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Recent blog articles published by the Human Rights Campaign 2020-04-07T20:56:00-04:00
Updated: 2 min 39 sec ago

HRC & 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.


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 19, 2020

Wed, 02/19/2020 - 09:42

HRC PRESIDENT ALPHONSO DAVID ON BLOOMBERG’S TRANSPHOBIC COMMENTS: “We expect all pro-equality candidates, including Mayor Bloomberg, to create policy solutions to end the epidemic of violence our community faces, not use the same talking points our opponents use to dehumanize transgender people and justify their own hateful beliefs. LGBTQ people are human and deserve to be treated with respect. We are looking for a candidate who can undo the damage done to our community by the Trump-Pence administration and build a future more safe, more equal and more accepting for LGBTQ people. Words matter and Mayor Bloomberg should apologize for using language that demoralizes and dehumanizes members of our community.” More from The Washington Post and NBC.

MORE THAN 1,800 PARENTS SIGN HRC LETTER CONDEMNING STATE LEGISLATION ATTACKING TRANS AND NON-BINARY YOUTH: “In all 50 states and D.C., parents of transgender and non-binary youth are standing up and making their voices heard,” said HRC President Alphonso David  (@AlphonsoDavid). “A child’s health care needs should be a conversation had by that child, their family and a medical health provider, consistent with best practices. Lawmakers who want to disrupt that relationship show that they do not care about their constituents or American families, but would rather legislate hatred to rally a small minority of people who seek to harm transgender people.” More from HRC.

HRC’S ALPHONSO DAVID ON TRUMP’S APPROVAL OF LIMBAUGH’S HOMOPHOBIA: “Trump’s embrace of Limbaugh’s homophobia is not only offensive on its face, but further compounded by his repeated attempts to gaslight the LGBTQ community.  Throughout his tenure, Trump has attacked LGBTQ people with vicious rhetoric and discriminatory regulations, all while claiming to be an ally. LGBTQ people knew a long time ago that Trump cannot be trusted.  This November, LGBTQ voters will turn out by the millions to oust Trump and install a true pro-equality ally.” More from Advocate.

THIS WEEKEND -- HRC TO HONOR SNL STAR BOWEN YANG AT NORTH CAROLINA DINNER: The comedian, writer and actor Bowen Yang will be honored with the HRC Visibility Award at the 25th Annual HRC North Carolina Dinner on Saturday, February 22 at Le Meridien Charlotte. Due to limited space, only members of the media who have been credentialed in advance will be allowed entrance. To request media credentials, please email your full name, outlet affiliation, role and cell phone number to viet.tran@hrc.org

  • Later this month in San Antonio, HRC will honor actor, dancer and singer Ryan Jamaal Swain 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. Contact viet.tran@hrc.org for more details.

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING WEDNESDAY -- HRC DEBATE WATCH PARTY IN LAS VEGAS: Tonight, HRC President Alphonso David will join UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía (@JMurguia_Unidos), Mi Familia Vota, HRC volunteers and Equality Voters for a debate watch party. For more details and to RSVP, please contact lucas.acosta@hrc.org

  • 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.

VIRGINIA STATE SENATE VOTES TO PROTECT LGBTQ YOUTH FROM DANGEROUS SO-CALLED “CONVERSION THERAPY”: The bill now heads to the governor’s desk, where it is expected to be signed. More from The Associated Press.

TRUMP-PENCE’S PROPOSED CHANGES TO FAITH-BASED REGULATIONS STRIP AWAY KEY PROTECTIONS: Michael Botticelli (@MBotticelliBMC), Executive Director of the Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine, and Former Director of National Drug Control Policy, writes: “To be frank, these proposed rules could degrade the care that so many Americans need. It would allow discriminatory programs to flourish, and leave those seeking care with fewer options. It’s unconscionable, and we shouldn’t stand for it.” More from HRC.

