- February 2, 2017
BIGOTRY AT 1600 -- LATEST TARGET OF TRUMP’S REIGN OF HATE APPEARS TO BE LGBTQ PEOPLE: New reports from The Nation and ABC News are detailing a leaked License to Discriminate Executive Order that is being prepared by Donald Trump’s White House -- less than 48 hours after the administration claimed to be supportive of the LGBTQ community. The leaked order -- which would allow an unprecedented expansion of taxpayer-funded discrimination that could have broad implications on LGBTQ people -- would be a direct contradiction of claims made earlier in the week that Trump would be an ally to the LGBTQ community. HRC has been raising concerns throughout the week and the White House may now be poised to move us backward. On Tuesday, HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin), LGBTQ advocates and other civil rights leaders gathered to warn against the threat of such an order. Griffin said:
“The leaked draft of Donald Trump's License to Discriminate order is sweeping and dangerous. It reads like a wishlist from some of the most radical anti-equality activists. If true, it seems this White House is poised to wildly expand anti-LGBTQ discrimination across all facets of the government -- even if he does maintain the Obama EO. If Donald Trump goes through with even a fraction of this order, he'll reveal himself as a true enemy to LGBTQ people. We’ve already seen that the Trump administration is willing to go after women, immigrants, people of color, and most frighteningly, people who disagree with him. If this version is true this could represent another chilling attempt to go after LGBTQ people, federal employees, employees of federal contractors, and people served by federal programs funded with taxpayer dollars. The impacts extend to anybody in the LGBTQ community, women, minority religious communities and others. Let’s make one thing clear: the Human Rights Campaign will fight tooth-and-nail to protect the LGBTQ community, and protect its members from discrimination.”
●More than 400 national faith leaders have sent a letter to President Trump urging him not to sign this executive order. Read the letter here.
NEIL GORSUCH AND THE FUTURE OF LGBTQ RIGHTS IN THE COURTS: Donald Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court is a dark signal for the future of LGBTQ rights in the courts. He joined the Tenth Circuit’s decision in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, which asserted that some private corporations are “people” under federal law and have a right to deny basic healthcare coverage if it violates their religious belief. This expansive ruling could allow employers to deny transgender employees access to hormone treatment, and curtail access to birth control and other crucial health care for LGBTQ people. In 2015, Gorsuch joined a ruling against a transgender woman who was denied consistent access to hormone therapy while incarcerated. The ruling dismissed the prisoner’s claims that the denial of care amounted to cruel and unusual punishment under the U.S. Constitution. Gorsuch’s history does not bode well for the future of LGBTQ equality in cases expected to come before the Supreme Court. More on Gorsuch’s anti-LGBTQ background from HRC. More on future LGBTQ-related cases making their way through the courts from VICE.
ANTI-LGBTQ EXTREMIST JERRY FALWELL JR. SAYS HE’LL LEAD TRUMP HIGHER ED TASK FORCE: Multiple media outlets are reporting that President Trump will name Jerry Falwell Jr. to head a higher education reform task force. Falwell is the president of Liberty University, which has a code of conduct stating that “sexual relations outside of a biblically ordained marriage between a natural-born man and a natural born woman are not permissible.” More from USA Today.
REPUBLICANS CONTINUE TO RUSH TRUMP’S ANTI-LGBTQ NOMINEES THROUGH SENATE: Yesterday, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) took the unprecedented step of suspending the rules of the Senate Finance Committee by unanimous consent with no Democrats present. Republicans then voted to advance the nomination of Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the nomination of Steve Mnuchin to serve as Treasury Secretary. Democrats had boycotted the earlier Senate Finance Committee markup of the nominees, explaining in a letter to Senator Hatch, that both nominees have yet to complete their questionnaires and gave inaccurate and misleading testimony and responses to Senate committee members. In addition, Mnuchin failed to respond to requests for data regarding the foreclosure practices of his former company, OneWest. There are also serious ethical concerns around Rep. Price’s nomination. More from HRC.
THROWBACK THURSDAY: Remember Roy Moore? After being suspended from the Alabama Supreme Court for comporting himself as if he were above the law and not beholden to judicial ethics surrounding marriage equality, he has filed an appeal of his suspension. More from AL.com.
