#AM_Equality Tipsheet: January 19, 2018

by Allison Turner

Trump-Pence launches ‘conscience’ division at HHS; anti-LGBTQ Trump appointee resigns even as others advance in Sen. Judiciary Committee

TRUMP-PENCE LAUNCHES UNNECESSARY “CONSCIENCE” DIVISION AT HHS: The so-called “Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom” could enable discrimination against LGBTQ people, women, and others. “LGBTQ people need the Department of Health and Human Services to enforce non-discrimination protections in federal health programs. The creation of an unnecessary new division that is likely to promote a license to discriminate diverts needed enforcement resources and encourages discrimination against LGBTQ people,” said Sarah Warbelow, HRC Legal Director. “Every American deserves access to quality health care, and that should not be determined by the personal opinions of individual medical providers or administrative staff.” More from HRC and The Washington Post.

  • Also, yesterday HHS released more than 12,000 comments on another Trump-Pence license to discriminate rule, released in October, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by BuzzFeed.

ANTI-LGBTQ TRUMP APPOINTEE RESIGNS AFTER CNN REVEALS BIGOTED COMMENTS: CNN’s KFile reported that during a radio interview, Carl Higbie, chief of external affairs for the federal government's volunteer service organization, made “racist, sexist, anti-Muslim and anti-LGBTQ comments.” See the report at CNN.

SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE ADVANCES TRUMP-PENCE ANTI-LGBTQ NOMINEES: “These nominees pose a threat to the rights and safety of LGBTQ people across the nation and should not be entrusted with these important positions,” said David Stacy, HRC Government Affairs Director Director. “The Senate should reject them.”

  • Eric Dreiband to head civil rights division of the Justice Department: Volunteered for  legal team defending the University of North Carolina from the DOJ’s  suit holding the university and other state entities accountable for the federally-prohibited discrimination mandated by HB2.
  • Kyle Duncan nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit: Represented the Gloucester (Va.) County School Board in its case against Gavin Grimm; fought against marriage equality and same-sex adoption.
  • Matthew Kacsmaryk nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas: Wrote op-eds and public comments that oppose same-sex marriage, legal class protections for gender identity and sexual orientation, and rights of transgender citizens.
  • Mark Norris to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee: Opposed the Obergefell marriage equality case; supported Tennessee’s lawsuit against the Obama era guidance extending Title IX rights to transgender students.

The committee voted to advance all four nominations. More from HRC.

HRC RELEASES HEARTBREAKING NEW VIDEO FEATURING DREAMER AND SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVOR: It was only after she received DACA that Yuridia, 22, was able to report her abuser to the police. HRC has repeatedly called on Congress to pass the DREAM Act now to protect young Dreamers like Yuridia, who identifies as queer. “It was not until I had DACA that I felt human enough to walk into a police station and report my abuser. And DACA allowed that -- for a moment -- to allow me to feel a little more deserving in this country,” she says. Watch it at NewNowNext.

MIKE PENCE HEADS TO EGYPT AMID BRUTAL ANTI-LGBTQ CRACKDOWN: In advance of Pence’s scheduled trip to meet with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi,

HRC reiterated its call for the Trump administration to forcefully condemn the Egyptian government’s escalating, brutal anti-LGBTQ crackdown. “Unless Pence uses the opportunity to forcefully speak out against these human rights abuses, the U.S. risks emboldening the Egyptian government’s assault on LGBTQ people and Pence will — once again — reaffirm his position as one of the most anti-LGBTQ politicians in the U.S.,” said Ty Cobb, director of HRC Global. “This is a moment that demands moral leadership.” Pence’s own political career has been defined by anti-LGBTQ animus. More from HRC.

