MPAA ‘CONFIDENT’ THAT HB 757 WILL NOT BECOME LAW IN GEORGIA: Yesterday, an official of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Vans Stevenson, said that the group was “confident” that Georgia’s new Indiana-style "license to discriminate" bill, HB 757, would not become law. The news comes after Saturday’s HRC Gala in Los Angeles where HRC President Chad Griffin called on leaders in Hollywood to stop productions in Georgia if Governor Nathan Deal doesn’t veto the bill. According to the state of Georgia, which offers major tax incentives for entertainment companies to film in the state, at least 248 film and television productions were shot in Georgia during the state’s 2015 fiscal year. This resulted in at least $1.7 billion in direct spending as well as more than 100 new businesses relocating to or expanding in Georgia to support these activities. Weeks ago, Governor Deal said he would reject any legislation that would allow for discrimination in the state. He has until May 3 to decide whether to veto this bill, sign it, or to allow it to become law without his signature. The MPAA is the latest in a long list of organizations putting pressure on the Governor to do the right thing. Just last week, Apple, the Atlanta Braves, Falcons and Hawks released statements condemning HB 757 and in their statement, the NFL raised concerns about Georgia jeopardizing the state’s ability to host a Super Bowl if the law is enacted. More here: bit.ly/1pZACfg
THE ROLE OF BUSINESSES IN THE FIGHT TO BEAT BACK HB 757: The New York Times takes an in-depth look into the business community’s mounting opposition to Georgia’s atrocious legislation. So far, almost 500 companies, including Salesforce, Twitter, AT&T, Delta and UPS have joined Georgia Prospers, a coalition committed to ensuring that Georgia remains open to all, and dozens of others have specifically denounced the legislation. If signed, HB 757 would undermine non-discrimination ordinances that protect LGBT people, permit hospitals to refuse to provide medically necessary care, and allow a taxpayer-funded service provider to discriminate by denying a job because of the applicant's religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. In reality, no religious organization or clergy is required to sanction or perform any same-sex marriage under any federal or state law. With Governor Deal likely feeling the pressure to veto, opponents of equality such as the bill’s sponsor State Senator Josh McKoon are already warning that the battle will be far from over if it’s defeated in April. McKoon says, “If the governor did make the decision to veto the bill, that most definitely does not end the debate. The faith community is not just going to say, ‘Oh well. He vetoed the bill. Let’s pack up and go home.’ It becomes more intense in 2017.” Read the full piece here: nyti.ms/22C9CQY
NEW VIDEO SERIES FOR TRANS EMPOWERMENT: The first video in a new series from TransTech Social Enterprises, “Let’s Talk About The T,” premiered online yesterday. The series, which is sponsored by HRC’s Foundation, features a diverse cast of transgender people talking about their experiences and some of the challenges they face. "We are shifting power back into the hands of trans people,” said TransTech Founder and CEO Angelica Ross. “Instead of others speaking for us, we are speaking for ourselves.’Let's Talk About The T!' is a project about trans people that was created, filmed and produced by trans people and it shows how to create more authentic representation by empowering trans people to tell their own stories." The first video in the series talks about personal safety and new videos will premiere weekly for the next three weeks on other topics. Watch here: transtechsocial.org/talk
ON WEDNESDAY, NORTH CAROLINA TO HOLD HOLD IRRESPONSIBLE SPECIAL SESSION TO REPEAL CHARLOTTE’S LGBT PROTECTIONS: Republican leaders in the North Carolina Legislature are taking the outrageous step of calling a special session--which would cost a whopping $42,000 a day--for tomorrow to undermine Charlotte’s recently passed non-discrimination ordinance. HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse responded to the shameful news saying, “The people of Charlotte elected a pro-equality mayor and a pro-equality majority to the City Council. Those leaders decided that it was in the best interest of Charlotte to provide local protections for the residents and visitors in their community. This attempt to strip away local control from Charlotte is a slap in the face to the people of Charlotte and the democratic process. We urge all fair-minded North Carolinians to let their elected officials know that they should stay out of Charlotte's business and focus on the real issues that voters all across the state actually care about.” Last month, by a 7-4 vote, and with the strong support of newly elected Mayor Jennifer Roberts, the Charlotte City Council advanced city-wide non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations. Since the ordinance passed, dozens of North Carolina lawmakers have spoken out against the measure making baseless claims about the transgender community, referring to the ordinance as a “public safety” and “privacy” issue. The ordinance is set to go into effect on April 1. More here: bit.ly/25ijSA7
LEGISLATIVE ASSAULT ON TRANSGENDER STUDENTS CONTINUES IN TENNESSEE TODAY: Today, the Tennessee House will be hearing HB 2414 – an outrageous bill targeting transgender students in public elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as those in public universities. The measure seeks to force transgender students to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity. Fair-minded Tennesseans; major national child welfare, medical, and education groups; the Tennessee Equality Project; and HRC have been pleading with lawmakers to abandon the discriminatory measure. The proposal is very similar to an appalling bill vetoed recently by Republican South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has expressed concern that the discriminatory, unconstitutional measure would compromise the state’s billions of dollars in federal funding for its schools and universities. His spokesperson also said the governor “trusts our teachers and local school boards to make necessary accommodations” for transgender students. HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow responded to the vote saying, “Governor Haslam is exactly right: this vicious legislation would needlessly jeopardize billions in federal funding for Tennessee’s schools and universities, and would strip away the ability of local administrators and teachers to do the right thing for students in their communities. There are more than 10,000 transgender students in Tennessee--and they shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences of a discriminatory law that will lead to even higher rates of harassment, bullying, and even suicide.”