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

JUSTIN FASHANU, BRITAIN’S FIRST OPENLY LGBTQ FOOTBALL PLAYER, WILL BE INDUCTED INTO HALL OF FAME: Fashanu, who came out in 1990 and passed away in 1998, was also the first Black football player to earn a transfer fee of over £1 million. More from ESPN.

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

PAKISTAN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE AISHA MUGHAL BELIEVED TO BE FIRST OPENLY TRANS PAKISTANI TO TAKE PART IN A U.N. CONVENTION ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: More from Pink News.

LONDON MAYOR SADIQ KHAN TWEETS SUPPORT OF TRANS AND NON-BINARY COMMUNITY: In England, February is LGBTQ History Month. More from Pink News.

  • The city is also marking the month by highlighting funny, inspiring or just plain awkward tweets about LGBTQ dating on the London Underground. More from Pink News.

Trans women are women.
Trans men are men.
Non-binary people are non-binary.
All gender identities are valid.
#LGBTHistoryMonth

— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) February 16, 2020

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

Reuters reports on a symbolic wedding ceremony in Peru that took place on Valentine’s Day to protest the government’s lack of marriage equality; ���� NewNowNext reflects on the legendary queer icon Josephine Baker and the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance

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!


Over 1,800 Parents Sign HRC Letter Condemning State Legislation Attacking Trans and Non-Binary Youth

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 15:27

Today, more than 1,800 parents of transgender and non-binary children from all 50 U.S. states and Washington D.C. issued an open letter organized by HRC condemning the spate of anti-transgender legislation proposed in legislatures across the country. There are 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. 

“In all 50 states and D.C., parents of transgender and non-binary youth are standing up and making their voices heard. And as we saw in South Dakota, we will make a difference in defeating these abusive bills that attempt to legislate transgender and non-binary people out of existence,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “The proponents of these dangerous bills are spreading misinformation that these parents — more than 1,800 of them — know to be blatantly false. A child’s health care needs should be a conversation had by that child, their family and a medical health provider, consistent with best practices. Lawmakers who want to disrupt that relationship show that they do not care about their constituents or American families, but would rather legislate hatred to rally a small minority of people who seek to harm transgender people.”

The parents, speaking for the thousands of families of transgender and non-binary children across the country, write, “We know better than anyone what our children need in order to thrive: access to best practice, evidence-based gender affirming health care. Such care, administered by qualified professionals, is literally life-saving for our children... We cannot and will not stand by while lawmakers play politics with our children’s lives. It is time for legislatures to stand down on these attacks, and leave the care of our children in our hands and in the hands of our trusted medical providers.”

Research has shown that when gender-expansive 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. Several medical associations and organizations have spoken out against this legislation, including the American Medical Association, the Hormone Health Network, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and the United States Professional Association for Transgender Health. 

To read the full letter released, click here. If you are a parent who would like to add your name to this letter, do so here.


Unconscionable: Trump-Pence’s Proposed Changes to Faith-Based Regulations Strip Away Key Protections

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 12:59

Post submitted by Michael Botticelli, Executive Director of the Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine, Former Director of National Drug Control Policy

Ever since Donald Trump and Mike Pence took their oaths of office, they have tried new, innovative ways to regulate compassion out of existence in our government. They’ve targeted individual groups – including the LGBTQ community, women, people of color and religious minorities – through legislation, regulation and rulemaking. Now, they’re attempting to rewrite the rules for faith-based organizations that do work with the federal government – targeting Americans’ access to lifesaving programs and care.

For over thirty years, I have worked to ensure that those with a substance use disorder receive the care that they need and deserve. Under President Obama, I served as the Director of the National Drug Control Policy at the White House. I come to this work not only with a public health background, but also as a gay man in long-term recovery from a substance use disorder. We are currently in one of the greatest health crises of our time. In 2018 alone over 68,000 people died of drug overdoses and over 48,000 of these deaths were linked to opioids. To stem this epidemic, access to high quality, evidence-based care is essential. But today only one in nine people living with addiction have access to the care they need. This care must be patient centered, and it must be fueled by compassion, kindness, and understanding. However, the proposed revisions to the Department’s faith-based regulations are anathema to this demand.

