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Recent blog articles published by the Human Rights Campaign 2020-04-07T20:56:00-04:00
Updated: 2 hours 51 min ago

#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 28, 2020

Fri, 02/28/2020 - 09:50

HRC PRESIDENT ON BLOOMBERG’S APOLOGY FOR TRANSPHOBIC COMMENTS: “HRC called on Mayor Bloomberg to apologize, and we are glad he did. He took the time to engage members of the transgender community and it’s heartening that he has realized his comments were unacceptable,” said HRC President Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid). “Today, Mayor Bloomberg and his campaign rededicated themselves to pursuing a safer, more inclusive future for the LGBTQ community, and for transgender people specifically. Our focus, alongside all the pro-equality candidates, remains on mobilizing the 57 million Equality Voters around the country to defeat Donald Trump and Mike Pence and reverse their administration’s many attacks on our community.” More from NewNowNext

ICYMI -- HRC LEGAL DIRECTOR SARAH WARBELOW (@SarahWarbelow) TESTIFIED YESTERDAY BEFORE THE HOUSE OVERSIGHT AND REFORM COMMITTEE ON TRUMP-PENCE ADMIN’S ASSAULT ON LGBTQ RIGHTS: More from HRC and Washington Blade

“This is about protecting the most vulnerable among us.” - @HRC Legal Director @SarahWarbelow pic.twitter.com/iiG5xSw7xN

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

FRIDAY FEELING -- AS BLACK HISTORY MONTH COMES TO A CLOSE, SLAVE PLAY PLAYWRIGHT JEREMY O. HARRIS WRITES ON WHAT THE MONTH MEANS TO HIM: Read Harris’s (@jeremyoharris) piece from HRC

ERICA SAUNDERS (@revericagrace) IS THE FIRST OPENLY TRANSGENDER PERSON IN THE U.S. TO BE ORDAINED IN THE BAPTIST FAITH AND LEAD A CONGREGATION IN A FORMAL CAPACITY: Read more of her story from Nico Lang (@Nico_Lang) at NewNowNext

IN THE STATES

TWO ALABAMA LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEES APPROVED A TRANSPHOBIC BILL EARLIER THIS WEEK: The bill would block trans and non-binary youth from accessing medically necessary, gender-affirming care. Said HRC Alabama State Director Carmarion D. Anderson: “Anti-trans legislators in Alabama are once again targeting transgender and non-binary youth, spreading misinformation and using vicious, harmful rhetoric to advance an extremist agenda.” More from the Associated Press

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

LONDON TO HOLD FIRST-EVER LGBTQ MUSLIM PRIDE FESTIVAL IN APRIL: More from PinkNews

DESPITE PROMISES FROM GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS IN ENGLAND TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO PREP BY APRIL, IMPLEMENTATION PLAN REMAINS UNCLEAR: More from PinkNews

GLOBAL MOMENTUM IS GROWING TO PROTECT LGBTQ PEOPLE FROM THE HARMFUL PRACTICE OF ‘CONVERSION THERAPY’: Nine countries are currently considering banning the practice. More from Openly

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

The Advocate reports on new NBC musical dramedy “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”; LGBTQ Nation features 10 Black LGBTQ YouTubers you should know

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!


Unsafe “Third Country Agreements” Put Asylum Seekers at Risk

Fri, 02/28/2020 - 09:08

While many of the Trump-Pence administration’s most harmful immigration-related actions have grabbed headlines, one that has flown mostly under the radar has been the so-called “Third Country Agreements” it has signed with some of the world’s most dangerous countries.

These agreements essentially allow the U.S. to deport some asylum seekers to countries that the administration deems to be “safe” - no matter how much evidence suggests otherwise. The administration recently signed such agreements with three countries from which people - including many LGBTQ people - have long been fleeing violence and persecution: Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. There is extensive research and documentation in these three countries, known as the “Northern Triangle,” that attests to extreme levels of violence, including by gangs, and an unfortunate inability or unwillingness to protect residents. 

  • Guatemala: Gang-related violence and extortion are on-going and serious problems in Guatemala and have prompted many people, including unaccompanied children, to flee the country. A United Nations report in 2017 showed that there is also “persistent discrimination of and violence against people based on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity” and noted cases of office-holders and members of the public being singled out for violence. That same year, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) reported that, despite high prevalence, very few cases of anti-LGBTQ violence are investigated there.
  • El Salvador: According to Human Rights Watch, El Salvador has one of the world’s highest homicide rates, with gangs exercising control over large swaths of the country, forcibly recruiting children into their ranks and subjecting women and girls and LGBTQ people into sexual slavery. Security forces have been largely unable to protect the population from gang violence and have committed abuses of their own. HRW also recently reported that at least 138 Salvadorans had been killed in the last seven years after being deported by the U.S. Media sources have also described epidemic levels of violence against LGBTQ people specifically, and civil society organizations have documented and spoken out on instances of state-sponsored violence, hate crimes and other violations of fundamental rights. 
  • Honduras: Honduras is frequently referred to as the murder capital of the world, and many LGBTQ people in Honduras experience discrimination, harassment and violence. Numerous sources indicate that discrimination and violence directed at members of the LGBTQ community have been escalating in recent years, with 264 LGBTQ people reportedly having been murdered in the country between 2009 and 2017. 

It is unconscionable and immoral that the Trump-Pence administration would put LGBTQ people and others in harm’s way by sending them to countries with such ongoing violence. Learn more about the Trump-Pence administration’s attack on the LGBTQ community here.


HRC President on Bloomberg’s Apology for Transphobic Comments

Thu, 02/27/2020 - 17:27

Earlier today, NewNowNext exclusively reported that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg apologized for his transphobic comments in two videos released over the course of the last month. Last week, HRC President Alphonso David called on Mayor Bloomberg to apologize for those statements and engage with community leaders to understand the impact of his words. In response to the Mayor’s apology, Alphonso David, HRC -- issued the following statement:

"The Human Rights Campaign called on Mayor Bloomberg to apologize, and we are glad that he did. He took the time to engage members of the transgender community and it is heartening that he has realized his comments were unacceptable.  It is our collective responsibility to ensure that all members of our community, particularly the most marginalized members, are treated with dignity and respect. Today, Mayor Bloomberg and his campaign rededicated themselves to pursuing a more inclusive future for the LGBTQ community, and for transgender people specifically. 

“Our focus, alongside all the pro-equality candidates, remains on mobilizing the 57 million Equality Voters around the country to defeat Donald Trump and Mike Pence and reverse their administration’s many attacks on our community.”


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 27, 2020

Thu, 02/27/2020 - 10:15

VIRGINIA VALUES ACT RECEIVES FINAL APPROVAL, HEADS TO GOVERNOR’S DESK FOR SIGNATURE: The bill will grant non-discrimination protections to Virginians on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and several other characteristics. Virginia will be the first state in the South to have non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, the first state in over a decade to add sexual orientation and gender identity to existing non-discrimination law and the first state since 1993 to add a prohibition on discrimination in public accommodations (protecting all Virginians) where none existed before. More from HRC, the Washington Blade, the Associated Press and Metro Weekly.

  • The Virginia House of Delegates also passed a bill to offer an additional “X” gender marker option on driver’s licences earlier this week. The bill now goes to the Governor’s desk. More from the Washington Blade.

