#AM_Equality Tipsheet: January 17, 2017

by Allison Turner

DeVos confirmation hearings begin; Repealing the ACA leaves LGBTQ community at risk; Legislative sessions begin in VA and GA

HEARINGS BEGIN FOR TRUMP’S SEC. OF EDUCATION PICK: Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Education, will begin her confirmation hearings today. Earlier this month, Politico reported that DeVoz has had several conversations with a Senator who wants her to gut critical protections for young LGBTQ people. “(DeVos) has had several phone conversations with Republican Sen. James Lankford about reining in the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights,” Politico reported. “Lankford stressed to DeVos that there are areas that he sees as federal overreach -- like the Education Department’s position that Title IX offers explicit protections for transgender students.” Last May, the U.S. Department of Education offered guidance to schools clarifying that transgender students have the right to be free from discrimination in schools, including the ability to use gender-separated facilities (such as restrooms and locker rooms) that match their gender identity. This guidance follows similar policies in states and school districts across the country, including many that have been treating transgender students with dignity and respect for more than a decade. DeVos' family foundation, The Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation, as well as her own foundation, The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, have funded major anti-LGBTQ organizations and campaigns. Senators must ask her about how she will ensure LGBTQ students are safe and treated with respect in our nation’s schools. Advocates -- including HRC -- will also be watching to see if she makes clear whether she shares her family’s support for conversation therapy programs that harm LGBTQ youth.

SEVEN REASONS THE ACA MATTERS TO THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY: Congress has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) -- landmark legislation that provides access to healthcare for 22 million Americans, including millions of LGBTQ people. In the past, President Obama has blocked such attempts, but when President-elect Donald Trump assumes office on Friday, all bets to protect the ACA are off. There is much at stake for the LGBTQ community. State marketplaces, health plans and their employees are prohibited from discriminating against LGBTQ people. Without the protections guaranteed by the ACA, many could lose coverage for lifesaving treatment for HIV and AIDS. The ACA makes it easier for people living with HIV and AIDS to get coverage through the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans. The ACA has expanded transition-related healthcare coverage, even to people who are not in ACA marketplace plans. Insurers cannot limit or deny coverage for services used for gender transition when those services would normally be covered when treating a non-transition related health condition. More from HRC.

MORNING MUST WATCH: HRC Equidad MX, a program seeking to expand workplace equality and inclusion in Mexico, launched last year. Deena Fidas, Director of HRC’s Workplace Equality Program, recently spoke with Genaro Lozano on Televisa about the project’s origins and progress. Check out a short clip here.

VA LEGISLATIVE SESSION BEGINS -- ANTI-LGBTQ BILLS ALREADY FILED: The Virginia's legislative session opens this week, and 2017 is shaping up to be a critical year for the state’s LGBTQ community. Early this month, Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order extending protections that exist on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity for state employees to contractors and in the delivery of state services. In contrast, Delegate Bob Marshall pre-filed several bills targeting the rights of LGBTQ Virginians. HRC is calling on members and supporters to oppose this discriminatory legislation, and is partnering with Equality Virginia to defeat any attack on the rights of LGBTQ Virginians and their families. More from HRC.

AND IN GEORGIA, LEGISLATIVE SESSION OPENS WITH CALL FOR STATEWIDE LGBTQ NON-DISCRIMINATION PROTECTIONS: This week also marks the start of Georgia’s 2017 legislative session. In anticipation of attacks from anti-equality legislators, Georgia Unites Against Discrimination, a coalition project of HRC and Georgia Equality, released “Liberty and Justice in Georgia,” a report calling for statewide non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Georgians and demonstrating the need for comprehensive civil rights protections for a more welcoming and prosperous state. During the session, HRC and its coalition partners at Georgia Unites will continue efforts to defeat any attacks on the rights of LGBTQ Georgians and their families. More from HRC and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

HRC HONORS MLK DAY WITH DAY OF SERVICE FOR LGBTQ HOMELESS YOUTH: In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day, HRC members and supporters across the country gathered Monday for the annual MLK Day of Service. This year, HRC dedicated the Day of Service to ensuring the safety and well-being of homeless and at-risk LGBTQ youth. More from HRC.

  • Shameful -- Over the weekend, President-Elect Donald Trump attacked civil rights hero Congressman John Lewis, who has dedicated his life to protecting civil rights. More from The Washington Post.

WE ARE HERE TO STAY RALLY FOR IMMIGRANT AND REFUGEE RIGHTS: This weekend, HRC co-sponsored the We Are Here To Stay rally for immigrant and refugee rights. The rally, part of a national immigrant day of action, organized by a coalition of immigration advocacy groups, was held at the historic Metropolitan AME Church in downtown Washington, D.C.  Javier, an HRC intern, whose moving story about coming to the United States is featured in a new HRC video in English and Spanish, spoke at the rally. More from The Washington Blade.

The Rev. MacArthur H. Flournoy, HRC Foundation’s Director for Faith Partnerships and Mobilization, spoke at the We Shall Not be Moved March, sponsored by the National Action Network, on Saturday.

This weekend, HRC is proud to sponsor the Women’s March on Washington. More from The Washington Blade.

ICYMI -- “MEET THE LEADERS OF THE TRUMP RESISTANCE”: Tim Dickinson (@7im) of Rolling Stone sat down with progressive leaders, including HRC President Chad Griffin, who are working together to combat the anti-LGBTQ, anti-woman, Islamaphobic and anti-immigrant platform of President-Elect Donald Trump. Read Dickinson’s interviews with Griffin; Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America; Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU; and others at Rolling Stone.

�� BROADWAY STAR BILLY PORTER MARRIES LONGTERM PARTNER: Star of the hit show Kinky Boots and long-time HRC supporter Billy Porter married his partner, Adam Smith, this weekend. More from People.

DAUGHTER OF CONSERVATIVE ALABAMA RADIO HOST COMES OUT AS BISEXUAL: John Archibald (@JohnArchibald) of AL.com writes about Brandi Bubb, her relationship with her father, conservative Alabama radio host Rick Bubb, and what her coming out means for LGBTQ children of evangelical parents. Read the full piece at AL.com.


The Nib illustrates the struggles of LGBTQ homeless youth in New York City… HRC interviews a gay, undocumented immigrant in a new video… and New York Daily News shares the love and support that comedian Colin Mochrie has for this transgender daughter...

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