NORTH CAROLINA ATTORNEY GENERAL ROY COOPER REITERATES OPPOSITION TO HB2: Governor McCrory continues to deflect blame for his disastrous HB2, going so far as to call on Attorney General Roy Cooper to resign. Yesterday, McCrory claimed that Cooper had undergone a “quiet reversal” of his stance on the discriminatory law. In reality, Cooper’s office had requested an extension of time to respond to the lawsuit brought against the state by the Departments of Justice and Education. Nevertheless, McCrory seized upon the opportunity to mislead the public by declaring that the Attorney General now planned to defend HB2 in federal court. “This is just more misinformation from Governor McCrory on the truth about HB2,” Cooper’s campaign said. “The Attorney General has been consistent that he will not defend this bad law.” More from The News & Observer.
- NBA on the hunt for other cities to host All-Star Game… At the NBA’s Board of Governors meeting yesterday, Commissioner Adam Silver said that while there’s still “strong interest” in finding a way to stay in Charlotte for the 2017 All-Star Game, with HB2 still on the books, the NBA has already started investigating other cities. In a statement released today, an NBA spokesman said Silver, “clarified that the NBA remains deeply concerned about its ability to successfully host the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte, North Carolina, in light of recent legislation that discriminates against the LGBT community.”
- NC Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) said this week that the Legislature should “roll back” the bathroom provision in HB2. Burr repeated the nonsensical talking point that somehow the Charlotte City Council “made a mistake” by passing their LGBT non-discrimination ordinance in the first place (seriously, do they not know about the 100+ cities -- and 18 states -- that have these laws?) but went on to say that the General Assembly “further created a problem.” It sure did, Sen. Burr. Time to repeal HB2 and pass the Equality Act.
- NC’s small business owners would certainly appreciate a little more equality -- they are continuing to speak out for the repeal of HB2, saying the economic hit their businesses have taken is “scary and sad.” Many feel they “would be done for” if HB2’s disastrous effects continue.
- Dead & Company, which includes Grateful Dead members and singer John Mayer, announced yesterday they will generously donate $100,000 to HRC and Equality NC to support on-the-ground efforts to repeal HB2, saying that their shows “have always been a safe place for all of our audience to come together through music no matter how they appear or self-identify.”
- Let’s get grounded here... After finding out that NC airports could be in jeopardy of losing funding from the FAA for enforcing the discriminatory HB2, Congressman Robert Pittenger (R - NC) told HRC to “back off.” We’ll just be over here like...
PRESIDENT OBAMA STANDS UP FOR TRANS YOUTH: President Obama spoke strongly on behalf of protections for transgender young people during a PBS town hall event this week. An audience member asked why the issue of which bathroom a person uses is so important. The president reminded the audience that it wasn’t an issue that arose overnight, and that rather “people suffered silently” for generations as they were excluded from everyday society. President Obama laid it out simply: “...We should deal with this issue the same way we’d want it dealt with if it was our child. And that is to try to create an environment of some dignity and kindness for these kids. And that’s sort of the bottom line.”
- Another strong stance for equality from national leaders: The DNC released a statement celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month, using it as an opportunity to again stress their support of the Equality Act. Despite gains, they said the fight must continue “until all Americans are fully and equally protected under the law…” Learn about the Equality Act here.
- Sen. Bob Casey co-sponsors Equality Act: Sen. Bob Casey (D - PA) announced that he will be co-sponsoring the Equality Act. Sen. Casey joins 42 other senators in co-sponsoring this bill to protect the LGBT community.
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS PROPOSES TO LIFT BAN ON GENDER CONFIRMATION SURGERY FOR TRANS VETS: The VA has proposed a new rule that would lift the ban on transition-related surgery for transgender veterans. As currently written, the proposed rule would allow VA hospitals to perform transition-related surgery within their facilities or provide it within the community. Though a spokesperson for the VA said the review process is expected to take nearly two years, this is welcome news -- the discriminatory ban has been on the books since the early 1990’s. More from TIME.
ERIC FANNING: “AN INCREDIBLE HONOR” TO SERVE AS FIRST OPENLY GAY SECRETARY OF THE U.S. ARMY: In an interview with The Today Show yesterday, Eric Fanning reflected on becoming the first openly-gay leader of a U.S. military service and the highest-ranking, Senate-confirmed openly-LGBTQ appointed official. Though Fanning initially wanted the focus to be solely on his qualifications instead of his identity, he’s now embraced it. “It’s so important to so many people, I realize.” Fanning’s nomination comes just five years after the historic end of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) law that prohibited qualified LGB Americans from serving in the U.S. armed forces, and as the military is preparing to move forward to lift the ban on transgender service.
MASS. HOUSE ADVANCES BILL EXTENDING PROTECTIONS TO TRANS COMMUNITY: The Massachusetts House of Representatives voted to extend commonsense non-discrimination protections to the state’s transgender residents and visitors this week. While Massachusetts state law already prohibits anti-transgender discrimination in housing and employment, the new legislation will extend the same crucial protections to public accommodations. The bill now goes to conference committee where it will be reconciled with the version the Senate passed in early May, and will then head to the desk of Republican Gov. Charlie Baker who said earlier this week he supports the legislation.
CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL PREPARES TO VOTE ON TRANS RIGHTS BILL: The Cleveland City Council in Ohio is preparing to vote on a bill that would permit transgender residents and visitors to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity and prohibit discrimination in public accommodations -- such as restaurants, theaters, and public restrooms. The Council could vote as soon as Monday on the legislation. HRC Communications Director Jay Brown said this would be a “notable step forward in a city soon playing host to the Republican National Convention.” More from BuzzFeed.
GOP MILLENNIALS WANT TO SEE FAIR-MINDED CANDIDATES: A new survey from the College Republican National Committee found that young people across the board -- including GOP millennials -- care the most about whether a candidate is “kind to people of all walks of life.”
THE SNACK THAT SMILES BACK: Goldfish is using their position as the number one cracker brand with kids to advocate for LGBTQ equality. The snack will feature an array of rainbow colored fish on their packaging in celebration of Pride month, and is adopting the hashtag #ForAllFamilies in support of same-sex households. More from Ad Week.
NBC News outlines the new (free!) Sims update that removes gender barriers within the game; The Advocate profiles Casa Ruby, the bilingual, multicultural LGBTQ home based in Washington, DC; Today illustrates the experience of one trans woman’s transition during college… Vital VOICE explains why the US Navy is celebrating Pride Month; The Washington Post covers a new survey that finds Americans are having more same-sex sexual experiences; BuzzFeed reports the first UK police force recording whether domestic violence incidents involve LGBTQ individuals; NBC News spotlights intersex activist Pidgeon Pagonis; and Newsweek points out the falsities of Russia’s anti-condom AIDS-prevention strategies.