#AM_Equality Tip Sheet: June 23, 2016

HRC staff

#NoBillNoBreak: DEMOCRATS STAGE SIT-IN ON HOUSE FLOOR FIGHTING FOR COMMON-SENSE GUN LAWS: In the wake of the Orlando tragedy -- the nation’s deadliest mass shooting -- more than 80 House and Senate Democrats joined Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Katherine Clark (D-MA) and David Cicilline (D-RI) to stage a sit-in on the House floor Wednesday to try to force a vote on common-sense gun violence prevention policies. Roddy Flynn, executive director of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus told Politico, “…the members wearing rainbow ribbons, these were provided by the LGBT Caucus to be sure as the debate goes in we’re always remember the community and identity the victims were celebrating when they died.” The move comes on the heels of last week’s 15-hour filibuster by Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) to force a Senate vote on these measures. Senate Democrats pushed two bills to vote -- one to strengthen background checks and another to prevent suspected terrorists from obtaining weapons. HRC supported both bills, which were voted down. As of this morning, the House sit-in was still ongoing.

NORTH CAROLINIANS RALLY AGAINST HATE, DEMAND REPEAL OF HB2: Yesterday, the coalition organizations of TurnOUT! North Carolina (NC), HRC, Equality North Carolina, the ACLU and the Campaign for Southern Equality hosted a “Rally Against Hate” in Raleigh demanding lawmakers repeal HB2, North Carolina’s anti-LGBTQ law. Leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly have stated that they plan to end this year’s Short Session around June 30, leaving them less than two weeks to repeal HB2. Following the horrific Orlando massacre, hundreds of North Carolinians turned out to stand determined to defeat the hate and bigotry that motivated the attack.

“A COALITION OF US’S”: DUSTIN LANCE BLACK’S MOVING ESSAY ON ORLANDO: Dustin Lance Black, screenwriter of the award-winning film Milk, penned a powerful essay following the tragedy in Orlando. He calls for the LGBTQ community to build a “coalition of us’s” in the fight against hatred and the gun violence it inspires. Black recalls that Harvey Milk had the help and support of a broad coalition when he became the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California. He asks that the LGBTQ community join into a similar coalition again in the fight against gun violence: “It will, unfortunately, be a long road to eradicate the lies and hatred that inspire people to target our brothers and sisters, our children, parents, and our loved ones, but it must be traveled together. As Harvey Milk taught us long ago, in a ‘coalition of the us’s’ we have the political power to disarm hatred.”

  • HRC joins Muslim-LGBTQ unity statement following Orlando shooting: HRC has joined over 60 organizations in a Muslim-LGBTQ Unity Statement: “In standing together, hand in hand, across every faith, we send a powerful message to those who seek to divide us using hatred and violence: love is stronger than hate and hope will defeat fear.” HRC is proud to stand with these organizations in the fight against bigotry and hate.
  • Atlanta mayor meets with LGBTQ leaders to talk public safety: Mayor Kasim Reed met with 35 community and business leaders from the LGBTQ community yesterday to discuss public safety concerns after recent events in Orlando. Mayor Reed committed to several actions that will help keep LGBTQ citizens in Atlanta safe, such as establishing a fund to supplement security costs at locations identified by the LGBTQ community and establishing a committee to maintain communication with the LGBTQ community.

ROY COOPER DEFENDS NC SCHOOL DISTRICT’S NEW TRANSGENDER POLICY: Transgender students in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system will have their names and pronouns honored beginning next school year, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools announced on Monday. This change will also allow transgender students to use the restroom and locker room that corresponds to their gender identity, as well as have the correct name listed in yearbooks and graduation ceremonies. While the school system is merely following the Departments of Justice and Education’s guidance on transgender students, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory predictably claimed that they were “purposely breaking state law.” His Democratic rival Roy Cooper’s campaign pointed out that this “was a perfect example of why HB2 is harmful to our state.”

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES MOVES TO PROTECT LGBT PATIENTS: Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services published regulations revising the Conditions of Participation for Hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals to include explicit protections of LGBT patients. Specifically, these regulations create a new CoP standard that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex (including gender identity) and sexual orientation. The proposed new CoP standard contains three parts: a prohibition not to discriminate; a requirement to establish and implement a written policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex  (gender identity), sexual orientation, age, or disability; and inform each patient of their rights under this provision and provide information on how to file a complaint.  These explicit protections are a landmark step towards ending the stark health disparities facing the LGBT community today.

BUFFALO AREA SCHOOL IMPLEMENTS LGBTQ “SAFE ZONES”: Health Sciences Charter School in Buffalo, N.Y. has implemented LGBTQ “safe zones” in an effort to encourage conversations about gender and sexuality without fear or judgment. The goal is to eliminate homophobia by creating a secure environment for LGBTQ students and faculty.

CHICAGO APPROVES TRANSGENDER RIGHTS REVISION TO CITY ORDINANCE: Chicago’s transgender residents will now be able to use the public bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity, with the city’s aldermen passing a revision to their human rights ordinance on Wednesday. The revision closes a legal loophole in the existing ordinance that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says could have “inadvertently” allowed places of public accommodation to discriminate against transgender people. More from Talking Points Memo.

THE AIDS EPIDEMIC IS DEVASTATING THE SOUTH: An Ebony piece discusses the erasure of black and brown people from the HIV & AIDs epidemic in the 1980’s, a deeply problematic cherry-picking of history that has continued to devastate pockets of the LGBTQ community for decades. LGBTQ people of color experience far higher rates of the disease today, and black gay and bisexual men living in the South are particularly affected. The piece also highlights activists’ efforts around this issue, such as the pioneering work led by HRC’s HIV & AIDS Project Fellow Marvell L. Terry II.

BREXIT THREATENS LGBTQ RIGHTS: As Britain heads to the polls today to vote on whether to leave the European Union, many senior lawyers are concerned that a vote to leave could have both immediate and longer-term consequences for LGBTQ citizens. Protections from employment discrimination, for example, which are based on a human rights frameworks that originated in the European Union rulings and regulations, could be in jeopardy. More from BuzzFeed.

AUSTRIA COULD BE ADDING A THIRD GENDER TO ITS PASSPORTS: An intersex person from Austria is suing their local registry office for the right to identify themselves as intersex on their passport. The case is requesting that the passport be labeled with “X” or “Inter” instead of the two current options, male or female. The plaintiff’s lawyer says, “There is no single paragraph in the Austrian legal system that stipulates that there are only two genders… it is only written in the civil registry that a gender should be entered.” More from The Local.at


NerdWallet outlines how to take action against LGBTQ housing discrimination; Huffington Post covers the protest by LGBTQ, Muslim and Latinx advocates that took place outside Trump Towers, described as “the largest protest of its kind”; Michigan Live interviews State Rep. Jeremy Moss about his viral tweets on Orlando and homophobia in his statehouse; Italy’s high court has upheld a ruling that will make it easier for same-sex couples to adopt children; and Bustle provides nine sassy responses to marriage equality haters.

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