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#AM_Equality Tip Sheet: February 23, 2016

by HRC staff February 23, 2016


CHARLOTTE CITY COUNCIL APPROVES NON-DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE: Last in a 7-4 vote, the Charlotte City Council approved LGBT non-discrimination protections in public accommodations, vehicles for hire and in government contracting. Last November, a coalition of LGBT groups successfully elected a pro-equality majority to the City Council, a moved that the cleared the way for last night’s victory. Gov. McCrory and Speaker of the NC House, Tim Moore have already made it clear that we can expect at battle at the state level when the legislature reconvenes in May. Pushing back against the Governor’s threats of state retaliation in a scathing editorial yesterday, the Charlotte Observer took the governor to task for his hypocrisy on LGBT issues saying, “Should local governments be allowed to decide bathroom policies for their transgender citizens without interference from political higher-ups? Gov. Pat McCrory’s answer to that question apparently changes depending on which local governments we’re talking about, and whether he agrees with their outlook on the controversial topic.” McCrory has criticized the Obama administration for weighing in on school policies regarding transgender students, which he sees as the federal government meddling in local affairs, but now is threatening to take state action to forbid cities from enacting LGBT non-discrimination ordinances. More here: bit.ly/1QY4EG8

HRC RALLIES IN SOUTH CAROLINA FOR CLINTON: Following phonebanks and grassroots events in Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina on Sunday, HRC president Chad Griffin was on the ground to speak at the Charleston County Democratic Party dinner, on behalf of Hillary Clinton. Griffin told ABC,"Whether it's African Americans, or Latinos, or LGBT, or women -- the support is with Hillary Clinton because she's been our partner fighting with us for decades." He added that Clinton has been endorsed by South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn and actor and humanitarian Morgan Freeman. Watch here: bit.ly/1ozaOFH

GLAD TO BECOME GLBTQ LEGAL ADVOCATES & DEFENDERS: In a video released today, GLAD announced that it will be updating its name to better reflect their commitment to moving equality forward #FORALL. In the video, advocates share what the organization has done for them, and the battles ahead before full equality is achieved. Watch here: bit.ly/1VBMa1Z

ROBBIE KAPLAN CALLS FOR MORE LGBT STORIES IN HOLLYWOOD: In a piece for Variety, Robbie Kaplan, lead lawyer in the historic Windsor v. United States Supreme Court case, discusses the need for more LGBT representation on the big screen, and how increased visibility of LGBT people and their stories, remains the key to changing minds and touching hearts. She writes, “In 2013, people rallied around Windsor’s case not only because of an abstract desire for justice or equality, but because of her story, a story of love and heroism that was recognized and understood by a majority of the United States Supreme Court. But there are so many more of these stories to tell. I can only hope that more directors, producers and actors will be able to bring them to both small and large screens so that they get the recognition and audience they so richly deserve.” Read the piece here: bit.ly/1KH7mmI

CONGRESSIONAL LGBT EQUALITY CAUCUS ANNOUNCES EQUALITY PAC: Today, Reps. Jared Polis and Mark Takano announced the formation of a new PAC dedicated to increasing LGBT representation in federal elected positions, and supporting straight and cisgender allies working to advance LGBT equality. The Equality PAC, chaired by Rep. Polis and Rep. Takano, will have a board of directors comprised entirely of LGBT Equality Caucus members. In addition to announcing the formation of the PAC, they’ve announced their first endorsement - Minnesota congressional candidate Angie Craig, who is running to represent Minnesota’s 2nd District in the U.S. House. Her campaign was also endorsed by HRC in December. Additional endorsements include the reelection campaigns of Rep. Kyrsten Sinema and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. More here: bit.ly/1QvQFa7

DNC LAUNCHES #FILLTHESEAT CAMPAIGN WITH LGBT ADVOCATES: Following the death of Justice Scalia, Republicans have made it clear that President Obama has no chance of getting a Supreme Court nominee appointed, but in the DNC’s new #FillTheSeat Campaign video, LGBT advocates make the case for why it is critical for an nominee to be confirmed without delay. As judges in lower courts deny the rights of LGBT Americans at school and in the workplace, and in a majority of states people are at risk of being fired because they are LGBT, there is a lot at stake for LGBT Americans and the issues affecting our community. Watch here: bit.ly/1Osak9k

NEW VIDEO FROM GREATER THAN AIDS FOCUSES ON IMPORTANCE OF PrEP: Greater Than AIDS released a new installment of their popular video series #AskTheHIVDoc, and this time it’s all about Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) -- the once-daily pill to prevent HIV. The campaign also unveiled a new national directory of PrEP-friendly providers. HRC endorsed the use of PrEP in 2014. When taken as prescribed by a healthcare provider, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of contracting HIV by upwards of 90 percent. While PrEP does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections or unwanted pregnancy, it can be paired with condoms and other safer sex strategies. In the video, Dr. Demetre Daskalakis and Dr. David Malebranche answer frequently asked questions about PrEP, and cover a broad range of topics, from how effective PrEP is, to missing a dose and the three-month check-up. HIV and AIDS disproportionately affect members of the LGBT community, and despite nearly 30 years of research and advocacy, there are still 50,000 new cases of HIV each year, two-thirds of which are among gay and bisexual men. In addition, transgender women are also much more likely to contract HIV. Learn more from HRC’s issue brief and watch the video here: bit.ly/1UiWa1O