��️‍�� BREAKING: Yet another historic moment in Virginia as the Virginia Values Act now heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law! https://t.co/CyCekXToOx pic.twitter.com/Hs9dW2PHkk

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

TODAY -- HRC LEGAL DIRECTOR SARAH WARBELOW (@SarahWarbelow) TESTIFYING BEFORE THE HOUSE OVERSIGHT AND REFORM COMMITTEE ON TRUMP ADMIN’S ASSAULT ON LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Committee will hear how the Trump administration has undermined LGBTQ rights, including by permitting discrimination on the basis of religion. More here.

  • Media interested in a statement or comment, please contact Viet Tran at viet.tran@hrc.org.

PENCE’S RECORD IN INDIANA CASTS REAL DOUBT ON ABILITY TO BE CORONAVIRUS CZAR: While serving as Governor of Indiana, Pence exacerbated an HIV crisis by slow-walking possible solutions, flexing his far-right zeal for defunding health care providers like Planned Parenthood seeking to resolve the problem and ignoring the growing problem. With more than 20 new cases diagnosed every week at the time, Pence failed Hoosiers who needed swift and strong action to combat the health crisis. Based on his record in Indiana, there should be real doubts on his ability to combat the growing Coronavirus. For more on Pence’s LGBTQ record, check out HRC’s Real Mike Pence Report.

THANKFUL THURSDAY -- JAZZ AND FRIENDS NATIONAL DAY OF SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY READINGS TAKES PLACE TODAY! Thousands of parents, educators, elected officials and allies will join in this day of readings to help to support trans and gender-expansive youth. The day helps foster safe and welcoming schools and communities for youth who still rarely hear affirming stories of LGBTQ people. In addition to I Am Jazz, a children’s book by transgender teen trailblazer Jazz Jennings (@JazzJennings__), participants have the option of reading from additional books about transgender and gender-expansive youth of color, including Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love and They, She, He Easy as ABC by Maya and Matthew Smith Gonzalez (@MayaGonzalezArt). Learn more from HRC.

  • Reps. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) (@RepAngieCraig) and Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) (@RepSpeier) will lead Members of Congress in reading I Am Jazz and Julián Is a Mermaid on the House floor this morning. Rep. Craig is a Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, and Rep. Speier is a Member of the Caucus.

TEACHER IN MANSFIELD, TEXAS REACHES SETTLEMENT IN SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT AGAINST THE SCHOOL DISTRICT: Elementary school teacher Stacy Bailey filed suit against the school district after she was suspended for speaking with students about her sexual orientation, and after she asked for protections for LGBTQ staff and students. Said HRC President Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid): “The Human Rights Campaign was proud to stand with Ms. Bailey as she faced and then challenged discrimination head on. Justice has been served in this case, and a talented teacher has won the right to be herself in the classroom and in her workplace. No one should face retribution simply for being themselves.” More from CBS DFW.

HRC MOURNS THE LOSS OF WILTON MANORS, FLA. MAYOR JUSTIN FLIPPEN: More from HRC.

Tonight we mourn the tragic loss of Wilton Manors Mayor Justin Flippen, a longstanding and beloved member of the @HRC community. pic.twitter.com/879HnShBBR

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

HRC REMEMBERS VIN MCCARTHY, HRC FOUNDING BOARD MEMBER WHO PASSED AWAY EARLIER THIS MONTH: More from The Boston Globe.

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY, THE U.S. HOUSE PASSED THE BIPARTISAN BACKGROUND CHECKS ACT OF 2019.

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

LOCAL MUNICIPALITIES ACROSS POLAND ARE ADOPTING ANTI-LGBTQ RESOLUTIONS: More from Balkan Insight, and learn more about the ongoing attacks on the LGBTQ community in Poland from HRC.

NEARLY 3,000 SAME-SEX WEDDINGS HAVE TAKEN PLACE SINCE MARRIAGE EQUALITY WAS LEGALIZED IN TAIWAN: More from PinkNews, and learn more about the state of marriage equality around the world from HRC.

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

them. interviews LGBTQ advocate and founder of online event Queer Black Christmas Tanya Compas (@TanyaCompas)

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


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 26, 2020

Wed, 02/26/2020 - 09:44

HRC PROUDLY ENDORSES SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (@SpeakerPelosi): “Speaker Pelosi has always been there for the LGBTQ community in our lowest lows and highest highs,” said HRC President Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid). “At each and every moment when our community has needed her, Speaker Pelosi has been there for us asking how to help. Without her commitment to progress and dedication to equality, our movement would be years if not decades behind where we proudly stand today. HRC is proud and privileged to endorse Speaker Pelosi for re-election.” More from HRC and The Advocate

In Nancy Pelosi's tenure as Speaker of the House, the LGBTQ community has seen more legislative progress than under any previous speaker, including the historic passage of the Equality Act.@HRC is proud to endorse her for reelection. @TeamPelosi https://t.co/Gli1fXU1fu

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

HRC TO HONOR “POSE” STAR RYAN JAMAAL SWAIN AT THE 2020 HRC SAN ANTONIO DINNER: Swain (@RyanJamaal) will be honored with the HRC Visibility Award this Saturday, Feb. 29. He is best known for his role as Damon Richards-Evangelista, an ambitious, aspiring gay dancer on the critically acclaimed and Golden Globe nominated FX television series “Pose”. As a young activist, Swain lends his name as a Stonewall Ambassador to It Gets Better both in the U.S. and abroad. More from HRC

NEW BILL THAT WOULD OFFER “X” AS A GENDER MARKER OPTION ON U.S. PASSPORTS TO BE INTRODUCED IN U.S. HOUSE BY REP. RO KHANNA (D-Calif.): Said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy (@david_stacy) of the change: “We believe that visibility helps, visibility creates change… We want to create a legal system that supports those choices.” Read more from The Washington Post

WHAT WE’RE READING THIS ASH WEDNESDAY -- HRC MARKS THE BEGINNING OF THE CHRISTIAN SEASON OF LENT: Lent is a time of reflection and contemplation, a time when many Christians think about ways that they can become closer to God and to each other. To mark the season this year, HRC Religion & Faith Program Director Michael Vazquez (@mvsebastian) sat down with Jesuit Priest and Editor-at-Large of America Media, Father James Martin (@JamesMartinSJ). Read excerpts from their conversation here

UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA SCHOOL OF NURSING PUBLISHES CASE STUDY ON THE NEEDS OF TRANSGENDER ELDERS: More from CBS 19

  • The HRC Foundation and SAGE are joining forces to launch the Long-Term Care Equality Index (LEI) to promote equitable and inclusive care for LGBTQ older people in residential long-term care communities. Learn more here

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LGBTQ DEMOGRAPHICS IN NEW JERSEY AND WHY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE COLLECTING MORE LGBTQ DATA: More from NJ.com

NEW STUDY SHOWS BLACK LGBTQ YOUTH FACE DISPROPORTIONATE LEVELS OF MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES, BUT RECEIVE LESS PROFESSIONAL CARE: More from NBC

IN THE STATES

BILL THAT WOULD BAR TRANSGENDER WOMEN FROM COMPETING ON WOMEN’S SPORTS TEAMS PASSES ARIZONA HOUSE COMMITTEE: More from Metro Weekly

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

OPENLY TRANSGENDER DANCER CAMILA PRINS BREAKS BARRIERS WITH PERFORMANCE IN SÃO PAULO CARNIVAL PARADE: More from Associated Press

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

NPR speaks with out singer-songwriter Katie Pruitt (@KPmusik) about her debut album “Expectations”; #BisexualMenExist trends nationally on Twitter 

This summer, NFL free agent @RKRelentless came out as bisexual, providing much-needed LGBTQ representation in professional sports and visibility for bisexual men everywhere. #BisexualMenExist pic.twitter.com/ELkGSL7HEm

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

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


HRC Proudly Endorses Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Wed, 02/26/2020 - 08:59

Today, HRC enthusiastically announced its endorsement of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for re-election.

