OBAMA ENDORSES EQUALITY ACT, FURTHER CEMENTS HIS LEGACY AS CHAMPION FOR LGBT EQUALITY: Yesterday, the Obama Administration announced its support for the Equality Act, a federal bill which would provide explicit, permanent protections in federal law against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, access to public spaces, housing, education, jury service, credit and federal funding.  The White House endorsement, which was announced by Press Secretary Josh Earnest during yesterday’s press briefing, came on the same day that OUT Magazine named President Obama their “Ally of the Year,” in celebration of his commitment to LGBT equality. He is the first president to be photographed for the cover of OUT.

WHITE HOUSE LENDS MOMENTUM TO THE EQUALITY ACT: The White House’s endorsement of the Equality Act adds heft to a growing, broad list of supporters including a host of Fortune-ranked companies including Apple, Dow Chemical Company, IBM, General Mills, Levi Strauss & Co, Microsoft, Orbitz, Symantec and Target.

IN WAKE OF HOUSTON’S HERO REPEAL, DALLAS CITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY VOTES TO STRENGTHEN TRANSGENDER NONDISCRIMINATION PROTECTIONS: Yesterday, the Dallas City Council unanimously approved language strengthening the city’s ordinance for transgender residents and visitors. While transgender people were already protected in the city’s ordinance under a broad definition of sexual orientation that included an “individual’s real or perceived gender identity,” yesterday’s vote in favor of equality appropriately separates the definition of gender identity from sexual orientation and reaffirms the protections. This is a huge win for LGBT Texans following the recent repeal of HERO in Houston, where opponents used scare tactics and fear mongering to mislead voters. More here: http://reut.rs/1PoFYLg and http://bit.ly/20MfN4N

STATE SNAPSHOT

INDIANA’S GOV. PENCE STILL DOESN’T GET IT: More than 7 months after Gov. Mike Pence’s discriminatory religious refusal bill thrust Indiana into the national spotlight, Pence said yesterday he has not made a decision on how the issue of LGBT nondiscrimination protections will be discussed in the state’s upcoming legislative session. Polling in Indiana shortly after the battle over Pence’s bill in March revealed that 75 percent of Hoosiers believed the legislation damaged the state’s economy, and that Governor Pence’s approval rating had dropped by nearly 20 points. Many major businesses and corporations are now pushing for fully inclusive non-discrimination legislation that protects people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations when Indiana’s legislative session begins next year. More here: http://indy.st/1NqZe4N

DISGRACEFUL ANTI-TRANS LEGISLATION COMING TO TENNESSEE: Representative Bud Hulsey of Tennessee has announced plans to introduce a harmful bill that would require students in schools to use the bathrooms of the gender that they were assigned at birth. Hulsey told News Channel 5, “It ends the confusion, it tried to put a level of protection in the school system so they don't have to worry about accommodating everyone’s thoughts and feelings.” Not only would this bill conflict with federal protections for transgender and gender nonconforming students, it would also expose students to additional bullying, harassment, and discrimination. Local LGBT advocates have already begun to speak out against the legislation which is still in the drafting stages. More here: http://bit.ly/1QuWqbU

CLEVELAND VA TO OPEN FIRST VA CLINIC FOR TRANSGENDER VETERANS: This week, the Cleveland VA Medical Center will open the first VA clinic dedicated to providing medical services to transgender veterans. According to WKYC-TV, “it will provide transgender veterans with primary care, hormonal therapy, mental health care and social work services. All of the providers in the clinic have a special interest in transgender care and will create an environment that celebrates and welcomes these veterans.” Though there are an estimated 15,500 actively serving transgender members of the U.S. military, transgender people are still not able to serve openly. There are also an estimated 134,000 transgender veterans who are alive today. A draft memo circulated this past August expects the ban to be lifted in May 2016. More here: http://on.wkyc.com/1ROa9ZV

READING RAINBOW

In the wake of HERO, Al Jazeera America explores what it’s like for transgender children growing up on Houston… The Wall Street Journal takes an in-depth look at the Mormon Church’s complicated position on LGBT rights and religious freedom in light of their new policy on same-sex couples and their children.

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