Up Front, Winter 2023

16 Years of HRC Foundation’s HBCU Leadership Summit

This fall, 34 Black and queer student leaders from across the country came together to gain knowledge and tools to advocate for LGBTQ+ equality on their Historically Black College and University campuses and beyond. It was the 16th time that HRC Foundation’s HBCU Program convened the summit.

The summit empowers Black LGBTQ+ students to act as change-agents on their campuses and in their communities while leading resourcefully through the intersections of race, religion, gender identity, class, and sexual orientation.

Learn more about the summit and the students who are making a change: hrc.im/HBCUsummit

Equality from State to State

In collaboration with Equality Federation Institute, we’ve recently released the ninth annual State Equality Index, a comprehensive state-by-state report that provides a review of statewide laws and policies that affect LGBTQ+ people and their families. The SEI rates all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., in six areas of law and assigns the states to one of four distinct categories.

A total of 315 discriminatory and anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced in 2022 with 29 being passed into law. Of the 149 bills that specifically targeted the transgender and non-binary communities, 17 of them passed into law. However, we also saw 24 pro-equality bills passed across the country that made updating legal documents easier for trans and non-binary folks, banned insurance exclusions for trans care and expanded housing, workplace and education protections for the LGBTQ+ community.

Learn more at: hrc.im/SEI2022

Advancing Global LGBTQ+ Equality

HRC Foundation’s Global Partnership Program continuously works with community-based organizations across the globe to help further LGBTQ+ equality in their respective countries, including through our annual Small Grants Program. We announced this year's awardees on International Human Rights Day, which honors the historic date in 1948 when the global community first committed to upholding a set of inalienable rights for all.

Each grant, worth up to $5,000, helps to fund innovative and impactful projects across the globe. This year’s recipients come from all parts of the world including Africa, Asia, Europe and South and Central America.

Learn more at hrc.im/GlobalGrants2022

35,000 Strong Participate in National Day of Reading

After a young trans girl in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, was bullied because of her LGBTQ+ identity, her community rallied behind her by organizing a community reading of “I Am Jazz” by trans advocate Jazz Jennings.

Since then, HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools and communities across the country have joined in solidarity by celebrating National Day of Reading: A Celebration of Stories Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Youth. This year, over 35,000 allies participated in National Day of Reading in over 300 locations. This year’s celebration also marked the first in-person reading at HRC’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. HRC President Kelley Robinson was joined by NEA Vice President Princess Moss and children from the area.

To learn more about the National Day of Reading, please visit hrc.im/NationalDayofReading

“Violence and discrimination against LGBTQ+ communities is the tragic result of a society that devalues our lives – particularly the lives of Black and Brown transgender and gender non-conforming people. And this hate and violence is on the rise.”

Kelley Robinson, Human Rights Campaign President

Speaking Out: The rise of Anti-LGBTQ+ Extremism in the U.S.

After the tragic massacre at Club Q in Colorado Springs, HRC President Kelley Robinson was asked to testify in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Reform Committee on the rise of anti-LGBTQ+ extremism and violence in the United States. Robinson discussed the threats facing the LGBTQ+ community, including a rise in online harassment, anti-LGBTQ+ state legislation, threats of violence, and attacks on queer spaces and people, particularly Black and Brown transgender women.

See Robinson’s full remarks:

Eliminating Stigma Against LGBTQ+ Blood Donors

With your help, we can get closer to dismantling the outdated and discriminatory policy that prevents gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men from donating blood.

Early this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finally announced an update to its blood donation guidelines that would no longer unfairly force gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men to defer donating. This update is much-needed progress and comes after decades of advocacy by HRC and other groups. The individual assessment called for in the updated guidance means all donors will finally be evaluated on the same criteria. Unfortunately, people taking PrEP to prevent HIV will continue to be excluded from being able to donate blood.

The FDA is currently accepting public comments on their new proposal. That's where you come in. By making your voice heard, you can change this policy to allow more people to donate blood. Visit hrc.im/blooddonation to submit your comment in support of the new rules – and to call on the FDA to do even more to break the stigma and address the blood shortage.