ILLINOIS SCHOOL DISTRICT TO COMPLY WITH FEDERAL RULING IN FAVOR OF TRANSGENDER STUDENT: Settling with the federal government, Illinois’s largest high school district has approved use of the female locker room for a transgender student. After a special meeting on Wednesday, the seven-member school board heard public comments and then voted 5-2 on Thursday to approve the deal reached with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Last month, the Department ruled that the school district broke anti-discrimination laws by refusing to grant the student who identifies as female and participates in girls sports, unrestricted access to the girls’ locker room. According to Buzzfeed News, the district and OCR differ on the scope of the ruling, which OCR says applies to all transgender students. The district, on the other hand, claims that it only applies to the original student who filed the complaint in 2013. The Obama Administration has also filed an amicus brief supporting a transgender student in his lawsuit against Virginia’s Gloucester County School District, which continues to deny him use of the restroom that corresponds with his gender identity. The school district ran the risk of losing millions of dollars in federal funding if they opted not to comply within 30 days of the federal government’s ruling. More here: http://bzfd.it/1IINngS

SCROOGE SPEAKS: DESPICABLE MARTIN SHKRELI SAYS “I WOULD HAVE RAISED PRICES HIGHER”: With his latest interview, Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli has officially cemented his place as the worst person in the world and poster child for pharmaceutical greed. In the interview which Forbes contributor Dan Diamond describes as “fascinating, horrifying, and utterly compelling,” Shkreli, who inexplicably raised the price of a lifesaving drug by an absurd 5,000 percent, says that the price hike didn’t go far enough--proving that his only concern is “maximizing profits.”  Fortunately, Express Scripts and Imprimis Pharmaceuticals have announced a partnership to offer a low-cost $1 per dose alternative to drug. More here: http://onforb.es/1HKSKS0

TED CRUZ GAINS IN RACE FOR MOST HOMOPHOBIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Metro Weekly reports on how Ted Cruz has added to his growing anti-LGBT rhetoric by suggesting that President Obama,“Treats the military as a cauldron for social experimentation. He’s more interested in promoting homosexuality in the military than he is in defeating our enemy.” Cruz claims that the military is “now focused on trying to promote transgendered [sic] soldiers.” Read more here: http://bit.ly/1lfa33s

CONGRESSIONAL RESOLUTION TO MAKE JUNE 26TH ‘LGBT EQUALITY DAY’: Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) has introduced a resolution (H.Res. 549) to designate June 26th as “LGBT Equality Day,” honoring the anniversary of three significant victories won at the Supreme Court for LGBT Americans. HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy applauded the move but spoke of the long road ahead before full equality is achieved saying, “Over the last decade and a half, June 26th has seen three remarkable victories at the Supreme Court in favor of fairness and equality for LGBT Americans. At the same time, far too many LGBT people face unfair, unjust, and unacceptable discrimination in their daily lives – a deplorable reality that Congress must address by passing the Equality Act.” On June 26th, the Supreme Court struck down state sodmomy bans in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, a discriminatory section of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013 and brought nationwide marriage equality in 2015. More here: http://bit.ly/1RtjJ6p

A.M. MUST READ - LAT OPED TRASHES ANTI-LGBT PARENTING STUDIES: Today's Must Read comes from the Los Angeles Times which takes an in-depth look at the true nature of the research behind arguments that LGBT people are not fit parents. We know however, that every major child welfare organization agrees that same-sex couples are just as capable of raising loved and well-adjusted children as their heterosexual counterparts. They write, "When a judge in Utah or legislators in Kansas ignore solid scholarship and cite flawed research instead, it's nothing but a rear-guard attack, a quest to block or roll back LGBT progress. For some conservatives, the end of the debate just creates more reason to fight, even if it means weakening ties between parents and their children." Read the full piece here: http://lat.ms/1lfgt2K

