#AM_Equality Tipsheet: January 18, 2017

by Allison Turner

HRC opposes Tom Price for HHS Secretary; Following hearing, questions remain for Betsy DeVos

HRC OPPOSES TOM PRICE FOR HHS SECRETARY: Yesterday, HRC sent a letter of opposition to Congressional offices regarding Rep. Tom Price, Trump’s pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services. In the letter, HRC President Chad Griffin lays out Price’s decades-long career of opposition to LGBTQ equality and the stakes for the LGBTQ community if he is confirmed. Partnering with anti-LGBTQ organizations, Representative Price has vocally opposed legislation that would protect our community not only from discrimination, but also from acts of violence. He has also dedicated the past seven years to systematically undermining the Affordable Care Act -- one of the most significant tools this country has ever had to combat health disparities in our community. Perhaps most troubling is his belief that LGBTQ people, equality, and same-sex relationships have negative public health and economic implications for the nation. More from TIME.

FOLLOWING HEARING, QUESTIONS REMAIN FOR BETSY DEVOS: At yesterday’s hearing, Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nomination for Secretary of Education, rejected the dangerous practice of conversion therapy and distanced herself from the extremist organizations that practice it. However, many questions remain unanswered. David Stacy, Government Affairs Director of the Human Rights Campaign said, “[W]ill she protect LGBTQ young people and commit to keeping crucial protections in place for transgender students? That is a key, critical question and should be an easy answer. Does she reject Focus on the Family’s call for the Department of Education to rescind guidance ensuring the safety of transgender students? Will she reject attempts by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty to have taxpayers foot the bill for discrimination against LGBTQ students and families?” Here are some of the facts:

●DeVos' personal foundation has donated $275,000 to Focus on the Family, an organization that promotes, among other things, conversion therapy

●DeVos’ personal foundation has donated $15,000 to the Becket Foundation, an organization that advocates for taxpayers funding discriminatory schools

●DeVos’ personal foundation has donated $65,000 to the Thomas More Law Center, an organization that represented organizations that challenged the constitutionality of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

GROUNDBREAKING HRC SURVEY OF 50,000+ YOUNG PEOPLE REVEALS TROUBLING POST-ELECTION SPIKE IN BULLYING, HARASSMENT: Today, HRC released the results of a survey -- believed to be the largest ever of its kind -- of tens of thousands of young people ages 13-18 revealing the deeply damaging fallout the November election has had on youth across the United States. The online survey found that 70 percent of respondents have witnessed bullying, hate messages or harassment since the election, with racial bias the most common motive cited. More than a quarter of LGBTQ youth said they have been personally bullied or harassed since Election Day -- compared to 14 percent of non-LGBTQ youth -- with transgender young people most frequently targeted. Additionally, Hispanic and Latinx respondents were 20 percent more likely than other youth to report having been personally bullied, with harassment targeting both immigrant and nonimmigrant communities.

“Whether the threats come in their schools or from those holding the country's highest offices, no young person should be bullied or made to feel unsafe,” said HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin). “The alarming results of this groundbreaking survey underscore our fears about the damaging effect the recent election is having on our nation’s youth, and serve as a call to action to all of us committed to helping our young people thrive in an inclusive and supportive society.”

Read more about the survey and its results here, and go here to for guidance on what adults can do to acknowledge the very real fears young people are experiencing, and help them cope with the fallout from the election.

TODAY -- HEARINGS BEGIN FOR NIKKI HALEY, TRUMP’S UN AMBASSADOR PICK: South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley appears today before Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a hearing on her nomination as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. During Obama’s presidency, the United States has strongly advocated for LGBTQ rights in the UN. Recently, it created and twice protected a new watchdog position devoted to advancing LGBTQ rights; released a first-of-its-kind report on violence and discrimination against the LGBTQ community; and launched the UN Free & Equal campaign and the ‘Being LGBT in Asia’ initiative.

