NC LAWMAKERS RAM THROUGH DISCRIMINATORY LAW IN SHAMEFUL SPECIAL SESSION: On Wednesday, the North Carolina State Legislature passed one of the most vile, anti-LGBT laws in recent history. The outrageous and disgraceful anti-LGBT bill was rammed through the state legislature in a single-day hurried special session, that was called for the sole purpose of passing the discriminatory bill. In the span of twelve hours, the bill was introduced, voted on in both chambers, and signed into law by Governor McCrory in the dark of night. The appalling new law eliminates existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people; prevents such protections from being put in place by cities in the future; and forces transgender students in public schools to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity, putting $4.5 billion in federal Title IX funding at risk. North Carolina is now the first state in the country to enact such a law attacking transgender students, even after several similar proposals were rejected across the country this year -- including a high-profile veto by the Governor of South Dakota on a very similar bill. HRC President Chad Griffin vowed that the fight will continue in Charlotte, in North Carolina and in all 50 states for full equality.
BACKLASH BEGINS: DOZENS OF COMPANIES SPEAK OUT AGAINST NC’S DISCRIMINATORY LAW: Following the bill’s passage,Gov. McCrory is facing overwhelming backlash from dozens of business leaders, companies, politicians and celebrities. The NBA has even threatened to move its 2017 All-Star game which is being hosted in Charlotte to another location should the law remain in place. Rob Reiner and Open Road Films also vowed to abandon productions in North Carolina unless the law is repealed. A slew of other companies including Dow Chemical, the NCAA , RedHat, the League of Municipalities, American Airlines, PayPal, Salesforce, Apple, Bank of America, Google, IBM and Biogen and others, have also spoken out -- and last night, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, as well as Sarah Silverman and Laverne Cox also took to social media to call attention to the law.
ICYMI: THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER EDITORIAL BOARD SLAMS MCCRORY: The editorial board of the Charlotte Observer called out North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory after the passage of HB2, saying “the governor joins a sorrowful fraternity of Southern leaders.” Gov. McCrory signed the legislation into law after a 12-hour special session called by the North Carolina General Assembly. The Observer noted his false reasoning for signing the bill: “security and privacy in Charlotte’s bathrooms and locker rooms,” when, in fact, transgender people are much more likely to be the victim on a crime in public accommodations than cisgender people. It also flies in the face of the fact that crimes like indecent exposure and sexual assault are still illegal crimes in North Carolina, unchanged and unrelated to this law. The editorial adds Gov. McCrory to the a list of socially-conservative Southern governors along with former Alabama Governor George Wallace, former Arkansas Governor Orval Fabus and former Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett. Read the full editorial here: bit.ly/1pM0Fqq
ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY LEADERS CALL ON GA GOV. DEAL TO VETO HB 757: Some of the biggest names in Hollywood have sent a letter to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal threatening to abandon production in the state if he signs the anti-LGBT House Bill 757 into law. The letter follows a call to action from HRC President Chad Griffin, who delivered a speech in Los Angeles last Saturday urging Hollywood executives to stand up to Governor Deal and speak out against the dangerous and discriminatory legislation that could become law. H.B. 757 could weaken local non-discrimination protections and allow businesses to discriminate and deny service to LGBT people, in addition to explicitly allowing discrimination by taxpayer-funded religious organizations. The signers include Matt Bomer, Kristin Chenoweth, Lee Daniels, Anne Hathaway, Nina Jacobson, Zoe Kravitz, Seth MacFarlane, Julianne Moore, Ryan Murphy, Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein, among others. A copy of the letter and signers can be found here. Gov. Deal has until May 3 to decide whether to veto this bill, to sign it, or to allow it to become law without his signature. More here: wapo.st/1S93ok2 and bit.ly/1MnULFH
