UNC WON’T ENFORCE VILE HB2 LAW: In a welcome reversal from her previous position, UNC System President Margaret Spellings says she will not enforce the discriminatory HB2 on the University of North Carolina campuses. In a legal filing Friday, Spellings said she and the university system will not “promulgate any guidelines or regulations” requiring that transgender students use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity. HRC Communications Director Jay Brown said that the next step should be supporting full repeal, noting that “the law remains a threat to students, faculty and alumni -- not to mention the rest of the state -- as long as it is on the books. Students have a right to learn without fear of discrimination, on or off campus, and university leaders have an obligation to protect them.” More from HRC.
- Pick up the tab: UNC had asked state Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office to pay the hefty legal fees the school would accrue using expensive outside counsel to defend against HB2 lawsuits. Cooper has made clear he won’t defend the discriminatory law. In an email to the Board of Governors on Friday, Cooper’s office had some sensible advice for avoiding legal bills, encouraging the board to “help fight HB2 by urging the governor and legislature to repeal the law, which would quickly solve the problem.”
- Indie band Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros performed an onstage vow renewal ceremony for a gay couple during the band’s concert in Raleigh. The band used the moment to protest HB2, reminding fans that the law “was passed by an immoral minority – North Carolina has many thriving, creative, modern communities.”
- Famed singer-songwriter Jackson Browne will donate all of his North Carolina shows’ net proceeds to support local and national LGBTQ groups, including Equality NC and HRC. Thanks, Jackson Browne, for your support of HRC and the fight to #RepealHB2!
HRC CALLS ON GOP LEADERSHIP TO CONDEMN LAWMAKER’S ATTACKS ON LGBT PEOPLE AS “WORTHY OF DEATH”: HRC has again made the call for Republican leadership to condemn repeated anti-LGBT attacks from lawmakers. Rep. Rick Allen (R - GA) made headlines last week after he said LGBT people are “worthy of death.” He made his comments during an official House Republican Conference meeting. HRC Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof said that House Speaker Paul Ryan and Republican House leadership have “a responsibility to immediately condemn Representative Allen’s vile and dangerous remarks. … At a time when LGBT people face staggering rates of discrimination, harassment and violence, Representative Allen’s comments spread hate that does real harm. Representative Allen should apologize or be censured -- and Republican leaders must make clear that they will not tolerate lawmakers who sow hatred and violence against LGBT people.” More from HRC.
- In another bizarre attack on LGBT rights, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R - TX) said last week that NASA would never choose to send same-sex couples into space. Rather, Gohmert said, it’s up to NASA to be a “modern-day Noah” and “perpetuate humanity and the wildlife kingdom.”
TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL KEN PAXTON’S EXTREME ANTI-TRANS MOTIVATIONS: A report in the Texas Tribune shows the incredibly ugly lengths Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is willing to take to target transgender students he’s supposed to be protecting. Paxton, who last week filed a federal lawsuit with government officials in 10 other states aimed at blocking federal nondiscrimination protections for transgender people, spent about two weeks trying to persuade a school board to implement anti-transgender student policies allowing him to sue the federal government. At least two districts were approached, including Wichita Falls, which after an hour-long conversation chose not to pass the anti-trans policy requested by Paxton. The AG currently faces three felony fraud indictments for violating state securities laws, civil fraud charges, and a separate investigation from the Texas State Bar for encouraging clerks to ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling on nationwide marriage equality.
HRC MOURNS AMOS BEEDE, TRANSGENDER MAN KILLED IN VERMONT: Amos Beede, a transgender man from Burlington, Vermont, has died from injuries he sustained during an assault last week. Beede suffered head trauma and a number of broken ribs. Though the investigation is still underway, Burlington police have “not ruled out the victim’s transgender status as a possible additional motive” to the killing, and believe that the attack was not random. More from the Burlington Free Press.
HOW THE TABLES TURN… DISGRACED ALABAMA JUSTICE ROY MOORE NOW WANTS FEDS TO PROTECT HIM: Roy Moore, the disgraced Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice removed from the bench earlier this month for refusing to comply with the historic Obergefell ruling, is now alleging the state violated his civil rights in removing him - and is suing Alabama in the same federal courts whose rulings he defied. Moore is the subject of an ongoing inquiry into ethics charges filed by the Judicial Inquiry Commission stemming from his instruction to Alabama probate judges to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling and refuse to perform marriages for same-sex couples. Under Alabama’s constitution Moore must be removed from his position while the ethics charges are pending. Now, Moore has filed a complaint in federal court saying that he’s the one suffering a great injustice, and that the provision used to remove him is denying him of “life, liberty or property without due process of law.” Moore was previously removed from the bench in 2003 for an ethics complaint related to failing to comply with a federal court order. Can’t make it up, folks. More #NoMoore from BuzzFeed.
OKLAHOMA LEGISLATURE ADJOURNS WITHOUT PASSING ANY OF THE STATE’S 29 ANTI-LGBT BILLS: The Republican-controlled Oklahoma Legislature adjourned for the year on Friday without passing any of the 29 heinous anti-LGBT bills that were introduced. This included the anti-transgender Senate Bill 1619, which would have forced schools to make accommodations for students who purported to have religious objections to sharing a sex-segregated space with transgender students. Going a step further, the legislation also strangely stated that allowing students with religious objections to use a single-user facility was not an acceptable accommodation.
NEW FILM HIGHLIGHTS TRANSGENDER SERVICEMEMBERS AND VETERANS: A new feature length film, TransMilitary, highlights the story of courageous men and women who came out as transgender while serving in the U.S. military. The film features service members at all levels, including top brass inside the Pentagon. According to the Palm Center, there are approximately 15,500 actively-serving transgender members of the U.S. military, making the Department of Defense (DOD) the largest employer of transgender people in America. Meanwhile, transgender service members are still sitting in limbo as they await new guidelines from DOD officials permitting them to the right to serve openly. More from HRC.
A GROWING FAMILY TREE: 16 couples share their heartwarming stories of building their LGBT families, chronicling their journeys through pregnancies, adoptions, and the sense of purpose their children have given them. HRC was also proud to mark National Foster Care Month with the launch of HRC Foundation and FosterClub’s #FosterEquality campaign. Throughout the month, we have shared stories of LGBTQ youth in foster care and agencies that are working to improve their practices with LGBTQ youth. The final story of the month comes from Tristan, a transgender teen who learned to advocate for himself in the foster care system.
JOURNEY TO BIRTHRIGHT: A group of 40 Jewish LGBTQ young adults left for Israel on Monday as part of a trip sponsored by Birthright, which provides journeys for young people seeking to strengthen their Jewish roots. During the trip, the group will be learning about Israel’s LGBTQ history and attending the Tel Aviv Pride Parade on June 3. More from The Jerusalem Post.
The Huffington Post answers questions about asexual identity; Entertainment Weekly highlights the argument for LGBTQ representation in superhero movies; Fans find what may be Disney’s first lesbian couple in the new Finding Dory trailer; and The Advocate shares Utah’s recent efforts to help their LGBTQ youth.