#AM_Equality Tip Sheet: May 17, 2016

HRC staff

“WE’RE TALKING ABOUT KIDS” - PRESIDENT OBAMA GIVES PASSIONATE ARGUMENT FOR PROTECTING TRANSGENDER STUDENTS: In his first public comments since his administration issued guidance ensuring that transgender students are treated with respect in public and federally-funded schools, President Obama said it is society’s obligation “to make sure that everybody is treated fairly, and our kids are all loved, and that they’re protected, and that their dignity is affirmed.” During an interview Monday with BuzzFeed, the president said the school guidelines are modeled after “best practices” developed by school districts already treating transgender students with respect and inclusion. “We’re talking about kids,” he said, noting the stark reality that LGBT youth “are subject to a lot of bullying, potentially they are vulnerable.” More here.

TRUMP BAFFLINGLY SAYS LGBT COMMUNITY SHOULD TRUST GOVERNORS LIKE MCCRORY, ABBOTT TO PROTECT THEIR RIGHTS… The Washington Post reports the presumptive GOP candidate thinks the Obama administration’s guidance protecting transgender students ought to be rescinded, and instead the LGBT community should rely on governors to “make the right decisions.”  Because that’s worked so well so far.

THE EU CONDEMNS HB2, ASSERTS ANTI-LGBT LAWS VIOLATE INTERNATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS AGREEMENT: The European Union (EU) is condemning HB2 and anti-LGBT laws in Tennessee and Mississippi for violating a decades-old United Nations agreement on civil rights. The EU says that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted by the UN in 1966, prohibits “any discrimination and guarantees to all persons equal and effective protection.” In a statement, the EU asserts that the covenant protects LGBTI people from discrimination.


  • The ACLU of NC, the national ACLU, and Lambda Legal also took action against HB2 on Monday, asking a federal judge to prohibit state enforcement of the law. The injunction, if granted, would remain in place until the legal challenge to HB2 is resolved by the court.  
  • HB2 is causing Greensboro, NC, and its coliseum complex, economic difficulties of “unprecedented proportions,” commissioners of the venue told Governor Pat McCrory in a letter that included a call for him to reverse his support of the “economically harmful legislation.” They cite the “disastrous impact” of Bruce Springsteen’s canceled concert (not because of lack of ticket sales, they dryly note), and other lost business and opportunities. Read the letter here.
  • Comedian Louis C.K. is the latest entertainer to speak out against HB2, announcing that proceeds from his July 15 show in Greensboro will go toward efforts to repeal the discriminatory legislation. More from WXII12.

DESPITE PENTAGON STUDY SHOWING FEASIBILITY OF LIFTING BAN, TRANSGENDER SERVICE MEMBERS STILL IN LIMBO: A new study commissioned by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter found that there are an estimated 2,450 transgender people actively serving in the military, and that any costs associated with lifting the military’s ban on openly-transgender service members would have a negligible effect on the military’s annual $610 billion budget. The study found that if the Pentagon did not cover these costs, including medical procedures like hormone replacement and surgery, rates of substance abuse and suicide among transgender service members could go up. Nevertheless, the Pentagon and White House have yet to reach a solution and lift the ban, continuing to call the matter “complicated.” With only 8 months left, the administration is quickly running out of time to act. More from The New York Times.

WATCH: GLOBAL ADVOCATES MARK INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA, TRANSPHOBIA AND BIPHOBIA: In a new HRC Foundation videos series, international LGBTQ rights advocates highlight their work across the globe, raising up International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT)’s 2016 theme of mental health and wellbeing. The HRC Foundation has partnered with leading LGBTQ entertainment company Logo for a new Global Ally multiplatform storytelling campaign. The campaign features dozens of international equality activists, whose work ranges from fighting to stop the dangerous, debunked practice of “conversion therapy” in El Salvador, to ending so-called “anti-propaganda” laws in Russia that ban LGBTQ Russians from receiving information crucial to their wellbeing. Today, the HRC Foundation also released the third annual Equality Rising: Global Equality Report, an analysis of the work underway and emerging challenges facing LGBTQ activists, advocates, and allies around the world.

PRO-EQUALITY GOP MEMBERS FIGHT ANTI-LGBT MEASURE: Some House Republicans have come together to fight an anti-LGBT provision tacked onto the National Defense Authorization Act. The provision was designed to undermine President Obama’s executive order protecting LGBT workers employed by federal contractors. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) has offered a bipartisan amendment to strike the provision. All eyes are on the House Rules Committee and whether they will allow a vote on the amendment.

MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SAYS ‘YES’ TO ADMINISTRATION’S GUIDANCE ON TRANS STUDENTS: Despite anti-trans rhetoric from their governor and some state lawmakers, the Mississippi Department of Education is standing up for students and announced it will implement the U.S. Department of Education’s guidance on supporting transgender youth. In a statement by the Mississippi Department of Education, officials emphasized the need for “a safe and caring school environment” and called it “critical to a student’s ability to learn and achieve.” Meanwhile, in Alabama, one State School Board member is seeking to pass a resolution that would undermine the very same federal guidance to the detriment of transgender students across the state.

ALABAMA CHIEF JUSTICE MAY SOON BE #NOMOORE: In a blistering story about corruption and ethics scandals across all three branches of state government in Alabama, The New York Times reports on embattled Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s suspension for defying federal court marriage equality rulings. Moore could -- thankfully -- be removed permanently from his seat over his latest ethics violation, in which he ordered probate judges statewide to explicitly refuse to implement the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. Say #NoMoore, via The New York Times.

SC PASTOR NEEDS REFRESHER ON SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE: Following the failure of an anti-transgender measure in the state’s legislature this legislative session, a pastor in Rock Hill, SC is attempting to move a discriminatory ordinance through the local city council. Pastor Joey Deese told the city council that SC needs to take a “Biblical stance” on the issue of transgender people using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity.  

SUSPECT ARRESTED IN BANGLADESHI LGBT ACTIVIST’S MURDER: Police in Bangladesh have made an arrest in the tragic murder of Xulhaz Mannan, who was an editor for the country's only LGBT magazine. Bangladeshi police have taken Shariful Islan Shihab into custody, questioning him in not only about the murder, but other activities carried out by the Islamic State in the country.


The Washington Post is tracking the latest developments out of NC, including TurnOutNC’s press conference on Monday… Towleroad profiles the dangerous hate group Alliance Defending Freedom… Bustle breaks down some of the major stereotypes facing the bisexual community… JewishJournal highlights leading organization’s support of Department of Education guidance… Lee Lynch celebrates LGBTQ authors in On Top Magazine… and Pink News celebrates that Denmark has removed “gender identity disorder” from its list of mental illnesses…

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