HISTORICAL MARKER IN PHILADELPHIA: More from KYW Newsradio.

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TRANS ACTRESS AND ACTIVIST NICOLE MAINES & SUPERGIRL, TAKING ON VIOLENCE AGAINST THE TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY: Maines (@NicoleAMaines) is a recipient of the 2020 HRC Upstander Award. More from Damian Holbrook (@damianholbrook) at TV Insider. More from Curve Magazine.

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

MORRISON GOVERNMENT IN AUSTRALIA DELAYS EFFORTS TO PROTECT LGBTQ STUDENTS AND TEACHERS: More from The Sydney Morning Herald.

PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV IN WUHAN ARE STRUGGLING TO FIND TREATMENT AND MEDICINE DURING COVID-19 OUTBREAK: More from CNN

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

NBC shares a list of LGBTQ classic films and binge-worthy shows to watch while social distancing

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!


We’re the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For: At the Crossroads of COVID-19 and HIV

Tue, 03/17/2020 - 14:33

COVID-19, sometimes known as coronavirus, has taken America by storm. With more than 2,000 reported cases and 70 deaths in the U.S., the American public is in a state of turmoil. Our fears and concerns have only been exacerbated by a lack of leadership from the Trump-Pence administration. Instead of being a leader to the American people, President Trump downplayed the threat of COVID-19. In early January, during a White House briefing, President Trump said, “We have it totally under control” and “We have a very small number of people in the country, right now, with it. Many of them are getting better. Some are fully recovered already. So we’re in very good shape.” 

As HIV activist Mark King points out, despite the early delay, what happened with the early days of HIV and what’s happening here are light years apart. It took years for President Reagan to even utter the word AIDS. Hundreds of thousands of people died.

But that doesn’t mean people living with HIV and HIV advocates aren’t viewing COVID-19 through a unique lens. 

When we think of Americans with compromised immune systems, we must consider people living with HIV (PLWH). While there is no specific data yet, in an unofficial statement from Dr. Jonathan Mermin, Director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) at the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, he states, “it would be prudent for persons with HIV to follow CDC recommendations for older persons and people with underlying health conditions.” In addition to the standard guidelines, having extra HIV antiviral medications and remaining up to date on vaccinations (influenza and pneumonia) are key.

It’s also more important than ever to stick to your treatment schedule and do your best to keep stress from impacting your mental and physical health. I’ve spoken to many HIV community leaders and frontline workers who are afraid of potential agency closures and the impact it will have on the community and their staff, especially staff who are paid hourly and unable to deliver services remotely. Some agencies have begun to explore unemployment benefit options and are working with their staff to make sure they know when and how to apply. 

Kirk Myers, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Abounding Prosperity in Dallas, Texas, had to cancel large testing events in an effort to minimize potential exposure to COVID-19. “We’ll be providing services as long as it is safe to do so and within CDC guidelines. We have also implemented more frequent disinfection of our fixed and mobile facilities,” Myers said. “We have made reasonable accommodations to support our staff impacted by school closures. And, we have implemented temperature and symptom screening for all staff upon arrival for work.”

Closures are unfortunate and will have lasting effects on the HIV workforce, but in many cases, it is the only way to prevent COVID-19 exposure. However, some agencies are ahead of the curve. Dr. Demarc Hiskson, Executive Director of Us Helping Us, implemented a telework model effective March 17. According to Dr. Hickson, “Us Helping Us frontline staff will communicate with all of our clients to discuss and offer tips as to how they can remain safe and healthy during this current environment. We have canceled all community outreach and testing activities to reduce the exposure to staff. However, we will provide HIV/STD testing by appointment only.”

Regardless of one’s HIV status, we all play a part in ensuring that we remain healthy. The common COVID-19 symptoms include fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. 

For more information on the COVID-19, please visit one of the following websites:

We know that this is a time of great uncertainty and difficulty. We will weather this crisis as we have weathered crises before -- by taking care of one another, by supporting each other and by ensuring we are doing all that we can to protect and empower the most vulnerable.


