#AM_Equality Tipsheet: April 3, 2017

by Allison Turner

What people are saying about NC gov’s betrayal of LGBTQ people; Today - Gorsuch nom expected to be referred to full Senate

NO ONE IS HAVING THIS FAKE HB2 REPEAL: On the eve of Transgender Day of Visibility, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, Senate President Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore shamefully attempted to pass off to the public an egregious so-called “deal”-- HB 142 -- that doubles down on the state’s HB2-like discrimination against LGBTQ people -- particularly transgender people. Civil rights groups including HRC, the NAACP, Equality North Carolina and the National Center for Transgender Equality have been working to correct the record on the discriminatory measure. Top headlines include: The New York Times Editorial Board, “North Carolina’s Bait-and-Switch on Transgender Restroom Law;” Steven Petrow for The Washington Post, “You can’t compromise on civil rights. But North Carolina just did.;” The Charlotte Observer Editorial Board, “HB2 repeal: Cooper turns back on LGBT community;” Slate, “The HB2 “Repeal” Bill Is an Unmitigated Disaster for LGBTQ Rights and North Carolina;” Mother Jones, “Don't Be Fooled. The North Carolina "Compromise" Doesn't Actually Protect Trans Rights;” Dorie Clark writing in Fortune, “North Carolina’s Bathroom Bill Repeal Won’t Bring the NCAA Back;” ESPN, “NCAA, NBA and ACC say they're pro-LGBT -- now's their chance to prove it;” The Nation, “ The So-Called ‘Repeal’ of North Carolina’s Bathroom Bill Is a Terrible Deal for Civil Rights.” Find out what other major publications as well as the business and entertainment community are saying on HRC’s blog.

  • HRC is calling on the NCAA to stand strong and see this law for what it truly is: discrimination. Chicago Tribune Columnist Shannon Ryan’s (@SRyanTribune) piece, “NCAA needs to stand firm and stay out of North Carolina,” sums it up. Read here.
  • TRENDING: On Saturday night as UNC faced off against Oregon, #RepealHB2 was trending nationwide. Nearly 5 million people participated in an online social action launched by HRC & Equality North Carolina calling on NCAA to stand strong and fight HB2 -- and 25 million people saw the push. Check it out on HRC’s Twitter.

TODAY -- GORSUCH NOMINATION EXPECTED TO BE REFERRED TO FULL SENATE: Last month HRC took the unprecedented step of opposing President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court of the United States before his Senate Judiciary Committee hearing because of his disturbing record. With voting slated to begin on Monday, HRC is reiterating its opposition. Gorsuch has a long and troubling career opposing civil rights, including for LGBTQ people, including calling marriage equality part of the liberal social agenda, saying. “American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom… as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage to assisted suicide…”; joining the Tenth Circuit’s decision in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, which asserted that  that some private corporations are “people” under federal law and have a right to deny basic healthcare coverage if it violates their religious belief. This expansive ruling could allow employers to deny transgender employees access to hormone treatment, lesbian employees access to fertility treatments, as well as deny other crucial health care for LGBTQ people; and joining a ruling against a transgender woman who was denied consistent access to hormone therapy while incarcerated. The ruling dismissed the prisoner’s claims that the denial of care amounted to cruel and unusual punishment under the U.S. Constitution. More on Gorsuch’s record here.

MUST WATCH MONDAY -- NCAA must stay strong for equality: HB 142 goes against the values of the NCAA -- which has stated it will not schedule tournaments in places that discriminate against their LGBTQ citizens and visitors. Watch the video here.

RUSSIAN NEWSPAPER REPORTS THAT CHECHEN AUTHORITIES ARE ARRESTING AND MURDERING GAY MEN: Russian newspaper  Novaya Gazeta has reported that at least three men were arrested and killed by Chechen police, “in connection with their nontraditional sexual orientation, or suspicion of such.” The paper also reported that more than 100 gay men have been arrested because of their sexual orientation, and that authorities are arresting people by posing as gay men on social media sites. Some gay men in the area have started deleting their online profiles and seeking ways to leave Chechnya out of fear for their lives. More from The New York Times.

TRUMP’S BUDGET THREATENS NIH AND HIV RESEARCH: Earlier this month, the Trump Administration sent its budget for fiscal year 2017 to Congress. Rather than provide a detailed document for funding the federal government, the President advanced an outline of spending priorities, also known as a skinny budget. What we learned was that the Department of Defense was slated for an increase in $54 billion, with this scale up done at the expense domestic programs -- including crucial HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment efforts. The Administration wants to help pay for the 17 percent increase in defense spending by cutting $1.2 billion from the National Institutes of Health, $50 million from CDC HIV research and prevention programs, and nearly $300 million from the global HIV and AIDS treatment through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). More from HRC.

