#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 23, 2017

by Allison Turner

DISGRACEFUL -- Trump administration puts transgender kids at risk; #ProtectTransKids rally at the White House

DISGRACEFUL -- TRUMP ADMINISTRATION PUTS TRANSGENDER KIDS AT RISK: Yesterday, the Trump Administration rescinded protective guidance for transgender students. Under the direction of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education revoked the Obama Administration’s guidance detailing schools’ obligations to transgender students under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. While students are still entitled to the legal protections guaranteed by Title IX, yesterday’s action obfuscates schools’ obligations to transgender youth -- who face disproportionately high rates of bullying, harassment and discrimination -- and sent a dangerous message that the current administration will not enforce inclusive policies or stand up for them at school. HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) called the rollback a “blind and cruel attack on young children,” saying “transgender students simply want to go to school in the morning without fear of discrimination or harassment. The consequences of this decision will no doubt be heartbreaking. This isn’t a ‘states rights’ issue, it’s a civil rights issue. Children deserve protection from bullying no matter what state they live in. Period.” More from HRC, The New York Times and NBC News.

  • Tech giant Apple became one of the first businesses to publicly speak out on Trump’s actions, saying “We support efforts toward greater acceptance, not less, and we strongly believe that transgender students should be treated as equals.” More from Recode.
  • Education leaders were also quick to speak out -- The American Federation of Teachers and the New York State United Teachers issued statements calling for the administration to protect transgender students. (Note: the original guidance was requested by teachers and school administrators.) More from The Post Star.

#PROTECTTRANSKIDS -- HUNDREDS RALLY AT WHITE HOUSE TO OPPOSE TRUMP’S DECISION: Last night, HRC rallied with the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and hundreds of other advocates and parents of transgender children outside of the White House to call out President Donald Trump for his actions. Gavin Grimm -- the plaintiff in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. -- spoke at the rally, as well as HRC President Chad Griffin, NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling, JR Ford -- a member of HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council, and Catherine Lhamon -- former Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the Department of Education and co-author of the guidance. Watch the livestream here. More from The Washington Blade.

NC LEGISLATORS NEED TO STOP PLAYING GAMES: HRC strongly condemned a Republican-led proposal that would double down on the most discriminatory provisions of North Carolina’s HB2 law. Among a host of discriminatory and troubling measures, the new proposal introduced by Republican State Rep. Chuck McGrady would prevent cities from passing meaningful non-discrimination protections -- including forbidding them from passing ordinances ensuring transgender people have access to restrooms consistent with their gender identity. The measure would also prevent cities from implementing policies that stop taxpayer funds from being used by contractors to discriminate against LGBTQ people. “Once again, LGBTQ people are being singled out for discrimination by this far-reaching bill. This isn't an HB2 repeal. This is HB2 all over again,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “This proposal is a slap in the face to North Carolinians and does nothing to address the incredible harm HB2 continues to cause. North Carolina lawmakers must drop their political antics and immediately vote for a full and clean repeal of HB2.” More from HRC and Equality NC.

THROWBACK THURSDAY: President Barack Obama was a champion for transgender people, including schoolchildren, and worked tirelessly to ensure equality for everyone he was sworn to represent and protect. He was a true leader.

SD SENATE PASSES ANTI-LGBTQ “LICENSE TO DISCRIMINATE” BILL FOR TAXPAYER-FUNDED ADOPTION AGENCIES: Yesterday, HRC slammed a vote by the South Dakota Senate passing Senate Bill (SB) 149 -- discriminatory legislation targeting LGBTQ people and other minorities. SB 149 would enshrine taxpayer-funded discrimination into state law by allowing state-funded adoption and foster care agencies to reject qualified prospective LGBTQ parents based on the agency’s purported religious beliefs. More from HRC.

MOMS FOR TRANS EQUALITY -- CONGRESSWOMAN ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN: The Florida Republican has long been an outspoken advocate on Capitol Hill for LGBT equality, from her early support for lifting the ban against openly-LGBT Americans serving in the military, to advocating for anti-discrimination and anti-bullying measures. In an HRC video, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, who earns a perfect 100 in HRC’s Congressional Scorecard, speaks movingly about her transgender son, Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen. Watch it at HRC.

DADS FOR TRANS EQUALITY -- JR FORD: Since his youngest child transitioned to live as Ellie two years ago, JR has been an outspoken advocate for transgender children. A member of HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality, JR and his spouse Vanessa Ford feel strongly that schools play a critical role in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of transgender students. Watch JR’s moving story at HRC. To speak with JR, email press@hrc.org.

LGBTQ FOLKS YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS BLACK HISTORY MONTH: From Ma Rainey to Bayard Rustin, and Marsha P. Johnson to Audre Lorde -- Black LGBTQ people have profoundly shaped our movement and our world. Learn more about these extraordinary people from BuzzFeed.

MEET AN OPENLY-GAY AUSTRALIAN LAWMAKER FIGHTING FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Alex Greenwich is a leader in the Australian marriage equality movement -- and one of two openly gay members the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. More on his work to bring marriage equality Down Under from NBC.


People interviews transgender When We Rise star Ivory Aquino… HRC tells the story of Tupelo, Miss., couple Jamaya and Macy as part of the #LoveYourNeighbor campaign… BuzzFeed asks 49 people why being openly LGBTQ matters…

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A.M. Equality