LEGISLATION TARGETING TRANSGENDER STUDENTS PULLED IN SOUTH DAKOTA: Early Tuesday, state lawmakers in South Dakota pulled a dangerous bill that specifically targeted transgender students. Similar to legislation vetoed last year by Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard, Senate Bill (SB) 115 would have prohibited transgender students from using school facilities consistent with their gender identity. Governor Daugaard stood up again for equality this year, publicly opposing SB 115. While dozens of people met at the Capitol to oppose the bill, no supporters -- not even its sponsors from the state House and Senate -- showed up. Those testifying against the bill included education experts, and representatives of the executive branch and business community. More from HRC.
HRC MARKS BLACK HISTORY MONTH WITH OUR EYES ON JUSTICE: As we mark the start of Black History Month, HRC honors all of the Black LGBTQ and allied trailblazers who have helped in our fight for justice and equality for all. It is artists like Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Tarell Alvin McCraney and Audre Lorde who gave a voice to the Black LGBTQ community, amplifying our struggle through poetry and literature. Public figures like Jason Collins, Laverne Cox, Robin Roberts, Wanda Sykes, RuPaul, Raven-Symoné, Lee Daniels and Charles Blow are role models for young Black youth. They live proudly, openly and authentically, aspiring others to live their truth. Political allies like Cory Booker, Eric Holder, Kamala Harris and John Lewis continually advocate for LGBTQ people on the local and federal level. They have been bright lights in dark times, reminding us that our shared struggle is far from over. It is advocates like Bayard Rustin, Marsha P. Johnson, Candis Cox, DeRay Mckesson and Janet Mock who remind us that bias, discrimination and prejudice exist in America and that it disproportionately affects LGBTQ people of color. More from HRC.
●President Trump’s “speech” on Black History Month focused more on his disdain for the media than on the Black community. To learn more about Black, trans leaders who’ve championed LGBTQ rights and fight Trump’s hate today, check out this piece by Meredith Talusan (@1dmerith) from BuzzFeed.
HRC & PLANNED PARENTHOOD STUDY SHOWS GAP IN LGBTQ TEENS’ ACCESS TO HEALTH EDUCATION: A new Planned Parenthood study, conducted in partnership with HRC and published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that LGBTQ youth often turn to the internet for health information and that many don’t get the relevant, accurate facts they need. The study’s recommendations on how to fill that health education gap include offering more positive, accessible information and providing opportunities for teens to connect. More from HRC and Bustle.
TRUMP’S BAN BLOCKS IRAQI HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATE FROM HRC’S GLOBAL SUMMIT: Ayaz Shalal is a human rights advocate in Iraq who has spoken at the White House, the U.S. Congress, the World Bank and the United Nations. Now, because of Trump’s discriminatory immigration executive order, he won’t be able to continue his advocacy in the U.S., including attending HRC’s global summit in April. More from The Washington Blade.
NPR TALKS TO IRANIAN LGBTQ REFUGEES AFFECTED BY TRUMP’S EO: NPR’s Peter Kenyon (@PKenyonNPR) shares the heartbreaking story of a gay Iranian refugee who was scheduled to fly to the U.S. on Monday -- only to have his dream of freedom destroyed by President Trump’s executive order on immigration. He is now stuck in Turkey, with little money and only two bags of belongings; he fled Iran out of fear of arrest when his boyfriend’s father discovered their relationship. Listen at NPR.
FAYETTEVILLE, ARK., VOTED TO PROTECT LGBTQ CITIZENS -- BUT STATE WON’T ALLOW IT: This could change, however: the Arkansas Supreme Court will hear arguments today on whether to overturn a state law that prohibits cities from passing nondiscrimination ordinances more expansive than the state. More from The Associated Press.
SWITZERLAND TO ALLOW MEN WHO HAVE SEX WITH MEN TO DONATE BLOOD AFTER ONE YEAR OF ABSTINENCE: This week, Swissmedic approved a rule change regarding blood donations from men who have sex with men, now requiring them to undergo a one year period of abstinence from same-sex sexual activity. Such donations were previously banned. The rule will go into effect in July. While an improvement, this remains an unacceptable solution that stigmatizes LGBTQ people while restricting the blood supply. More from Gay Star News.
The Guardian interviews Irish author Sebastian Barry about his award-winning book, Days Without End, and his inspriration for its LGBTQ themes… The Boston Globe reports on a panel about transgender health care in Massachusetts… Tagg Magazine shares photos from a queer couple who married at the Women’s March… The Guardian reflects on the iconic photograph of Kia LaBeija getting an HIV test in a prom dress… BuzzFeed asks nonbinary people what they want the world to know…