MISSISSIPPI’S HB 1523 HAS FIRST DAY IN APPEALS COURT: Today in Lubbock, TX, a three-judge panel from the U.S.  Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will hear arguments on Mississippi’s HB 1523, which was blocked from implementation last summer, hours before going into effect. HB 1523 is a broad “license to discriminate” law -- the only such one in the country. Robbie Kaplan, the litigator who argued on behalf of Edie Windsor in the landmark U.S. v. Windsor case, will argue against the law. More from The Associated Press.

HIGHLIGHTING LGBTQ VISIBILITY IN NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Every March millions of eyes fall on 64 men’s and women’s college basketball teams as sports fans from across the country revel in the “madness” of the NCAA basketball tournaments. The NCAA has committed itself to equality and inclusion in its event selection process, moving 2016-17 championship and tournament games out of North Carolina due to the discriminatory HB2. As fans enjoy March Madness, it is important to keep in mind players and coaches and who have made the brave decisions to live openly and authentically. Check out five courageous women who are using their voices to bring LGBTQ visibility to college basketball from HRC.

NEW POLLING SHOWS  RISE IN ACCEPTANCE OF TRANSGENDER PEOPLE: A recent poll of likely voters, conducted for HRC by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, found that more people than ever have favorable views of transgender people: 47 percent saw transgender people in a positive light, while only 19 percent had an overall negative opinion. These numbers show steady improvement over the past several years. In HRC’s 2015 poll, 44 percent of likely voters had positive views of transgender people, and 25 percent felt negatively. As in past years, those polled in 2017 were much more likely to have positive views of transgender people if they personally knew someone transgender. Sixty-two percent of those who knew someone transgender took an overall positive view, and only 16 percent had negative feelings. More from HRC.

  • In a powerful new piece by Jacob Bernstein (@BernsteinJacob) New York real estate heiress Isabel Rose shares her family’s journey after her daughter came out as transgender. Isabel was inspired to share her story after the Trump Administration rescinded critical federal protections for transgender students. More from The New York Times.

OHIO CITIES ADVANCE LGBTQ EQUALITY: Three major cities in Ohio took big steps for LGBTQ equality recently: The Columbus City Council voted to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangerous practice of “conversion therapy” and the Akron City Council and the Olmsted Falls City Council passed LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination protections. More from HRC.

HRC MOURNS CREATOR OF ICONIC LGBTQ RAINBOW FLAG: On Friday, Gilbert Baker, who hand-dyed and stitched the first ever LGBTQ rainbow flag, died. To honor the life and legacy as creator of the enduring symbol of LGBTQ pride, HRC flew the rainbow flag at its national headquarters in Washington. Read more about Baker at The New York Times.

HRC HEI TO REQUIRE TRANS-INCLUSIVE HEALTHCARE COVERAGE: HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index has announced that transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage will be a requirement beginning with the 2019 HEI. By embracing trans-inclusive benefits, these initiatives will only help more businesses achieve the goal of promoting health and wellness across a diverse workforce. U.S. employer-based health care plans have historically explicitly contained “transgender exclusions” that prohibit coverage for medical care related to gender transition, including mental health care, hormone therapy, gender affirming surgeries and other medically necessary services. More from HRC, and more on this year’s HEI from The Wisconsin Gazette.

APRIL IS SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE AWARENESS MONTH: According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rates of syphilis are the highest they’ve been in 20 years, with the highest rates occurring among men who have sex with men. While all STDs can be easily treated or cured with the help of a medical provider, they can cause serious problems if left ignored. More from HRC.

GLAAD AWARDS CALL OUT TRUMP: At the GLAAD Awards on Saturday, host Cameron Esposito (@CameronEsposito) called out Trump, saying “Donald, if you're watching, to you I say, Meryl was too easy on you.” The night also included a powerful tribute to the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. Patricia Arquette, sister of the late transgender actress Alexis Arquette, gave an emotional acceptance speech on receiving the Vanguard Award. The film Moonlight, the coming-of-age story of a Black, gay man, won the award for Outstanding Film. More from Advocate and The New York Times.

WALKING DEAD’S DANIEL NEWMAN COMES OUT IN POWERFUL VIDEO: Telling viewers on his YouTube channel that he felt compelled to live his truth after volunteering at an LGBTQ homeless shelter, Newman came out as a member of the LGBTQ community. Watch his heartfelt video here.


HRC shares seven must-have resources for the bisexual community; Out Magazine profiles four LGBTQ women storytellers in the age of Trump; WKYT reports that LGBTQ advocates will rally in Berea, KY today in support of a lesbian couple whose property was vandalized with hate messages;

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