#AM_Equality Tip Sheet: March 31, 2016
IN MEETING WITH NC GOVERNOR, ADVOCATES DEMAND HE REPEAL ANTI-LGBT LAW: This morning, HRC President Chad Griffin, Equality NC’s Executive Director Chris Sgro and transgender advocate Candis Cox went to the North Carolina State Capitol to hand deliver a letter from more than 100 major CEOs & business leaders urging Governor McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly to repeal the radical provisions of the deeply discriminatory HB 2 in the upcoming legislative session in April. Upon delivering the letter, the three were met by the governor’s chief of staff, who initially agreed to only allow Griffin and Sgro to meet with the governor. He was eventually persuaded to allow Candis Cox to come into the private meeting as well, where she was able to share the personal challenges she has faced as a transgender woman of color. During the meeting, Governor McCrory heard firsthand the harm that he and the state legislature are inflicting on LGBT North Carolinians through the enactment of this law. They urged Governor McCrory to convene a broader meeting with additional members of the LGBT community--and specifically transgender North Carolinians and their families--to discuss the impact of the discriminatory new anti-LGBT law that was rammed through the legislature last week and signed by the Governor in the dead of night. More on the meeting here: http://bit.ly/1MEttLs
LETTER WITH MORE THAN 100 CEOs AND BUSINESS LEADERS CALLING ON REPEAL OF HB2 GIVEN TO MCCRORY: In the meeting with Governor McCrory, Griffin and Sgro delivered the letter from more than 100 CEOs from leading American companies---including Apple, American Airlines, and Bank of America, among many others-- that urge both him and the General Assembly to repeal the discriminatory law, HB 2, that was passed last week. A copy of the letter and its signatories can be found here. The letter was made public Tuesday afternoon, and came only a day after Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced he would veto anti-LGBT legislation in Georgia after facing a sustained outcry from a broad chorus of advocates and companies.
HAS PAT MCCRORY EVEN READ THIS BILL?: Politifact has weighed in on Pat McCrory’s rhetoric around NC HB 2, and, not surprisingly, found it to be completely false. The North Carolina governor has made the rounds in the media lately, claiming that the new discriminatory law doesn't take away any existing rights, and urging people to read the bill. However, based on Politifact’s findings, it seems that, perhaps, Gov. McCrory should read the bill himself. The bill specifically dissolved sexual orientation and gender identity protections in Charlotte’s and other cities’ and towns’ nondiscrimination ordinances, literally taking rights away from these communities. When called out on this falsity at a press conference on Monday, Gov. McCrory was unable to come up with a response. Well, we’re speechless too -- speechless as to how a governor can purposefully spread lies to his constituents in order to promote his hateful agenda. More here: bit.ly/234cjej
MCCRORY’S TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD WEEK: This week, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has struggled to defend his appalling new law that was rammed through the state legislature last week in a single-day, 10 hour special session. The News & Observer reports that McCrory tried to suggest that his bill did not take away any rights that were on the books -- a blatant falsehood given that the LGBT community in Charlotte absolutely lost protections, as did veterans in some places, to name just two examples. McCrory was also interviewed by NBC News, who asked him how he would respond to a transgender North Carolinian who is now being forced to use the wrong restroom. He responded by actually saying, “You know, we all have to make adjustments in life. And we've had the proper etiquette situation for decades in our country, and all of a sudden through political correctness we're throwing away basic etiquette.” While Gov. McCrory goes around the state with this bizarre argument, the reality is that he moved North Carolina backwards by targeting LGBT people and forcing transgender people across the state to use restrooms inconsistent with their gender identity. In addition, he took away protections against discrimination for veterans in places like Greensboro and Orange County. And while McCrory says that no businesses have pulled out of the state, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority is already sounding the alarm and networks are already vowing to pull out of the state. Democratic State Rep. Darren Jackson and North Carolina AG Roy Cooper, McCrory’s likely gubernatorial contender, have both launched petitions calling for the law to be repealed. Cooper has also refused to defend the law which he rightly called a “national embarrassment” which is unconstitutional. Watch the full NBC News interview here: nbcnews.to/1XZy4bD
