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AFTER TURING PHARMACEUTICALS’ OUTRAGEOUS PRICE HIKE, LOW-COST ALTERNATIVE EMERGES: In response to the unconscionable price hike of Daraprim by Martin Shkreli of Turing Pharmaceuticals, Express Scripts and Imprimis Pharmaceuticals have announced a partnership to offer a low-cost $1 per dose alternative to the lifesaving drug. HRC hailed the news but called on officials to continue investigating Turing’s actions and ensure similar predatory price hikes cannot happen again.
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HRC, NCLR and CHLP COMMEMORATE WORLD AIDS DAY: Today, the HRC Foundation, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the Center for HIV Law and Policy (CHLP), launched a national public education campaign to sound the alarm on dangerous HIV criminalization laws and the disproportionate harm they cause LGBT people, particularly LGBT communities of color. The organizations released a new video detailing the harm of criminalization – including driving people away from potentially lifesaving testing and healthcare – and launched a website, The new video helps to debunk myths about HIV, and highlights the harm of criminalization and its negative impact on the fight against HIV and AIDS. Around the world, people living with HIV and AIDS continue to be targeted, harassed and harmed by criminalization laws. In at least 58 countries around the world, people have been prosecuted and some imprisoned for transmitting HIV and/or exposing others to the virus. In the U.S., more than 30 states have laws in place that have been used to prosecute people living with HIV. HRC stands together with the global community to fight stigmatization and end HIV and AIDS, and will continue to work with NCLR, CHLP and other partners at the local, state and federal level to monitor the landscape of HIV criminalization laws and to combat efforts to further target people living with HIV. Learn more here:

HRC YOUTH AMBASSADOR JAZZ JENNINGS RESPONDS TO FORCED CANCELLATION OF BOOK READING: A Wisconsin School has cancelled plans for a reading of  I Am Jazz, a book based on the real-life experiences of transgender teenager and HRC Youth Ambassador Jazz Jennings. The elementary school planned the optional reading in support of gender-variant students and their parents, but was threatened by a lawsuit from the right-wing Liberty Counsel who says "concerned parents" reach out them. Jazz responded to the news with one word on her Facebook page: “Meanies.” At  least two groups, have planned readings from the book for tomorrow to show support for the school and transgender student. The incident arose at the same time as the Wisconsin state legislature considers a mean-spirited and discriminatory bill that would put transgender students at heightened risk for bullying, harassment and discrimination.

MEANWHILE, SAN ANTONIO SCHOOL REAFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR TRANSGENDER STUDENTS: While stories of discrimination in schools have become more and more common, one school in San Antonio, TX is publicly reaffirming its commitment to transgender students. Just before Thanksgiving, Thomas McLaughlin, Headmaster of St. Luke’s Episcopal School sent a letter to parents detailing why the school remains committed to its mission inclusivity and community. The letter reads, “St. Luke’s welcomes diversity and respects differences in ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds; the languages we speak; our sexes, genders and ages.” More here:

A.M. MUST READ: Washington Post reporter Juliet Eilperin takes an in-depth look at President Obama’s legacy on transgender equality. Over the past 7 years, the Obama Administration has made it easier for transgender Americans to change the official gender on all official government documents including passports and marriage licenses; lifted the ban on medicare coverage for gender affirmation surgery; barred discrimination based on gender identity in USDA programs and federal housing programs and much more. The Administration has also issued historic rulings in favor of transgender students who wish to be treated equally in their schools and school districts. Without a doubt, Obama has become one of the country’s staunchest advocates for transgender equality through his tenure in the White House.