MAJOR MOVIE AND TV STUDIOS THREATEN TO ABANDON GEORGIA IF HB 757 BECOMES LAW: This week, major TV and movie studios also answered HRC President Chad Griffin’s call to action on discriminatory legislation mentioned above. So far, Marvel, Disney, Netflix, CBS Corporation, Fox, Lionsgate and Sony, AMC, the Weinstein Company, NBC Universal, MGM, Discovery and more, have all issued statements expressing disappointment in the proposed measure, and have threatened to move production out of the Peach State if it become law. The appalling legislation could weaken local non-discrimination protections and allow businesses to discriminate and deny service to LGBT people, in addition to explicitly allowing discrimination by taxpayer-funded religious organizations. 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. In addition to Hollywood, sports teams, major corporations, and countless businesses have spoken out against the bill, including: Apple, Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Hawks, Dell, Dow Chemical Company, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Hilton, Intel, Intercontinental Hotels, Live Nation Entertainment, Marriott, MailChimp, Metro Atlanta Chamber, Microsoft, NFL, Paypal, Salesforce, Square, Turner, Twitter, Unilever, Virgin, Yelp and many others. More here: bit.ly/1LH042X
TRANSGENDER WOMAN SHOT AND KILLED IN LOS ANGELES, SIXTH REPORTED TRANS PERSON MURDERED THIS YEAR: On Wednesday afternoon, a 32-year-old transgender woman of color was shot and killed in Los Angeles. The Advocate reports that her name is Quartney Davia Dawsonn-Yochum. A suspect has been obtained by police, and is believed to be the deceased’s ex-partner. Dawsonn-Yochum’s friends and neighbors remarked that she was well loved by her peers, and very popular among her community. Her death marks the sixth reported murder of a transgender person in the United States this year--the epidemic of violence against trans people has been highlighted by many, including in HRC’s report from last year. Transgender people are twice as likely to face threats, harassment and violence in intimate relationships as compared to cisgender people. More here: lat.ms/1UcHCSo and bit.ly/22x8GRc
WALTER REED NATIONAL MILITARY MEDICAL CENTER EARNS HRC “LGBT-INCLUSIVE” DESIGNATION - FIRST ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY HOSPITAL SO HONORED: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the storied healthcare facility of U.S. presidents and wounded warriors, is making history again, becoming the first U.S. active duty military medical facility to earn the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality designation. The world’s largest military hospital is joined this year by a growing number of healthcare facilities in the South in embracing LGBT-inclusive policies and practice, according to HRC Foundation’s new report released yesterday. A record 2,061 healthcare facilities are rated in the 2016 HEI survey, up 37 percent from the last survey. And an unprecedented 496 healthcare centers from all regions of the U.S. earned the Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality designation this year, with substantial gains in the South -- including in Alabama, where three major Birmingham-area facilities were awarded leader status for the first time. More here: bit.ly/1UJOkPT
HRC STATEMENT ON DEPARTURE OF WHITE HOUSE AIDS CZAR DOUGLAS BROOKS:
Yesterday, Douglas Brooks marked his last day leading the White House Office of National AIDS Policy. HRC President Chad Griffin released the following statement: "Douglas Brooks' extraordinary service will have a lasting impact on the ongoing work to end HIV and AIDS. From elevating the communities hit hardest by HIV, including gay and bisexual men and transgender women, to advancing funding for evidence-based syringe programs and the critical inclusion of PrEP as part of the federal response to the epidemic, his accomplishments have brought critical resources and attention to the fight. Nowhere were Mr. Brooks' efforts more apparent than in the update of our National HIV & AIDS Strategy, which has put an AIDS-free generation clearly in sight. As an openly gay, black man living with HIV, Mr. Brooks brought to his role a level of authenticity and perspective that has made real differences in the lives of millions of Americans nationwide. He will be sorely missed and we owe him a debt of gratitude."