The current faith-based regulations include requirements that organizations provide clear notice to their clients that , detail their right to receive services free from discrimination and their right to decline to participate in a religious event or programming. They ensure that all beneficiaries are aware of their rights and that providers understand their obligations when participating in a federally funded program. These organizations are also directed to refer a beneficiary to another provider if that person objects to the organization’s religious character. The proposed revisions from the Trump-Pence administration would strip away these critical protections for beneficiaries and individuals interacting with these programs.

Every year the federal government provides millions of taxpayer dollars to programs designed to support treatment and recovery services.

For example, the Department of Health and Human Services funds non-profit organizations through the Basic Center Program operated by the Administration for Children and Families to meet the needs of youth facing homelessness and housing insecurity. Substance use disorder  treatment is a foundational component of these programs with youth reporting that drug or alcohol use is one of their biggest challenges. For the 100,000 youth who access Basic Center Program services every year connection to mental health and substance use care can be life-changing. These youth must be able to trust that the care they receive either by the center or through a referral will be welcoming, culturally competent, and client-centered.  However, the proposed revisions to this regulation strip away critical protections for the youth served by these programs.

People living with addiction too often struggle with the weight of stigma and with the belief that they are less deserving of basic care. People who live at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities feel this weight even more acutely, including by those who are members of the LGBTQ community. Due to systemic discrimination, stigma, and harassment, the LGBTQ community faces increased risk for substance abuse. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, LGB people are more than twice more likely to have a substance use disorder (SUD) than the general population. The 2015 National Health Interview Survey showed lesbians and gays are 10% more likely to have had a heavy drinking day within the past year than the general population, and bisexual people are at an even greater risk, being 23.8% more likely.

Research has shown that programs that are explicitly affirming of LGBTQ people result in better long-term outcomes. Gay and bisexual men in specialized programs reported recovery 18% more than those in non-specialized programs. Recovery programs that emphasize a certain religious belief or practice that is not LGBTQ affirming are ineffective and can be damaging. An LGBTQ-identified individual faced with participating in such a program may choose to forfeit care altogether, which can have significant and dire consequences including death. Under the current regulations, a beneficiary would be informed of their rights and could seek a referral to a secular program. Under this proposed change, they wouldn’t

Notice requirements are a low cost, uniform mechanism to ensure that beneficiaries understand their rights when they matter the most. Through these proposed revisions, the Department prioritizes the rights of organizations and providers over the lives of people seeking the treatment that they have been trusted to provide.  

To be frank, these proposed rules could degrade the care that so many Americans need. It would allow discriminatory programs to flourish, and leave those seeking care with fewer options. It’s unconscionable, and we shouldn’t stand for it.


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 18, 2020

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 09:37

NEW HRC SURVEY SHOWS TENNESSEANS AGREE THAT ANTI-LGBTQ LEGISLATION IS A WASTE OF TIME: “For years, a group of extreme lawmakers have been targeting LGBTQ people in Tennessee, spreading misinformation and using vicious, harmful rhetoric while doing so,” said HRC President Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid). “Yet, as these new survey results show, most people in Tennessee have no interest in pursuing divisiveness for the sake of divisiveness, and think that anti-LGBTQ bills are a solution in search of a problem. Elected officials should be looking out for all of their constituents, not targeting the most vulnerable among them to appeal to a shrinking population.” More from HRC, and see the full results here

ICYMI -- UPSTANDER AWARDEES DON LEMON (@donlemon), NICOLE MAINES (@NicoleAMaines), CAMIKA SHELBY, JAMIE CLAYTON (@MsJamieClayton), SAM LONG (@samlong713) INSPIRE PARTICIPANTS AT HRC FOUNDATION’S TIME TO THRIVE CONFERENCE: Check out their energizing and moving speeches here, and read more about this year’s Time to THRIVE from HRC

With an exciting opening plenary filled with awards and entertainment, our first night at the seventh annual #TimeToTHRIVE Conference is complete!

