U.S. REPS WHO’VE SERVED OVERSEAS IN THE MILITARY BLAST HB2: In a letter sent last week, eight Democratic Representatives who served in the Iraq, Vietnam and Korean wars blasted Governor McCrory for signing into law HB2, which among its egregious provisions, has eliminated local non-discrimination protections for veterans in places like Greensboro and Orange County. They write, “By signing HB2 into law you legalized discrimination against North Carolinians who put their lives on the line in service to our country… As fellow veterans, we believe this law and your actions are unconscionable. We urge you to support the immediate repeal of HB2.”
· Cyndi Lauper meets with LGBTQ youth… Over the weekend, award-winning singer and long-time LGBTQ equality advocate Cyndi Lauper met with LGBTQ youth at the LGBT Center of Raleigh to learn more about their lives and experiences. Profits from Lauper’s Saturday concert went to efforts to repeal the law.
· Selena Gomez, Death Cab for Cutie and Chvches have joined the growing list of artists and entertainers “putting their money where their heart is” in North Carolina by donating concert proceeds to LGBTQ rights groups. Gomez has also assured that there will be gender neutral bathrooms at her concert venue.
· Broadway voices: On June 13, big stars in the Broadway community will be holding a benefit concert aimed at fighting HB2. Performers include “Hamilton” singer-actress Ariana Debose, Melvin Tunstall of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” and Lindsay Northen from “Wicked.” Transgender model and activist Geena Rocero is set to host the event.
HILLARY CLINTON ON THE FIGHT FOR A MORE EQUAL AMERICA: In case you missed it, check out Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s LGBTQ Pride Month op-ed. In the piece, Clinton celebrates how much we’ve accomplished as a nation, but reminds us of the stakes in this election, as Republican nominee Donald Trump threatens to undo marriage equality and sign the discriminatory First Amendment Defense Act into law. Proving again why she’s the champion we need in the White House, Clinton highlights the need for the Equality Act, and shares the story of Jodie Patterson -- the mother of a transgender boy who’s praying for a future where her son, Penel, will have the same opportunities as all other kids. Clinton writes, “Kids like Penel are why all of us do what we do. They are why we fight for an America where every child is supported and loved for who they are, and nothing stands in the way of what they can become.”
“OUR MAGNETIC FIVE-YEAR-OLD IS NOT A THREAT TO ANYONE”: In a moving piece in The Washington Post, parents Ron Ford Jr. and Vanessa Ford share their remarkable story of love, kindness and acceptance of their five-year-old transgender daughter, Ellie. The Fords know first-hand that the national conversation surrounding the transgender community “isn’t truly about bathrooms,” but about discrimination. They write, “We must refuse to give in to fear and misunderstanding. We must embrace transgender children and adults with love, not discrimination, and empathy, not hatred.”
ANTI-TRANS RESOLUTION STALLS IN NEBRASKA: On Friday, the Nebraska Board of Education failed to advance a proposed resolution that would declare the Department of Justice’s recent guidance on transgender students “federal overreach.” After 15 speakers on both sides of the issue testified before a packed room, the board deadlocked 3-3 on the resolution. The Omaha World-Herald also reports that Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson is contemplating whether to join 12 other state officials in a suit filed against the federal government, calling for the rescission of protections for transgender Americans.
· Hate on to the Hill… Rep. Ralph Abraham (R - LA) has introduced a bill that would amend the Education Amendments of 1972 to “clarify” that the term sex in Title IX is referring to “biological sex”. The legislation now before the Education and Workforce committee would allow schools to bar transgender students from using restrooms that correspond with their gender identity. More from KOLO8.
STRIKE THREE FOR MISSISSIPPI: On Friday, a third lawsuit was filed against Mississippi's discriminatory HB 1523 law. The suit alleges that the law violates the separation of church and state by favoring, “certain narrow religious beliefs that condemn same-sex couples who get married, condemn unmarried people who have sexual relations and condemn transgender people.” Despite the impending legal battles, Governor Bryant continues to defend the outrageous law that goes into effect July 1. More from The Associated Press.
ANOTHER BAN LIFTED: Northern Ireland has become the latest state to end its lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood. The new policy, which goes into effect in September, still falls short as it will require a year-long abstinence for potential gay and bisexual male donors -- a similar move to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s policy change last December. More from The Advocate.
HISTORIC PRO-TRANS MOVE IN INDIA: In a historic move, India’s Odisha region has become the first in the country to offer social welfare benefits -- such as pensions and housing -- to the transgender community. Niten Chandra, principal secretary of Odisha’s Department of Social Security told Reuters that the decision came after consulting with transgender Indians who she says “are in a very bad condition because of social exclusion. For example, they very often do not get employment easily.”
RABBIS STAND WITH TRANS COMMUNITY: The Rabbinical Assembly, a group of Conservative Jewish rabbis, have adopted a resolution supporting the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming people. Approved last week, the resolution expresses “the full welcome, acceptance, and inclusion of people of all gender identities in Jewish life and general society.” More from The Huffington Post.
Slate explains how summer jobs programs greatly benefit LGBTQ youth… U.S. News and World Report examines how gyms and personal trainers can become more LGBTQ-friendly beyond bathroom policies… Mashable shares the release of Australia’s first gay wedding magazine… BuzzFeed mourns the loss of Britain’s only LGBTQ domestic abuse charity… MSNBC documents how Minneapolis became the first city in the country to pass trans protections… The Anniston Star editorial board grills Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore… Slate highlights the pro-LGBTQ legacy of outgoing Solicitor General Don Verrilli… The Dallas Morning News spotlights a Texas student’s effort to start a Gay Straight Alliance in her high school… Texas Public Radio introduces us to Ann Elder, a Texas mother speaking out in support of her transgender son, Benjamin… and in an op-ed for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pennsylvania State Rep. Dan Frankel calls for the passage of the Pennsylvania Fairness Act.