In her tenure as Speaker, the LGBTQ community has seen more legislative progress than under any previous Speaker. In 2019, the Pelosi-led House passed the Equality Act for the first time in history -- giving the bill a top 10 number indicating its high priority for both her and her caucus. In addition to the Equality Act, Pelosi led the fight for the landmark Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Pelosi has prioritized the LGBTQ community throughout her entire career. Even before many Americans supported marriage equality, Pelosi stood in vocal opposition to anti-equality initiatives like the Defense of Marriage Act and California Proposition 8. In her first speech on the House floor in 1987, then-freshman Congresswoman Pelosi called for action from President Reagan to mitigate the ongoing HIV & AIDS epidemic. While others, even some in her own party, showed a willingness to ignore the ongoing crisis, Pelosi refused to allow them helping secure the permits for the AIDS Memorial Quilt to appear at the National Mall for the first time. 

“Speaker Pelosi has always been there for the LGBTQ community in our lowest lows and highest highs,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “At each and every moment when our community has needed her, Speaker Pelosi has been there for us asking how to help. Without her commitment to progress and dedication to equality, our movement would be years if not decades behind where we proudly stand today. HRC is proud and privileged to endorse Speaker Pelosi for re-election. Our community needs her, and we will do whatever it takes to ensure that happens.”

“Our great city of San Francisco is blessed with a vibrant LGBTQ community and a history of advocacy for equal rights for all. Under my leadership, we have repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, secured passage of legislation to protect communities against violence, and passed the Equality Act,” said Speaker Pelosi. “It is an honor to receive the support of Human Rights Campaign as we fight to end discrimination and achieve full equality under the law once and for all.”

In the 2018 midterms, HRC helped register more than 32,000 voters and recruited more than 4,200 volunteers, who worked over 8,500 shifts and clocked more than 30,000 volunteer hours. In the critical final four days of the campaign, HRC staff and volunteers in get-out-the-vote efforts alone knocked on more than 80,000 doors, and held 36,400 conversations with voters at their doors and by phone on behalf of our endorsed candidates. HRC's unprecedented grassroots mobilization represented an investment of approximately $26 million to recruit volunteers, mobilize constituents, register voters and grow the organization's grassroots army in an all-out effort to pull the emergency brake on the hateful anti-LGBTQ agenda of the Trump-Pence administration and elect a Congress that would hold them accountable.

 Paid for by Human Rights Campaign PAC (www.hrc.org) and authorized by NANCY PELOSI FOR CONGRESS

HRC lamenta la muerte de Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, una mujer transgénero asesinada en Puerto Rico

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 15:45

HRC lamenta profundamente la muerte de Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, también conocida como Alexa, una mujer transgénero asesinada a tiros ayer en Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. Se cree que Ruiz fue la segunda víctima de violencia mortal hacia una persona transgénero o de género no conforme en lo que va de 2020

“Se trata de un crimen espantoso que debe investigarse con la mayor minuciosidad y cuidado. Esta víctima, identificada como Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, era un ser humano, parte de una comunidad, una amiga y miembro de una familia”, dijo la directora de Participación Comunitaria de la Iniciativa de Justicia Transgénero de HRC Tori Cooper. “Tenía sueños, esperanzas, pasatiempos y no merecía perder la vida. HRC ha escuchado que Ruiz no tenía vivienda fija, lo cual revela una mezcla tóxica de transfobia y misoginia que puede poner a la comunidad transgénero en riesgo de violencia extrema”.

Según  Metro Puerto Rico, miembros de su comunidad la consideraban como una persona “noble” y “humilde”. Otros reportes indican que Ruiz habría sido blanco de sus asesinos después de que una publicación en redes sociales revelara que una mujer transgénero sin hogar estaba utilizando el baño de mujeres. Sus atacantes la persiguieron en un automóvil, filmaron el brutal asesinato y lo publicaron en línea. 

La gobernadora de Puerto Rico, Wanda Vázquez, comunicó a través de un tuit que su equipo está considerando todos los posibles motivos en este crimen e hizo una llamado comunitario para que cualquier persona que pueda ofrecer información, se acerque a las autoridades.


HRC Mourns Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, Trans Woman Killed in Puerto Rico

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 15:05

HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, also known as Alexa, a transgender woman fatally shot in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico yesterday. Ruiz is believed to be the second violent death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2020

“This is a horrifying crime that must be investigated with the utmost thoroughness and care. This victim, who has now been identified as Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, was a human being, a member of a community, a friend and family member,” said HRC Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative Tori Cooper. “She had dreams, hopes, hobbies and did not deserve to have her life taken from her. HRC has heard that Ruiz was experiencing homelessness, further highlighting the ways a toxic mix of transphobia and misogyny conspire to put the transgender community at risk of extreme violence.”

According to reports, Ruiz appeared to have been targeted by her killers after a social media post claimed a homeless transgender woman was using the women’s restroom. Her attackers followed her in a car, filmed the brutal killing and posted it online.

Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez tweeted that they are considering all possible motives in this crime, and have encouraged anyone with information on Ruiz’s death to contact local authorities.

According to the U.S. Trans Survey, 30 percent of respondents had experienced homelessness in their lifetimes. 

As we mourn this tragic loss, HRC is also closely monitoring the death of a transgender woman in Washington, D.C. on December 29, 2019. According to the latest reports, police are waiting to notify the woman’s next of kin before releasing her name publicly. 

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.

These victims are not just numbers or headlines. They were real people worthy of dignity and respect, of life and love. 

There are currently very few explicit federal legal protections for transgender or gender-expansive people. However, transgender and gender non-conforming people in Puerto Rico are explicitly protected in employment, 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. 

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 to Honor Pose’s Ryan Jamaal Swain with the Visibility Award at the 2020 HRC San Antonio Dinner

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 14:17

Today, HRC announced that actor, dancer and singer Ryan Jamaal Swain will be honored with the HRC Visibility Award at the 2020 HRC San Antonio Dinner on Saturday, February 29 at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa. 

Ryan Jamaal Swain is best known for his role as Damon Richards-Evangelista, an ambitious aspiring gay dancer on the critically acclaimed and Golden Globe nominated FX television series Pose. Swain has been honored on Forbes “30 Under 30” 2019 List for his LGBTQ activism and on Paper Magazine as “100 People Taking Over 2019.” He’s also been featured in Vogue, Nylon, GQ, The New York Times, Flaunt Magazine and WWD. Swain recently made his Broadway debut in Choir Boy, directed by Academy Award winner Tarell Alvin McCraney. As a young activist, Swain lends his name as a Stonewall Ambassador to It Gets Better both in the U.S. and abroad. 

