GOOD RIDDANCE -- TRUMP’S UNQUALIFIED, ANTI-LGBTQ NOMINEE FOR USDA WITHDRAWS: “Sam Clovis has opposed equality for LGBTQ people at practically every turn and even pushed the unscientific nonsense that being LGBTQ is a choice,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “It’s disconcerting that the Trump-Pence administration continues to nominate candidates who are as extreme as they are unqualified. Sam Clovis certainly fit that description, and while his nomination has today been withdrawn, it’s absolutely essential that the Senate reject the scores of other dangerous nominees this administration continues to push forward.” Sam Clovis is among the worst in a long line of anti-LGBTQ extremists nominated by Trump-Pence. CNN lays out his disturbing history of anti-LGBTQ extremism, including repeatedly peddling the falsehood that being LGBTQ is a “choice.” Clovis, who has no scientific background, has also disgustingly equated protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination with protecting pedophiles. Oh, and he opposes marriage equality, too. More from HRC.

TODAY -- HRC FOUNDATION HOSTING STUDENTS FROM 23 HBCUs AT LEADERSHIP SUMMIT: Student activists from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are gathering at HRC headquarters for a three-day leadership summit designed to foster campus environments that are welcoming and affirming to LGBTQ people. “We're thrilled to welcome these student leaders to HRC for our 12th annual HBCU summit,” said Leslie Hall, HRC’s Senior HBCU Program Manager. “The commitment and dedication demonstrated by these fierce advocates is inspiring and we look forward to having them return to their campuses with a renewed commitment to fighting for equality and inclusion. I am truly excited that we have the opportunity to come together, learn from each other, and increase our strength as advocates for the LGBTQ community.” More from HRC.

FRIDAY FEATURE -- CELEBRITY CAKE BAKER DUFF GOLDMAN SAYS DENYING SERVICE TO LGBTQ PEOPLE IS DISCRIMINATION, PLAIN AND SIMPLE: Goldman, who joined the nation’s leading bakers, chefs and businesses in HRC’s ‘Chefs for Equality’ amicus brief in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case now before the Supreme Court of the United States, writes in People, “My business is unique, there’s no doubt about it, and that’s exactly why customers of all different types come to my shop. I don’t choose who walks through my door, I just know that when they’re there, I’m doing business with them. And that’s the whole point of starting a business open to the public. We get to choose what we sell, but we don’t get to choose who decides to stop in and purchase our goods.” Goldman is executive chef at Baltimore’s Charm City Cakes, and star of a Food Network reality show. More from People.

SENATORS URGE DOJ TO REVERSE TRUMP-PENCE ADMINISTRATION POSITION THAT TRANS WORKERS AREN’T PROTECTED BY TITLE VII: The letter, led by Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) and signed by 44 Senators, reads, “Actions that roll back the rights of LGBTQ Americans are not consistent with the value of equality and dignity or with Congress’s goals in passing the Civil Rights Act.”

SENATE CONFIRMS JOAN LARSEN TO U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE 6TH CIRCUIT: HRC expressed concerned with Larsen’s nomination to the Sixth Circuit because of her refusal, along with four other Michigan Supreme Court justices, to hear an appeal of Mabry v. Mabry, a case involving the parental rights of a non-biological parent. The refusal came after the Supreme Court of the United States in 2015 recognized marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges. By refusing to hear the appeal, Larsen essentially rejected the full effect of Obergefell. More from HuffPost.

COMMUNITY RALLIES AFTER PHOENIX SCHOOL ENACTS TRANSPHOBIC SCHOOL POLICY: Students at the Veritas Preparatory Academy requires students to wear gendered uniforms and use the restroom according to the gender on their birth certificate. Parents, alumni and other advocates are protesting this policy. More from Northeast Valley News.

SHAMEFUL -- UMICH STUDENT REPORTS ANTI-LGBTQ BULLYING AFTER COMING OUT: The student came out on Instagram in honor of National Coming Out Day, and was then harassed by his roommates, who used homophobic slurs and caused him to fear for his safety. More from The Detroit News.

MATT BOMER, ZACHARY QUINTO, JIM PARSONS AND ANDREW RANNELLS CAST IN BROADWAY DEBUT OF “THE BOYS IN THE BAND”: The 1968 play was groundbreaking in its representation of gay men. The revival, directed by Ryan Murphy, will debut on Broadway on play’s 50th anniversary. More from The Washington Post.

INDIAN ANIMATED FILM WITH LGBTQ THEMES STRIKES CHORD: The award-winning short film, Maacher Jhol, follows a man preparing for a dinner during which he plans to come out as gay to his father. More from NBC.

HORRIFYING -- VIOLENT PROTEST ERUPTS IN GEORGIA OVER SOCCER PLAYER’S PRO-EQUALITY ARMBAND: The anti-equality protesters wanted Guram Kashia to be removed from Georgia’s national soccer team for sporting a rainbow armband. He is thought to be the first soccer player in Eastern Europe to openly support the LGBTQ community. More from RT.

UGANDAN HIP HOP ARTIST COMES OUT AFTER BECOMING CANADIAN CITIZEN: Keko, who was awarded Female Artist of the Year at the UG Hip Hop Awards, posted on Twitter that she feels “free” and will soon be getting married. More from Gay Star News.

KENYA BANS DISNEY SHOW OVER UPCOMING LGBTQ PLOTLINE: Andi Mack will feature a character’s journey to discovering they are LGBTQ. More from Variety.

AUSTRALIAN MUSLIM FASHION DESIGNER CREATES HEAD SCARF IN SUPPORT OF MARRIAGE EQUALITY: “At the end of the day, everyone should feel proud of who they are, regardless of their skin colour, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation and everyone deserves the right to love, and be loved in return,” said Azahn Munas. More from BuzzFeed.

READING RAINBOW

 Out & About Nashville writes on LeAnn Rimes’ (@LeAnnRimes) LGBTQ advocacy; Vice looks at the unique issues faced by the undocumented LGBTQ community;

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Filed under: A.M. Equality, Community

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