ON WORLD AIDS DAY, NEW YORK GOVERNOR TAKES ACTION ON AIDS EPIDEMIC: Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the next phase of the state’s plan to End the AIDS epidemic, committing an additional $200 million to support HIV & AIDS efforts. “New York was once the epicenter of the AIDS crisis – but now we are showing the nation how to fight back and make this epidemic a thing of the past,” Gov. Cuomo said in a release. “We are making rapid progress toward a future where more people know their status, medication is easily accessible, and new cases are more and more rare. As we mark World AIDS Day, we remember all those we have lost, and we recommit ourselves to ending this epidemic once and for all.” Earlier this year, Gov. Cuomo officially accepted the Blueprint to End the AIDS Epidemic, which establishes specific and far-reaching strategies to end new infections by connecting those at risk for transmission to education and prevention, including access to PrEP. It also called for access to housing and human rights for members of communities most affected by the disease, including LGBT citizens. More here:

EFFORT TO REPEAL LGBT PROTECTIONS IN ANCHORAGE UNDERWAY: Local radio host Bernadette Wilson has filed a proposed petition in Anchorage in an effort to repeal a local nondiscrimination ordinance on the April 5 ballot. Anti-LGBT activists must only garner 5,754 signatures over the next 6 weeks in order to qualify.  In September, the Anchorage Assembly voted 9-2 in support of a strong and inclusive non-discrimination ordinance that protects LGBT citizens in employment, housing and public accommodations. A coalition including Identity, Inc., the statewide LGBT organization, Alaskans Together for Equality, ACLU of Alaska, Pride Foundation, Planned Parenthood, Christians for Equality, HRC and the AK AFL-CIO worked together on the effort. More here:

TRANS RIGHTS BILL STALLS IN MASSACHUSETTS: A bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against transgender people in public spaces in Massachusetts is no longer moving forward this year. The Boston Globe is reporting that despite his public support for the bill, Speaker Robert DeLeo declined to move it forward after conversations with transgender rights advocates and members on both sides of the aisle. Despite the setback, advocates are optimistic that the issue will be picked up when the House returns from winter recess. There is already a law in the state protecting transgender people from discrimination in employment and housing. More here:

HILLSBOROUGH REVIEW BOARD TO DECIDE WHETHER TO ADD PROTECTIONS FOR LGBT RESIDENTS: Today, The Charter Review Board of Hillsborough County in Florida is set to decide on whether to add gender identity and sexual orientation to the list of protected classes under the anti-discrimination section of the county’s charter. If approved, the issue will be on the November 2016 ballot. The approval of a referendum would be a huge turnaround for Hillsborough County, which, according to the Tampa Bay Times, passed a ban on LGBT pride celebrations as recently as 2005. The ban was lifted in 2013, and non-discrimination protections on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation in government entities was implemented in 2014. More here:

GROUP GOES TO COURT OVER TRANSGENDER RIGHTS IN QUEBEC: Montreal's Centre for Gender Advocacy is preparing for a legal battle with the province of Quebec. The organization argues that the province is not doing enough to protect transgender people who are not protected from discrimination under the law. The court date will be set for sometime next year. Other provinces in Canada are making huge strides on transgender equality. Just last month the Alberta government introduced a bill that would amend the existing Human Rights Act, adding gender identity and expression as a protected class. More here:

OVERWHELMING SUPPORT FROM MARRIAGE EQUALITY IN TAIWAN: A new poll had found that an astounding 71% of Taiwanese people are in favor of marriage equality. Over 200,000 people participated in the online poll that was issued by the Ministry of Justice between August and October of this year. The Taiwanese government has been sitting on legislation that would make same-sex marriage legal for several months but activists are hopeful that this poll will provide the momentum needed for new pro-equality legislation. Marriage equality is quickly becoming an emerging issue in Asia. Just this week another poll found that a majority of people in Japan also supported marriage equality. More here:

FIRST TRANSGENDER HEALTH CLINIC IN ASIA OPENS: Yesterday, Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre opened Asia’s first-ever transgender health and support clinic in Bangkok, Thailand. The Tangerine Community Health Centre is supported by the United States Agency for International Development and will provide services such as counselling and hormone replacement therapy for those in need. Thailand has a reputation of being open and welcoming to transgender and gender nonconforming people. Transgender people are able to change their legal gender in Thailand but same-sex marriage remains illegal. The 2015 Gender Equality Act which was passed in March, makes it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity. More here:


The Advocate writes about the British Commonwealth’s efforts to end the criminalization of being LGBT… CBC highlights LGBT groups in Canada that are offering counselling and services to Syrian refugees.

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Filed under: A.M. Equality, Community

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