Tickets and further information are available at https://www.hrc.org/events/hrc-san-antonio-gala


Bridging the Gap: Seeing Lent as an Opportunity to Welcome LGBTQ Christians Back to the Church

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 13:37

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

Father Martin began his ministry to LGBTQ Catholics after the tragic shooting at Pulse that claimed 49 lives, most of them LGBTQ and Latinx, in June 2016. Since then, he has made it a priority to connect with and advocate for LGBTQ Catholics to ensure they feel welcome in the Church, and to encourage other non-LGBTQ people in the Church to do the same. During the conversation, Vazquez and Father Martin discussed how all Christians can take the opportunity that Lent provides to reach out and make connections with LGBTQ people in their church families.

Below are excerpts from their conversation. HRC will share a video covering more of the discussion as Lent continues.

How can the church use Lent as a means to engage more [with the LGBTQ community]?

Lent is a time to really prepare for Easter, but also to understand the sufferings of Jesus… And it's also a time for people to engage more deeply with LGBT people... the idea is when anybody suffers, Christ is suffering. And certainly LGBT people are suffering. And so one of the invitations for Catholics [during Lent] is to unite yourself with people who are suffering, including LGBT people. 

What opportunities do you see for the Church to engage and to move towards justice and towards equity? 

I do see a lot of places where the Catholic Church can really move ahead. And I would say easily, because some of these things are obvious. I think the decriminalization of homosexuality is a really important move for the church to stand behind. ...These are life and death issues for a lot of people.

Secondly, I would say for the church to combat teen suicides, LGBT, any kind of suicide. But of course LGBT people, as you know, are at a higher risk for attempting suicide. … And then finally the targeting of LGBT people who are fired from their jobs for being civilly married, when so many other people who are not following Church teaching are not treated that way. 

[How] do these [Gospel] stories compel folk to love the LGBTQ community and to support them?

The woman at the well, for example, is the story of Jesus coming upon a Samaritan woman who was getting water during the heat of the day. How does he encounter this person who feels like she's on the margins? He listens to her, he speaks to her, he hears her story. And then at the end of the story, he reveals himself to her basically saying, “I'm the Messiah.” 

So I would like to use that story as an example for Catholics of how they can treat people who feel like they're on the margins, i.e., LGBT people, right? It’s not, I’m going to condemn you for this or that, but it's let me listen to your story. It’s an example of what Pope Francis calls a culture of encounter.

Get to know [LGBTQ people], understand their stories, listen to them. And then treat them like Jesus did, with what the catechism calls respect, compassion and sensitivity. 

What kind of spiritual exercises would you offer Catholics trying to engage with the LGBTQ community, but they don't know where to begin?

The first thing I would invite Catholics to think about in their relationship with LGBT people is humility. There's a lot of misunderstanding about the LGBT experience. Can you exercise humility, which is a virtue during Lent, and listen to people that you might not understand? That may be people that you know in your life, what's your experience like as an LGBT person, but just reading about these things rather than kind of relying on old stereotypes. That takes a lot of humility to say, “I think I'm wrong in what I understood. I think I'm wrong in my experience, in my own knowledge about LGBT people.” 

I’d also say, can you be open to the fact that God may want to meet you through this LGBT person? For people that might be at odds with the LGBT community or sort of suspicious, the person you thought was different, the person you thought was other is actually the person who reveals God to you. 

Conversely, for LGBTQ Catholics, what kind of spiritual or contemplative exercise would you offer us as we go through Lent?

For the LGBT person, the LGBT believer or Christian or Catholic, I would say that one of the Lenten practices is to really ground yourself in the church, to ground yourself in the community and so often they’re made to feel separate from the community. … Part of Lent is sort of participating in Jesus's struggle and Jesus’s path towards Jerusalem. As he marches towards Jerusalem, what he’s doing is bringing people in all along the way. All along the way he’s healing them and restoring them to health and also to the community and he’s bringing people who are seen as other or different, who are on the margins and bringing them in.

It’s funny to think that the person you thought was condemning you is actually the person who’s inviting you. That’s Jesus for the LGBT Christian. 

What do you imagine possible for the future of the church in terms of our relationship between the church and the LGBTQ community?

I hope what’s possible is everything, and I hope it’s that the LGBTQ community can feel welcome in their own church.

People look to their faith as a source of guidance and inspiration -- and LGBTQ people and our family and friends are no different. The HRC Foundation’s Religion and Faith Program is working to create a world where no one is forced to choose between who they are, whom they love and what they believe. Thanks in part to this work, more and more faith communities aren’t simply engaging in dialogue around LGBTQ equality, they’re leading the conversation. They do this work not in spite of their religious beliefs, but because of them. Learn more here

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


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 25, 2020

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 10:05

HRC RELEASES 2020 PRESIDENTIAL QUESTIONNAIRE, CANDIDATE RESPONSES: HRC asked 16 questions on topics ranging from the Equality Act to health care, and conversion therapy to immigration reform. For the first time, HRC’s questionnaire asks the candidates for their plans to address the epidemic of violence facing transgender and gender non-conforming people, especially Black trans women. “The more than 11 million LGBTQ voters and 57 million Equality Voters -- LGBTQ voters and our allies -- are crucial members of the intersectional coalition that will oust President Trump in November,” said HRC President Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid). “Our community is looking for a leader that understands the challenges we face each and every day and has substantive, realistic plans to overcome them. The Trump-Pence administration must be stopped and HRC will work nationwide through November to ensure that they are.” See the full results of the questionnaire from HRC

Where do the Democratic presidential candidates stand on
�� Marriage equality
�� Health Care
��️‍�� The Equality Act
����⚪️ Transgender rights
And more?

Check out @HRC’s Presidential Questionnaire to find out. https://t.co/tTTbZVcIGX

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

SUPREME COURT MUST REJECT TAXPAYER-FUNDED DISCRIMINATION: Yesterday, HRC responded to the Supreme Court’s decision to hear Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, which could have an enormous impact on the lives of more than 440,000 children in foster care around the country by enabling a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people and other marginalized communities using taxpayer funds. “It is unconscionable to turn away prospective foster and adoptive families because they are LGBTQ, religious minorities, or for any other reason unrelated to their capacity to love and care for children,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “The Supreme Court must make it clear that freedom of religion does not include using taxpayer funds to further marginalize vulnerable communities.” More from HRC

HORRIBLE -- HRC MOURNS TRANSGENDER WOMAN WHO WAS KILLED IN PUERTO RICO: Said HRC Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Intiative Tori Cooper (@MsToriCooper1): “This is a horrifying crime that must be investigated with the utmost thoroughness and care. This victim, who has now been identified as Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, was a human being, a member of a community, a friend and family member. She had dreams, hopes, hobbies and did not deserve to have her life taken from her. HRC has heard that Ruiz was experiencing homelessness, further highlighting the ways a toxic mix of transphobia and misogyny conspire to put the transgender community at risk of extreme violence.” Read more from the Washington Blade

TUESDAY TWEET -- YESTERDAY, HRC JOINED LOCAL ADVOCATES IN MARYLAND TO SUPPORT MAKING SCHOOLS MORE INCLUSIVE FOR LGBTQ STUDENTS: Learn more about HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools here

  • On Thursday, Feb. 27, thousands of parents, educators, elected officials and allies will join in solidarity with transgender and gender-expansive students by hosting school and community readings of I Am Jazz, a children’s book by transgender teen trailblazer Jazz Jennings, as well as additional titles. This fifth annual Jazz and Friends National Day of School and Community Readings is sponsored by Welcoming Schools and the National Educational Association. More from HRC

.@HRC was at the Prince George's County School Board Meeting in support of an amendment to the budget to support HRC Foundation's Welcoming Schools' efforts to increase support for LGBTQ students.

