SEVENTEEN STATES AND DC JOIN ‘FRIEND OF THE COURT’ BRIEF SUPPORTING GAVIN GRIMM: The states -- New York, Washington, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia -- and the District of Columbia have filed an amicus brief supporting transgender student Gavin Grimm in G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Grimm, a transgender boy, filed suit against the school board alleging it violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 by denying him use of the boy’s restroom.

GLOBAL RESPECT ACT REINTRODUCED IN CONGRESS WITH BIPARTISAN SUPPORT: Yesterday, HRC hailed the bipartisan reintroduction of the Global Respect Act by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). The legislation would provide a new mechanism to prevent the world’s most anti-LGBTQ state actors from receiving visas and entering the United States. The bill was introduced with 60 cosponsors in the House and eight in the Senate. “The Global Respect Act would make clear to the world that the U.S. is not open to those who abuse, harass, and murder LGBTQ people,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “This is the right moment to send that message, when the government in Chechnya is trying to eliminate all gay people from their territory and gay Chechens are literally fleeing for their lives.” More from HRC.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY -- REP. JACKIE SPEIER READS I AM JAZZ ON HOUSE FLOOR TO SUPPORT TRANSGENDER YOUTH:  Yesterday, Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) took to the House floor and joined thousands of parents, teachers and community members across the country standing up to legislative efforts targeting transgender people by reading I Am Jazz, a book by transgender teen and Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation Youth Ambassador Jazz Jennings. Watch here.

LITHUANIA BECOMES FIRST COUNTRY TO GRANT ASYLUM TO GAY AND BI MEN FLEEING VIOLENCE IN CHECHNYA: “Today is zero-tolerance day against hatred, fear, discrimination of all forms of sexuality. Denying reality is not an option,” Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius tweeted this week after confirming his country had granted asylum to two gay men. Gay and bisexual men are being rounded up, locked in secret prisons, tortured and even murdered in the Chechnya -- by their own government. HRC has called on the U.S. government to condemn these heinous crimes and grant victims asylum in the U.S. More from Gay Star News.

  • In St. Petersburg, 300 LGBTQ advocates participated in a flash mob calling attention to the atrocities in Chechnya. More from NewNowNext.
  • Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) spoke out against the horrors in Chechnya on the House Floor this week. Watch here.

LOS ANGELES SHERIFF’S DEPT. ENACTS POLICY PROTECTING LGBTQ COMMUNITY: The nation’s largest sheriff's department has issued a policy reinforcing practices to respect and protect the transgender community. More from The Associated Press.

READ THIS BEFORE HEADING OUT TO HAPPY HOUR: Yesterday, the makers of SMIRNOFF™ vodka announced the launch of the new limited edition “Love Wins” bottle to celebrate inclusivity, acceptance and love. The brand will donate $1 per bottle produced to HRC. More from OUT Magazine.

BISEXUAL CATHOLIC SCHOOL STUDENT DEFIES TEACHER -- WRITES 127-PAGE REPORT CELEBRATING MARRIAGE EQUALITY: A Missouri Catholic school student tasked with writing a paper defending the Catholic Church’s stance on marriage equality, instead turned in a stunning 127-page paper entitled “Gay Marriage is Fabulous.” In it, he described God’s love for all and came out to his class as bisexual. More from The Daily Dot.

POLITICAL LEADERS IN THE GAMBIA SUPPORT REPEAL OF ANTI-LGBTQ LAW: The leaders have expressed interest in repealing the horrific anti-LGBTQ legislation that was signed into law by former President Yahya Jammeh in 2014. The current law allows life sentences for “repeat offenders” or individuals found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality.” More from HRC and SMBC News.

CANADA TO ISSUE APOLOGY FOR PAST ANTI-LGBTQ DISCRIMINATION: Randy Boissonnault, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Special Advisor on LGBTQ2 issues, announced that by year’s end the Canadian government intends to issue an acknowledgement of the role it played in anti-LGBTQ discrimination. More from The Associated Press.

READING RAINBOW

Gay Star News reports that Wednesday marked the first time a rainbow flag was flown at a government building in Nepal; The Washington Post reviews a new play focusing on a genderqueer character; The Huffington Post takes a look at a new Irish film that tackles homophobia;

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Filed under: A.M. Equality, Community

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