Obama on his legacy on LGBTQ rights -- “I could not be prouder”; Sen. Booker urges UN nominee to continue progress on global LGBTQ human rights
PRESIDENT OBAMA ON HIS LGBTQ RIGHTS LEGACY -- “I COULD NOT BE PROUDER”: At his final White House press conference, President Obama said he “could not be prouder” of his LGBTQ legacy when asked about it by Washington Blade reporter Chris Johnson (@ChrisJohnson82). The president also looked back on LGBTQ milestones during his administration, including the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” honoring Ellen DeGeneres with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and helping transform public perceptions of the LGBTQ community. He also talked about the battles ahead and transgender people being targeted specifically. “The attitudes of young people, in particular, have changed,” Obama said. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be some fights that are important, legal issues, issues surrounding transgender persons. There’s still going to be some battles that need to take place.”
SEN. CORY BOOKER URGES UN NOMINEE HALEY TO CONTINUE PROGRESS ON GLOBAL LGBTQ RIGHTS: During South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s Senate hearing for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations yesterday, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) recounted the seminal moment when current UN Ambassador Samantha Power told the UN Security Council, “LGBT rights are human rights, human rights are LGBT rights, and human rights must be universal.” The U.S. has been a leader at the UN when it comes to LGBTQ human rights. Last year, the UN created and twice protected a new watchdog position devoted to advancing LGBTQ rightsand released a first-of-its-kind report on violence and discrimination against the LGBTQ community. See Booker’s remarks on C-SPAN (starting at 02:00:39).
HRC JOINS “DOCUMENTING HATE” PROJECT TO COLLECT MORE COMPLETE DATA ON BIAS-MOTIVATED INCIDENTS: The project organized by ProPublica, the independent, nonprofit news organization, is thought to be the most robust effort to date to collect data on hate crimes and bias-motivated incidents. As The New York Times reports, “Documenting Hate” will “analyze information from law enforcement, news reports, nonprofit groups and individuals in order to investigate topics like how many hate crimes occur annually, which parts of the country have the highest prevalence and whether the frequency or severity of hate crimes has changed since the election of Mr. Trump.” In addition to the Times, other project participants include Google News Lab, Univision, BuzzFeed and The Advocate, and is utilizing data collected by HRC in their reports on anti-transgender violence, by other civil rights organizations including the Southern Poverty Law Center, as well as reports submitted directly to the project. More from The New York Times.
THROWBACK THURSDAY: The cast of the groundbreaking TV show Will & Grace -- Debra Messing (@DebraMessing), Eric McCormack (@EricMcCormack), Sean Hayes (@SeanHayes) and Megan Mullally (@MeganOMullally) -- announced that the show will return to primetime later this year with a 10-episode revival. The show, which first aired in 1998, has been heralded as opening doors for LGBTQ characters in the television industry. More from Vogue.
SHOT -- UNC PRESIDENT SAYS HB2 DRIVING AWAY QUALIFIED JOB CANDIDATES: Margaret Spellings, president of the multi-campus University of North Carolina system, told The Associated Press that she knows of qualified candidates who have cited the state’s anti-LGBTQ HB2 law when turning down offers to work in the UNC system. With 16 universities and a high school, the system is one of the state’s largest employers. Read the full interview from AP.
CHASER -- TEXAS REP WARNS LEGISLATURE ABOUT HB2-LIKE ANTI-TRANS BILLS: In a speech to the Texas Association of Business, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus stressed the economic fallout that anti-LGBTQ laws can cause, saying, “Many people where I come from get concerned about anything that can slow down our overall job-creating machine. They are also watching what happened in North Carolina, and they are not enthusiastic about getting that type of attention.” Estimates show that Texas stands to lose up to $8.5 billion from anti-LGBTQ legialation. More from The Texas Tribune.
COALITION ON CIVIL RIGHTS BANDS TOGETHER ON EVE OF TRUMP INAUGURATION: On the eve of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, a coalition of more than 200 national advocacy organizations, including HRC, has issued a bold statement of solidarity -- promising to stand firm on civil rights in the face of an incoming administration that ran on an anti-rights agenda. Read the full statement here.
HRC REPORT DETAILS ANTI-LGBTQ CAREER OF TRUMP’S HHS PICK: After announcing its opposition to Tom Price (R-GA), Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services, HRC released a report, Tom Price: A History of Anti-LGBTQ Actions, detailing his discriminatory voting record, public statements against LGBTQ people and opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
PRESIDENT OBAMA PARDONS SOLDIER ONCE IMPRISONED FOR BEING GAY: Peter Heidgerd, imprisoned at Fort Leavenworth in the 1990s because he was in a relationship with another man, has had the felony removed from his record. More from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
ELLEN (KEEPS!) MAKING HISTORY: At last night’s People’s Choice Awards, Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) was awarded her 20th People’s Choice Award -- the most anyone has ever earned. Congrats! More from The Huffington Post.
HRC PRESIDENT HONORED BY SECRETARY OF THE ARMY: At a ceremony at the Pentagon before Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning’s final farewell ceremony, he honored HRC President Chad Griffin with the Secretary of the Army Public Service Award, for exceptional service that makes a substantial contribution to the accomplishment of the Army's missions.
UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA CAPTURES STORIES FROM TRANS COMMUNITY: The Transgender Oral History Project will publish more than 200 stories from transgender and gender nonconforming people in the Midwest. More from Minnesota Daily.
SRI LANKAN OFFICIALS REJECT PROPOSAL TO DECRIMINALIZE SAME-SEX SEXUAL ACTS: A proposal to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation was rejected by the Cabinet, which ruled it would undermine a section of Sri Lanka’s penal code that makes same-sex sexual acts punishable by up to 12 years in jail. More from Press Trust of India.
Fortune shares five states where LGBTQ-owned businesses are thriving… Bloomberg sits down with Joseph Vardner, vice president of the LGBT Bar Association of DC, to talk about upcoming legal challenges during the Trump administration…