Thanks to those who joined us and showed their support. pic.twitter.com/hS1Ogl2w7g

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

HRC ENDORSES PRO-EQUALITY OHIO U.S. REPS JOYCE BEATTY (@RepBeatty), MARCY KAPTUR (@RepMarcyKaptur), MARCIA FUDGE (@RepMarciaFudge) AND TIM RYAN (@RepTimRyan): “Leaders like Representatives Beatty, Kaptur, Fudge and Ryan have not only been steadfast allies of the LGBTQ community, they have used their positions of power to help improve the lives of LGBTQ people in Ohio and across the nation,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Now, it’s time to make sure these leaders have the support they need to continue to work on behalf of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community.” More from HRC

IN THE STATES

MAINE CONSIDERING NON-BINARY GENDER OPTION FOR BIRTH CERTIFICATES: More from Central Maine.

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

LGBTQ COMMUNITY IN AWADH, INDIA, HELD A PRIDE PARADE THIS WEEKEND: More from Hindustan Times

NEW SURVEY FINDS MANY CANADIAN MEN ARE STILL EXPERIENCING CONVERSION THERAPY: More from Vancouver Sun

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

Forbes interviews Kebone Moloko (@KemoMoloko), co-founder of Queer Women in Business + Allies, which empowers queer women, trans & non-binary entrepreneurs across the African continent; Advocate looks at a new docuseries about being an LGBTQ person of faith.

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!


Growing Up Black and Queer

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 09:53

Post submitted by Jeremy O. Harris. Harris is an American actor and playwright, known for his plays Daddy and Slave Play. Harris is also a co-author of the screenplay for the forthcoming film Zola, directed by Janicza Bravo. On February 1, 2020, Harris received the HRC Equality Award at the Human Rights Campaign Gala in New York City.

As Black History Month comes to a close, I have begun reflecting on my own history. I write this with the awareness that being the loudest one in the room has provided me the platform I have but being loud, for me, was never a choice.

I grew up Black, obviously queer and tall in a small, predominantly white town in Virginia. And, whether I was speaking or not, I stuck out — a loud presence in a serene mountain town.

There are few places one can be purposefully loud. Theatre became a space where I could. In my performances, I could hone my loudness and the audience had no choice but to reckon with me at full volume. Yet, the longer I worked in the space it became discomfiting to see that the loudness I moved with was so rarely reflected in the plays I read because the canon had so few queer characters, let alone black queer ones.

So, I decided to start writing works of my own like Slave Play, which had its Broadway debut late last year. And I discovered the work I was yearning for was out there, just not given the attention from history it deserved. Much of it work by black women like Adrienne Kennedy, Lorraine Hansberry, and Alice Childress, not to mention black queer heroes like Robert O'Hara, George C. Wolfe and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins.

Representation in storytelling matters. And there’s no better time to be reminded of that than during Black History Month. I’m honored to work with the Human Rights Campaign and its president, Alphonso David, to remember the Black leaders — LGBTQ and allies — who have contributed so much to our history and to support the next generation of leaders to come.

HRC just released an updated coming out resource for those who are Black and a part of the LGBTQ community. I hope you’ll share it with those in your life who seek and work to create supportive spaces.

We need more Black queer kids who are unapologetically themselves, unapologetically loud and resources like this one can give our world more of them. I wish my younger self had this — it would have helped me make sense of me a lot earlier.

Imagine where we’d be if we rewarded people for being themselves. We’re not there yet, but we can move closer to making that our reality if we remember the power of our voices.

We all have one, even when others try to silence us. I use mine to champion stories about Black and brown queer bodies on stage and screen. Some might not see that as important given the state of our country right now, but I know the opposite to be true. Look at recent examples like the Georgian governments response to the film And Then We Danced, or the curriculum shifts in Oklahoma after the HBO's Watchmen showcased the 1921 Tulsa massacre.

Telling stories like ours matters because they can change hearts and minds — and changed hearts and minds can change the world. The Human Rights Campaign proves that in its work, fueled by all of you and the unwavering desire for change ... no matter how challenging it can be.

This Black History Month — and beyond it — I hope you’ll use your voice to uplift those that history doesn’t always highlight. Together, we can make a difference.


Supreme Court Must Reject Taxpayer-Funded Discrimination

Mon, 02/24/2020 - 16:10

Today, HRC responded to the Supreme Court’s decision to hear Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, which could have an enormous impact on the lives of more than 440,000 children in foster care around the country by enabling a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people and other marginalized communities using taxpayer funds. 

“It is unconscionable to turn away prospective foster and adoptive families because they are LGBTQ, religious minorities, or for any other reason unrelated to their capacity to love and care for children,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Neither Philadelphia nor any other governmental entity should be forced to permit discrimination against loving families, especially at a time when half a million children around the country are in foster care. We reject the suggestion that taxpayer-funded child welfare services should be allowed to put discrimination over a child’s best interest. This case could also have implications for religious refusals that go far beyond child welfare. The Supreme Court must make it clear that freedom of religion does not include using taxpayer funds to further marginalize vulnerable communities.”

In Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, Catholic Social Services is claiming a constitutional right to exclude prospective foster families headed by same-sex couples when providing public child welfare services. It claims it has a right to do so because of a religious objection to approving LGBTQ families. The City of Philadelphia maintains that no family should face discrimination because of who they are or who they love.

In 2017, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation released Disregarding the Best Interest of the Child: License to Discriminate In Child Welfare Services, a report detailing the harms of efforts to write anti-LGBTQ discrimination by child welfare agencies into law. The comprehensive resource continues to be relevant as legislatures across the country consider anti-LGBTQ bills that marginalize children and their prospective families of all backgrounds.  Earlier this year, Tennessee passed a license to discriminate in child welfare services law, becoming the tenth such state to do so.  
 


HRC Endorses Pro-Equality Ohio U.S Representatives

Mon, 02/24/2020 - 10:42

HRC announced the endorsements of U.S. Reps. Joyce Beatty, Marcy Kaptur, Marcia Fudge and Tim Ryan for reelection. 

In 2019, Reps. Joyce Beatty, Marcy Kaptur, Marcia Fudge and Tim Ryan signed on as co-sponsors of the Equality Act -- crucial federal legislation that would finally guarantee explicit, permanent protections for LGBTQ people under our nation's existing civil rights laws when it was considered by the U.S. House last year. They have also been strong supporters of statewide protections for LGBTQ Ohioans. When Congresswoman Beatty served as Speaker of the Ohio General Assembly, she advanced through the House the Equal Housing and Employment Act, the first-ever vote by the Ohio legislature to protect LGBTQ people. Over the next year, HRC will devote significant resources to turning out the 2 million Equality Voters across the state of Ohio to ensure pro-equality leaders like Reps. Beatty, Kaptur, Fudge and Ryan remain in office.

“For decades, LGBTQ people across America have lived under a patchwork of protections that leaves them and their families at risk of discrimination. Leaders like Representatives Beatty, Kaptur, Fudge and Ryan have not only been steadfast allies of the LGBTQ community, they have used their positions of power to help improve the lives of LGBTQ people in Ohio and across the nation,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Now, it’s time to make sure these leaders have the support they need to continue to work on behalf of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community. The Human Rights Campaign is proud to endorse Representatives Beatty, Kaptur, Fudge and Ryan in their bids for reelection.”

