#AM_Equality Tipsheet: January 10, 2018

by Allison Turner

#AM_Equality: HRC releases annual State Equality Index; Senate, reject Howard Nielson; Today - Danica Roem to be sworn into VA’s House of Delegates

BREAKING -- HRC & EQUALITY FEDERATION INSTITUTE RELEASE ANNUAL STATE EQUALITY INDEX RATINGS: The comprehensive state-by-state report details statewide laws and policies that affect LGBTQ people and their families. It also highlights the onslaught of more than 125 anti-LGBTQ laws introduced across 30 states during the 2017 state legislative season, including proposals to grant sweeping licenses to discriminate; undercut marriage equality; and target the transgender community -- including transgender children. The SEI comes as more than 40 state legislatures will reconvene by the end of January, and, according to a 2018 legislative preview report from HRC, state legislators, under relentless pressure from opponents of equality, are expected to wage attacks on transgender people -- particularly in the critical areas of health care and access to appropriate restrooms. “If an LGBTQ couple drove from Maine to California today, their legal rights and civil rights protections could change more than 20 times at state borders and city lines. The vast majority of Americans today understand that this crazy quilt of protections -- and lack thereof -- is wrong, impractical, and unacceptable,” said HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin). “The time has come for us to do away with this ragged patchwork of state laws that fail to protect LGBTQ people equally by passing the Equality Act once and for all.” Read the full report here. More from HRC.

HRC CALLS ON SENATE TO REJECT TRUMP-PENCE ANTI-LGBTQ NOM HOWARD C. NIELSON: In advance of Nielson’s Senate nomination hearing today for U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said: “The nomination of Howard Nielson to the federal bench is the latest attack on LGBTQ people by the Trump-Pence Administration. Nielson has a long track record of hostility and discrimination towards the LGBTQ community. He has stated that being gay is a choice, argued in favor of Prop 8 and abusive conversion therapy techniques, and had the audacity to claim a gay judge could not be impartial in a ruling involving LGBTQ rights. Nielson is unfit to serve on the federal bench, and the Senate Judiciary Committee should reject his nomination.” More from HRC.

TODAY -- HRC CELEBRATES DANICA ROEM AS SHE IS SWORN IN TO VA’S HOUSE OF DELEGATES: Roem is now Virginia’s first out transgender public official and the nation's only out transgender state representative. She unseated Bob Marshall, who had a vicious, anti-LGBTQ record. Roem plans to fight to pass non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, improve affordable access to health care, update the Virginia Human Rights Act to include gender identity and sexual orientation, and remove outdated, unconstitutional language on marriage equality in the Virginia code.

  • HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride sat down with Roem recently for an extended interview on running for office and fighting for LGBTQ equality. Watch here.

WHAT WE’RE READING WEDNESDAY -- MEET THE FIRST SAME-SEX COUPLES MARRIED IN AUSTRALIA: This week marked the first time LGBTQ couples could marry following the passage of marriage equality in December. In Australia, couples must give 30 days notice prior to marrying; many held midnight weddings as the waiting period finally ticked down. Australia is the 25th country with marriage equality. More from BuzzFeed.

300 DAYS UNTIL ELECTION DAY 2018 AND, YES ... IT’S CRIMINAL -- JOE ARPAIO IS RUNNING FOR THE U.S. SENATE: The former Maricopa County sheriff, pardoned for racist crimes last year by Trump, has attacked nearly every marginalized community, including using anti-LGBTQ schemes to humiliate inmates at his ‘Tent City’ prison. Arpaio also campaigned against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides much needed relief for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children -- including 75,000 LGBTQ Dreamers. More from Washington Examiner.

  • Meanwhile, a federal judge has blocked the Trump-Pence administration’s effort to shut-down the DACA program. Politico’s Josh Gerstein (@joshgerstein) reports that the ruling will allow former DACA recipients who failed to renew by an October 5 deadline “a chance to submit renewal applications and will also require the administration to allow renewal of applications expiring in the future.” More at Politico.

TRUMP RISKS LGBTQ LIVES BY REFUSING TO GRANT PROTECTED STATUS TO SALVADORAN IMMIGRANTS: In El Salvador, many LGBTQ people face violence and harassment because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Without protected status, many will be forced to return to a country that is not safe for them. More from The Washington Blade.

  • Heartbreaking: Jose Guevara, a Salvadoran gay man who came to the U.S. and is covered by DACA, is fighting leukemia. More from CNN.

BROWARD (FLA.) COUNTY COMMISSIONERS PROTECT YOUTH FROM SO-CALLED “CONVERSION THERAPY”: The commission voted unanimously yesterday, and now joins municipalities across the state that have already protected residents from the dangerous and debunked practice. More from Sun-Sentinel.

MORNING MUST WATCH -- LGBTQ NATIVE AMERICANS FIND LOVE AT TRADITIONAL DANCE: Adrian Stevens and Sean Snyder met and fell in love at a pow wow, the traditional Native American celebration. After their rare same-sex dance went viral, they’ve performed all over the world, bringing visibility to LGBTQ Native Americans. More from People.

THERE ARE ONLY 145,000 ACTIVE TRUVADA PRESCRIPTIONS IN THE U.S.: Researchers cite Truvada’s cost, skepticism among some doctors and stigma around HIV and AIDS as causes for the low usage. Truvada is a form of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) – an HIV prevention strategy that includes taking anti-HIV medication to significantly reduce the risk of contracting HIV. More from The Associated Press.

FILM STARRING TRANS ACTRESS TAKING AWARDS SEASON BY STORM: The Chilean film A Fantastic Woman shines a light on the story of the courage of a young transgender woman, who struggles in the wake of her partner's untimely death. Daniela Vega (@DaniVega), a transgender actress and lyrical singer, is creating buzz this awards season. More from W Magazine.

BAFTA HONORS LGBTQ, ALLIED STORIES AND ACTORS: Call Me by Your Name is nominated for Best Film and Best Adapted Screenplay; Coco, co-directed by openly gay Adrian Molina, is nominated for Best Animated Film; and I Am Not Your Negro is nominated for Best Documentary. HRC supporter and LGBTQ ally Allison Janney is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in I, Tonya. More from The Guardian.

MEET THE LGBTQ GOLDEN GLOBE WINNERS: Openly gay songwriter Benj Pasek, with professional partner Justin Paul, won Best Original Song for "This Is Me" from The Greatest Showman. Additionally, Coco, which won Best Animated Film, was co-directed by openly gay Adrian Molina. More from Advocate.

HATEFUL -- CATHOLIC PRIEST KICKS OUT THREE LGBTQ CHURCH MUSICIANS: The Reverend John Drees removed the men from the Minneapolis-Saint Paul-area church because they are all in same-sex marriages. More from The Christian Post.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ERIN URITUS, NEW CEO AT OUT & EQUAL: The organization is the world’s largest LGBTQ professional organization. Uritus was a senior leader at Booz Allen and International School Services. More from San Diego LGBT Weekly.


BuzzFeed interviews transgender teenagers who will have a float in the Mardi Gras parade; The Lantern reviews a new children’s book with LGBTQ themes, You Be You!; Michigan Radio follows a trans opera singer following his dreams

A.M. Equality