#AM_Equality Tipsheet: February 6, 2017

by Allison Turner

Corporate giants take action against Trump’s immigration ban; HRC urges Senate to reject Betsy DeVos at today’s vote; UNC's Roy Williams slams NC HB2

CORPORATE GIANTS TAKE BOLD ACTIONS SUNDAY NIGHT AGAINST TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION BAN: Last night, a group of Silicon Valley companies including Apple, Airbnb, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Lyft, Twitter and Uber filed a legal brief opposing the Trump Administration's executive order concerning immigration. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is expected to rule this week after a Seattle judge issued for an immediate halt to the ban. And during the Super Bowl, several companies stood up for equality and inclusion with powerful and poignant advertisements. Notable were Airbnb’s “#WeAccept” ad, which said “We believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept.” 84 Lumber’s ad, which was shortened for television, depicts a Latinx mother and daughter traveling to the United States. Several others, including Coca Cola and Budweiser, made powerful statements with their advertisements. More on the legal brief from The Washington Post and more on Super Bowl advertisements from The New York Times.

  • During last night’s Super Bowl halftime show, bisexual pop star Lady Gaga highlighted the LGBTQ community in her song Born This Way. This is especially moving considering the location of the Super Bowl: anti-equality Texas lawmakers are continuing their campaign to codify discrimination against LGBTQ people into law during their  2017 legislative session. More on Texas from HRC.

HRC URGES SENATE TO REJECT TRUMP EDUCATION NOM BETSY DEVOS: HRC stands in opposition to Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education and urges Senators to vote no tomorrow on her nomination. “LGBTQ students need a leader at the Department of Education who will defend their right to a safe environment where they can learn without compromising who they are,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “Mrs. DeVos has not shown that she is able or willing to truly rise to this challenge and ensure the rights of all LGBTQ students -- especially transgender students whose rights are being targeted by our opponents in Washington and across the country. The Senate should reject Mrs. DeVos’ nomination.” Read HRC’s letter to Senators urging a “no” vote here.

  • Also today: Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions and Health and Human Services nominee Tom Price will likely receive votes this week. HRC has opposed both nominations.

MUST WATCH MONDAY: In a postgame press conference yesterday, famed University of North Carolina men’s basketball coach Roy Williams called the state’s  infamous anti-LGBTQ HB2 law “ridiculous,” referring to is as a “stupid rule” that has hurt the state’s reputation and taken away “a lot of great opportunities for people in our state, great athletes that like to do things in our state…” The ACC, the NCAA, and the NBA, along with scores of businesses and entertainers, have moved events out of North Carolina over HB2, sending a crystal clear message that discrimination has consequences, and they won’t tolerate attacks on their employees, players, and fans. Watch Coach Williams’ powerful comments at The News & Observer.

NEW HRC REPORT -- NEIL GORSUCH, BAD FOR LGBTQ COMMUNITY, BAD FOR SCOTUS: HRC has released a report detailing why President Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States is concerning for the LGBTQ community. “Judge Gorsuch has had a troubling record on LGBTQ issues throughout his career,” said Sarah Warbelow, HRC legal director. “During his campaign, Donald Trump pledged to appoint a justice ‘in the mold of Antonin Scalia,’ and Gorsuch’s decisions and jurisprudence suggest he has kept that promise. The LGBTQ community has won important victories at the Supreme Court -- from Romer to Obergefell -- that affirm our rights and our liberties. We must ensure that those who serve on our highest court are willing to stand up for our community; Gorsuch has given us no indication that he will.” For more information on Gorsuch’s record and why he is wrong for the LGBTQ community and wrong for the Supreme Court, read the HRC report here. More from HRC.

IN APPEARANCE ON THIS WEEK, VP PENCE DOESN’T RULE OUT POSSIBLE  ANTI-LGBTQ EXECUTIVE ORDER: Yesterday on ABC’s This Week, Vice President Mike Pence told George Stephanopoulos (@GStephanopoulos) that “discrimination would have no place in our administration.” But as with most things this administration has asserted, this stands in stark contrast with reality. Pence made the statement when asked about a leaked draft executive order that would allow an unprecedented expansion of taxpayer-funded discrimination that could have broad implications for LGBTQ people. When asked if the order could be signed soon, Pence ominously said, “It will be the purview of the President to determine if that is necessary.” Watch the full interview from ABC.

  • The Washington Post Editorial Board wrote last night about the Trump Administration’s mixed messaging on LGBTQ equality, calling the leaked, proposed executive order “a repugnant signal that such an order is meant to advance a certain set of religious doctrines and not others, and it could well violate the First Amendment’s establishment clause.” Read the full piece here.

MOVING VIDEO FEATURES TRANSGENDER TEEN PREPARING FOR APPEARANCE BEFORE SCOTUS: The Supreme Court of the United States has scheduled oral arguments for March 28 in Gloucester County School Board v. Grimm, a case involving a Virginia school board’s discrimination against a transgender student. Gavin Grimm, a transgender boy, filed suit against the school board alleging it violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 by denying him use of the boy’s restroom. The Supreme Court’s decision in this case will have far-reaching consequences for tens of thousands of transgender students across the nation. The ACLU, which represents Gavin, released this moving video of him getting fitted for a suit for his high court appearance. Watch here.

THOUSANDS GATHER AT STONEWALL FOR LGBTQ SOLIDARITY RALLY AGAINST TRUMP: In a show of solidarity with the immigrants, Muslims and refugees targeting by President Trump’s hate, thousands of LGBTQ people rallied in front of the historic Stonewall Inn, the site of the 1969 Stonewall Riots that jumpstarted the LGBTQ civil rights movement. The rally also protested the proposed anti-LGBTQ executive order by President Trump, and his slew of anti-LGBTQ White House staff and cabinet nominees. More from NBC. More photos from Gothamist.

HRC CALLS ON MIKE HUCKABEE TO APOLOGIZE FOR IGNORANT, TRANSPHOBIC COMMENT: Over the weekend, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee -- an ordained minister -- made a cruel comment about Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Schumer, who recently teared up when discussing President Trump’s unconstitutional executive action on immigration. Huckabee’s comment ignorantly attempted to play off Boys Don’t Cry, a film about the true life of Brandon Teena, a transgender boy who was brutally murdered in a crime of pure hate.

HONY TALKS TO ARGENTINEAN TRANS WOMAN: Over the weekend, Humans of New York spoke to a transgender woman in Argentina about her difficult relationship with her parents as a young girl and the love and acceptance she received from her grandfather. She said,  “Even when I was a child, he'd see the clothes I wore, and he'd tell me: ‘If you were a girl, you’d be very beautiful.’ When I finally told him everything I was feeling, he said: ‘You’re a great person, and I’ll never be afraid of what’s going on with you.’” Read the full post here.


“When I was younger, I’d always leave the house dressed like a man, but then I’d change my clothes. My mother told me the devil was in me. My father said that I was useless. They even took me to the doctor to find out what was going on. But my grandfather always supported me. He was more open-minded than my parents. I think it's because he worked at a 24 hour restaurant and met all the people who came out at night. Even when I was a child, he'd see the clothes I wore, and he'd tell me: ‘If you were a girl, you’d be very beautiful.’ When I finally told him everything I was feeling, he said: ‘You’re a great person, and I’ll never be afraid of what’s going on with you.’” (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

A photo posted by Humans of New York (@humansofny) on


The Huffington Post discusses Kristen Stewart declaring her sexuality during her opening monologue on Saturday Night LiveLincoln Star Journal reflects on the experiences of LGB servicemembers before “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was repealed…

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