OFFICIALS FROM 11 STATES LAUNCH SHAMEFUL ATTACK ON TRANS PEOPLE: Yesterday, officials from 11 states announced that they are launching a horrific attack on transgender people across the nation by filing a lawsuit against the federal government to rescind protections for transgender Americans. The lawsuit is headed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who currently faces three felony fraud indictments for violating state securities laws, civil fraud charges, and a separate investigation by the Texas State Bar for encouraging clerks to ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling on nationwide marriage equality. Paxton and the 10 other state officials’ use of taxpayer resources in an effort to dismantle such protections is a reckless and expensive abdication of their responsibilities. More from HRC.
ICYMI: HOUSE BLOCKS SPENDING BILL, MORE THAN 40 GOP REPS STAND FIRM: This morning, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 305-112 to block the FY 2017 Energy & Water Appropriations Act. Democrats voted against the bill because it contained anti-environmental and other objectionable provisions. A large majority of House Republicans voted against it because Heritage Action and other right wing groups opposed both its funding levels and the inclusion of the Maloney Amendment that passed last night, and were scoring legislators on their votes. However, 41 of the 43 Republicans who voted for the Maloney Amendment last night, also voted for final passage of the bill. Said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy: “It's shocking and disappointing that a majority of House Republicans would vote against funding energy and water programs because the bill includes a provision saying federal contractors should not discriminate against LGBT workers. History will not look kindly on those Members of Congress. More than 70 percent of the American people, and a majority of Republicans, support basic employment protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
- More details on yesterday’s vote … In a strongly bipartisan 223-195 vote, the House ensured that funds from an appropriations bill cannot be used to discriminate against LGBT workers. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) offered the amendment yesterday to the FY17 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, following an attempt last week where House leadership held the amendment vote open on the floor longer than permitted to flip seven of 36 Republican votes and kill the amendment. This week, 43 Republicans voted favorably, a reminder that equality isn’t a partisan issue. While that principle won a victory that was elusive last week, it’s time to advance meaningful legal protections for LGBT people and pass the Equality Act.
- House Members defended transgender people in hearing: Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee’s Task Force on Executive Overreach this week came to the defense of transgender students during a Task Force hearing on regulatory overreach. Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) called out anti-LGBT lawmakers and so-called “experts” on their horrific anti-trans rhetoric. More from HRC.
TOP NC EMPLOYERS OPPOSE HB2: Executives from Alaska Airlines, Aon plc., BlackRock, BNY Mellon, Cummins Inc., Hunter Douglas Inc., Leidos, RSM US LLP, and Sabre have signed onto an open letter that now includes more than 200 leading CEOs and business leaders urging North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and the state General Assembly to repeal the deeply discriminatory HB 2. A copy of the updated business letter can be found here. The letter was first released on March 29, and includes many companies listed as North Carolina’s largest private employers by the North Carolina Department of Commerce. Aon plc. alone employs more than 1,700 people in the Tar Heel state. More from HRC.
- Close to 40 North Carolina residents came together in Raleigh yesterday for a special Day of Advocacy hosted by TurnOUT! NC, a joint project of HRC’s, PFLAG and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). The lobby day was specifically focused on transgender North Carolinians telling their stories to members of the North Carolina General Assembly. Some of the attendees gathered briefly for a press conference before heading out for their lobby visits. Jeanne Duwve talked about the challenges and joys as a mother of a transgender child, followed by her son Luke Duwve speaking about his experience as a transgender high school student in NC schools. Transgender advocate Candis Cox, and Tavi Hancock, co-founder of QORDS, shared their perspective about the pain and challenges that HB2 is causing.
- On Monday, TurnOUT! North Carolina also hosted a timely press conference in Charlotte featuring the voices and perspectives of transgender North Carolinians, their family members and friends to speak out against the discriminatory HB2. This press conference was part of a continuing effort to feature unique stories and diverse experiences facing LGBT people in NC.