“I’m thankful to the Human Rights Campaign for their endorsement,” said Congressman Tim Ryan. “I supported and co-sponsored the Equality Act in 2019 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, and childbirth. The U.S. Senate needs to pass the Equality Act and send it to the president for his signature. I will continue my long-standing history as an advocate for the civil rights of the LGBTQ community.”

“I am honored to have the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign. I have supported Ohio's Fairness Act and co-sponsored the Equality Act in Congress,” said Congresswoman Joyce Beatty. “ I will continue to advocate on behalf of the LGBTQ community and work with HRC to ensure no American faces discrimination for who they love.”

"I am grateful for the support of the Human Rights Campaign as we work together to ensure equality, safety and integration for all people,” said Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. “The Human Rights Campaign has long been a leader in ensuring fundamental civil rights for all of our citizens and I am proud to stand alongside your efforts."

“The Human Rights Campaign has advocated for millions of LGBTQ Americans for 40 years,” said Congresswoman Marcia Fudge. “ HRC's work, and that of other organizations fighting for equality and human rights, restores hope for an America free from discrimination, hate crimes, and policies that block access to health care, prevent marriage equality and limit job opportunities. I will continue to support legislation that guarantees and protects the rights of the LGBTQ community and others who too often are denied their legal and human rights. Thank you, HRC, for all that you do.  It is an honor to receive this endorsement.”

In the 2018 midterms, HRC helped register more than 32,000 voters and recruited more than 4,200 volunteers, who worked over 8,500 shifts and clocked more than 30,000 volunteer hours. In the critical final four days of the campaign, HRC staff and volunteers in get-out-the-vote efforts alone knocked on more than 80,000 doors, and held 36,400 conversations with voters at their doors and by phone on behalf of our endorsed candidates. HRC's unprecedented grassroots mobilization represented an investment of approximately $26 million to recruit volunteers, mobilize constituents, register voters and grow the organization's grassroots army in an all-out effort to pull the emergency brake on the hateful anti-LGBTQ agenda of the Trump-Pence administration and elect a Congress that would hold them accountable.

Paid for by Human Rights Campaign PAC (www.hrc.org) and authorized by BEATTY FOR CONGRESS, KAPTUR FOR CONGRESS, MARCIA FUDGE FOR CONGRESS and TIM RYAN FOR CONGRESS

#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 24, 2020

Mon, 02/24/2020 - 10:17

HRC PRESIDENT ALPHONSO DAVID ON MSNBC’S MORNING JOE THIS MORNING: David (@AlphonsoDavid) discussed his meetings with Equality Voters and LGBTQ voters across the country, and announced that HRC will be releasing a candidate questionnaire with answers from most Democratic candidates this afternoon at 3 p.m. eastern time. Watch here

.@HRC President @AlphonsoDavid joined @Morning_Joe today to discuss his trip mobilizing Equality Voters and LGBTQ voters in South Carolina, and the importance our voting bloc will play in the 2020 election. https://t.co/M4iVSfMt8L

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

HRC PRESIDENT ALPHONSO DAVID VISITED MOTHER EMANUEL AME CHURCH YESTERDAY IN CHARLESTON, SC: In addition to visiting Mother Emanuel on Sunday and meeting with the pastor there, David spoke with Equality Voters at a collaborative event with local LGBTQ and allied organizations to show the impact of LGBTQ voters and our allies in the South Carolina Democratic Presidential Primary, to help get out the pro-equality vote and to raise the visibility of LGBTQ issues. There are at least 289,000 Equality Voters and 137,000 LGBTQ voters in South Carolina, the final early state primary or caucus. More from HRC

CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS ISSUES NEW HANDBOOK WITH ANTI-TRANSGENDER AND NON-BINARY LANGUAGE: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should be affirming its transgender and non-binary Church members, not dissuading them from accessing medically necessary care,” said HRC Foundation Religion & Faith Program Director Michael Vazquez (@mvsebastian). “LGBTQ Mormons are yearning for a welcoming Church family, and we look forward to the day when all LGBTQ Mormons can see themselves affirmed and fully included within their faith community.” 

MONDAY MUST READ -- TRANS TEEN IN OREGON SHARES JOURNEY, FIGHTS FOR RIGHT TO ATTEND SCHOOL FREE FROM DISCRIMINATION: When 16-year-old Julian Holman was able to get the medically-necessary care he needed to live his life fully, he turned to his mother and said “Mom, I’m free.” Learn more about Julian, his mom Karen and what still needs to be done to support transgender youth across Oregon and the United States in Statesman Journal.

"All trans people go into any situation or community assuming that it will not be safe," said student Julian Holman. "We hold that assumption until we are proved otherwise." — Many want to change that.

Read the full story: https://t.co/Hfbn1boelO @Salem_Statesman

— Natalie Pate (@Nataliempate) February 19, 2020

MINNESOTA GOVERNOR TIM WALZ (@GovTimWalz) RALLIES WITH ADVOCATES TO CALL ON STATE SENATE TO PROTECT LGBTQ YOUTH FROM SO-CALLED “CONVERSION THERAPY”: More from Neighborhood News.

ANTI-LGBTQ JUDGE ANDREW BRASHER CONFIRMED TO ATLANTA’S 11TH U.S. COURT OF APPEALS: HRC opposed this nomination and urged the U.S. Senate to not confirm. Brasher has developed a professional record devoted to undermining access to the ballot and LGBTQ equality. More from Project Q.

IN THE STATES

TRANSPHOBIC BILL IN ALABAMA APPROVED IN COMMITTEE, HEADS TO HOUSE VOTE: The bill would block transgender student-athletes from participating in sports consistent with their gender. More from AL.com.

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

LENA WAITHE TO VOICE LESBIAN CHARACTER IN UPCOMING PIXAR FILM: Waithe’s (@LenaWaithe) character, in the upcoming film “Onward,” is believed to be the “first clearly gay character in Disney/Pixar history,” according to The Advocate.

Disney / Pixar has introduced its first self-identifying LGBTQ character, voiced by @LenaWaithe. #Onward https://t.co/Ni8e3oyjC7

— The Advocate (@TheAdvocateMag) February 21, 2020

BET LAUNCHES SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN FOCUSED ON LGBTQ COMMUNITY: Follow along at the hashtag #29DaysofQueerExcellence. More from Grit Daily.

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

Metro Weekly reviews the film ‘And Then We Danced,’ about Georgian dancers who fall in love; CBC reports on a Nova Scotia group of parent-advocates working to protect their trans and non-binary children


Tennessee’s Slate of Hate Continues With More Anti-LGBTQ Bills To Fight

Mon, 02/24/2020 - 09:24

Each year, Tennessee is at the top of the list of states introducing the most anti-LGBTQ legislation --and this year is no different. Ten days into the legislative session, Governor Bill Lee signed HB 836 into law; making Tennessee the first state to pass an anti-LGBTQ bill in 2020. HB 836 provides a license to discriminate in the provision of child welfare services, allowing state contractors who provide taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care services to refuse to make child placements with qualified, loving families if the family doesn’t share all of the agency’s religious beliefs.   

A recent HRC survey also found Tennesseans’ broad opposition to anti-LGBTQ legislation in the state’s legislature. That’s why earlier this month, HRC joined the Tennessee Equality Project for Advancing Equality Day on the Hill to urge lawmakers to stop the attacks on LGBTQ Tennesseans.

