AS NC LEGISLATURE RECONVENES, 185,000 PEOPLE CALL ON GOVERNOR MCCRORY FOR REPEAL OF HB2: HRC, Equality NC, the NAACP, the National Center for Transgender Equality, NAACP, the ACLU of NC, the Campaign for Southern Equality and several other organizations led a day of action in Raleigh yesterday to call for the repeal of HB2, as the North Carolina state legislature reconvened for the first time since the bill’s passage. The coalition of organizations held a press conference yesterday morning outside the state capitol and delivered more than 185,000 signatures calling for HB2 to be repealed. Thousands of people also passionately rallied for the discriminatory law’s repeal throughout the day, with the legislative building as the backdrop. More from The Associated Press.
TRANS ADVOCATE DEFIES HB2, EXPOSING IT AS UNENFORCEABLE: Yesterday afternoon, Mara Keisling, Executive Director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, illustrated the ridiculousness of Gov. McCrory’s discriminatory HB2 by using the women’s restroom in the Governor’s office during the #RepealHB2 rally at the old Capitol building. After posting a photo of the women’s restroom to her Facebook page, Keisling pointed out the truth about HB2’s harmful and unenforceable ban on transgender people using bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. “I used the women’s room in the governor’s office,” she wrote in the post. “Governor McCrory can’t even enforce his law in his house.” *Mic Drop* More from BuzzFeed.
NC LAWMAKERS INTRODUCE A BILL TO REPEAL HB2: On the first day back in session, North Carolina lawmakers have introduced a bill to repeal the state’s anti-transgender measure HB2. The new HB947 would roll back HB2 in full, restoring the ability of local governments to pass non-discrimination ordinances and living wage regulations, rescinding harmful provisions that require transgender people in schools and publicly-owned buildings (such as airports and convention centers) to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity. It also would restore the cause of action under the state’s non-discrimination in employment law. Representative Darren Jackson, the bill's lead sponsor, is reminding House Republicans that, "It is never too late to do the right thing." More from The Advocate.
MORE ON THE LATEST FALLOUT IN NC:
- SPEAKER RYAN PUNTS ON HB2 QUESTION: On CBS Morning News today, Gayle King asked Speaker Paul Ryan about the controversial and discriminatory HB2 law, which major national Republicans have spoken out against, including Ohio Governor John Kasich, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley -- and even Donald Trump. Ryan’s response? “This is what our local governments and state governments should litigate. I try not to, as a federal official, insert ourselves into administering or arbitrating these difficult issues that are moving through society.” In the words of the hit musical, Hamilton, “If you stand for nothing, [Speaker Ryan], what will you fall for?” Watch the full interview on CBS News.
- NICK JONAS AND DEMI LOVATO STAND UNITED AGAINST HB2: Yesterday pop stars Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato announced that they were cancelling their North Carolina concerts to protest HB2. In a joint statement they wrote, “North Carolina's discriminatory HB2 law is extremely disappointing, and it takes away some of the LGBT community's most basic rights and protections. But we will not allow this to stop us from continuing to make progress for equality and acceptance.” Lovato and Jonas join a list of high-profile celebrities and performers including Bruce Springsteen, and the bands Pearl Jam and Boston, who’ve cancelled shows over the law. Others, including Mumford and Sons and Cyndi Lauper, have donated proceeds from their shows to LGBT charities. More from E! News.
- NC CONTINUES TO LOSE OUT ON BIG REVENUE BECAUSE OF HB2: Asheville, North Carolina, is expected to lose $1.5 million in revenue after the W.K. Kellogg Foundation pulled its Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation conference from a local venue because of the anti-LGBT HB2. This year’s Kellogg conference would have been the first in the series of seven annual events the foundation planned to host in Asheville -- all now in jeopardy. The organization said that its move is not a reflection on the people of North Carolina, but rather the lawmakers who passed the discriminatory HB2 into law. More from WLOS.
FAITH LEADERS SPEAK OUT AGAINST DISCRIMINATION IN MISSISSIPPI: This week, a group of Methodist ministers penned an open letter on Mississippi’s HB1523 -- a discriminatory bill signed into law by Gov. Bryant on April 5. In their letter they allude to Mississippi’s struggle during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and make their opposition to any form of discrimination clear. They write: “We believe that any attempt to legislate and sign into law discriminatory practices against any group of people is sinful and does harm to the body of Christ and to the well being of the communities both church and government are called to serve. We commit ourselves to be in ministry to all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, age, gender, disability, status, economic condition, sexual orientation, gender identity or religious affiliation.” Several religious entities in Mississippi have come out against HB1523. Hattiesburg, Mississippi's Joshua Generation Church denounced the legislation, as has the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi who came out against with a strongly worded statement before it was signed. Read the ministers’ full letter on The Clarion-Ledger.
GAY EDITOR AND U.S. EMBASSY WORKER MURDERED IN BANGLADESH: The international advocacy community and U.S. officials are mourning the tragic deaths of Xulhaz Mannan and Tanay Mojumdar, employees of Bangladesh’s only LGBT magazine. Mannan, who was also a U.S. Embassy worker, and Mojumdar were hacked to death early this week, following a series of attacks against secular or atheist writers carried out in Bangladesh. Roopbaan, the LGBT magazine the men worked for, describes itself as: “a platform and publication promoting human rights and freedom to love in Bangladesh.” The Bangladeshi branch of al-Qaida has claimed responsibility for the murders More from the BBC.
INDIANA U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE BARON HILL BACKS THE EQUALITY ACT: Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate Baron Hill has come out in support of the Equality Act. The former Indiana congressman has seen firsthand how his state’s so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” has hurt the local economy, costing the tourism industry alone a whopping $60 million since it was signed into law last year. If elected, Hill has pledged to back the Equality Act, which would FINALLY establish federal protections for the LGBT community under our civil rights laws. More from Indiana Public Media.
UNIQUE NEW PROGRAM CREATES WELCOMING MEALTIME FOR LGBT SENIORS: Erie County in New York has created a monthly federally-subsidized senior lunch program at a local restaurant for LGBT seniors, who are susceptible to being socially isolated in nursing homes. Many LGBT seniors have no children or grandchildren, and have limited familial networks because they were abandoned or felt unwelcome after coming out. The county lunch program was created to create a social network for LGBT seniors beyond the walls of their nursing homes and assisted living facilities so that they can stay socially active and connected. More from The Buffalo News.
AROUND THE WORLD
DEAR SAUDI ARABIA: A number of U.S. Congressmen have sent a letter to the ambassador of Saudi Arabia in protest of the harsh treatment of LGBT Saudis. Led by Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, the letter was signed by 30 members of Congress, and objects to the use of capital punishment, torture, and violence by the Saudi government against their LGBT citizens. More from The Washington Blade.
Think Progress breaks down everything you need to know about anti-LGBT legislation and religious exemption laws, as well as their potentially confusing intersections… The Huffington Post asks Cyndi Lauper what her most significant gay cultural moment was, and how it impacted her career… Slate profiles Mary Lou Bruner, a conservative extremist who will likely be appointed onto the Texas State Board of Education (Bruner is of the horrifying opinion that preschool is pro-LGBT propaganda)... Former U.S. Sen. Harris Wofford opens up in The New York Times about finding love in a same-sex relationship at age 70… Vox shares one transgender North Carolina student’s struggle to use the bathroom… and The Washington Post looks at the GOP presidential candidates’ views on trans rights.