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HUNDREDS ATTEND I AM JAZZ READING IN WI PUBLIC LIBRARY: Last night at Mount Horeb Public Library, an estimated 600 people turned out to support the family of a transgender first-grader by attending a reading of I Am Jazz, a book based on the real-life experiences of transgender teenager Jazz Jennings. The incredible display of community support for the student, enrolled at Mount Horeb Primary Center, came about after the school was forced to cancel its own reading under threat of legal action by the right-wing anti-LGBT organization Liberty Counsel. Another parent, Amy Lyle, organized the reading, told 27 News, “I really just felt concern for this child and this family and I worried about how they would be feeling and that they might not feel supported, so I thought what better kind of positive thing can we do than read the book in another setting.” Jessica Herthel, who co-authored the book with Jazz Jennings, flew to Madison to read the book in person at Wednesday’s event and show support for the student and their family. Jazz, who is an HRC Youth Ambassador and has been recognized as one of TIME’s Most Influential Teens in 2014 and 2015, yesterday penned a powerful op-ed on the importance of creating safe spaces for all children. HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program, which works with many schools that want to support transgender students, also passed out dozens of copies of I Am Jazz to children and families at the reading. More here: and

SETTLEMENT REACHED IN ILLINOIS CASE ON TRANSGENDER STUDENT’S RIGHTS: According to reports, the Illinois school district that was found in violation of anti-discrimination laws for refusing to grant a transgender girl unrestricted access to the female locker room, has reached a settlement with the federal government. Yesterday was the last day for the school district to comply with the ruling or risk losing federal funding. Details of the proposed agreement have yet to be released. More here:
TRAILBLAZER ELLEN PAGE ON AMERICAN WAY MAGAZINE: HRC supporter Ellen Page graces the cover of latest issue of American Way Magazine. The Oscar nominee, who came out publicly at HRC’s Time to THRIVE conference in 2014, opens up about her latest film Freeheld and her decision to start living openly. Page and was honored at HRC’s 19th Annual National Dinner with the National Vanguard Award for her courage and leadership.

150 INDIANA BUSINESSES ANNOUNCE COALITION TO PUSH FOR LGBT PROTECTIONS: Yesterday, 150 local businesses officially launched Indiana Competes, a coalition fighting to expand fully inclusive nondiscrimination protections in housing, public accommodations and employment to LGBT Hoosiers. Business leaders talked about the importance of inclusive laws for attracting top talent, and securing Indiana’s reputation as a hospitable and welcoming place following the RFRA showdown in March. State Democrats and Republicans have both introduced bills that will be debated when the General Assembly returns in January. However, the measure by Republicans is extremely flawed and has huge religious carve-outs that go far beyond the existing religious exemptions in Indiana law for religious institutions and ordained clergy. The coalition includes major companies like Eli Lilly, Cummins, Anthem, AT&T, and Salesforce. More here: and
ARKANSAS OFFICIALS REFUSE TO AMEND BIRTH CERTIFICATES DESPITE POSITIVE RULING: Despite Pulaski Circuit Court Judge Tim Fox’s ruling in favor of three same-sex couples who sued to be listed on the birth certificates of their children, Arkansas is refusing to extend that right to anyone beyond the plaintiffs in Judge Fox’s case. Yesterday, Attorney Gender Leslie Rutledge announced plans to stay Fox’s decision and appeal to the State Supreme Court, saying it’s being done to “avoid confusion.” More here:

QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA VOTES TO REINSTATE CIVIL UNIONS: Today, the Queensland, Australia state parliament overwhelming voted in favor of reinstating civil unions for heterosexual and same-sex couples giving same-sex couples legal recognition and laying the foundation for marriage equality. Civil unions were first legalized in 2008, but were scrapped when a new party came into power a few years later. The Australian Capital Territory is currently the only other jurisdiction in the country that allows civil unions for same-sex couples. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said “It’s time to again allow heterosexual couples who might want to affirm their relationship but not take the step of actually getting married the right to do so… ‘It’s also time – once again – to allow same sex couples that same right … These ceremonies and the symbolism they represent are important, particularly to people in same-sex relationships.” Marriage equality which is overwhelmingly supported in Australia remains illegal, but a vote on the issue is scheduled for after the next federal election. More here:
DOMINICAN CARDINAL MAKES ANTI-LGBT COMMENTS: This week, Dominican Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez made anti-LGBT comments about U.S. Ambassador James "Wally" Brewster, who spoke out against corruption in the Dominican Republic. According to the Associated Press Cardinal Rodriguez said, “That man needs to go back to his embassy… Let him focus on housework, since he's the wife to a man.” Wally Brewster who was confirmed in 2013, is the fifth openly LGBT United States Ambassador to serve. HRC President Chad Griffin has called on Pope Francis to speak out against bigotry and condemn Rodriquez’s horrific attacks immediately. More here:
RUSSIAN TV HOSTS REVEALS HIV STATUS: Helping to fighting against stigma, Russian TV personality Pavel Lobkov told TV audiences that he was diagnosed as HIV positive in 2003. Revealing his state on World AIDS Day, Lobkov recounted the difficulties that he faced and the lack of sympathy and support from doctors. He has been outspoken on a wide range of issues, including the treatment of LGBT people in Russia. This week, HRC, NCLR and CHLP launched a public education campaign to sound the alarm on dangerous HIV criminalization laws and the disproportionate harm they cause LGBT people, particularly LGBT communities of color. More here:
LATEST CHALLENGE TO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE BAN IN NORTHERN IRELAND: Today, two same-sex couples head to the High Court in Belfast to challenge Northern Ireland’s ban on same-sex marriage. Last month, for a fifth time, marriage equality was rejected in the Northern Ireland assembly making it the only part of the United Kingdom where same-sex couples still cannot legally get married. This is the second legal challenge to the ban, the first of which happened last month. More here:
The Wall Street Journal writes about the gap in tech companies that have very LGBT-inclusive business practices but lack LGBT leadership… The Washington Blade takes an in-depth look at what LGBT advocates are hoping for in the 2016 party platforms… The New York Times explores Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s long history of opposing LGBT equality both on and off the bench… KTVB covers the refusal of many Idaho schools to adopt trans-inclusive policies despite recommendations by the Idaho School Board Association.

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Filed under: A.M. Equality, Community

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