Check out the highlights. ⤵️ https://t.co/KzvA1ADqwv

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

TUESDAY TWEET -- AS VOTERS PREPARE TO CAUCUS TODAY IN NEVADA, HRC WAS ON THE GROUND HELPING NEVADANS CAUCUS: More from The Nevada Independent

Early voting in Nevada officially kicked off on Saturday, and @HRC staff, supporters and volunteers were out at @thecenterlv to help Nevadans caucus. ��️������️‍��https://t.co/z7Rro55eGr pic.twitter.com/VIr8kaMrfM

— HRC in Nevada (@HRC_NV) February 16, 2020

HRC YOUTH AMBASSADOR MOLLY PINTA TALKS TIME TO THRIVE, COMING OUT AND WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE IN A LEADERSHIP ROLE: More from WBEZ

OKLAHOMA HOUSE COMMITTEE APPROVES BILL THAT WOULD PROTECT LGBTQ YOUTH FROM SO-CALLED “CONVERSION THERAPY”: The bill will now move to the full state House. More from CNN

LGBTQ COMMUNITY REMEMBERS DEBORAH BATTS, FIRST OPENLY GAY FEDERAL JUDGE: More from Kathi Wolfe (@UppityBlindGirl) at the Washington Blade

 GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

“THE FLASH” STAR RICK COSNETT COMES OUT AS GAY IN MOVING VIDEO: More from PinkNews

"I'm gay. And I just wanted everyone to know because I made a promise to myself to live my truth every day."

We're happy you're living your truth, Rick Cosnett! Sending you love today and every day. ���� https://t.co/0IQIHOUg5l

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

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

LGBTQ VETERANS IN UKRAINE ARE FIGHTING FOR EQUALITY: “When you speak about these things society changes,” said Nastya, an out LGBTQ veteran who asked to be identified by her first name only. “We exist, and we’re going to show our faces more and more.” More from Reuters

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!


These Proposed Regulations Open the Door to Discrimination. We Must Stop Them.

Mon, 02/17/2020 - 13:43

Post submitted by Jono Anzalone, Head of Disaster and Crisis, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Last month, the Trump-Pence administration proposed nine federal regulations that would enable federal agencies and programs receiving federal funding from them to discriminate against LGBTQ people, women, religious minorities and other vulnerable communities if they believe serving those populations in any context would go against the program’s personal beliefs. This includes the U.S. Agency on International Development, which accounts for more than half of all U.S. foreign assistance. The proposed regulation would empower organizations receiving federal funds to discriminate against LGBTQ people. As a humanitarian professional for more than two decades, including my current position as Head of Disaster and Crisis at the International Federation of Red Cross, I am gravely alarmed by this needless and cruel attack on marginalized people.

Allowing these activities exposes vulnerable populations in the aftermath of disaster and in fragile socio-economic contexts to be given an immoral, unethical and potentially unconstitutional choice; that of engaging in religious practice or not receiving lifesaving or sustaining federal services. Long standing academic research has demonstrated that such conditionality placed on aid is harmful to individuals. Dr. Jeannette Sutton, a leading expert in disaster and risk communication, points out that “proselytizing, victim blaming and giving answers to questions about human suffering in disaster were described as forms of exploitation in which the minister attempts to convert the victim in his or her own time of greatest vulnerability…” and “…could cause more damage to the already fragile mental health status.”

