WILL THE REAL JEFF SESSIONS PLEASE STAND UP? TRUMP’S AG NOMINEE DELUDES ON CAREER SPENT OPPOSING EQUALITY: During his confirmation hearing yesterday before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) sidestepped clear and unequivocal commitments to LGBTQ equality and dodged questions about his anti-equality past.  Here are the facts.

What Sessions said yesterday: Sessions’ actual record:
“I understand the demands for justice and fairness made by the LGBT community.” -- Sen. Sessions Sessions understands the demands, because he’s made a career working against them. Sen. Sessions has earned a score of “zero” on HRC’s Congressional scorecard for every term he has served in the U.S. Congress.
“I will ensure that the statutes protecting their civil rights and their safety are fully enforced.” Sessions has consistently opposed statutes to protect the civil rights of the LGBTQ community -- and LGBTQ people are not protected from discrimination under federal law.
Sessions said he would uphold federal hate crimes legislation In at least six different instances, Sen. Sessions has voted against, attempted to sabotage and warned against hate crimes legislation that protect the LGBTQ community.

After qualifying the 5-4 vote of the Supreme Court of the United States in Obergefell v. Hodges and the vigorous opposition of the dissenting justices, Sessions said, "I would follow this decision."

Sen. Sessions called the Obergefell decision “beyond the realm of reality” and was a co-sponsor of the 2004 Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have created a federal definition of marriage excluding same-sex couples and prohibiting state-level recognition of same-sex marriage.

DON’T TOUCH THAT DIAL -- CONFIRMATION HEARINGS CONTINUE TODAY FOR SESSIONS, START FOR SEC OF STATE NOMINEE TILLERSON: Today, Sessions begins day two of his confirmation hearings, and witnesses include civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) (@repjohnlewis), equality champion Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) (@CoryBooker), and NAACP President and CEO Cornell Brooks (@CornellWBrooks). Hearings begin today for Trump’s  Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. More on Tillerson from HRC.

  • During Sessions’ hearing today, Judy Shepard -- a member of HRC Foundation’s Board of Directors and co-founder with her husband, Dennis, of the Matthew Shepard Foundation -- will take over HRC’s Twitter to talk about Matthew’s tragic murder and Sessions’ repeated opposition to the hate crimes bill named after her son. More on HRC’s Twitter.

#THANKSOBAMA -- OBAMA’S FAREWELL ADDRESS IN CHICAGO: Last night, President Barack Obama, whose legacy will no doubt go on as one of the most pro-equality presidents our country has seen, gave his final farewell address in Chicago. He listed among his many accomplishments pushing the country forward on LGBTQ issues; He is the first sitting president to endorse marriage equality and appointing two of the five Supreme Court justices who made it the law of the land. He made a dedicated call to remain strong and continue pushing for justice -- specifically mentioning the epidemic of violence and discrimination against the transgender community and continuing to push for LGBTQ rights abroad.

  • The Washington Post interviewed nine White House Staffers about their time working for President Obama. Tyler Lechtenberg, senior presidential speechwriter, recalled the day the Supreme Court of the United States, with the help of two justices appointed by the president, ruled that marriage equality is the law of the land. Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, White House LGBT Liaison, remembered the unveiling of the Stonewall National Monument, the first national monument dedicated to the LGBTQ community. More from The Washington Post.

WHAT WE’RE READING WEDNESDAY: POZ interviewed HRC Foundation’s HIV and AIDS Project Manager Marvell Terry for its cover story this month. Terry spoke frankly about his experience as a Black, gay man from the South living with HIV, and his work to reverse the epidemic of HIV in the South. Read the full interview here.

NC MUST MAKE FULL, NO-STRINGS-ATTACHED REPEAL OF HB2 A TOP PRIORITY THIS SESSION: To make the first day of its legislative session, HRC and Equality NC are calling on North Carolina lawmakers to fully repeal the state’s deeply discriminatory HB2 at the beginning of the new legislative session. For more than nine months, HB2 has harmed North Carolina’s people and economy as businesses, major sporting organizations, entertainers, and others have moved events out of the state over the outrageous law. Just this week, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) confirmed that a decision to move the ACC Championship out of the state will be made soon if HB2 is not repealed. “North Carolinians have resoundingly rejected the hate and discrimination of HB2, and it's far past time for their elected representatives to do the same," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "Those who stand in the way of a clean vote to fully repeal HB2 are directly responsible for the continued harm this destructive law inflicts on the people, reputation, and economy of the state of North Carolina. HB2 must be repealed, and it must be repealed now.” More from HRC.

TREVOR NOAH INTERVIEWS NATGEO EDITOR ABOUT “AMAZING” SPECIAL ISSUE ON GENDER: Susan Goldberg (@SusanBGoldberg), Editor in Chief of National Geographic, spoke to The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah (@TrevorNoah) about NatGeo’s groundbreaking new special issue, “Gender Revolution.” When asked by Noah about what he characterized as an “amazing, amazing issue,” Goldberg said that the magazine undertook the project because gender writ large is being vigorously discussed around the world. For the issue, the magazine interviewed young people from 80 households around the world, eliciting funny, heartbreaking, and illuminating stories. The issue features Avery Jackson and Trinity Neal, whose moms are members of HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council. Avery and her mom were also featured in HRC’s Moms for Transgender Equality video series. Watch the interview here.

HRC PARTNERS WITH PREVENTION ACCESS CAMPAIGN TO CORRECT MISINFORMATION ABOUT HIV: Noël Gordon, HRC Senior Program Specialist for HIV Prevention and Health Equity writes about HRC’s new partnership with the Prevention Access Campaign (PAC) to correct misinformation about HIV in the news media through a new joint initiative called the Accuracy Watchdog. PAC and HRC are among a growing number of organizations getting the word out that people living with HIV cannot transmit the virus to a partner if they’ve consistently taken their medication and achieved an “undetectable viral load.” This means the amount of HIV in a person’s body is so low that it cannot be detected by a standard HIV test. More from The Body.

SHOCKING REPORT OF ANTI-LGBTQ EXECUTIONS BY AL-SHABAB EXTREMIST GROUP: The Associated Press says the al-Shabab, an affiliate group of al-Qaida, announced it killed a teenage boy and a young man for engaging in same-sex relations. This is the first report that the group has committed executions because a person engages in same-sex sexual activity or is LGBTQ. More from AP.

READING RAINBOW
BuzzFeed highlights a new campaign featuring LGBTQ women to help increase breast cancer screening rates… Washington Blade reports on a Cuban LGBTQ activist prevented from leaving the country… Wicked Local Arlington interviews a local nonbinary student on their experiences in school…

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Filed under: A.M. Equality, Community

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