#AM_Equality Tipsheet: April 6, 2017

by Allison Turner

State Dept asks Russia to investigate Chechen murders of gay men; Minnesota becomes first state to reaffirm NC travel ban

HORROR IN CHECHNYA -- STATE DEPARTMENT TAKES ACTION AS HRC URGES OFFICIALS TO CALL ON RUSSIA TO INVESTIGATE ARRESTS, KILLING OF GAY MEN: Following reports that at least three men were arrested and killed by Chechen police, “in connection with their nontraditional sexual orientation, or suspicion of such,” the U.S. State Department has urged Russia to investigate. Initial reports also reported that more than 100 gay men have been arrested because of their sexual orientation, and that authorities are targeting 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. HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson prior to the State Department’s actions urging him to investigate. "As you said during your Senate confirmation process, you believe in 'a shared commitment to protect the human rights of all people, no matter who they are or whom they love' and that means standing for universal human rights and fighting for the dignity of every person," Griffin writes. "This is a crucial moment to make it clear that the U.S. will indeed 'work aggressively to advance human rights for everyone,' as you have said." More from BuzzFeed.

MINNESOTA BECOMES FIRST STATE TO AFFIRM TRAVEL BAN TO NC; NYC AND DC JOIN OTHER CITIES ALSO STANDING UP FOR LGBTQ EQUALITY BY STAYING OUT OF NC: Minnesota, New York City and Washington, DC, have all reaffirmed their ban on taxpayer-funded travel to North Carolina in light of the sham HB2.0 “deal” signed by Gov. Roy Cooper. They join San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle, Santa Fe, Cincinnati and Salt Lake City in keeping the pressure on North Carolina to repeal its latest anti-LGBTQ law.

Keep an eye out: Check out this ad from a broad coalition of civil rights organizations calling out this so-called ‘deal’ for what it is -- doubling down on the discriminatory aspects of HB2 -- today in The San Jose Mercury News and The (Raleigh) News & Observer. The ad also appeared in The Charlotte Observer earlier this week.

HB2; North Carolina

FEDERAL JUDGE RULES IN FAVOR OF SAME-SEX COUPLE DENIED HOUSING: U.S. District Court Judge Raymond Moore ruled that a Colorado landlord discriminated against  a same-sex couple -- one of whom is transgender -- by refusing to rent to them. The landlord, Deepika Avanti, violated the Fair Housing Act and the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, which protects people based on gender identity under its sexual orientation clause. More from The Washington Blade.

LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections remain a patchwork in the US: A new piece by the AP’s David Crary (@CraryAP) takes a look at which states do -- and don’t -- protect LGBTQ people in the absence of a federal nondiscrimination law. More from the AP.

DEPARTMENT OF NOPE - HAS THE LONG SHADOW OF ANTI-LGBTQ “EXPERT” ACTUALLY RECEDED?: A story in the Washington Post this morning claims that the “long shadow” of anti-LGBTQ psychiatrist Paul McHugh is finally receding at Johns Hopkins. Wrong. The shadow continues to loom large for transgender people still facing discrimination fostered by McHugh’s invocation of Hopkins’ credibility to peddle junk science that attacks LGBTQ people. Given Hopkins’ history and the continued attacks against LGBTQ people made under its name, many LGBTQ patients, and particularly transgender people, remain deeply concerned about their ability to access inclusive and quality healthcare at the hospital. Recently, HRC deducted 25 points from Johns Hopkins Hospital’s score in our annual Healthcare Equality Index for the ongoing harm perpetuated by McHugh’s junk science essays and Hopkins’ failure to address them. More on the dangerous actions of McHugh and Hopkins’ dereliction from LGBTQ Nation.

SENATOR FRANKEN TO ADDRESS HRC’S TIME TO THRIVE CONFERENCE: U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN), whose career has been marked by his commitment to equality, will speak at HRC’s annual Time to THRIVE Conference. Time to THRIVE is the nation’s premier gathering for K-12 educators, professional counselors and other youth-serving professionals on LGBTQ youth safety, inclusion and well-being, to be held April 28-30 in Washington, DC. Other special guests at the conference include Executive Producer of National Geographic's Gender Revolution Katie Couric, New York Times columnist Charles Blow, Miss America contestant Erin O’Flaherty, Out of Iraq stars Nayyef Hrebid & Btoo Al Lami, transgender advocate Jazz Jennings, and members of HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council -- including Jazz’s mother, Jeanette. More from HRC.

HRC RELEASES NEW ‘COMING HOME’ FAITH GUIDE FOR LGBTQ MORMONS: Today, the HRC Foundation released Coming Home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to Self, a guide for LGBTQ Mormons. HRC worked with an advisory team of Mormon scholars and activists to develop and shape this resource. The release comes on the anniversary of founding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. More from HRC.

HOUSE INTRODUCES BILL TO MODERNIZE HIV & AIDS LAWS: Last week, House HIV Caucus Co-Chairs Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) reintroduced the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act 2017, which would modernize laws and policies to eliminate discrimination against those living with HIV and AIDS. More from HRC.

NEVADA SENATE APPROVES BILL TO PROTECT LGBTQ FOSTER YOUTH: On Tuesday, the Nevada Senate approved Assembly Bill 99, which would require prospective foster parents to participate in training on working with LGBTQ children. The bill also requires state and local agencies and facilities to provide children care consistent with their gender identity. More from Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“I CAN’T SMILE WITHOUT YOU” -- BARRY MANILOW OPENS UP ABOUT HIS SEXUALITY IN EXCLUSIVE PEOPLE ARTICLE: While Manilow has been with his husband, Garry Kief, for nearly 40 years, this is the first time the extremely private pop superstar has opened up about his relationship. He tells People’s Jeff Nelson (@Nelson_Jeff): “I thought I would be disappointing [my fans] if they knew I was gay. So I never did anything. When they found out that Garry and I were together, they were so happy. The reaction was so beautiful — strangers commenting, ‘Great for you!’ I’m just so grateful for it.” Read the full interview here.

ANTI-EQUALITY SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATES DEFEATED IN ILLINOIS: Last May, the Palatine District 211 school district approved the use of the female locker room for a transgender student. On Tuesday, the three pro-equality school board members who supported the policy retained their seats, despite anti-equality candidates running against them. More from The Associated Press and The Washington Post.

REPREHENSIBLE -- NC CHURCH PUNISHES BOY SCOUT TROOP FOR EMBRACING EQUALITY: The Coddle Creek Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church has shamefully barred a Boy Scout and Cub Scout troops from using church facilities for their meetings because Boy Scouts of America allows transgender boys to participate in scouting. The troops had been meeting at the church for a decade. More from The Charlotte Observer.

IN FORCEFUL PIECE, TEXAS A&M CADET REBUTS ANTI-LGBTQ RANT AGAINST LESBIAN USAF COMMANDER: After Kayla Moore, the wife of Alabama’s disgraced, anti-LGBTQ Justice Roy Moore, wrote a letter opposing the appointment of Col. Kristin Goodwin as Commandant of Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy because she is a lesbian, Capt. Cole Manders -- a cadet at Texas A&M Maritime Academy -- wrote Moore an open letter, saying being gay is the "single-biggest contributing factor to my success." Read the full piece from AL.com.


HRC highlights events from day one of HRC’s Global Innovative Advocacy Summit; CNN reports on a campaign that has men holding hands in solidarity with a same-sex couple physically attacked in the Netherlands;

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