BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN PROVES WHY HE’S ‘THE BOSS’: ICYMI, last week Friday, Bruce Springsteen cancelled Sunday’s concert in North Carolina over the state’s recently passed anti-LGBT law, which was rammed through the legislature on March 23. In his announcement Springsteen apologized to fans and said: “Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.” The Boss has always used his music to advocate for those who are marginalized in society and him lending his voice to this fight proves once again that he truly is an American Hero. Instead of cancelling his show in North Carolina last week, Comedian Joel McHale decided to speak out against the bill in his stand-up routine and opted to donate all the show’s proceeds to the LGBTQ Center of Durham.
BRYAN ADAMS CANCELS MISSISSIPPI SHOW: Yesterday, rocker Bryan Adams took a similar stand against Mississippi’s HB 1523 -- the radical new law that allows almost any individual or organization to use religion as a justification to discriminate against LGBT Mississippians and their families. Adams announced he was canceling his Mississippi concert in Facebook update saying, “Using my voice I stand in solidarity with all my LGBT friends to repeal this extremely discriminatory bill. Hopefully Mississippi will right itself and I can come back and perform for all of my many fans.” HB 1523 was signed into law last week despite outcry from the business community, fair-minded Mississippians, and LGBT equality advocates. We applaud Bryan Adams for standing with us in this fight to keep the Hospitality State open to all. More from Billboard.
MUSIC STARS JOIN GROWING CHORUS AGAINST ANTI-TRANS TENN. BILL: Miley Cyrus, Emmylou Harris, Chely Wright, Ty Herndon and Country Music Television all spoke out last week against Tennessee’s HB 2414 and SB 2387 – discriminatory proposals that would further marginalize transgender students and make it illegal for them to use restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity. They join a chorus of other voices, including pediatricians and child welfare advocates, civil rights organizations, business leaders and fair-minded Tennesseans who are standing up against this bill. “Those who love and make country music do so because at its best it speaks to the pain and suffering everyone shares in this life,” said Emmylou Harris. “Let's not make that life harder still for some, with this mean spirited and unnecessary legislation.” For a full list of quotes, see HRC’s blog.
NORTH CAROLINA’S BUSINESS ALLURE TANKING AFTER PASSAGE OF ANTI-LGBT LAW: It looks like North Carolina’s economy will continue to face backlash over the recent passage of an HB 2. Following in the footsteps of PayPal, an unnamed company that was projected to bring in 500 new jobs into Buncombe county has decided that it will most likely pull out of its planned expansion. The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce isn’t naming the company just yet, but is sounding the alarm on how HB 2 has been a threat to the deal that the county worked so hard to secure. Meanwhile, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority is reporting that at least four conventions are pulling out of Queen City, nine others will no longer consider it as a host city, and 29 other groups are now “hesitant” to bring their conventions to the city at all. More from WBTV.
GOOD MORNING AMERICA’S ROBIN ROBERTS SPEAKS OUT AGAINST MISSISSIPPI’S DISCRIMINATORY LAW: There’s a certain level of irony in that Mississippi, which recently passed a sweeping anti-LGBT law, has chosen to use a lesbian as the face of the state’s tourism industry. ABC’s “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts is posited as the welcoming face of the Hospitality State’s official tourism guide, having agreed to be on the 2016 cover long before the state’s governor signed the discriminatory bill into law. She has recently spoken out about the state’s blatant conflict of interest in denying lesbians equal protection under the law, but nevertheless using a lesbian as their tourism centerpiece. Roberts said of the legislation: “My longtime partner, Amber, and I have always felt welcomed in my home state, and it hurts my soul to think of anyone not feeling welcome.” Robert’s statement on the law joins a growing chorus of criticism from fair-minded Mississippians who feel that Mississippi cannot truly be the “Hospitality State” when it denies equal protections to so many of its citizens. More from The Advocate.
MISSISSIPPI’S ARTS COMMUNITY STEPS UP TO SUPPORT LGBT RESIDENTS: Though Mississippi lawmakers have let down their LGBT constituents with the passage of HB 1523, the state’s arts community has stepped up to show its support. The Oxford Film Festival, based out of Oxford, Mississippi, has since added an LGBT section to its cinema lineup since the passing of the bill. In a statement released last week, the film festival said that their mission is to “not only to entertain with independent cinema but to enlighten with a range of diverse voices.” On that note, they hope that the addition of the LGBT section to their festival will ensure that “...our LGBT friends are heard and better served in this state.” More from the Collider.
MISSISSIPPI CHURCH LOOKS TO WELCOME ALL MEMBERS: Members of Mississippi’s faith community are standing up for inclusion amid Mississippi’s anti-LGBT so-called “religious liberty” bill. Hattiesburg, Mississippi's Joshua Generation Church, founded 50 years ago, in response to an onslaught of persecution against the LGBT community, has recently spoken out against the state's new anti-LGBT bill. The church's pastor believes that "love is the center of all religions, and this bill is the opposite of love," and is therefore mobilizing her congregation to fight back against its passage. Before it was signed into law, the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi also came out about HB 1523 with a strongly worded statement. More from MS News Now.