WHAT A TRANS, CHRISTIAN NORTH CAROLINIAN HAS TO SAY ON HB 2: In a moving op-ed in today’s Washington Post, Adam Plant, a Christian transgender man in North Carolina, speaks out against H.B. 2. As Adam shares, for many transgender people, a lot of “fear and anxiety” can be associated with public restrooms. As a young child he recalls hiding and waiting for everyone to leave the restroom so he’d feel comfortable, and risking punishment from his teacher rather than attacks from his peers in the bathroom. And while that fear still exists today, Adam writes, “Regardless of what my state’s law now says, and regardless of the gender that appears on my birth certificate, I do not plan on frequenting any women’s restrooms now or anytime in the future. Doing so would guarantee two things: that I would be uncomfortable, and that the women sharing the bathroom with me could be uncomfortable. And so I will continue to use bathrooms that correspond with my gender identity.” Some may call it an act of protest, but he calls it “peeing” More here: wapo.st/1SBTmL9
STATES AND CITIES BAN TRAVEL TO NORTH CAROLINA: This week, the Mayors of Seattle, New York City, West Palm Beach, and Chicago, as well as Governors from Vermont, Washington, and New York State, all signed executive orders banning all non-essential travel to North Carolina following the passage of HB 2. In his statement, Governor Cuomo said, “From Stonewall to marriage equality, our state has been a beacon of hope and equality for the LGBT community, and we will not stand idly by as misguided legislation replicates the discrimination of the past. As long as there is a law in North Carolina that creates the grounds for discrimination against LGBT people, I am barring non-essential state travel to that state.” Governor Malloy of Connecticut on the other hand, is encouraging business concerned over North Carolina to set up shop in Connecticut. The state has fully inclusive non-discrimination protections for the LGBT community. On Friday, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee also issued a travel ban to NC.
NEW DATA SHOWS DRAMATIC INCREASE IN AMERICANS WHO KNOW SOMEONE WHO’S TRANSGENDER: Released today to mark International Transgender Day of Visibility, a groundbreaking new survey commissioned by HRC’s Foundation found that 35 percent of likely voters personally know or work with a transgender person -- twice as many as two years ago, and up from 21 percent from just last year. Significantly, more than two-thirds of those who say they know a transgender person express support for full LGBT equality. In HRC’s 2015 national survey, 66 percent of those who said they know a transgender person expressed favorable feelings toward them, compared with 13 percent who did not -- a net favorability of 53 percentage points. This means that the number of voters motivated to support critical laws and protections for transgender people is growing fast. However, while visibility is increasing, sobering issues remain. In 2015, there were more reported killings of transgender women of color than ever before in the U.S. Additionally, the transgender community continues to face disproportionate levels of poverty, homelessness, employment discrimination, violence, and HIV. This year alone, an unprecedented 44 anti-transgender bills are being considered in 17 states. Some bills undercut the ability of transgender people to access gender-affirming health care, create state-sanctioned avenues of anti-transgender discrimination and, last but not least, deny transgender people -- including children and young people -- access to bathrooms, locker rooms and athletic teams consistent with their gender identity. Read additional detail about the HRC survey here
AFTER GOVERNOR’S VETO, ANTI-LGBT LAWMAKERS IN GEORGIA VOW TO FIGHT: After weeks of pressure by HRC, Georgia Equality and others, earlier this week Governor Nathan Deal announced that he was vetoing HB 757, a deeply discriminatory bill which sparked a massive outcry of opposition from a broad array of civil rights groups, leaders in Hollywood, and corporate America. The legislation would have weakened local non-discrimination protections, allowed businesses to discriminate and deny service to LGBT people, and explicitly empowered discrimination by taxpayer-funded religious organizations. In light of the huge victory, opponents of equality are already vowing to find new ways to roll back LGBT progress. State lawmakers are said to be exploring legislative action in the 2017 session which convenes in January, because they don’t have sufficient support to convene a special session this year. The Associated Press reports, “Lawmakers have already left the Capitol for the year, adjourning Thursday. They would need a three-fifths majority of both houses to ask the governor to convene a special session, and even then, vote totals suggest they lack the two-thirds vote necessary in both chambers to override his veto. ‘It's more likely we'll continue this debate for the next nine months and have a bill introduced in January and fight it out again,’ McKoon (one of the key sponsors of the failed bill) said, adding that he's willing to author a new bill if necessary. As their fight continues, so does ours. We remain committed to doing what’s necessary to ensure that every Georgian can feel safe at work, at school, at home and in every community. More here: bit.ly/1Urqad9