Yes, faith-based organizations do play a critical part in the provision of humanitarian aid both domestically and locally. Yet, prior frameworks for funding such faith-based organizations both domestically and internationally have ensured that services provide are not subject to proselytizing behaviors. An enormous undertaking took place in 1994 when 546 parties signed the 1994 Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement and nongovernmental organizations in disaster relief. This code, among other things, made clear that “Aid will not be used to further a particular political or religious standpoint.” Additionally, the code forbids “proselytizing”, as it is clearly an unethical condition to receive aid under the framework of “embracing or acceptance of a particular political or religious creed.”

Within humanitarian aid, the humanitarian imperative for impacted individuals and communities should come first.  Faith based organizations are already protected from religious discrimination in federal law, including by the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses of the Constitution. The proposed regulation does nothing to bolster these protections, but instead invites faith-based organizations to institutionally discriminate and proselytize using federal funds. The well-established standard in the 1994 Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent provides that Red Cross components (national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, the International Committee of Red Cross and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) and non-governmental organizations in disaster relief do not forbid organizations or individuals within them from publicly or privately celebrating their faith. This expression of faith is well protected within both the United States Constitution and international bodies as Article 18 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, which was passed unanimously (48-0) in 1948.

This proposed regulation opens the door to discrimination against LGBTQ people and other vulnerable populations. It amounts to baked in discriminatory rights for faith-based organizations to deny services to vulnerable communities. Further, at the Red Cross we recognize that non-discrimination workplace policies not only foster a diverse workforce, but support our employees to bring their full, authentic selves to work. This improves the services that we are able to provide to individuals and communities in crisis.  

Should tax-payer dollars fund organizations that can choose to only serve individuals that are subject to undergo religiously based service options in order to use access their assistance? Socio-economic vulnerable communities deserve better and as both a taxpayer and humanitarian professional, I strongly oppose the implementation of this proposed regulation. I encourage the federal government, particularly the Trump administration, to revisit the basic humanitarian principle of “do no harm” before such implementation, which would be ethically disastrous and potentially put lives in harm’s way. Forcing an individual to undergo religiously based service options in order to use receive service or allowing faith-based organizations to use discriminatory employment practices is unethical, illegal and immoral.


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

Sun, 02/16/2020 - 13:05

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Tiferet Ani (@tmalkaa) February 16, 2020

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

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

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

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

        View this post on Instagram                  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Greg Waples (@GWaples) February 16, 2020

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

— Tiferet Ani (@tmalkaa) February 16, 2020

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

Sat, 02/15/2020 - 14:22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Angie Craig (@RepAngieCraig) February 15, 2020

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

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

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

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

        View this post on Instagram                  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Alyssa Jacobson (@CounselorAJ) February 15, 2020

HRC Foundation’s 2020 Time to THRIVE Conference Begins

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 21:14

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

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

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

— Sherri Rase (@SherrRase) February 15, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Slay. #TIMEtoThrive

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


Speaking Out to End LGBTQ Youth Homelessness

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 14:35

Post submitted by June Crenshaw. Crenshaw is currently the Executive Director of the Wanda Alston Foundation, a transition housing program serving homeless LGBTQ people ages 16-24 in Washington, D.C. She also works as a business consultant for Coventry Health Care and has been on the D.C. Mayor's Advisory Board for LGBTQ Affairs since 2006.

On any given night in Washington, D.C., on the streets of the Nation's Capital, there are 200 to 300 LGBTQ homeless youth sleeping on sidewalks and weather grates and under bridges and overpasses. Despite the bone-chilling cold of winter and the suffocating summer nights, these young people are attempting to survive the overwhelming odds of the elements in a city that allocates only 75 beds to LGBTQ homeless youth. These youth are already facing heartbreaking marginalization, rejection and trauma solely because of their gender identity and sexual orientation. For over a decade, the Wanda Alston Foundation has been providing shelter and supporting LGBTQ youth ages 16 to 24 who are experiencing homelessness. In my four years of leading this organization, which provides life-saving and transformative services, I have never been more concerned about the future of our young people with the Trump-Pence administration proposing federal regulations to intentionally enable discrimination against LGBTQ youth in need and other vulnerable communities in federally funded programs.

