TODAY -- VIRGINIA POISED TO PASS LONG-DELAYED, CRITICAL PROTECTIONS FOR LGBTQ VIRGINIANS: Today at 10:45 a.m. ET at the Virginia State Capitol, elected officials and advocates will hold a press conference ahead of the floor votes on the Virginia Values Act, which will grant non-discrimination protections to Virginians on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability and status as a veteran. For more information, contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • When passed, Virginia will be the first state in the South to have non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, the first state in over a decade to add sexual orientation and gender identity to existing non-discrimination law and the first state since 1993 to add a prohibition on discrimination in public accommodations (protecting all Virginians) where none existed before.
  • In August, HRC endorsed 27 candidates and committed to invest over $250,000 to elect pro-equality candidates across Virginia. The endorsements marked the beginning of HRC’s largest-ever field, digital and direct mail program in the state.

SENATE MAJORITY FAILED AMERICAN PEOPLE BY ACQUITTING DONALD TRUMP AND VOTERS MUST ACT NOW: “This is a sad day for our country. It is crystal clear that Donald Trump abused his power to subvert the next election, worked to cover it up, and lied about his motives and actions. Senators who have doubts about the evidence refused to seek the truth, but instead were this President’s accomplices in the cover up. This is profoundly troubling and a blow to the rule of law,” HRC President Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) said. More from HRC.

DOZENS OF CORPORATIONS AND SMALL BUSINESSES SIGN LETTER OPPOSING DISCRIMINATION IN TENNESSEE: The open letter, signed by 35 corporations and 107 small businesses, opposes discrimination against LGBTQ Tennesseans and calls on lawmakers to not pursue any further harmful bills this legislative session. This letter was organized by the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce with support from Freedom for All Americans, HRC and GLAAD. More from HRC and CNBC.

THANKFUL THURSDAY -- KRISTIN CHENOWETH EXPLAINS HOW HER FAITH AND LGBTQ ALLYSHIP GO HAND-IN-HAND: Chenoweth (@KChenoweth) was honored with the Ally for Equality Award at HRC’s Greater New York Gala last weekend. More from HuffPost and The Cut.

JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF HATE CRIMES ACT INTRODUCED WITH BIPARTISAN SUPPORT: HRC has joined other LGBTQ and civil rights groups in supporting the bill. More from Los Angeles Blade.

MEET SOUTH DAKOTA’S FRED DEUTSCH, THE ANTI-LGBTQ EXTREMIST PUSHING TO LEGISLATE HARM AGAINST TRANS KIDS: The legislation, which has passed the South Dakota House of Representatives, bars transgender youth and their parents from making decisions about their medical care, and allows the state to arrest and imprison doctors providing care for trans and gender non-conforming youth. More from HRC.

CALIFORNIA GOV GRANTS POSTHUMOUS PARDON TO BAYARD RUSTIN: Rustin, the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, was openly gay and in 1953 was arrested under a discriminatory “morals charge”. He spent nearly two months in jail. While he was a key strategist who greatly influenced Martin Luther King Jr., Rustin is too often left out of civil rights history. More from Los Angeles Times.

MEET MOLLY PINTA, ONE OF HRC’S 2020 CLASS OF YOUTH AMBASSADORS: Pinta, who founded the LGBTQ Pride festival in her Chicago suburb, is just one of the incredible advocates joining HRC’s new class of youth ambassadors. More from Chicago Tribune.

STATE COLLEGE, PA. TO HOST ITS FIRST-EVER LGBTQ PRIDE PARADE: The city recently earned a score of 100 on HRC’s Municipal Equality Index. More from Centre Daily Times.

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

ACTOR JAMEELA JAMIL COMES OUT AS QUEER ON TWITTER: “I added a rainbow to my name when I felt ready a few years ago, as it’s not easy within the south Asian community to be accepted, and I always answered honestly if ever straight-up asked about it on Twitter,” she (@jameelajamil) wrote in a note posted to Twitter. “It’s also scary as an actor to openly admit your sexuality, especially when you’re already a brown female in your thirties.”

READING RAINBOW - Bookmark now to read on your lunch break! 

Mary Emily O’Hara (@MaryEmilyOHara) writes in AdWeek about how the trans flag got added to the list of emojis

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Filed under: A.M. Equality, Community

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