#AM_Equality Tipsheet: May 9, 2017

by Allison Turner

Tonight -- HRC to hold protest at Russian amb.’s home; Challenge to Tenn. anti-LGBTQ HB1111 three days after it was signed into law

TODAY -- HRC AND OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS ORGS TO HOLD #EYESONCHECHNYA DEMONSTRATION AT RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR’S DC HOME: Today at 5 p.m., HRC, Human Rights First and Amnesty International USA will rally in front of the Russian ambassador's 16th Street residence in Washington, D.C., amping up pressure on Russian leaders to stop the ongoing atrocities against LGBTQ people in Chechnya, and bring perpetrators to justice. The Russian LGBT Network says that as many as 20 men may have been killed in the attacks in Chechnya, a republic within Russia. More disturbingly, the paper reported that Chechen authorities have been engaged in purging gay and bisexual men by kidnapping and imprisoning them secretly in “detention style camps.” More from HRC.

  • This morning, NPR’s David Greene (@NPRGreene) reported on efforts by the Russian LGBT Network to get gay men out of Chechnya and to safety. Listen to his piece at NPR.
  • The Independent reports that a gay teen was pushed to his death from a balcony in Chechnya by his uncle. Family had been told to “wash away shame.” Read more at The Independent

FOUR SAME-SEX COUPLES CHALLENGE TENNESSEE’S DISCRIMINATORY ‘NATURAL MEANING’ LAW: Just three days after Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed HB 1111 into law, four same-sex couples challenged the anti-LGBTQ measure in court. The new law requires courts and agencies apply a so-called “natural” meaning interpretation of gendered statutory language, including those involving the rights of husbands and wives. This draconian, unconstitutional bill directly conflicts with state and federal law that requires gender-specific words be interpreted as gender inclusive. All of the couples are expecting children, and are challenging the law because it does not give same-sex couples equal parental rights. More from The Tennessean.

HRC MOURNS BRENDA BOSTICK -- EPIDEMIC OF VIOLENCE MUST END: HRC was horrified to learn of the death of Brenda Bostick, a transgender woman found with severe injuries on a Manhattan sidewalk on the evening of April 25. Ms. Bostick was hospitalized, but died of her injuries Thursday. The New York City medical examiner has ruled her death a homicide, making her at least the 10th transgender woman of color killed in the U.S. this year. Though few details about Bostick’s life have been reported, she is believed to have been homeless at the time she was attacked, according to the New York Post. As HRC and the Trans People of Color Coalition explained in A Matter of Life and Death, released last November, homelessness is a major path by which bias and discrimination put transgender people at risk for violence. More from HRC and Mic.

TUESDAY TWEET -- DUSTIN LANCE BLACK AND TOM DALEY TIE THE KNOT IN ENGLAND: HRC supporters When We Rise Director Dustin Lance Black (@DLanceBlack) and Olympic Diver Tom Daley (@TomDaley1994) married this weekend at Bovey Castle Hotel on Dartmoor, Devon. Congratulations to the happy couple! More from BBC.

TODAY -- TEXAS COULD VOTE ON ANTI-LGBTQ ADOPTION BILL: As early as today, the Texas House could vote on a measure that would allow child welfare organizations, agencies and employees that contract with the state to discriminate against LGBTQ youth, LGBTQ families and others when making foster care and adoption decisions. HB 3859 is just the latest in a slew of anti-LGBTQ bills being pursued by the Texas legislature in a systematic effort to roll back the rights of LGBTQ Texans. More from The Associated Press.

NEW HRC VIDEO -- TALKING WITH THE COAUTHORS OF I AM JAZZ: Transgender advocate Jazz Jennings (@JazzJennings__) and writer/advocate Jessica Herthel (@JessicaHerthel), discuss the creation of their book and HRC’s upcoming National I Am Jazz Day of Reading with HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride (@SarahEMcBride). Watch the video here and find out more about the May 18 National I Am Jazz Day of Reading from HRC.

THE MTV MOVIE & TV AWARDS WAS ITS MOST INCLUSIVE YET: The awards show broke ground Sunday night when it came to LGBTQ representation. One of the night’s biggest moments came when Ashton Sanders and Jharrel Jerome of Moonlight won “Best Kiss.” Asia Kate Dillon (@AsiaKateDillon), the first non-binary actor to portray a nonbinary character on television, presented MTV’s first ever gender-neutral award for Best Actor to Emma Watson for her role in Beauty and the Beast. Another big win for the LGBTQ community came when RuPaul won the Best Reality Competition award for RuPaul’s Drag Race. More from Refinery29 and HRC.

FOX NEWS ANCHOR SHEP SMITH OPENS UP ABOUT BEING GAY: The Hollywood Reporter’s Seth Abramovitch (@SethAbramovitch) writes about how Fox News anchor Shepard Smith is increasingly open about “living his truth” as a gay man. “I don’t think about it,” Smith recently told students at his alma mater, the University of Mississippi. “ It’s not a thing. I go to work. I manage a lot of people. I cover the news. I deal with holy hell around me. I go home to the man I’m in love with.” Read more at THR

TODAY IS NATIONAL TEACHER APPRECIATION DAY: Teachers with a commitment to LGBTQ equality in their classrooms can literally change the lives of LGBTQ and questioning students. To find out more about what HRC is doing to help teachers better serve their LGBTQ students, visit welcomingchools.org.

CUBA WELCOMES THREE TRANSGENDER PASTORS: In a stunning show of solidarity with the LGBTQ community, the Metropolitan Community Church in Matanzas, Cuba, held a Holy Communion with three openly transgender pastors who traveled to the island from Brazil, Canada and the U.S. It’s thought to be a first in the country. More from Reuters.


BuzzFeed shares a heartwarming story of a Portland, Ore. soccer coach who came out to his team as transgender; Advocate interviews openly transgender CEO and SiriusXM founder Martine Rothblatt; HRC rounds up resources to wrap up STD Awareness Month; The Washington Post sits down with actor and 1998 Miss America Kate Shindle on her role in the LGBTQ coming-of-age musical ‘Fun Home’

Have news? Send us your news and tips at AMEquality@hrc.org. Click here to subscribe to #AM_Equality and follow @HRC for all the latest news. Thanks for reading!

A.M. Equality