Last month, the White House proposed nine federal regulations through federal agencies across the federal government that would permit federally funded programs to turn away LGBTQ people, women, religious minorities and other marginalized communities if they believe serving those groups--in the most basic of humane ways—goes against the program's religious or personal beliefs. This is a part of a three-year effort by the Trump-Pence administration to implement a license to discriminate on the supposed basis of religious freedom, despite failing to illustrate how religious beliefs are under attack by ensuring young people of all backgrounds have shelter.

Every morning, thousands of LGBTQ youth wake up and begin their day without knowing where they will go to sleep that night. Persistent levels of family rejection, bullying and discrimination and targeting at school contribute to unconscionable rates of homelessness and housing insecurity. Studies have found that as many as 40% of youth living on the streets or facing housing insecurity identify as LGBTQ. Systemic discrimination in employment, education and housing also increase the likelihood that these youth will remain homeless upon adulthood and therefore reliant on government programs. Transgender individuals face even higher rates of homelessness and poverty and are at even greater risk of experiencing violence either on the street or in a shelter. 

There are a number of youth that come to our facility from other agencies and organizations where they have reported to us that they've been attacked, or abused, or refused services, or kicked out, or that even the staff has encouraged other homeless individuals to attack them. They've been bullied and ostracized, particularly if we are talking about some of the faith-based organizations that are required to provide services to everyone that comes through their door but oftentimes don't provide those services in a culturally competent or welcoming way. We find that the most vulnerable individuals are trans men and trans women of color, gender non-conforming individuals.

The consequences of homelessness, particularly for LGBTQ youth, are far-reaching and can last a lifetime. Homelessness is harmful to mental and physical health and youth who are homeless are at an increased risk for sexual abuse and exploitation, chemical and alcohol dependency, social stigma and discrimination. These youth also experience lower levels of long-term educational attainment—placing them at an even greater disadvantage when they enter the job market. Forced to navigate young adulthood without critical family and social safety nets results in catastrophic consequences for economic stability, educational attainment and life expectancy.

Federally funded social service organizations provide critical resources and care for these youth when they are at their most vulnerable. The children and youth seeking help from these federally funded programs should be able to trust that they will be welcoming, culturally competent and client-centered. These proposed regulations will further empower providers to refuse to adequately serve LGBTQ youth and will sanction harmful discrimination against youth in care, seeking shelter services, and prospective foster and adoptive parents. 

No LGBTQ youth should be refused taxpayer-funded assistance. No LGBTQ youth should be forced to compromise their identity or their own religious belief in order to receive taxpayer-funded services. Our LGBTQ youth, who are experiencing homelessness, have no one else to speak up for them if we do no choose to take a stand and demand from the federal government that these regulations are rejected and non-discrimination protections be put in place to ensure no young person is turned away from critical, life-saving services funded by taxpayers. Our humanity and integrity are at stake in this fight and we must not remain silent.


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

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 11:48

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

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

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

Full results here and below. 

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

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

#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 14, 2020

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 10:32

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


HRC Releases Coming Out Resource for Black LGBTQ People

Thu, 02/13/2020 - 10:48

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 13, 2020

Thu, 02/13/2020 - 10:18

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

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

— Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) February 12, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

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

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

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

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


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 12, 2020

Wed, 02/12/2020 - 10:00

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

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

— Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) February 11, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

— Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) February 12, 2020

 GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

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

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

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

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


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 11, 2020

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 10:21

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

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

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

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

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

“They’re addressing a problem that just

does

������

exist.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

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

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

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

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

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


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

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 08:59

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

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

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

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


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 10, 2020

Mon, 02/10/2020 - 10:10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m doing this for my daughter.”

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

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

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

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

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

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 12:53

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 12:45

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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