SCHOOL BOARD VOTES TO MAKE MOUNT HOREB TRANSGENDER INCLUSIVE: School board members in Mount Horeb, Wis., where last week more than 600 people gathered to support a 6-year-old transgender student and her family, voted unanimously Monday to make their town's schools transgender-inclusive. The decision comes after the student's school, under pressure from the anti-LGBT Liberty Counsel, canceled a planned reading of I Am Jazz, a book by transgender teen and HRC Youth Ambassador Jazz Jennings. The reading was to be part of a lesson intended to promote an atmosphere of compassion and inclusion for the young transgender student. In the wake of the cancellation, parents and high school students organized readings of I Am Jazz, and HRC flew in the book's co-author and HRC Welcoming Schools director for the event. According to the Wisconsin State Journal,“[t]he new measures grant transgender students access to the restroosms and locker rooms that correspond to their new gender identities. Additionally, the students will be permitted to participate in physical education classes and intramural sports "in a manner consistent with" their gender identities. The board also added "transgender status" to the district's nondiscrimination policy as a protected category. More here: http://bit.ly/1lra3h2

HUCKABEE AND CRUZ FRONTLOAD FADA: Just when we thought they couldn’t possibly get any worse, in two separate interviews with EWTN, presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee both pledged to push for the passage of the so-called First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) within their first 100 days in office. Introduced by Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) earlier this year, FADA has nothing to do with defending the First Amendment, and is actually tantamount to state-sanctioned discrimination. If passed, the bill would allow nonprofit organizations and businesses contracting with the federal government to circumvent critical federal protections designed to protect same-sex couples and their families from harmful discrimination. This comes as no surprise as Cruz and Huckabee have made this kind of anti-LGBT rhetoric integral parts of their bids for the White House. For more on their records check out http://www.hrc.org/2016republicanfacts
 

  • HRC POLL SHOWS AMERICANS REJECT FADA:  Earlier this year, HRC polling found that 60 percent of Americans are less likely to support a candidate for president who supports laws like FADA, which would allow government officials like Kim Davis to discriminate and deny service against LGBT people. Independents are 62 percent less likely to support a candidate who supports laws like FADA, while seniors and non-college respondents are 63 and 62 percent less likely, respectively.  http://bit.ly/1NIBnxe


IL SCHOOL DISTRICT AFFIRMS COMPLIANCE WITH FEDERAL RULING IN FAVOR OF TRANSGENDER STUDENT: Yesterday, Palatine District 211 board members reaffirmed their agreement with the United States Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR). In a settlement last week, the school district approved the use of the female locker room for a transgender student, following a ruling by OCR that said they 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. About 600 people attended yesterday’s open session, which was followed by another closed executive meeting where board members decided to take no further action on the matter. In another development, OCR has now said that it agrees with the school board’s interpretation of the ruling, confirming that it only applies to the student who filed suit in 2013.  Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon wrote a letter which reads in part, “As to the specific questions raised in your email, the agreement provisions specific to locker room access apply only to Student A and the District's agreement to provide Student A access to locker rooms is based on the student's representation that she will change in private changing stations."More here: http://bit.ly/1lragkf

HRC TO HONOR MULTI-AWARD WINNING ARTIST BILL T. JONES: Yesterday, HRC announced that Multi-Award Winning Artist Bill T. Jones will be honored with the HRC Visibility Award at the 2016 Greater New York Gala Dinner in February, for his work to bring to light the struggles and resilience of those living with HIV. In 1982, Jones formed the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company with his late partner, Arnie Zane, who died of AIDS-related illness in 1988. A multi-talented artist, choreographer, dancer, artistic director and writer, Jones has received major honors including the 2013 National Medal of Arts, a 1994 MacArthur "Genius" Award, multiple Tony Awards, Kennedy Center Honors in 2010, and many more. Jones said, “Like so many in our community, I have been heartened and encouraged by the fearless leadership of the Human Rights Campaign. The advances made on behalf of LGBTQ people would have been unthinkable not so long ago… Now they are fact! I am greatly moved and humbled to accept this award from this fearless and essential organization.” More here: http://bit.ly/1R7OQW9