JOHN KASICH SAYS HE WOULDN’T SIGN NORTH CAROLINA’S HB 2, WHERE DO TRUMP AND CRUZ STAND? CBS’ John Dickerson asked John Kasich where he stood on North Carolina’s HB 2, which made North Carolina the first state in the country to force transgender people to use restrooms inconsistent with their gender identity. Kasich told Dickerson, "Obviously I don't want to force people to violate their deeply held religious convictions, but we'd have to see what that's all about. I wouldn't have signed that law from everything I know, I haven't studied it." Kasich’s opposition comes just a few days after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley staked out similar ground, saying she didn’t believe such a law was necessary in her state. In an election year where purple North Carolina could be pivotal, this raises the question, do Cruz and Trump agree with Kasich, or stand with North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory? More from CBS News.
HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS CALL OUT BILLS TARGETING TRANS YOUTH: In a new HRC video, a coalition of healthcare professionals speak out against legislation that targets transgender children. As anti-equality activists across the country push for laws targeting transgender youth and adults, these experts -- including pediatricians, a social worker, therapist, and family physician -- who work with transgender youth and their families are speaking out, challenging harmful myths and stereotypes, and showing their support for transgender youth. Over the last month, bills with language seeking to make it illegal for transgender youth to use restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity were vetoed in South Dakota, but signed into law in North Carolina -- where lawmakers are facing serious backlash. Legislation with similar language is also being considered in Tennessee, where advocates and major corporations have have been speaking out urging lawmakers to abandon these vicious bills that are bad for business. Similar discriminatory legislation was also introduced this week in South Carolina, where Gov. Nikki Haley has already expressed her concern about the bill. More on HRC’s blog. And check out this op-ed on the Advocate from a Knoxville area psychologist who calls these “dangerous solution to a problem that ...does not exist.”
MICHIGAN LAWMAKERS LEARN NOTHING FROM NORTH CAROLINA: Despite the tremendous amount of backlash that certain states (North Carolina and Mississippi) have faced for passing discriminatory anti-LGBT laws, according to reports, Michigan state lawmakers are ready to move forward with plans to legislate which bathrooms transgender K-12 students are able to use. This comes in response to the State Board of Education recommending guidelines that encouraged schools to make accommodations for transgender students including using the bathrooms and pronouns of their choice. Republican Senator Tom Casperson is spearheading the effort and vilifying transgender kids in the process. When describing his opposition Casperson told the Associated Press, “Maybe, there’s something there that’s just not normal. And normal’s not the right word. Maybe there’s something there that’s just not right, where we’re mixing these kids together.” The State Board of Education is not backing down, however, and continues to speak out on the long term effects this discriminatory legislation could have on transgender youth. More from the Associated Press.
FLORIDA DCF OFFICIALS FAIL TO PROTECT LGBT FOSTER KIDS: Members of Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) buckled under anti-equality pressure last week, dropping planned protections for LGBT foster children who are among the 2,363 youth living in group homes in the state. The DCF had planned “sweeping changes within foster homes,” the Tampa Bay Times reports, including placing transgender kids in group homes according to their identity and banning the dangerous and debunked practice of “conversion therapy.” Despite urging from LGBT advocates to embrace the protections as planned, the agency folded, allowing discrimination to trump the best interests of the children it is entrusted to protect. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
AROUND THE WORLD
A FIRST IN CHINA: After being fired from his job, a Chinese transgender man is taking action. Today is a first in Chinese history, as “Mr.C” (name withheld to protect his privacy) is bringing his discriminatory employers to court. No matter how the court rules, this trial is an opportunity to highlight anti-transgender discrimination, and increase visibility for LGBT people across the world’s largest nation. More from the Washington Post.
BAD NEWS BEARS IN BARBADOS: This weekend, anti-LGBT hate group The World Congress of Families (WCF), went on a caribbean adventure. Convening some of the world’s most notoriously anti-LGBT activists, the WCF regional conference promoted harmful rhetoric and discrimination. WCF’s next major conference will be held in Tsibli, Georgia next month. More from the Washington Blade.
A GLIMMER OF HOPE: A group of Orthodox Rabbis have released a letter urging congregations to welcome LGBT members and promote greater inclusion and understanding. Though the letter stopped short of promoting full equality, it still represents a major step forward for the Orthodox Jewish community in Israel. More from Times of Israel.
TAKE ME TO CHURCH: Same-sex couples have been able to wed in Norway since 2009, but today the council of bishops voted to allow the Church of Norway to offer gender-neutral wedding ceremonies and rituals for all couples. The Church of Norway is a leader in welcoming LGBT couples, and ensuring that they have a place as part of the community of faith. More from Reuters.
The Charlotte Observer explores UNC Charlotte’s new LGBT history collection amid protests to NC HB 2… New Jersey Business points out the healthcare industry’s need to improve their response to LGBT patients… The Advocate asks TV stars about the first time they were called an anti-LGBT slur… The Nation breaks down why Mississippi’s anti-LGBT law is so dangerous… The Advocate covers how Pope Francis’s Report affect LGBT Catholics… The Guardian highlights how businesses are taking a stance against the wave of anti-LGBT laws we’re seeing… The Boston Globe shines a light on the New England Gay Officers Action League which is now in its twenty-fifth year… and TIME looks at Trans United Fund, a first of its kind transgender political organization fighting back against anti-LGBT laws.