“OBAMACARE KID” COMES OUT AS TRANSGENDER: Six years ago this week, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the landmark law that has made it possible for millions to obtain health care coverage. Standing next to President Obama that day was Marcelas Owens. A “miniature health care activist” at age 11, Owens was known as the “Obamacare kid.” Last week, Marcelas, now 17, came out publicly as transgender. "I'm going through a reinvention process," she told CNN. "I'm growing into adulthood. I'm not the Obamacare kid anymore." Obamacare has made health care coverage more accessible, affordable and comprehensive for the transgender community. More here: bit.ly/1VFYznN
TENNESSEE SENATE COMMITTEE ADVANCES LEGISLATIVE ASSAULT ON TRANS KIDS: On Wednesday, by a vote of 7 to 2, the Tennessee Senate Education Committee advanced SB 2387 – an outrageous bill targeting transgender students in public schools and 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 urging lawmakers to abandon the discriminatory proposal. Earlier this month, South Dakota’s Republican Governor vetoed a similar bill that would have further compounded the marginalization transgender students already face. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has echoed concerns that the discriminatory, unconstitutional measure would compromise the state’s $3 billion 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. In April of 2014, the U.S. Department of Education issued guidance informing public schools that Title IX protects students against discrimination based on gender identity. More here: bit.ly/1UOmZe8
DELAWARE BANS ANTI-TRANSGENDER DISCRIMINATION IN PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE: Delaware became the 15th state in the country to ban insurance companies from discriminating against transgender people, after the state Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin issued a bulletin doing so earlier this week. The bulletin states that private insurers cannot deny, cancel, terminate, limit, restrict or refuse to issue plans based on a person’s gender identity, transgender status or if the person is currently transitioning gender. There are an estimated 2,800 transgender people in Delaware who will benefit from these new provisions. More here: delonline.us/1RzuU9M
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM BILL FAILS IN TENNESSEE SUBCOMMITTEE: A bill in the Tennessee House that would allow clergy to refuse to perform same-sex marriages failed in subcommittee earlier this week. The legislation was defeated on a voice vote, after members said that religious figures are already allowed to refuse to perform marriages to anyone under state law. We’d like to add that this is also protected under federal law--the First Amendment. More here: bit.ly/1Rjh1AS
ARIZONA ADVOCATES AND ALLIES TAKE ACTION: HRC, local partners and LGBT advocates from across Arizona came together to learn about issues impacting LGBT Arizonans and how to advocate for change at the state and local level at the Arizona Capitol for their 2016 Equality Day. Equality Day participants heard from State Senator Katie Hobbs about the challenges Democrats face in the Republican majority legislature. Republican Representative Kate Brophy McGee also addressed the group, emphasizing the importance of constituent contact and the need to educate Republican members of the legislature on LGBT issues. With a deeper understanding of the issues facing LGBT Arizonans and the tools to influence the legislative process, participants took to the halls of the legislature to meet with members of the State House and Senate. Arizona is one of 32 that lack fully inclusive non-discrimination protections demonstrating to legislators, Democrat and Republican alike, that the need for these protections is real and the fight will continue until all citizens of Arizona are protected equally under the law. More here: bit.ly/22GfsAO
AROUND THE WORLD
JOIN THE CLUB: Argentina joined the State Department’s Global Equality Fund yesterday. Established in 2011 by then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the fund brings together governments, corporations, foundations, and civil society organizations to work towards a world where LGBT people can live free of violence and discrimination.The Global Equality Fund provides critical emergency, short-term, and long-term assistance to advance and protect the human rights of LGBT people in over 50 countries worldwide. HRC joined the fund in February 2015, and is excited to welcome Argentina. Yes, you can sit with us. More here: bit.ly/1Sl3qrD
Media Matters profiles the anti-LGBT activists fighting against Charlotte’s LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance; Bloomberg looks at the ways businesses are recruiting more LGBT workers; Washington Blade highlights HRC’s Global Advocacy Summit; and The Washington Blade reports that Bayard Rustin’s residence has been declared a historic place.