STATE SNAPSHOT

CINCINNATI VOTES TO BAN CONVERSION THERAPY FOR LGBTQ YOUTH: Yesterday, the Cincinnati City Council vote 7-2 in favor of a historic ordinance that would impose a $200 a day fine on anyone practicing conversion therapy on LGBTQ youth. The measure will go before the full council tomorrow, and if passed, would make Cincinnati the first city to ban the discredited practice. The move was largely in response to tragic death of transgender teen Leelah Alcorn last year, who was subjected to conversion therapy against her will. Earlier this year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) released a new report definitively denouncing the practice, and HRC and the National Center for Lesbian Rights released sample legislation for state legislators and equality advocates who want to protect LGBTQ youth.  Conversion therapy is currently illegal for LGBTQ youth in California, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, and Illinois. More here: http://cin.ci/1OfU9fU

NEW YORK SCHOOL DISTRICT TABLES VOTE ON TRANS-INCLUSIVE POLICY: Last night, the School Board for Lancaster, NY voted to table a policy vote that would implement inclusive policies for transgender students in the school district. After hours of public comment, the board decided more time was needed before they could make a decision. Following federal guidance released over the summer, the superintendent recommended the policy that would allow transgender students to use the restrooms of their preferred gender identity and develop new recordkeeping for students who change their names and genders. Despite the challenges, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Dr. Marie Perini, expressed their commitment to meeting the needs of all students saying, “The district will endeavor to agree on a plan to accommodate the student’s individual needs of the school. The district has engaged stakeholders, teachers, counselors and parents working together.” More here: http://on.wgrz.com/1ICmT5T  and here http://bit.ly/1OfUeA9

TRENTON TIMES WRITES PRO TRANS-INCLUSION EDITORIAL: Today, the Times of Trenton Editorial Board penned an editorial commending Princeton, NJ, officials for taking meaningful steps to make the school district more friendly to transgender and gender nonconforming students. Following guidance from the federal government, officials in the district recently introduced a new proposal that will, “address the needs of transgender students in compliance with applicable anti-discrimination laws.” Acknowledging that civil rights movements take time to gain support and moment, the board writes, “Things are changing – slowly, slowly – for members of the transgender community. In July, President Obama signed an executive order prohibiting transgender discrimination by federal employees and contractors. New Jersey is one of 18 states with similar anti-discrimination laws on the books. But change is hard – we saw that with movements for civil rights, for women's rights and for gays and lesbians.” Read the full editorial here: http://bit.ly/1NTqlvu

AROUND THE WORLD

DOMINICAN CARDINAL USES ANTI-LGBT SLUR ON U.S. AMBASSADOR, AGAIN: Dominican Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez has once again made anti-LGBT comments about U.S. Ambassador James "Wally" Brewster, who has criticized the Dominican Republic for corruption. These latest slurs come just a week after Cardinal Rodríguez said that Brewster, who is openly gay should, “focus on housework, since he's the wife to a man.” According to the Washington Blade, the cardinal has been making such comments since Brewster was nominated and confirmed in 2013. Ambassador Brewster and his partner described the latest remarks as “noise” saying, “We want to keep working on those things that are important.” HRC continues to calls on Pope Francis to speak out against bigotry and condemn Rodriquez’s horrific attacks immediately. Brewster is one of six openly gay United States Ambassadors currently serving. More here: http://bit.ly/1M10Jp1

BIG MONEY FOR GLOBAL TRANS RIGHTS: The Arcus Foundation, The NoVO Foundation, and a coalition of other organizations are joining forces to contribute $20 million over the next five years for the betterment of transgender people around the world. This is the biggest donation of its kind, and will help fight against the epidemic of violence and abuse that transgender people across the globe continue to face. More here: http://bzfd.it/1lM0vNc

READING RAINBOW

Care2 breaks down the fight for marriage equality in Northern Ireland….Buzzfeed shows us what it’s like to undergo conversion therapy in Australia… The Advocate revisits the defining LGBT moments of the year… Gay Star Business explores a new report that finds that homophobia is costing the UK’s engineering sector billions of dollars a year... and WTOP profiles Ruby Corado and her service to the LGBT homeless community in Washington D.C..

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Filed under: A.M. Equality, Community

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