#AM_Equality Tip Sheet: May 24, 2016

HRC staff

RESISTING PRESSURE, CHARLOTTE CITY COUNCIL STANDS UP FOR LGBT NON-DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE: Yesterday, the Charlotte City Council stood strong as Republican lawmakers in Raleigh attempted to redirect blame for their disastrous HB2 mess. Senate President Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore yesterday reiterated their support for the vile HB2, with Moore saying that he would refuse to repeal the provision barring transgender people from the appropriate bathroom. HRC President Chad Griffin was on the ground and gave powerful testimony, calling for a full repeal of HB2, reminding the audience that anything less would leave people vulnerable to further attacks. Pointing out the risks and pitfalls of trusting that HB2 backers would negotiate, Griffin rightfully asked, “Who are you going to leave behind? Amongst those who you attacked in HB2, who will you leave on the cutting room floor?”

  • Charlotte Magazine’s Greg Lacour’s coverage of the Council’s actions is worth a read, especially his focus on City Councilmembers’ refusal to fall for “vague promises from a manifestly untrustworthy leadership in Raleigh,” and comments from Erica Lachowitz, a local transgender woman who spoke last night. Lachowitz told the Council: “I don’t think you realize how much you mean to me, my daughter, and my family.” After weeks of unjust pressure from the Chamber of Commerce and state GOP lawmakers to repeal the ordinance, words like that reminded the Council exactly what they’re fighting for. More from Charlotte Magazine.
  • A new Charlotte Chamber report reveals that Mecklenburg County has been dealt a massive financial blow because of HB2. Losses are estimated at $285 million, and as many as 1,300 jobs. Charlotte is the county seat of Mecklenburg.
  • NC’s discriminatory duo, Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, are continuing their attacks on LGBT people by attempting to combine their lawsuit with Gov. McCrory’s. Three federal judges are currently assigned to five separate lawsuits over the discriminatory HB2.
  • The San Francisco 49ers spoke out today against HB2, announcing a gift of $75,000 to the Equality North Carolina Foundation. The team’s CEO Jed York is in Charlotte and met with transgender North Carolinians to learn more about HB2’s harmful impact.
  • The Lumineers and the Dave Matthews Band will both donate proceeds from their shows in North Carolina to LGBT advocacy orgs working to repeal HB2.

NCs discriminatory HB2, which prompted more than 200 business leaders to speak out, was also met with disdain by Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts yesterday, who tweeted: "We cannot compromise on basic human rights. Any repeal of LGBT protections is bad for business, bad for Charlotte's future."

MAGNITSKY ACT TO INCLUDE PROTECTIONS FOR LGBTQ PEOPLE: The Global Magnitsky Act, a vital bill that would give the U.S. government the authority to freeze the U.S. assets of, and deny U.S. visas to, anyone who has committed “gross violations of human rights” against anti-corruption activists or human rights defenders around the world, is currently moving through the U.S. House of Representatives. This week, following months of advocacy by LGBT organizations, lawmakers in the House Foreign Affairs Committee clarified that the bill would indeed cover LGBTQ people, sending a clear message abroad that the U.S. will not tolerate human rights abuses against LGBTQ individuals. Should the bill become law, those who persecute people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity abroad may be blocked from entering the U.S. or from using U.S. financial institutions. More from HRC.

HOUSE LEADERS REMOVE ANTI-LGBT LANGUAGE FROM VA BILL: House leaders removed language from a VA bill that would have rolled back protections for LGBT people employed by federal contractors. In 2014, President Obama signed an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The proposed bill would have allowed hospitals, medical facilities, and long term care facilities to have contracts with the VA, regardless of whether they discriminated against LGBT employees. More from The Washington Post.

OREGON GOV. INSPIRES GRADUATES WITH SPEECH ON BEING OPENLY BISEXUAL: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown gave a powerful commencement speech at Willamette University over the weekend, emphasizing the importance of living as your true self. She spoke about being closeted as bisexual, fearing losing her job and eventually being outed in the press. Brown became the nation’s first openly bisexual governor last year when she was appointed following Gov. John Kitzhaber’s resignation. If she wins in November, Brown will make history again as the first openly-LGBT person ever elected governor.

THIS: POLITICAL JOURNALIST RALSTON’S MOVING ESSAY: In a first-person essay, political journalist Jon Ralston shares the beautiful story of loving and accepting his transgender son, writing: “Slowly but surely, I have come to not just accept it but to embrace it. I have learned a lot about transgender issues through my job. I have read a bit. But I don’t want to talk about bathrooms or locker rooms. I don’t want to debate the public policy issues in North Carolina or whether the president was right to sue. There will be plenty of time for that. My first instinct, as ever, has been to protect my child, to make sure Maddy is safe and happy. That’s all most parents ever want for their children.” Read it on Ralston Reports.


The Huffington Post profiles Jim Gray, Kentucky’s openly-gay Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate… Actress Laverne Cox responds to the criticism she’s received for her role in the Rocky Horror Picture Show remake… Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff says that his fight for LGBT rights isn’t about him, it’s about his employees… The Advocate highlights the former students of Trinity Academy who leaked the school’s anti-LGBT policy “for the greater good”... The Washington Post investigates why some Republicans are choosing to turn away from their party’s anti-LGBT stance… The Hartford Courant shares the story of teacher Dusty Rader, who sets an inspiring example for his students by living as openly transgender… News12 New Jersey covers the Highland Park school board’s unanimous approval of a transgender-inclusive facilities policy… and the Huffington Post shares former presidential adviser and North Carolina native David Gergen’s commencement address at Elon University, which he used to call for HB2’s repeal.

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