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: March 17, 2020

Tue, 03/17/2020 - 09:36

IDAHO SENATE PASSES DISCRIMINATORY, FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND ANTI-TRANSGENDER BILL:  “If HB 500 becomes law, Idaho will be the first state to have such a retrogressive, invasive and patently anti-transgender law on the books,” said HRC President Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid). “If HB 500 becomes law, it will send a strong message to trans youth that they are less than their peers and not deserving of community and acceptance.” HB 500 is a discriminatory anti-transgender bill that would bar transgender women and girls from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. It will undergo a few procedural votes before heading to Governor Brad Little for his signature. More from HRC

HRC ENDORSES…

MILWAUKEE MAYOR TOM BARRETT FOR REELECTION: “Milwaukee and Mayor Barrett have been true regional leaders for equality,” said HRC Wisconsin State Director Wendy Strout. “Through his dedicated leadership, Mayor Barrett has made Milwaukee one of the most inclusive cities in the Midwest and a model for how municipalities across the country can lead progress for equality while the U.S. Senate and President Trump impede our progress on the national level.” More from HRC

JUDGE JILL KAROFSKY FOR WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT: “Wisconsin is at a turning point. Leaders like Judge Karofsky are exactly what Wisconsin needs to create a more just and equal state,” said HRC Wisconsin State Director Wendy Strout. “Her dedication to equality and fairness and commitment to uprooting corruption make her uniquely qualified to serve on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.” More from HRC

ASSEMBLYWOMAN JOCASTA ZAMARRIPA FOR ALDERWOMAN: “Assemblywoman Zamarripa has been one of our community’s strongest advocates throughout her time in public service,” said HRC Wisconsin State Director Wendy Strout. “Milwaukee has become a true regional leader for equality. By joining the Common Council, Zamarripa will only continue to move that pro-equality agenda forward.” More from HRC

TUESDAY TWEET -- ALABAMA LEGISLATURE ADVANCING BILL HARMFUL TO TRANSGENDER YOUTH: More from HRC

“Right now, if this bill is pushed through, then you must know that we are giving in to fear.”

If you live in Alabama, text HRCAL to 472472 to #ProtectTransKids and stop SB219 from becoming law. #ALPol pic.twitter.com/iQNKx9qCRL

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

THE FIGHT  TO ENSURE FULL EQUALITY AT THE BALLOT BOX -- AN INTERVIEW WITH DR. MEGAN GALL: “One of the things that has always struck me about the queer community is that as a group of minorities, we’re the only group of minorities where members of our community belong to every other community on earth,” said Dr. Gall (@DocGallJr), whose voting rights work is very intersectional in terms of LGBTQ equality. “Because of that intersectionality, when we work on voting rights for other large marginalized communities, [LGBTQ people] are swept into what we’re doing because we are in all other groups.” More from HRC

IN THE STATES 

IT’S TIME FOR MISSOURI TO UPHOLD LGBTQ RIGHTS: For the 22nd consecutive year, Republican state lawmakers are poised to block legislation that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. “Missourians, like other Americans, are generally more tolerant on LGBT issues today than they used to be,” writes the Editorial Board of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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THE LIFE AND RISE OF BISEXUAL STAR AND LATE NIGHT SHOW HOST LILLY SINGH (@Lilly): More from Business Insider.

SCHITT’S CREEK TO RELEASE A MOVIE AFTER ITS FINAL SEASON: After the finale of the show airs, it will be joined by an hour-long special. Titled Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt's Creek Farewell, the special includes behind the scenes footage and commentary by Schitt’s Creek team. More from Mikelle Street (@MikelleStreet) at Out.

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

RUSSIAN COURT APPROVES LAW ON AMENDMENTS THAT COULD ALLOW PUTIN TO EXTEND HIS TERM FOR ANOTHER 16 YEARS: Alongside these constitutional amendments, Putin also has submitted a draft amendment to Russia’s constitution that would define marriage as between a man and a woman. The laws must still be approved in a national referendum vote on April 22. More from The New York Times.

BRITISH COURT RULING COULD CHANGE LAWS FOR LGBTQ PEOPLE ACROSS THE COMMONWEALTH AND OVERSEAS TERRITORIES: The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London will hear a final appeal on same-sex marriage in Bermuda that could impact a number of laws on same-sex marriage and same-sex relations in dozens of countries. More from Gay Star News.

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

The Guardian spotlights contemporary African photography exploring self and sexuality; Dazed highlights queer female and non-binary photographers redefining fashion representation


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


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