HRC ANNOUNCES JAZZ JENNINGS AMONG OTHER SPECIAL GUESTS AT TIME TO THRIVE: Jennings, a HRC Youth Ambassador and author of I Am Jazz, will be a special guest along with Raikes Foundation co-founder Tricia Raikes; Rhode Island Teacher of the Year Nikos Giannopoulos; non-binary advocate Jacob Tobia; and HRC HIV 360° Fellow Daniel Downer. HRC’s annual Time to THRIVE Conference will be held February 16-18 at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek in Orlando. Said Vincent Pompei, Director of HRC's Youth Well-Being Project and Time to THRIVE conference chair: “These advocates and allies have dedicated their lives to ensuring that all young people have a safe and inclusive place to learn, and an equal chance to thrive in all aspects of their lives.” More from HRC.

BUILDING BRIDGES FOR GLOBAL WORKPLACE EQUALITY: Yesterday in Chile, HRC kicked off its groundbreaking partnership with Fundación Iguales & Pride Connection with an international launch of HRC’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI), the premier report tracking LGBT inclusion in the world’s largest companies. “These businesses and advocates are working together to create policies and benefits that will improve the lives of countless LGBTQ workers and also make their companies stronger,” writes HRC Senior Vice President for Programs, Research and Training Mary Beth Maxwell in a piece for Advocate.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: On a recent episode of VH1’s “Black Ink Crew”, Kevin bravely came out to his father, telling him “I am a gay black male.” His father responded with love and compassion, saying “My love for you is my love for you... My love for you is unconditional.” More from VH1.

HOW DO CITIES ON AMAZON’S SHORTLIST FOR HQ2 STAND ON LGBTQ EQUALITY?: The list released yesterday includes a number of cities with high scores on HRC’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI), and states making strides for equality on HRC’s State Equality Index (SEI). Top MEI cities being considered for Amazon’s second headquarters include: Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Denver; Los Angeles; New York City; Philadelphia; and Pittsburgh. More from The Washington Post.

MISSOURI BILL WOULD PROTECT YOUTH FROM DANGEROUS SO-CALLED “CONVERSION THERAPY”: The bill has been introduced by state Representative Tracy McCreery. More from Riverfront Times.

GUN DEATHS HAVE INCREASED 17 PERCENT SINCE HELLER DECISION: In 2008, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that citizens have a right to keep a handgun in their home for self-defense. A analysis by the Violence Policy Center not only reveals the spike in deaths, but also that states with higher rates of gun ownership and weaker gun violence prevention laws have higher rates of gun deaths. More from HRC.

HORRIFYING -- 44 CHILDREN IN UTAH DIED BY SUICIDE IN PAST YEAR: Governor Gary Herbert has created a task force to address the crisis; Utah’s rates of youth suicide are 141 percent higher than the national average. The task force includes representatives from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and LGBTQ advocates. More from Fox 13.

NHL SELECTS ANTI-TRANSGENDER KID ROCK TO PERFORM AT ALL-STAR GAME: HRC is disappointed in this decision, and hopes that in the future the NHL will choose an All-Star performer more in line with their commitment to LGBTQ inclusion and diversity. More from OutSports and USA Today.

TRANS TRAILBLAZERS FEATURED ON THE COVER OF TIME: Minneapolis City Councilmember Andrea Jenkins (@annapoetic) and Virginia Delegate Danica Roem (@pwcdanica) -- both openly transgender -- are just two of the history-making women featured now on the cover of TIME. Also featured is Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, Gina Ortiz Jones and Lauren Baer. More from TIME.

DECORATED ARMY SERGEANT BRUTALLY ATTACKED FOR BEING GAY: Charles William Davis II was attacked and subjected to anti-gay slurs outside a bar in El Paso, Texas. Shockingly, the police report of the incident checked ‘no’ in the section to indicate if the crime was “suspect hate/bias motivated.” More from The Daily Beast.

HORRIFYING -- 10 MURDERS OF LGBTQ PEOPLE IN THE D.C. AREA REMAIN UNSOLVED: In a piece for the Washington Blade, reporter Lou Chibbaro Jr. sheds light on six murders of transgender women and four murders of gay and bisexual men that are still unsolved. Read more from the Washington Blade.


Harper’s Magazine shares the powerful story of a transgender man in Ohio medically transitioning;

A.M. Equality