#AM_Equality Tipsheet: April 25, 2017

by Allison Turner

Trump again threatening “license to discriminate” EO targeting LGBTQ Americans; “As Chechnya tortures and kills gay men, Putin shrugs”

TRUMP AGAIN THREATENING UNPRECEDENTED LICENCE TO DISCRIMINATE ORDER TARGETING LGBTQ AMERICAN: USA Today reports that House Republicans have been communicating privately with President Trump to revive a license to discriminate Executive Order targeting LGBTQ Americans. Such an order, which the publication says Trump is considering, would  “allow an unprecedented expansion of taxpayer funded discrimination,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC’s senior vice president for policy and political affairs.  In a recent letter to Trump, obtained by USA Today,  51 members of the House continued their push to target LGBTQ people across the country for discrimination. Under an earlier draft of a license to discriminate Executive Order considered by Trump, every federal agency could be required to rescind every regulation and program instruction to explicitly allow for discrimination.  This could eliminate protections for LGBTQ people in housing and homelessness programs, healthcare nondiscrimination regulations, child welfare regulations and beyond. Read more from USA Today.

  • Fifty percent of LGBTQ Americans live in states where they are at risk of being fired, denied housing, or refused service because of who they are. There is no federal law explicitly protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination, and 31 states still lack fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people.

“AS CHECHNYA TORTURES AND KILLS GAY MEN, PUTIN SHRUGS”:  The Washington Post Editorial Board writes that Russian President Vladimir Putin “tolerates brutality and coercion as instruments of state power, deaf to the cries of anguish from its victims.” This comes in the wake of reports by a Russian newspaper and LGBTQ advocates in the country that Chechen police have been detaining, torturing and killing gay men. In advance of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent trip to Russia, HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) sent a letter to him, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and members of the White House National Security Council encouraging them, “to make clear to your Russian counterparts that such lawless detentions, arrests, torture and murders are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.” Yesterday on the Senate Floor, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called out the atrocities, saying, “The United States and other responsible nations should do more to ensure that all people are protected and those who harm them are held responsible. We should use our voice on the global stage to call attention to these horrifying acts and to ensure they are condemned in the appropriate way, and ultimately in the hopes that they will be stopped.” HRC is working closely with the Russian LGBT Network, which asserts that as many as 20 men may have been killed in the attacks in the Russian republic. Read the full piece from WaPo.

  • A new video, #EyesOnChechnya, features LGBTQ Russian refugees reading the testimonies of those detained in Chechnya. More from Mashable.

GOVERNOR IVEY -- PLEASE DON’T PLACE ANTI-LGBTQ EXTREMISM OVER THE LIVES OF CHILDREN: A bill that would allow adoption and foster care agencies to reject qualified prospective LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents based on the agency’s religious beliefs is making its way to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk. And HRC is calling on the governor to veto it. Said HRC Alabama’s Eva Kendrick: “This bill is a solution in search of a problem, and the consequences it may bring -- such as political and economic fallout similar to what we’ve witnessed in North Carolina after it passed anti-LGBTQ legislation -- are potentially disastrous for the state. Alabama has a chance at a fresh start after more than a year of political scandals; it should not create a new, unnecessary scandal by targeting LGBTQ people.” More from Salon.

TUESDAY TWEET: Seven-year-old Libby Gonzales was set to testify before the Texas Legislature about an anti-transgender bill that would force her and other transgender people to use facilities inconsistant with their gender identity. But when the hearing continued into the wee hours of the morning, Libby fell asleep before she could speak. Texas Tribune reporter Alexa Ura (@AlexaUra) followed up with Libby’s parents to see what she wanted to tell her lawmakers, and here it is: “My name is Libby Gonzales. I am seven years old, and I am transgender. I love my school and my friends, and they love me, too. I don’t want to be scared to go to the bathroom or anywhere public. And I never ever want to use the boys' bathroom. It would be gross and weird. Please keep me safe.” More from The Texas Tribune.

TRUMP RELIEVES US SURGEON GENERAL OF DUTIES: The Trump Administration last week asked Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy to resign as U.S. Surgeon General just over two years into his four-year term. Dr. Murthy, appointed by former President Barack Obama, was the first Indian-American to become “America’s Doctor,” a position he called “the privilege of a lifetime” in a Facebook post. Murthy has long been an advocate for HIV prevention, treatment, and care. In 1995, he co-founded VISIONS Worldwide, an organization focused on HIV and AIDS education in the U.S. and India. Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams, Dr. Murthy’s deputy, is serving as acting Surgeon General. HRC thanks Dr. Murthy for his tireless advocacy on behalf of all Americans, including LGBTQ people, and congratulates Trent-Adams on becoming the first nurse to serve as Surgeon General. More from HRC.

LYFT AND UBER CALL OUT ANTI-TRANS TEXAS AMENDMENT: A Texas ride-sharing bill that included an amendment defining “sex” as “the physical condition of being male or female,” passed last week - and Lyft and Uber are calling out the discriminatory action. Both companies have affirmed that their nondiscrimination policies, which protect people based on gender identity, will not change. More from The Texas Tribune.

PHOTO EXHIBIT AT HRC COMMEMORATES ANNIVERSARY OF MURDERED BANGLADESHI LGBTQ ADVOCATES: Starting today and throughout the week, HRC is hosting a photo exhibit at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., that highlights the Bangladeshi LGBTQ community one year after extremists brutally murdered the country’s LGBTQ leaders Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Tonoy.  He organized the Rainbow Rally in the capital city of Dhaka with people dressed in colorful clothes that created a Pride flag, as well as an LGBTQ film festival, LGBTQ youth leadership program and health campaign. The collection, Roopkotha (Fairy Tale), features photos of key LGBTQ community activities over the past few years in the southeast Asian country.  More from HRC.

UNITED METHODIST CHURCH VIOLATES OWN RULING TO HOLD ON DISCUSSION OF LGBTQ ISSUES: Today, the United Methodist Church (UMC) is scheduled to review seven cases addressing LGBTQ issues within the church, including a review of July 2016 election of openly lesbian Bishop Karen Oliveto. The decision to reconsider directly violates a decision last year by the Church’s commission to suspend such actions during a two-year review of how LGBTQ issues are addressed in the church’s book of beliefs. More from The Denver Post and The Wichita Eagle.

NEW HAMPSHIRE CITY ADDS GENDER IDENTITY TO ITS EMPLOYMENT NONDISCRIM POLICY: In a unanimous vote, Keene, New Hampshire, amended its existing city employment nondiscrimination policy to include gender identity. More from New Hampshire Public Radio.

PHOTO SERIES FROM WAPO EXPLORES INTERSEX COMMUNITY AND STRUGGLES: Intersex is a term used to describe bodily variations that do not fit the typical definitions of ‘male’ and ‘female.’ Intersex people can face forced surgeries, sterilization, and lack of representation in health education and media -- and are too-often left out of critical discussions. Over the weekend, The Washington Post in a stunning photo series explored intersex communities. More from WaPo.

  • The intersex community is often misunderstood. The YouTube series Queer Kid Stuff recently put out a video to educate people on the intersex community. More from Refinery29.


NewNowNext highlights movies about the Black LGBTQ community; Vice shares the story of a transgender man who found brotherhood in a fraternity; Forbes asks how companies can increase the number of LGBTQ business leaders; The Atlantic looks at efforts by healthcare facilities to provide more competent care for transgender patients; The Muse reviews The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, a documentary about the transgender pioneer;

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