#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 24, 2017

by Allison Turner

“The government… is no longer standing up for trans young people”; Parents of trans children request meeting with White House

“THE GOVERNMENT… IS NO LONGER STANDING UP FOR TRANS YOUNG PEOPLE”: In an interview with MSNBC’s Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander), HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) condemned the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind protective guidance for transgender students. Griffin called out President Trump yesterday as a “bully” who is sending a message to transgender youth all across this country that their leader is “no longer standing up for transgender young people.” Under the direction of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education this week 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, the action obfuscates schools’ obligations to transgender youth -- who face disproportionately high rates of bullying, harassment and discrimination -- and sends a dangerous message that the current administration will not enforce inclusive policies or stand up for them at school. Watch here.

  • #WheresIvanka?: While characterized in the media as a check on Donald Trump’s anti-LGBTQ policymaking urges, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner appeared to be AWOL in the decision to rescind this critical guidance. More from Politico.
  • USA Today’s Josh Rivera (@Josh1Rivera) spoke with Amber and Adam Biggle, parents of a transgender child, about their forceful advocacy and the letter they and more than 1,000 parents sent to President Trump condemning the Administration’s action. More from USA Today.
  • In an oped for Teen Vogue, HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride (@SarahEMcBride) sent a powerful message to transgender students concerned about their safety in the wake of Trump’s decision. “It’s easy to think that as transgender people or as young people that your voice doesn’t matter. But it does,” McBride writes. “Throughout our country, we’ve seen the power of one voice to change a school, a home, or a workplace.” Read the full piece at Teen Vogue.
  • Editorial Boards #CallItOut: The New York Times, “President Trump Breaks a Promise on Transgender Rights;” The Washington Post, “The White House Just Told Transgender Students They’re on Their Own;” The Los Angeles Times, “Trump Claims to Support LGBT Rights. Just Not for Transgender Youths”
  • Celebrities and public figures are also speaking out against the Trump’s decision: Those using their platforms to #ProtectTransKids include former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon, Ellen DeGeneres, Caitlyn Jenner, Ariana Grande, Jazz Jennings, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Laverne Cox, Beyoncé, Ellen Page, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, Janet Mock and Seth Meyers. More from ABC.
  • Corporate allies stand up for transgender kids: Apple, Uber, Microsoft, Salesforce, IBM, Uber, Lyft and Google have all called out this decision. More from PRWeek and Politico.

FRIDAY FEATURE: Members of HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council, a coalition of the nation’s leading parent-advocates working for equality and fairness for transgender people, sent a letter to President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Education Secretary Betsy Devos asking for a meeting about their troubling decision to revoke protections for transgender children. They write:

This week, you rescinded guidance that had clarified schools’ obligations to protect transgender students -- students like our children. We are heartbroken and scared about what this means for them. We respectfully request an opportunity to meet with you face-to-face to discuss the impact of your decision on our children’s lives. This action exposes transgender students to harassment and discrimination in their own classrooms, places they should feel safe and able to learn.

Read the full letter here.

“NEW” BILL IN NC RETAINS WORST OF STATE’S ANTI-LGBTQ HB2 LAW: Yesterday, HRC and Equality NC unmasked a Republican-led proposal -- HB 186 -- as simply “HB2.0”, a measure that would double down on the most discriminatory provisions of North Carolina’s HB2 law. Among a host of discriminatory and troubling measures, the proposal -- introduced by State Rep. Chuck McGrady -- would prevent cities from passing meaningful non-discrimination protections by forbidding them from passing ordinances ensuring transgender people have access to restrooms. It would also bar cities from implementing policies that stop taxpayer funds from being used by contractors to discriminate against LGBTQ people. And it would impose new and unnecessary penalties for crimes committed in restrooms, and create a mechanism for non-discrimination ordinances to be subject to a burdensome referendum process. More from NC Policy Watch.

  • We couldn’t agree more: The Charlotte Observer’s Editorial Board called out the HB2.0 proposal for what it is -- a bill that perpetuates discrimination and harms the LGBTQ community. The board writes, “Basic human rights should not be up for a vote.” Read the full piece from The Charlotte Observer.

SHAME -- ARKANSAS SUPREME COURT STRIKES DOWN LOCAL NONDISCRIM ORDINANCE: Yesterday, HRC blasted the Arkansas Supreme Court for striking down a local ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The ordinance, approved by Fayetteville voters in 2015, includes protections for LGBTQ people in housing, employment and public accommodations. This ruling removes these protections for LGBTQ people in Fayetteville, further opening up Arkansans to discrimination. “Let’s be clear, the state’s preemption law is unconstitutional. This ruling from the Arkansas Supreme Court is an attack on LGBTQ Arkansans and takes away hard-won protections approved by voters in Fayetteville,” said Kendra R. Johnson, HRC Arkansas state director. “Removing these protections leaves LGBTQ people without local, municipal or state protections, putting them at heightened  risk of discrimination as they simply go about their daily lives.” More from HRC and The Associated Press.

GEORGIA GOV SAYS NO DEAL ON ANTI-LGBTQ BILL PROPOSAL: At a press conference yesterday, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal left no doubt about his opposition to a revived so-called “religious liberty” measure, signaling he would veto the discriminatory bill if it made it to his desk. “I didn’t want there to be any confusion about where I stand on the RFRA bill: I have no desire or appetite to entertain that legislation,” Deal said, referring to a one-page proposal introduced this week. More from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

KENYA OFFERS SAFE HAVEN FOR LGBTQ REFUGEES: It is one of the few African nations to welcome LGBTQ refugees -- with 90 percent of refugees coming from neighboring Uganda. More from The Guardian.

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A.M. Equality