LAWMAKERS IN CONGRESS URGE DHS TO TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT LGBT PEOPLE IN IMMIGRATION DETENTION: In a letter made public this week, twenty-three Democrats in the House and ten Democratic Senators called on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to take serious steps to address the mistreatment of LGBT people in ICE detention centers. In a statement yesterday, Rep. Mike Honda--who led the effort--said “DHS created a policy to protect LGBT detainees, yet not one of their facilities has implemented this policy. Our treatment of our fellow human beings in this instance is a disgrace and not appropriate for the government of the United States of America. We are calling on Secretary Johnson to do the right thing.” The letter also seeks to get answers to six points of concern regarding LGBT detainees including the implementation of the Transgender Care Memorandum and how transgender individuals will receive access to qualified medical professionals while in custody. More from the Washington Blade here: bit.ly/1UzqIOj
TRANSGENDER WOMAN’S ASSAULT AT STONEWALL IN HIGHLIGHTS SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST COMMUNITY: Authorities are asking the public for help in finding a suspect they say sexually assaulted a transgender woman at the Stonewall Inn last weekend. The woman reported to police that a man came into the bathroom she was using and assaulted her. The incident took place at Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village, the site of the historic 1969 Stonewall Riots where LGBTQ bar patrons –– many of them transgender –– fought back against police harassment. The riots are generally considered the beginning of the modern LGBTQ rights movement. This brutal assault highlights the issue of sexual violence against transgender people. Research suggests that about half of transgender people will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, there are some LGBTQ-friendly resources including Let's Talk About It: A Transgender Survivor's Guide to Accessing Therapy
OUTRAGEOUS ANTI-LGBT BILL IN MISSISSIPPI DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO PASSAGE: Last night, by a 31 to 17 vote, the Mississippi Senate passed H.B. 1523, a horrific piece of legislation that would allow individuals, religious organizations and private associations to use religion to discriminate against LGBT Mississippians in some of the most important aspects of their lives. This comes despite the tremendous backlash that states like Georgia and North Carolina have faced for their legislatures voting in favor of bills that would put the LGBT community at risk of discrimination. Now, H.B. 1523 returns to the House for a procedural vote on a new amendment, and will then head to the desk of Governor Phil Bryant, who will either sign or veto the measure. Under H.B.1523, religion could be used by most any individual or organization to justify discrimination against LGBT people, single mothers, unwed couples and others. Taxpayer funded faith-based organizations could: refuse to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples for provision of critical services including emergency shelter; deny children in need of loving homes placement with LGBT families including the child’s own family member; and refuse to sell or rent a for-profit home to an LGBT person -- even if the organization receives government funding. More on H.B.1523 here: bit.ly/235dlGO
VIRGINIA GOVERNOR VETOES ANTI-LGBT BILL: Yesterday, Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe showed true leadership by vetoing SB 41, one of several anti-LGBT bills taken up in the legislature this year in Virginia--and the only to advance to Governor McAuliffe’s desk. The veto highlights the importance of retaining a pro-equality governor in office. SB 41 was a harmful bill that would have allowed taxpayer-funded agencies and service providers to discriminate against LGBT people. Among the other anti-LGBT bills introduced in Virginia this year were: attempts to undermine marriage equality; proposals aimed at authorizing individuals, businesses and taxpayer-funded agencies to cite religion as a legal reason to refuse goods or services to LGBT people; a bill to prevent state universities and public schools from adopting LGBT non-discrimination protections; a bill to prevent transgender Virginians from changing their birth certificates to match their identity and multiple bills seeking to restrict transgender people from using facilities consistent with their gender identity. More here: on.wsj.com/1Y2bcIA
PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR WANTS STATE TO PROTECT LGBT RESIDENTS: The Governor of Pennsylvania wants his state to stand on the right side of history. Governor Tom Wolf is calling on the Pennsylvania General to pass LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections in light North Carolina’s new anti-LGBT law. Spokesperson Jeff Sheridan shared, “What North Carolina did last week is simply wrong. But equally as troubling is the fact that the Pennsylvania General Assembly has not moved to pass non-discrimination legislation in the commonwealth that would ensure that all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender expression and identity, are treated equally under Pennsylvania law." With nearly 6 million Pennsylvanians going to work every day to support themselves and their families, Pennsylvania’s economy is the sixth largest in the country and the 18th largest in the world. Pennsylvania is among the majority of states that lack clear laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing, and business services. Equality Pennsylvania, American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, American Unity Fund, HRC and Freedom for All Americans are part of Pennsylvania Competes, a coalition of large and small businesses, universities, and grassroots supporters focused on making sure all Pennsylvanians are explicitly protected from discrimination. More here: bit.ly/1Sx96ie and bit.ly/1TlcbEC
SOUTH CAROLINA LAWMAKERS POINTLESSLY ATTEMPT TO ROLL BACK THE CLOCK ON MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Last week, a handful of conservative state senators in South Carolina voted to advance S.31, a bill calling on the US Congress to amend the United States Constitution to allow states to roll back marriage equality on a state by state basis. Seeking to undermine the historic marriage equality ruling last year by the Supreme Court of the United States, S.31 calls on Congress to host a constitutional convention to amend the Constitution of the United States to allow all states to determine their own definitions of marriage. If the Constitution were to be amended in this way, it would give states the ability to roll back marriage equality if they oppose it, effectively stripping away years of progress and placing same-sex marriages in jeopardy. Fortunately, that prospect is not likely, as the South Carolina legislature has no authority to force Congress to begin the process of amending the Constitution. This bill is nothing more than a way for anti-equality legislators to publicly show their animosity toward marriage equality. After the committee voted to advance the bill, Senator Hutto placed an administrative hold on the bill known as a “minority report,” meaning that the bill cannot be brought up on the Senate floor unless it receives a two-thirds vote to place it on Special Order. If the bill were to receive Special Order, it would be placed behind a mounting pile of other contentious legislative priorities for this session. This bill is one of nearly 200 anti-LGBT bills in 34 states introduced in the 2016. For more information, visit: hrc.org/2016legislature
WISCONSIN TOWN VOTES TO PROTECT LGBT PEOPLE: Janesville, Wisconsin approved LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance. On Monday night, by a vote of 6-1 the City Council of Janesville Wisconsin voted to approve a non-discrimination ordinances that protects residents and visitors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and 15 other categories. As the Huffington Post points out, Janesville is the hometown of none other than House Speaker Paul Ryan. More here: huff.to/21TASrG
AROUND THE WORLD
BREWING SOMETHING GOOD: It isn’t all bad news out of the Dominican Republic. Though forces from within the Catholic Church are bent on trying to oust U.S. Ambassador James “Wally” Brewster simply because he is gay, it seems like he has become a symbol for LGBT equality in the Island nation. From an increase in LGBT people running for office, to advances in fights against stigma and discrimination, it seems like the Dominican Republic is experiencing unprecedented progress towards equality. More here: abcn.ws/1MODMal
The Los Angeles Times gives an overview of the fights for equality in Georgia and North Carolina…. The Washington Post contextualizes the lawsuit against NC HB2… ESPN highlights how sports leagues are moving equality forward… ThinkProgress fact checks NC Governor Pat McCrory’s statements on HB2… Time lifts up Marc Benioff’s comment that anti-LGBT bills are anti-business... Reuters highlights the trans community’s fight for their rights in the states… The Associated Press compares and contrasts Ga. Gov. Deal and NC Gov. McCrory’s responses to anti-LGBT legislation… The Charlotte Observer looks at anti-LGBT extremists obsession with bathrooms... BuzzFeed covers a trans University of Pittsburgh student’s quest for justice after being denied access to the facilities that matched his gender identity… The Washington Post calculates just how much Missouri’s religious liberty bill could cost the state... The Gay News Network introduces us to Darragh Tibbs, a 15 year-old boy calling for marriage equality in Northern Ireland.