NYT: “AMERICA’S GLOBAL CAMPAIGN FOR GAY RIGHTS”: The New York Times profiles Randy Berry, the State Department’s first envoy for the human rights of LGBTI people, and details progress around the world during the Obama administration. The Times reports that “Mr. Berry is on the front lines of a remarkable effort by the Obama administration that began in December 2011 when Hillary Clinton, then the secretary of state, delivered a speech in Geneva proclaiming that ‘gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.’” Among “notable strides” around the world since 2011, the Times reports: Twenty countries have marriage equality, up from 11 in 2011; being gay or transgender has been decriminalized in five countries; Canada recently proposed sweeping protections for transgender people; and President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico said last week that same-sex marriage should be legalized nationwide. “There has been tremendous change,” said HRC Global Director Ty Cobb. But much work remains. Berry, who has traveled to 42 countries since his appointment, notes that “the most compelling stories of tragedy and perseverance come from the transgender community.
VERMONT PROTECTS LGBTQ YOUTH, BANS “CONVERSION THERAPY: Yesterday Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed Senate Bill 132 into law, making Vermont the eighth jurisdiction—behind California, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Washington D.C., and Cincinnati—to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangers of “conversion therapy.” The law protects LGBTQ youth from mental health providers attempting to change their sexual orientation or gender identity through practices that are linked to substance abuse, extreme depression, and suicide, was approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives in April. The law will go into effect July 1, 2016. More from HRC.
#LOVETRUMPSHATE: HRC brings the Post-It Wars to the nation’s capital!
PROPOSED LEGISLATION WILL ENHANCE LGBT DATA COLLECTION: The Washington Blade reports that today, Rep. Grijalca (D-AZ) is expected to introduce the LGBT Data Inclusion Act -- legislation that would require federal surveys to collect voluntary, self-disclosed information on sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill has already been endorsed by HRC and the LGBT Equality Caucus.
INDIANA CITY STEPS UP WHERE STATE HASN’T: Earlier this week, the Valparaiso, Indiana, City Council adopted a human rights ordinance that prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, veteran status and familial status. Indiana cities have been voting to protect their LGBT citizens after state leaders failed to do so during this year’s legislative session. More from NWI.com
UN ISSUES REPORT ON TRANSPHOBIA AND HOMOPHOBIA IN SCHOOLS: A new report from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has found that as many as 85 percent of LGBT students experience violence in schools, and 45 percent of transgender students drop out of school before they graduate. To combat these harrowing numbers, the report provides key guidance to schools to better protect their LGBT students (and, as nearly 5 million child welfare advocates agree, anti-trans legislation is not on that list). More from UN Dispatch.
GIVE CAPTAIN AMERICA A BOYFRIEND: After the hashtag #GiveElsaAGirlfriend lit up social media earlier this month, users now have a new request: #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend. In March, Marvel Studios answered a call to action from HRC President Chad Griffin, who urged Hollywood to abandon future productions in Georgia if Governor Nathan Deal signed an anti-LGBT bill, H.B. 757, into law (Gov. Deal vetoed the bill). Now it’s time for Marvel to bring LGBTQ representation into their most popular films. More from HRC.
ABOUT FACE: A Wichita High School, which was thrust into the national spotlight after it was revealed that students can be rejected if they have LGBT families, is suddenly crying, “no discrimination here!” More from Towleroad.
Jackson Free Press shares Project One America Director Ben Needham’s perspective encouraging Mississippi to look to the example set by sister state Alabama in rejecting anti-LGBT legislation; Care2 highlights over-the-top reactions to the Obama administration’s new guidance on trans students; Jackson Free Press tells the stories of trans Mississippians speaking out against HB 1523; 225 Baton Rouge profiles Diversity House, the first shelter for LGBT homeless youth on the Gulf Coast; Slate looks at the history and future of Ugandan Pride celebrations; Policy Matters Ohio breaks down the state of LGBT equality in Ohio; and WCNC covers the story of an eighth grader who was sent home because of her pro-equality shirt.