#AM_Equality Tip Sheet: June 1, 2016
APPEALS COURT DENIES SCHOOL’S REQUEST TO REHEAR TRANSGENDER STUDENT’S RIGHTS CASE: The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected a request by a Virginia school district to rehear the lawsuit filed by transgender student Gavin Grimm. Grimm’s discrimination claim against Virginia’s Gloucester County School District alleged the district violated Title IX by denying him use of the boy’s restroom. After the Circuit Court’s 2-1 decision last month affirming the Department of Education’s interpretation of Title IX of the Education Act of 1972 as protecting transgender students like Grimm from discrimination, the Virginia school board asked for the rehearing in front of the entire 15-judge panel. The case now goes back to federal district court in Virginia for a decision more deferential to the Department of Education’s interpretation. More from The Washington Post.
HRC CALLS ON FAA TO ENSURE THAT U.S. TAXPAYERS AREN’T FOOTING BILL FOR DISCRIMINATION BY NC AIRPORTS: HRC is calling on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to determine whether public airports in North Carolina are enforcing the state’s discriminatory HB2 law in violation of the Civil Rights Act, especially given the significant financial support they receive from taxpayer-funded Airport Improvement Grants used to operate and expand facilities. “If these airports comply with the discriminatory mandate of HB2, they will be in direct violation of federal law and therefore these grant requirements,” HRC President Chad Griffin told FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in a letter. “We urge you to take steps immediately to hold these public airports accountable and to ensure that state sanctioned -- and funded -- discrimination does not continue on your watch.” The U.S. Department of Justice takes the position that the Civils Rights Act of 1964 extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity. More from The Charlotte Observer.
- Psychologist and author Diane Ehrensaft argues that HB2 hits youth the hardest, including both transgender and non-transgender children. Enforcing HB2, she says, creates obvious harm and suffering for transgender children, and also teaches “bigotry, fear and misunderstanding among their non-transgender peers…” Ehrensaft’s assessment echoes that of a growing group of child welfare professionals -- including members of the American Academy of Pediatrics -- who have warned of the dangers HB2 poses to youth in particular.
- Gov. Pat McCrory continues to live in a make-believe world when it comes to opposition to his discriminatory HB2 law. Last week, his campaign claimed that “we don’t know who funds” HRC. A quick look into McCrory’s claim by the fact-checking outlet Politifact found that the governor’s ludicrous assertion is “clearly wrong.” Get the full breakdown here.
CELEBRATING LGBTQ EQUALITY, PRESIDENT OBAMA KICKS OFF PRIDE MONTH: Today, HRC proudly kicks off National LGBTQ Pride Month, which annually marks the anniversary of the famous 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City that sparked the broader LGBTQ rights movement. President Obama marked the occasion with a moving proclamation yesterday: “[The LGBTQ community has] spurred sweeping progress by changing hearts and minds and by demanding equal treatment — under our laws, from our courts, and in our politics. This month, we recognize all they have done to bring us to this point, and we recommit to bending the arc of our Nation toward justice.” More from HRC.
TODAY -- MASSACHUSETTS HOUSE EXPECTED TO VOTE ON PROTECTIONS FOR TRANSGENDER PEOPLE: On the heels of news that Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker supports a bill guaranteeing legal protections for transgender people in restaurants, grocery stores and other public places, the House is expected to vote today on the measure. HRC Communications Director Jay Brown stressed the need for such protections in the state: “Transgender people in Massachusetts deserve full equality under the law, including the same protections in public places that are afforded to other groups. Despite false claims from our opponents, there’s been absolutely no increase in public safety risks from providing these protections in the more than 100 cities and 18 states that have them on the books -- many for decades.”
TEXAS LT. GOVERNOR DAN PATRICK DOESN’T KNOW ANY TRANS PEOPLE, BUT URGES SCHOOLS TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST THEM: At a press conference on Tuesday, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick urged the state’s 1,200 school districts to defy the recent guidance issued by the Departments of Education and Justice clarifying that transgender students are encompassed under federal education non-discrimination law and helping schools to ensure that transgender students can learn in a safe, supportive environment. The press conference was intended to outline the “next steps” Texas would take after the state’s Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit last week seeking to nullify that guidance. Tellingly, when asked whether he actually knew any transgender Texans, the Lt. Gov. replied: “No, I don’t know if on a personal basis I do.” Later, parents of transgender children gathered at the state Capitol to rebuke Patrick’s vile comments. “I’m here to tell Dan Patrick, you -- specifically you -- are endangering my child’s life because you have now told everyone in the state of Texas that it’s OK to harass my child, it’s OK for the school district to stop supporting him.” said Ann Elder of Friendswood, Texas, the mother of a 10-year-old transgender son. More from Fox 7.
CANADIAN PREMIERE VOWS TO END DISCRIMINATORY PARENTING LAW: Canadian Premiere Kathleen Wynne has pledged to pass legislation that will end discrimination against same-sex parents in the registration of birth certificates in Ontario. Currently, Ontario law mandates that only a birth mother and her live-in male partner or the child’s male biological father can be legally recognized as parents. These discriminatory requirements often force same-sex parents to adopt their own children. Wynne said that the “laws are outdated and do not reflect our views on who can form a family,” and stressed her commitment to passing legislation with an LGBT-inclusive definition of parents. More from CBC News.
BRIT’S HEALTH SERVICE SHOCKS, REFUSES TO PROVIDE HIV-PREVENTION DRUG: NHS (National Health Service) England has announced that it will not roll out the HIV-prevention treatment PrEP, shocking advocates, including the UK’s leading HIV charity National AIDS Trust (NAT). While NHS England has said it does not have the “legal power to commission PrEP,” NAT says it will consider legal action against the healthcare system for refusing to provide the drug. The charity said that the NHS’s decision to not commission PrEP leaves “this potentially life-changing drug on the shelf and inaccessible to people at real risk of HIV.” More from BuzzFeed.
NAURU DECRIMINALIZES SAME-SEX ACTIVITY: Nauru, a small island state in the Pacific Ocean and the world’s third smallest country by size, is the latest country to decriminalize same-sex relations by updating its criminal code. Nauru’s unicameral parliament updated the existing Criminal Code of 1899, which had criminalized same-sex relations by up to 14 years in prison, based on Australian colonial-era laws. Despite this positive development, Nauru still has a long way to go: it lacks an LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination law and does not have marriage equality. More from HRC.
NEW ABSOLUT COMMERCIAL STARS TRANSGENDER ACTRESS: A new commercial from Absolut stars transgender actress Carol Marra as part of the company’s #AbsolutNights campaign. It shows two friends, one of whom is transgender, reconnecting at a music festival. “For 30+ years, Absolut has supported people’s rights to be their true selves with the help of our artistic collaborations and ongoing support of the LGBT community,” Absolut shared on Facebook. “Our mission statement to foster a more open and diverse world does exactly that. It invites you to be you, at your most authentic, true self.” More from HRC.
Time interviews transgender teen Jazz Jennings about how she came out; BuzzFeed shares 13 pieces of wisdom Ian McKellen has for LGBTQ youth; The New York Times updates us on a transgender man’s fight for workplace equality in China; Right Wing Watch announces that Brian Brown, president of the notoriously anti-LGBTQ National Organization for Marriage, will become president of the equally dangerous, anti-LGBTQ World Congress of Families; and HRC celebrates pro-equality businesses in Arkansas.