AROUND THE WORLD
WORLD PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION TO CONDEMN “CONVERSION THERAPY”: BuzzFeed has reported that the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) is poised to release a statement denouncing the harmful and discredited practice of “conversion therapy.” With over 200,000 members in over 118 countries, the WPA is the largest international association of psychiatrists. The statement, obtained by BuzzFeed, reads in part, “There is no sound scientific evidence that innate sexual orientation can be changed….Furthermore, so-called treatments of homosexuality can create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish, and they can be potentially harmful. The provision of any intervention purporting to ‘treat’ something that is not a disorder is wholly unethical.”WPA says that fighting the stigma and discrimination against LGBT people is part of its mission, and remains committed to advocating for equal rights. More here: bzfd.it/1RhES0h
MEANWHILE… HALF OF EUROPE’S DOCTORS THINK BEING LGBT IS A DISEASE?: That’s according to a new study by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). Through interviews with medical and healthcare providers in 19 member states, including nations such as Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, the FRA found that half of doctors still consider being LGBT to be a disease. Additionally, being gay was disturbingly referred to as something that you “catch” or as a “plague” by some. Researchers found that negative social attitudes still prevailed and health professionals were ignorant of the health issues that many people in the LGBT community faced. Agency Director Michael O’Flaherty said in a statement that “LGBT people have the same rights to education, to healthcare and to be treated equally as everyone else. They too have the right to live their life in dignity, free from fear and discrimination…. [the findings] underscore the need for the EU and its Member States to empower public officials to act on their duty to deliver high quality service to help end the suffering many LGBT people experience.” Read the study here: bit.ly/1pH8k9j
GEORGIA MPs LAUNCH PROCEEDINGS TO BAN SAME-SEX MARRIAGE THROUGH CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT: The Georgian parliament is moving forward with a plan to ban marriage equality via constitutional amendment likely some time this year. Last week, Georgian members of Parliament voted in favor of commissioning a 15-member committee that will hold discussions and public hearings, as well as oversee the formal process required before legislation is actually debated and voted on in Parliament. Currently, Article 36 the Georgia’s Constitution states: “Marriage shall be based upon equality of rights and free will of spouses,” and Georgia law already defines marriage to be between a man and a woman. The proposed constitutional amendment would change the language to “Marriage, which is a voluntary union of a woman and a man with the purpose of creating a family, shall be based on equal rights of spouses.” According to Civil.Ge, Support of at least 113 lawmakers in 150-member Parliament is needed for passing of a constitutional amendment. It has to be adopted with three hearings during two separate sessions with an interval of at least three months. Not cool Georgia. More here: bit.ly/1U4t8Uz
The Washington Post predicts what Pope Francis’ new position on divorced and LGBT Catholics might be...The New York Times Editorial Board urges Senate Republicans to #DoYourJob… BuzzFeed highlights a discrimination suit brought by a trans woman against a blood bank… The Associated Press meets a transgender inmate who’s transitioning against the odds… The Advocate asks a mother of a hate crime victim her thoughts... Mashable looks at the ways Myanmar uses the “darkness law” to harass the transgender community… Medical Daily breaks down the communication barriers between LGBTQ patients of color and the medical community… The New York Times shares the story of the Bronx Trans Collective, a drop-in center… The Sacramento Bee points out the ways Justice Antonin Scalia furthered LGBT rights… The Advocate profiles a brave trans woman who lived her truth during the turbulent 1950s and 1960s… and the Associated Press delves into the uptick in anti-LGBT remarks by public officials in Indonesia.
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