RMN LAUNCHES NEW CAMPAIGN TARGETING THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH: Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) has launched a new campaign targeting the General Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC), calling for the church to recognize same-sex marriages and reverse its discriminatory treatment of UMC’s LGBTQ congregants and ministers. RMN has filed 4 petitions and 2 resolution that would ban discrimination towards LGBTQ clergy and lay members employed in The UMC, allow clergy to perform same-sex marriages and reduce harm toward LGBTQ children and youth. Supporters and allies are encouraged to reach their delegates directly at rmnetwork.org/itstime where they can share their stories. The General Conference will convene from May 10th to 20th in Portland, Oregon. Learn more about RMN’s work here: http://www.rmnetwork.org/newrmn/

STATE SNAPSHOT

JACKSONVILLE HAS SECOND TOWN HALL ON POSSIBLE LGBT-INCLUSIVE ORDINANCE: Yesterday, Jacksonville held its second of three community meetings to address whether the city should extend local nondiscrimination protections to LGBT residents and visitors. More than 700 residents came out for the meeting, which was commissioned by recently-elected Republican Mayor Lenny Curry last month. During the 90 minute meeting, a four-person panel debated the impact a proposed ordinance would have on religious institutions. Earlier that day, a coalition of about 75 faith leaders in Jacksonville announced their support for a fully-inclusive human rights ordinance that protects LGBT people in housing, employment and public accommodations. Jacksonville’s next and final meeting will be on December 15th. HRC is a proud member of the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality (JCE) which has been working towards passing an inclusive ordinance since a prior effort failed in 2011. Earlier this year, HRC partnered with JCE and Equality Florida to successfully elect a pro-equality majority to the Jacksonville City Council. Without protections for LGBT people in housing, employment, and public accommodations, the city currently holds a 23 rating out of a possible 100 on HRC’s Municipal Equality Index. More here: http://bit.ly/1m1pIDG and here http://bit.ly/1Qk9C2W

MINNESOTA ISSUES BULLETIN TO INSURERS WARNING AGAINST ANTI-TRANS DISCRIMINATION: Last week, Minnesota state commissioners issued an administrative bulletin to insurers making it clear that discrimination against transgender patients is illegal. It reads in part, “The purpose of this Bulletin is to advise entities delivering or issuing individual and group health insurance policies in Minnesota that discrimination against an individual because of the individual’s gender identity or expression is prohibited...Commerce and Health currently disapprove policy forms filed by insurers if there are exclusions on coverage for medically necessary treatment for gender dysphoria and related health conditions, including gender confirmation surgery (previously known as sex reassignment surgery).” According to The Column, this makes Minnesota the fifteenth state to issue guidance making it clear that such discrimination is illegal. More here: http://bit.ly/1N84sTt

AROUND THE WORD

IRELAND OUTLAWS DISCRIMINATION AGAINST LGBT TEACHERS: Yesterday, Ireland passed a law which prevents schools--including religious schools--from discriminating against LGBT people. This means that LGBT teachers will no longer face losing their jobs for being true to who they are. This past May, Ireland made history as the first country in the world to pass marriage equality through a national referendum. Now religious school won't be able to punish workers who have legalized their unions. Sandra Irwin-Gowran, Director of Education Policy with the Gay & Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), said, “This Bill is the key piece of the legislative map that will allow LGBT people to be themselves, get married and have a family without a threat to their job if they work in a religious run institution." More here: http://bit.ly/1HKT0An

COUPLE FIGHTING FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY IN BERMUDA: A same-sex couple from Atlanta is attempting to make history by challenging the Bermuda Government in their bid to get legally married on the island. According to the couple’s lawyer, the country’s 2013 amendment to the Human Rights Act of 1981 which outlawed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation “paved the way for same-sex marriage.” Interestingly, anti-LGBT activist Ryan T. Anderson from the Heritage Foundation is currently on the island giving two speeches. More here: http://bit.ly/1Nwc810

READING RAINBOW
Poynter talks about the new trend of using gender neutral terms by some of the country’s biggest publications… Gay Star News looks at the landmark case challenging Northern Ireland’s same-sex marriage ban… and The Conversation explores the place of civil partnerships in post-marriage equality countries.

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Filed under: A.M. Equality, Community

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