ALL EYES ON NC AS STATE LEGISLATURE RECONVENES, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS DEMAND REPEAL OF HB 2: Today, as the North Carolina State Legislature reconvenes, nearly 190,000 signatures demanding the repeal of North Carolina’s anti-LGBT House Bill 2 were delivered to the office of Gov. Pat McCrory by a collection of civil rights, faith, business, and advocacy groups as the state legislature returns for the first time since it introduced and passed the law eliminating legal protections for LGBT people, as well as communities of color and religious minorities among others, in a one-day special session on March 23. Thousands of people are expected to rally for the discriminatory law’s repeal outside the legislature throughout the day. HB 2 forces transgender North Carolinians to use restroom facilities in schools and on publicly-owned property inconsistent with their gender identity, and also attacks minorities by blocking individuals from suing under state employment non-discrimination law on the basis of race, religion, national origin, and sex. Moreover, HB 2 bars municipalities from enacting their own non-discrimination protections. As The Charlotte Observer points out, it’s Gov. Pat McCrory who has the most at stake.
NATIONAL REPUBLICANS CONTINUE TO DISTANCE THEMSELVES FROM MCCRORY AND OPPOSE HB 2: The list of Republicans speaking out against HB 2 has continued to grow. Former Presidential candidate NJ Governor Chris Christie said Friday: “It strikes me as not something I'd sign here in New Jersey. But I don't know all the specifics of it. So I don't want to assail another piece of legislation I haven't even read. But the sense of what I've read from what you all have written about it is that it's not something I would support here.” Last week frontrunner Donald Trump echoed that sentiment, as has SC Gov. Nikki Haley, candidate John Kasich and many others. Ted Cruz on the other hand has completely doubled down on his assault of the trans community highlighting a huge ideological rift in the Republican Party. Hugh Hewitt said it best on Meet The Press last weekend, “This is not the terrain the Republican Party wants to fight this election on,” and the majority of Republican leaders seem to agree. More from NJ.com.
FLOTUS SPEAKS OUT AGAINST MISS. HB 1523: In a commencement speech given by First Lady Michelle Obama at Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss., she stood strongly against MS HB 1523, a so-called “religious freedom” law that allows almost any individual or organization to use religion as a justification to discriminate against LGBT Mississippians. Her comments came just after President Obama spoke out against both MS HB 1523 and NC HB 2 during a London press conference, urging for the laws’ repeal. More from The Washington Blade.
VIRGINIA SCHOOL BOARD TO APPEAL FOURTH CIRCUIT RULING: Gloucester County, Virginia School Board is not backing down. Following the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in favor of transgender teen Gavin Grimm, who sued the school district over their discriminatory policy which barred him from using the boys’ restroom, the School Board is doubling down on their efforts to marginalize Grimm and other transgender students. In a statement last week, the Board announced that they were appealing the decision saying, “ After considering the opinions of the 4th Circuit panel, it is the school board’s unanimous decision to file a petition for an en banc hearing with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.” The Fourth Circuit decision issued last week nullifies the provision in North Carolina’s HB 2 that bars transgender students from accessing the restroom consistent with their gender identity. More from NBC News.
TED CRUZ RELEASES HORRIFIC TRANSPHOBIC NEW AD: Last week, presidential candidate Ted Cruz sank to a new low by releasing a despicable campaign ad attacking transgender people. The smear campaign peddles a dangerous brand of hate and ignorance, comes as transgender women continue to face an epidemic of hate-motivated violence, and sends a dangerous message to transgender young people. Four in ten have reported being bullied by their peers according to an HRC survey. Ted Cruz has made anti-transgender rhetoric an integral part of his bid for the White House. Just last week, his campaign threw a transgender teenager out of a campaign event. During a prior campaign stop in Iowa, he turned a simple question on education into a bigoted rant against the Obama Administration's decision to support a transgender student, falsely accusing officials of forcing the school to "let a little boy take showers with junior high girls."Ted Cruz’s ad highlights his support for North Carolina’s HB 2, an anti-LGBT law that forces transgender North Carolinians to use restroom facilities in schools and on publicly-owned property inconsistent with their gender identity. More from The Advocate.
TELEVISION AD SLAMS MCCRORY BY LETTING THE LAW SPEAK FOR ITSELF: North Carolina’s Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper certainly doesn’t have to do much digging to find dirt on Governor McCrory -- the continuous news cycle in the state speaks for itself. A pro-Cooper advertisement, released to criticize both McCrory and his passage of anti-transgender HB 2, features news program after news program blasting the politician for signing the bill into law. The Democratic Governors Association is backing the commercial, which ends on a simple but effective statement: McCrory is “taking North Carolina backwards.” True -- the last time we checked it was 2016, but it sure has been feeling like the 50’s lately.