Now that we’re past the bill filing deadline, it is clear that anti-equality lawmakers are intent on continuing the push to advance legislation that would negatively impact the lives of LGBTQ Tennesseans. Moreover, targeting transgender and non-binary youth --the most vulnerable and marginalized community. 

Here’s an awful picture of what we’re fighting against in Tennessee. 

Bills that would put the wellbeing of transgender youth at risk:

  • HB 1274/SB 1499, a rollover bill from the 2019 session, would require Tennessee Attorney General to either pay for legal costs or itself defend discriminatory anti-transgender school policies - an obvious attempt to encourage school districts who want to deny transgender students access to the correct bathroom;
  • HB 2575/SB 2215 are anti-transgender medical care bills that would criminalize medical doctors providing lifesaving and affirming care for transgender youth supported by leading medical authorities; 
  • HB 1572/SB 2077 and HB 1689/SB 1736 would prohibit schools from allowing transgender students to play in sports consistent with their gender identity by forcing to prove gender identity by presenting a birth certificate or genetic/DNA test results.

Bills that would defy the Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex marriage is constitutional:

  • HB 2410/SB 2625 would attempt to circumvent marriage equality by establishing a new definition of secular marriage and repeal laws on issuance of license;  
  • HB 1369/SB 1282, rollover bills from 2019, known as the Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act.

Bills that would diminish local government control and target the LGBTQ community:

  • HB 563/SB 364, also known as license to discriminate bills, would prohibit cities and state agencies from implementing policies that bar taxpayer funds from being used by businesses, organizations, contractors and grantees to discriminate against LGBTQ people in employment policies; 
  • HB 2721/SB 2896 prohibits libraries from providing Pride & LGBTQ displays and programming. 

HRC is proud to stand alongside Tennessee Equality Project and coalition partners to fight back against the growing slate of hate. If you live in Tennessee, we need your voice! Join HRC at Tennessee Equality Project’s upcoming Advancing Equality Day on the Hill on Tuesday, March 3, at 8:30 am. For more information, reach out to hope.jackson@hrc.org.


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 21, 2020

Fri, 02/21/2020 - 09:28

HRC ENDORSES U.S. REP. ANGIE CRAIG FOR REELECTION: “The voters of Minnesota’s 2nd district made a wise choice in electing Angie Craig to Congress in 2018. She’s hit the ground running as a champion for civil rights, for good paying jobs, and for accessible and affordable health care,” said HRC President Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid). “Angie Craig’s success in Congress has helped show LGBTQ children and youth that they can aspire to any job in America regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.” More from HRC and Politico.

  • Over the next year, HRC will devote significant resources to turning out the 658,000 Equality Voters across the state of Minnesota to ensure pro-equality, LGBTQ leaders like Rep. Craig remain in or are elected to office.

INSIDE HRC’S NEVADA CAUCUS ORGANIZING EFFORTS: HRC is working round-the-clock to boost turnout among the 127,000 LGBTQ and 657,000 Equality-minded caucus-goers. With five staff organizing in Nevada, HRC has made more than 21,000 calls about the caucus and trained 100 people how to be a caucus volunteer. “I think organizing the LGBTQ community is very unique because we have so much diversity within the community,” said HRC Nevada State Director Briana Escamilla (@escamillabriana). “We’re a very intersectional community, which means that all of these priorities matter to us.” More from Kate Sosin (@shoeleatherkate) at NewNowNext.

VICTORY -- FLORIDA APPEALS COURT RULES EX-FELONS HAVE RIGHT TO VOTE, EVEN IF THEY CANNOT AFFORD TO PAY BACK COURT FEES: More from Talking Points Memo.

This is an important victory for voting rights advocates, both in Florida and those undertaking similar pro-voter efforts across the nation. The right to vote should never have a price tag attached. https://t.co/9ZBuO2mBx5

— Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) February 19, 2020

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY -- SNART RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS:

My friend's 6 yr old brother made this bracelet! He accidentally put the beads on backward but thats okay, it's still super cute! https://t.co/G9AluAuxtM pic.twitter.com/VTbkaU32uJ

— traaaaaaannnnnnnnnns (@traabot) February 18, 2020

HAPPY 80th BIRTHDAY, REP. JOHN LEWIS! Happy Birthday, Rep. John Lewis! For more than 60 years, Rep. Lewis has used his voice for change. Thank you for urging us to get in good trouble

2020 STATEHOUSE ROUNDUP

WASHINGTON BILL TO BAN ANTI-LGBTQ “PANIC DEFENSES” NAMED AFTER LOCAL TRANS TEEN KILLED LAST YEAR: The Nikki Kuhnhausen Act would block a defendant from using a victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity as a defense. More from The Daily Chronicle.

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

AT&T shares the experience of a soon-to-be-married LGBTQ employee about how his company supports him; The Associated Press shares how U.S. medical schools are teaching LGBTQ competency; Autostraddle highlights eight Black LGBTQ poets; Nyle DiMarco joins drag queen Miz Cracker to get into drag and discuss disability rights; Metro Weekly reviews the documentary “Unsettled,” which interviews LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers

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


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 20, 2020

Thu, 02/20/2020 - 10:15

FOR YOUR RADAR -- HRC & NEA TO HOST JAZZ AND FRIENDS NATIONAL DAY OF SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY READINGS IN SUPPORT OF TRANS AND GENDER-EXPANSIVE YOUTH: On February 27, thousands of parents, educators, elected officials and allies will join in solidarity with transgender and gender-expansive students by hosting school and community readings of I Am Jazz, a children’s book by transgender teen trailblazer Jazz Jennings, as well as additional titles. The fifth annual Jazz and Friends National Day of School and Community Readings is sponsored by the Welcoming Schools Program at the HRC, and the National Educational Association. More from HRC.

NEW RESOURCE FROM HRC PREVIEWS THE 2020 LEGISLATIVE SESSION: As state legislatures around the country consider legislation that impacts the LGBTQ community, HRC is watching closely to support pro-equality legislation and defeat legislators' attempts to enshrine discrimination into law. Check out HRC’s 2020 state legislative preview here.

2020 STATEHOUSE ROUNDUP

ANTI-TRANS PROPOSED LEGISLATION IN OHIO ATTEMPTING TO LIMIT ACCESS TO GENDER-AFFIRMING CARE FOR TRANS AND NON-BINARY YOUTH: This proposed legislation, similar to the now-dead bill in South Dakota, is one of at least 20 bills filed in state legislatures across the country attempting to criminalize or severely limit access to gender-affirming care for transgender and non-binary youth. More from Mic.

ADVOCATES IN ALABAMA MOURN THOSE LOST TO HATE CRIMES, RALLY FOR EQUALITY IN THE LAW: More from WSFA.

DC HEARING ON CARE FOR LGBTQ SENIORS AND SENIORS WITH HIV AMENDMENT ACT: Yesterday, there was a hearing in the D.C. Council about the bill to ensure LGBTQ seniors and seniors living with HIV do not have to go back into the closet once they need long-term care. More from Washington Blade.

THANKFUL THURSDAY -- DWYANE WADE TALKS TRANS ALLYSHIP ON GOOD MORNING AMERICA: 

"Have an open mind. Go out and research...This conversation is real. Our 12-year-old deals with this. This is her life every day. This is no game to us."

An incredible interview about being an ally to your trans child between @RobinRoberts & @DwyaneWade.pic.twitter.com/XevxuxpHbf

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

PRO-EQUALITY U.S. REP. ABIGAIL SPANBERGER TO CONVENE TOUR FOCUSED ON CIVIL RIGHTS IN CENTRAL VIRGINIA: More from NBC 12.