OBAMA’S UNPARALLELED LGBTQ LEGACY: There is no doubt that gains the LGBTQ community has made under President Obama will be a defining part his legacy. Vox’s German Lopez (@GermanLopez) chronicles the historic advances under President Obama, and the work that must continue. Lopez interviews leading voices advocating for LGBTQ advocacy, including HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. More from Vox.

RESOURCES FOR THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY IN WAKE OF TRUMP: As Inauguration Day approaches, many in the LGBTQ community are feeling anxious about their rights under a Trump Administration -- especially those who are also part of other communities the president-elect has marginalized, including  immigrants, Muslims and women. Nidhi Prakash (@NidhiPrakash) of Fusion looks at ways people can transform fear into action over the next four years, and provides an extensive reading list and resources for people looking for information and opportunities for advocacy. Read the full piece at Fusion.

PRESIDENT OBAMA COMMUTES PORTION OF CHELSEA MANNING’S REMAINING SENTENCE: With this decision, Pvt. Manning will be released in May of this year. As Pvt. Manning serves the remainder of her sentence, she deserves the same thing that any incarcerated person does -- appropriate and competent medical care, including transition related care,  and protection from discrimination and violence.  There is a clear legal consensus that it is the government’s responsibility to provide medically necessary care for transgender people and the military has an obligation to follow those guidelines. More from HRC.

MOONLIGHT, SETH MEYERS AND MERYL STREEP TO BE HONORED AT HRC GREATER NEW YORK GALA: Both the groundbreaking film Moonlight and comedian Seth Meyers will be honored at the 2017 HRC Greater New York Gala on Saturday, February 11, at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. As previously announced, HRC will also honor critically acclaimed, multi-award-winning actress Meryl Streep at the event, which raises crucial funds in the fight for full LGBTQ equality. More from HRC and The Associated Press.

CHARLOTTE REAL ESTATE EXECS CALL FOR HB2 REPEAL: A coalition of Charlotte-area commercial real estate executives is calling for the repeal of the dangerous and discriminatory HB2 -- noting its devastating effects on North Carolina’s LGBTQ community and the ongoing harm it's inflicting on the state’s economy. More from The Charlotte Observer.

INDIANA REPUBLICAN PUTS THE BRAKES ON ANTI-TRANSGENDER STATE BILL: Republican State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer, who chairs the Indiana House Public Health Committee, released a statement last week asserting that she will not give an anti-transgender bill a hearing. The bill in question would deny Hoosiers the right to change the gender on their birth certificates. More from Indy Star.

GLSEN MARKS “NO NAME-CALLING WEEK”: This week, GLSEN, which works to end bullying and harassment in schools, is sponsoring “No Name-Calling Week” in schools across the nation. The week, GLSEN says, celebrates kindness and provides an opportunity to show allyship to LGBTQ students, particularly transgender and gender nonconforming students, as well as LGBTQ students of color. GLSEN previously joined a group of education-related organizations calling on school leaders and educators to respond to numerous reports of violence, harassment, and intimidation that have occurred since the presidential election.

IRELAND TO ALLOW MEN WHO HAVE SEX WITH MEN TO DONATE BLOOD AFTER ONE YEAR OF ABSTINENCE: This week, the Irish Blood Transfusion Service changed a rule regarding blood donations from men who have sex with men, now requiring them to undergo a one year period of abstinence from same-sex sexual activity. Such donations were previously banned. While an improvement, this remains an unacceptable solution that stigmatizes LGBTQ people while restricting the blood supply. More from Irish Times.


The New York Times shares a list of banned books they encourage parents to share with their children, including multiple books with LGBTQ content such as  I Am Jazz, by HRC Youth Ambassador Jazz Jennings (@JazzJennings__)... BuzzFeed talks to a lesbian couple challenging people’s notions of gender expression while pregnant… NowThisNews shares the history of Planned Parenthood in a new video with a star-studded cast of narrators…

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A.M. Equality