#AM_Equality Tipsheet: August 7, 2017

by Allison Turner

Fifty House Democrats write Mattis opposing ban on transgender troops; Oklahoma Black gay man files federal civil rights lawsuit.

MORE THAN 50 HOUSE DEMS URGE MATTIS TO REJECT “UNCONSTITUTIONAL DIRECTIVE” BANNING TRANSGENDER MILITARY SERVICE: In a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford Jr. sent Friday, the House members condemn Donald Trump's despicable tweets and anticipated directive to ban transgender service members. “As members of Congress with an abiding interest in our nation’s military and its policies towards the LGBTQ community, we write to not only express our strong opposition to President Trump’s recent tweets seeking to ban transgender individuals from the military, but to remind you not to comply with any unconstitutional directive which may ultimately be issued,” the 53 lawmakers wrote. Reports The Hill’s Rebecca Kheel (@Rebecca_H_K), the letter was organized by the top Democrats on the House Armed Services and Judiciary committees, Reps. Adam Smith (Wash.) and John Conyers Jr. (Mich.), and signatories come from those committees, as well as the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. More in The Hill.

  • Lambda Legal has teamed up with OutServe-SLDN to challenge Trump’s anti-transgender policy in court. More from Lambda Legal.
  • The Democratic National Committee has taken a stand against Trump’s latest assault on LGBTQ Americans. More from Washington Blade.
  • MUST READ: “In transgender military ban, Trump again breaks his promise to LGBT people,” writes Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) for the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

OKLA. BLACK GAY MAN FILES FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS LAWSUIT AFTER HIS HOME WAS BURNED TO THE GROUND: Randy Gamel-Medler's equal protection lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Distrct Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, details months of police and government inaction in response to racist and homophobic threats and harassment that culminated in the destruction of his home in May. The lawsuit includes state law claims for assault, batteyr, destruction of real personal property, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. "We must demand training to ensure that law enforcement officials have the tools they need to partner with LGBTQ community-members and to swiftly respond to hate crimes with sensitivity," said Robin Maril, HRC's Associate Legal Director. "Adoption of mandatory reporting requirements for hate-crime statistics couple with the passage of statewide LGBTQ-inclusive hate crimes and non-discrimination protections are also essential to ending this violence. Our hearts go out to the Medler family during this incredibly difficult time." More from HRC.

MONDAY MUST WATCH: A new music video from Pakistani singer and songwriter Jimmy Kahn portrays a day in the life of two transgender women, shining a light on the discrimination they face, and the violence they encounter. Kahn titled the video “Watch. Absorb. Reflect. Change.” and says he hopes the viewer will reflect on the discrimination faced by the transgender community. More from NPR.

UNITED HEALTHCARE APOLOGIZES, REVERSES POLICY AFTER DENYING PREVENTIVE HIV COVERAGE TO GAY MAN: The decision came following backlash from HRC and other HIV & AIDS prevention advocacy organizations. The insurance company reportedly cited risk of "homosexual behavior" in denying a gay man coverage of Truvada for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a once-daily pill regimen that can prevent someone from becoming HIV-positive. More from NBC.

THAT’S KARMA, BRO -- MARTIN SHKRELI IS FOUND GUILTY OF FRAUD: Reports The New York Times, “Jurors convicted Mr. Shkreli of… securities fraud in connection with his hedge fund MSMB Capital; securities fraud in connection with MSMB Healthcare; and conspiracy to commit securities fraud related to the Retrophin stock scheme, in which he tried to quietly control a huge portion of Retrophin stock.” In late 2015, Shkreli, then-CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, came under intense public scrutiny when his company overnight increased by 5000 percent the price of Daraprim, a crucial and often life-saving drug frequently used by people living with HIV and pregnant people. HRC called for a Congressional investigation into Turing's price gouging. The charges are unconnected to the increased drug pricing. More from The New York Times.


  • Team USA duathlete and VP for Program Development at You Can Play Chris Mosier (@TheChrisMosier) penned a powerful oped about Texas SB3 and the need to protect trans athletes in NBC.
  • “Transgender African-Americans’ Open Wound: ‘We’re Considered a Joke’,” writes John Eligon (@JEligon) for The New York Times.

AMB. MARK GREEN CONFIRMED AS USAID ADMINISTRATOR: He will lead the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), America's largest provider of global development assistance. Green (not to be confused with the anti-LGBTQ Mark Green who was forced to withdraw his nomination as Army Secretary) pledged at his Senate confirmation hearing in June that, if confirmed, he would work to ensure that USAID’s programming reaches vulnerable LGBTQ people around the world. More from HRC.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ORDERED TO RELEASE DOCUMENTS RELATING TO ‘LAVENDER SCARE’: The order came from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. During the "Lavendar Scare" of the 1950s and 1960s, federal and state governments investigated and fired thousands of employees who were suspected of being LGBTQ, claiming that they were "security risks" who were vulnerable to Soviet blackmail. More from NBC News.

AARON CARTER COMES OUT: In a powerful tweet, Carter said “This doesn’t bring me shame, just a weight and a burden I have held onto for a long time... when I was about 13 years old I started to find boys and girls attractive.” Read more here.

AUSTRALIA’S RULING PARTY REFUSES TO VOTE ON MARRIAGE EQUALITY: The conservative Liberal Party supports a plebiscite, or ballot measure, on the subject. More from The Associated Press.

DESPICABLE -- HAITI’S SENATE PASSES BILL TO MAKE IT A CRIME TO SUPPORT LGBTQ RIGHTS: While the bill has not passed the lower house, it could make any public support of LGBTQ rights, including protests and attending same-sex unions, a crime. More from Blavity.

SOUTH KOREAN GOVERNMENT TO REVIEW BAN ON GAY AND BI SERVICE MEMBERS: This announcement comes after CNN reported that the South Korean military was using dating apps to target gay and bisexual soldiers in a “gay witch hunt.” More from Gay Star News.

  • And the country’s Supreme Court recently ordered the government to allow a LGBTQ civil rights organization to legally register as a charity. More from NewNowNext.


NewNowNext reports on a new study showing that LGBTQ women are more likely to win elections than LGBTQ men; The Guardian explores the unique struggles of LGBTQ Somali-Americans; HRC intern Breyer Hodge reflects on their experience volunteering for Danica Roem’s campaign; Advocate shares a young boy’s musical interaction with Idina Menzel.

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