STATE SNAPSHOT

GOV. DAUGAARD TO BE SCHOOLED BY TRANS YOUTH: After admitting that he planned to make a decision on an anti-trans bill without ever having met a transgender person, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard will meet with transgender students and directors from the local Center for Equality today. The bill in question, HB 1008, would bar transgender students from using bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. This bill is not only mean-spirited and would increase discrimination against the already vulnerable trans youth population, but also puts South Dakota school districts at risk of losing federal funds under Title IX. Let’s hope Gov. Daugaard listens carefully to these kids and makes decision based on what’s for them, rather than transphobic rhetoric and fear. More here: argusne.ws/1L6w14a

FATHER OF TRANS CHILD ASKS DAUGAARD TO STAND WITH TRANS YOUTH: In a heartfelt open letter to South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard in the The Argus Leader, Wayne Maines, the father of a transgender daughter, urges Daugaard to reject HB 1008 which has already been passed by the state legislature, and is now with the governor. Maines writes,“I am reaching out to you because your upcoming decision on HB 1008 impacts my daughter, my family and so many others across the nation. Nicole has lost a number of transgender friends to suicide and she’s read the news stories about transgender people who have been murdered simply because of who they are. I cannot describe in words how difficult each conversation following a friend’s death has been. I am very concerned that you might support laws and policies that will require I do it again.” The story of the Maines’ struggle to keep their family whole in the face of anti-transgender harassment and discrimination was chronicled in the critically acclaimed book by Amy Ellis Nutt, “Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family.” HRC will continue to monitor this bill, as well as over two dozen other anti-transgender bills targeting youth that have been proposed across the nation. Read the full op-ed here: argusne.ws/1QeabvV

RESOLUTION TO BAN LGBT-INCLUSIVE ORDINANCES INTRODUCED IN WV: Over the weekend, a West Virginia lawmaker introduced an amendment to the state constitution which would ban cities and towns from enacting their own ordinances that will protect LGBT residents and visitors from discrimination. As sponsors of similar measures in other states have claimed, sponsor state Sen. Craig Blair says that it is about businesses having the same laws throughout the state.  However, local advocates from the ACLU of West Virginia and Fairness West Virginia are already sounding the alarm on the resolution which is clearly about anti-LGBT discrimination - it would void the LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinances of eight West Virginia cities. The resolution will need a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate to be placed on the ballot. More here: bit.ly/1QAeUtX

GEORGIA GOV. SAYS CHANGES COMING TO RELIGIOUS REFUSAL BILL: Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has implied that tweaks are coming to the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which was passed by the state Senate on Friday. While he was unclear on the specifics, considering the backlash that state is getting, as well as the fact that a telecom company has already cancelled plans to relocate to Georgia, we’re cautiously optimistic. Kristina Torres of the Atlanta Journal Constitution also warns that the law could mean bad things for Georgia’s burgeoning film industry. Brian Tolleson, owner of Atlanta-based digital entertainment company told Torres, “This very assembly working on this bill has invested billions of taxpayer dollars growing an industry that would leave this state...They will boycott coming to shoot anything here.The powers that be in the industry really want to defeat Georgia’s rise as an entertainment destination. And we’re handing it to them on a silver platter.” Georgia’s FADA would would put LGBT people couples, single parents, and unmarried couples at risk for discrimination. More here: on-ajc.com/1UiYl5s 

MAYOR OF KOKOMO INDIANA SAYS HE’S FOR LGBT PROTECTIONS: Elected officials in Kokomo, Indiana continue to show their state counterparts what leadership looks like. In his State of the City Address last night, Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight took the time to express his support for LGBT non-discrimination protections saying, “It is the smart thing to do for our economy, it is the best thing to do for our community and it’s the right thing to do for our very own neighbors, both current and future.” Goodnight also made it clear that he believed Indiana’s RFRA is a bad law that ultimately hurts the state. Kokomo’s Council President Bob Hayes and Councilman Steve Whikehart have already said that the public works and welfare committee is working on a proposal to add protections to the city’s human rights municipal code against harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity, a move that would make Kokomo one 20 Indiana cities with such ordinances in place. More here: bit.ly/1QvrFQ4