MOST OFFENSIVE THINGS NC SENATE PRES. HAS SAID ABOUT TRANS PEOPLE: Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, the North Carolina State Senate’s top ranking official, has repeatedly taken to social media to attack transgender people and spread hateful lies about his shameful and discriminatory HB 2 law. HRC breaks down some of his worst offenders, including a claim that the recent Fourth Circuit ruling that agreed that civil rights protections should be extended to transgender students, is the same as the federal government “forcing” students to integrate gender-segregated facilities. Read the full list on HRC’s blog.
NASCAR STANDS AGAINST HB 2: Last week, NASCAR spoke out against North Carolina’s discriminatory anti-LGBT law, HB 2, stating that the racing company is working to change it. “We take the position that any discrimination, unintended or not, we do not like that," Chairman Brian France said. NASCAR’s statement follows an overwhelming number of CEOs who have urged North Carolina lawmakers to repeal HB 2. More than 180 leading CEOs and business leaders have signed onto an open letter urging Governor Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly to repeal the radical provisions in the deeply discriminatory law that was rammed through the legislature on March 23. More from HRC’s blog.
BLUE MAN GROUP BECOMES LATEST TO CANCEL NC SHOW OVER HB 2: Performers continue to cancel shows in North Carolina following the passage of HB 2 last month. The Blue Man Group which was scheduled to perform shows in June released a statement Friday saying that they value “every individual's right to live a dignified, vibrant life in full color. As such, we are joining the growing list of entertainment professionals in protest of North Carolina's HB 2 law.” That list now includes artists like Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Pearl Jam and Boston. A group that did move forward with their show however was Mumford and Sons. The band donated the proceeds from the show to LGBT charities in the state.
MORE THAN 150 PSYCHOLOGY PROFESSIONALS CALL FOR THE REPEAL OF HB 2: As the North Carolina General Assembly returns today for its legislative session, it will have to consider yet another group of professionals coming out against HB 2. A coalition of more than 150 psychology professionals have signed onto a letter condemning and asking for the repeal of the anti-transgender law. The group of social workers, counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists stated that LGBT people face higher rates of depression, and that transgender people in particular experience this with the greatest frequency. HB 2 will only exacerbate this heightened risk.
OHIO LAWMAKER WANTS TO BAN ALL UNISEX BATHROOMS IN THE STATE: An Ohio lawmaker is considering introducing legislation that would ban gender-neutral bathrooms from use in the state. Republican Representative John Becker is spouting off the same rhetoric used in defense of North Carolina’s anti-transgender HB 2. Like the Tar Heel State’s law, this bill would likely restrict transgender individuals from using public facilities that align with their gender identity. Given the sweeping backlash seen in North Carolina since its own anti-transgender bill passed, chances are, Becker isn’t thinking this one through. More from the Idea Stream.
STUDENTS BLOCKED FROM LGBT RESOURCES: Students in the Sioux Falls School District are saying their school’s internet filter is denying them access from LGBT resources. You may remember earlier this year, South Dakota passed a bill that attacked the rights of transgender public school students by attempting to force them to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity. That bill, however, was vetoed by SD Gov. Dennis Daugaard. When LGBT students are already at such high risk for bullying and other forms of violence in schools, the last thing they need is to be blocked from the online resources that will help them. More from The Argus Leader.
AROUND THE WORLD
SCHOOL ROCKS: Advocates for LGBT equality in the United Kingdom have given 60 new schools the designation of LGBT-friendly. The Educate & Celebrate organization has marked these 60 schools as demonstrating best practices in LGBT equality and inclusion in these schools. 80 schools in the United Kingdom now have this honor. More from Gay Star News.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY RANDY: The U.S. State Department’s Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons, Randy Berry, celebrated one year in office on April 13th. Berry has been busy traveling the world and promoting LGBTI rights and inclusion across the globe. HRC is excited to see what year two brings, More from HRC’s blog.
The Guardian covers a unique protest for marriage equality in Australia… The Washington Post shows how the Indian transgender community celebrates Hinduism’s largest festival… Mother Jones uncovers the conservative group that seemingly built the language for the onslaught of anti-transgender bills… ABC News shares the story of a transgender student who was barred from walking at her high school graduation due to her gender identity… MSNBC highlights a conservative group boycotting Target over their gender-neutral bathroom policy… Tampa Bay Times’ Editorial Board calls on the Department of Children and Families to reverse a policy that would allow children in group homes to be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity… The Huffington Post discusses the allegedly unlawful arrest of a Malaysian transgender activist, detained after holding a charity event... Reuters lists an unsurprising group of Republicans that have criticized President Obama for his remarks on anti-transgender laws… The New York Times applauds openly gay jazz musician Gary Burton for canceling his Mississippi show over the state’s anti-transgender law… and WKYC predicts Cleveland, Ohio will see its own form of a transgender restroom law soon.