PRONOUNS IN EMAIL SIGNATURES AND OTHER WAYS BUSINESSES ARE BECOMING MORE INCLUSIVE TO TRANS AND NON-BINARY WORKERS: Natalie Sherman (@shermannatalie) speaks to HRC Director of Workplace Equality Beck Bailey (@TheBeckBailey) for BBC.

  • Another solution for displaying pronouns in college classrooms? Stickers! More from The New York Times.

NEW STUDIES SHOW LGBTQ PEOPLE MAY EXPERIENCE HIGHER RATES OF SKIN CANCER: More from Reuters.

OMAHA TRANSITIONAL LIVING HOME FOR FORMERLY-INCARCERATED BELIEVED TO BE FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND FOR LGBTQ COMMUNITY: More from KETV.

 GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

BE EXTRA CAREFUL ABOUT MARRIAGE, BELIEVED TO BE BOLLYWOOD’S FIRST ROMCOM FEATURING A SAME-SEX ROMANCE, PREMIERES: More from France 24.

 GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

PROPOSED LEGISLATION IN INDONESIA WOULD REQUIRE LGBTQ COMMUNITY TO “REPORT TO AUTHORITIES FOR REHABILITATION”: This troubling bill mandates dangerous “conversion therapy,” which poses devastating health risks for LGBTQ young people resulting in depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness and suicidal behavior. More from The Jakarta Post.

TRANS WOMAN IN BARBADOS FILES LEGAL CHALLENGE TO EMPLOYER: Alexa Hoffman’s case claims she was terminated from her job at Court Caribbean Law Practice after she changed her name. More from Erasing 76 Crimes.

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

The Body interviews Emil Wilbekin (@EmilWilbekin), chief content officer of Afropunk.com and the founder of World of Wilbekin and Native Son; KING 5 News profiles a Seattle-based organization uplifting LGBTQ youth of faith

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 Endorses U.S. Rep. Angie Craig for Reelection

Thu, 02/20/2020 - 09:55

Today, HRC announced the endorsement of U.S. Rep. Angie Craig for re-election.

Rep. Angie Craig, as one of seven openly LGBTQ members of the U.S. House and the first openly lesbian mother to be elected to Congress, has been one of the community’s most impactful and vocal supporters of the Equality Act — crucial bipartisan legislation that would finally provide clear, comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Over the next year, HRC will devote significant resources to turning out the 658,000 Equality Voters across the state of Minnesota to ensure pro-equality, LGBTQ leaders like Rep. Craig remain in, or are elected to office.

“The voters of Minnesota’s 2nd district made a wise choice in electing Angie Craig to Congress in 2018. She’s hit the ground running as a champion for civil rights, for good paying jobs, and for accessible and affordable health care,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Angie Craig’s success in Congress has helped show LGBTQ children and youth that they can aspire to any job in America regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Human Rights Campaign is proud to endorse Congresswoman Craig’s bid for reelection and we look forward to continuing to fight alongside her for full equality.”

"I'm honored to have the support of HRC. As the first LGBTQ mother in Congress, I know that having more voices represented only makes our nation stronger," said Angie Craig, U.S. Representative for Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District. "We need all kinds of experiences and voices to be represented in order to move important policies, like the Equality Act, forward. It is my privilege to work with you to usher in a better future for the next generation."

In the 2018 midterms, HRC helped register more than 32,000 voters and recruited more than 4,200 volunteers, who worked over 8,500 shifts and clocked more than 30,000 volunteer hours. In the critical final four days of the campaign, HRC staff and volunteers in get-out-the-vote efforts alone knocked on more than 80,000 doors, and held 36,400 conversations with voters at their doors and by phone on behalf of our endorsed candidates. HRC's unprecedented grassroots mobilization represented an investment of approximately $26 million to recruit volunteers, mobilize constituents, register voters and grow the organization's grassroots army in an all-out effort to pull the emergency brake on the hateful anti-LGBTQ agenda of the Trump-Pence administration and elect a Congress that would hold them accountable.

 

 Paid for by Human Rights Campaign PAC (www.hrc.org) and authorized by ANGIE CRAIG FOR CONGRESS

HRC &amp; NEA Sponsor Jazz and Friends National Day of School and Community Readings

Thu, 02/20/2020 - 09:05

On February 27, thousands of parents, educators, elected officials and allies will join in solidarity with transgender and gender-expansive students by hosting school and community readings of I Am Jazz, a children’s book by transgender teen trailblazer Jazz Jennings, as well as additional titles. The fifth annual Jazz and Friends National Day of School and Community Readings is sponsored by the Welcoming Schools Program at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, and the National Educational Association (NEA), the country’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3 million educators across the U.S.

Following yet another year of cruel attacks on the rights and dignity of transgender young people -- including a firestorm of proposed state legislation which could bar transgender youth and their parents from making decisions about their medical care -- the day of readings helps foster safe and welcoming schools and communities for youth who still rarely hear affirming stories of LGBTQ people. In addition to I Am Jazz, participants will have the option of reading from additional books about transgender and gender-expansive youth of color, including Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love and They, She, He Easy as ABC by Maya and Matthew Smith Gonzalez.

“Transgender and non-binary youth are part of classrooms all across this country and deserve to see their stories reflected in their schools and communities,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “I Am Jazz is a joyful book loved by children of all identities and it serves as a powerful tool for educators, parents and anyone who wants to lead with love during these challenging times. The readings that will take place across the country send a powerful message of support to transgender youth and their allies.”

“With Jazz and Friends’ National Day of School and Community Readers, we are declaring that every student has the fundamental right to feel safe, welcomed, and valued in our nation’s public schools,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “This unequivocal message of love, support, and inclusion for our transgender and non-binary students is not only right but, unfortunately, necessary in light of outright hostility towards them from people like Betsy DeVos. Today and every day we pledge to continue to work towards fostering safe and affirming public schools for all of our students and families.”

This event comes amidst a backdrop of anti-transgender state legislative efforts across the country that attack vulnerable transgender and gender-expansive youth. In South Dakota, the state House of Representatives passed a bill which bars transgender youth and their parents from making decisions about their medical care, and allows the state to impose criminal penalties on doctors who provide care for trans and gender non-conforming youth. Luckily, the bill was effectively killed in the State Senate. At least twenty states, including Arizona, Tennessee, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Oklahoma, Iowa and South Carolina are considering bills that target transgender and non-binary youth.

The international day of readings was inspired by the more than 600 residents of tiny Mount Horeb, Wis., who unequivocally rebuked bigotry and censorship in 2015 by showing up at a public reading of I Am Jazz. A caring parent organized the reading after legal threats by an anti-LGBTQ hate groupforced a local school to cancel plans to support a transgender student by reading the book in class.  Days later, the Mount Horeb school board adopted inclusive measures fully accommodating transgender students.

HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools is the only bias-based bullying prevention program in the nation to provide LGBTQ-specific training and resources with an intersectional lens specifically to elementary school educators and youth-serving professionals. HRC’s Welcoming Schools has created a guide to help organizers of Jazz and Friends reading events build more affirming and supportive spaces for transgender and gender-expansive youth across the country. You can register to receive that guide here.

For more information on the Jazz and Friends National Day of School and Community Readings, visit hrc.im/jazzandfriends.


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