TENNESSEE COUNTY REJECTS ANTI-MARRIAGE EQUALITY RESOLUTION: At a seven-hour hearing that ended early this morning, the Washington County Commission in Tennessee voted to reject an anti-marriage equality resolution. Hundreds attended the hearing where almost 60 people spoke out to either oppose or give their support for the resolution that asks the state of Tennessee to nullify the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. These resolutions have been popping up (and passing) all over the Volunteer State for the past several weeks, with the Tennessee House Civil Justice Committee even advancing HJR 529, a symbolic a resolution that allows lawmakers to express their animosity toward nationwide marriage equality. More here: http://bit.ly/1WGnypd 

ANTI-LGBT GROUPS SUE, WANT MOORE: The Barbour County Tea Party, Alabama Patriots, Rainy Day Patriots, Conservative Christians of Alabama, Common Sense Campaign, Christian Development and Renewal Ministries and several ministers (AKA the Injustice League) have teamed up to cause some pure mayhem in Alabama. They are suing the Alabama Supreme Court for not yet ‘clarifying’ what state law is regarding same-sex marriage. After the Obergefell decision brought marriage equality to the nation, the Alabama Supreme Court asked for groups to submit briefs to help it decide whether the Obergefell decision compels the state to accept marriage equality (it does). The Injustice League is now suing, asking the Alabama Supreme Court to hurry up and ignore federal law by support the views of Chief Justice Roy Moore, who ordered Alabama probate judges to ignore the marriage equality ruling. Moore here: bit.ly/1KF0LcA

METHODIST KANSAS MINISTER COMES OUT IN SERMON: Reverend Cynthia Meyer, who has served the United Methodist Church for 25 years, opened up and came out to her church in a sermon last week. “I’ve really felt led by the Holy Spirit and inspired to take a pretty bold step to be open about who I am in my identity and my relationship,” Rev. Cynthia Meyer of Edgerton United Methodist Church in Edgerton, Kansas, said during the sermon. Rev. Meyer’s brave move comes ahead of the highly anticipated UMC General Conference in May where a debate on LGBT inclusion could impact the future of the 12.5 million-member denomination. The United Methodist Book of Discipline, the denomination’s book of law, has proclaimed since 1972 that all people are of sacred worth but the “practice of homosexuality” is “incompatible with Christian teaching.” The denomination bans the performance of marriages for same-sex couples and “self-avowed practicing gay clergy.” Watch here: bit.ly/24mrkcN

AROUND THE WORLD

MORE HARMFUL ANTI-LGBT RHETORIC OUT OF INDONESIA: Indonesia’s leading psychiatric body, the Indonesian Psychiatric Association (IPA), has declared that transgender people are afflicted with a mental illness, and LGB people are at increased risk of mental health problems. This is yet another blow to the LGBT community in the country in recent weeks following anti-LGBT comments made by elected officials, and the government’s attempts to halt funding to LGBT programs through the U.N. Development Program. They’ve even taken censorship to another level by asking that instant messenger services remove all LGBT-related stickers, emojis and emoticons from their platforms. It’s unclear where the recently uptick in hostility towards to LGBT community is coming from but Quartz is already warning of the negative effects it could have on the local tourism industry. More here: bit.ly/1PTo3tY

YOU NEVER FORGET YOUR FIRST PRIDE: Trailblazing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be the first sitting Prime Minister to attend Toronto Pride. Trudeau has attended Pride in the past, but this will be the first time a national leader attends the event. Trudeau has made waves as an advocate for LGBT rights since he was elected in 2015. Pride Toronto posted this on twitter today. Justin, we heart you too, ‘eh. More here: bzfd.it/24neOtH

LGBT REFUGEE SHELTER OPENS IN GERMANY AFTER REPORTS OF VIOLENCE, SEXUAL ABUSE: Today, a German LGBT refugee shelter will open, providing shelter to more than 120 asylum seekers. The shelter, created by the Schwelenberatung Advisory Center, is in response to reports that LGBT refugees, often fleeing countries where their gender identity or sexual orientation is considered a crime, face discrimination at the hands of other refugees or from German officials, including security personnel. There are no statistics regarding this discrimination, because A) Germany keeps no statistics on it and B) many refugees choose not to speak out because they fear it will affect the asylum process. While no formal statistics may be kept, the Associated Press reported that many European countries, including Germany, have documented cases of this abuse. The Lesbian and Gay Federation have counted 106 cases of LGBT violence in the Berlin region, including 13 that included sexual abuse. More here: yhoo.it/1KEMxsh

READING RAINBOW

Advocate shivers in the Michigan cold with a pro-LGBT minister who’s protesting his church’s anti-LGBT views… Variety takes a look at a study detailing the (lack of) diversity in film… The Guardian explores the LGBTQ community’s intimate and unique connection to privacy… Texas Observer chronicles the fight LGBT Republican groups have had trying to join the Texas GOP Convention… St. Louis Public Radio takes a deep dive into the history of the LGBT community in St. Louis… and Slate shows how a new bill in Kentucky highlights the ongoing resistance to marriage equality.

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





HRC staff
HRC staff

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