#AM_Equality Tipsheet: January 3, 2018

by Allison Turner

Today -- Doug Jones sworn into U.S. Senate; ICYMI -- Trump fires HIV & AIDS Advisory Council; Powerful story of Nepali trans woman

TODAY IN THE NOON HOUR -- DOUG JONES SWORN INTO AS ALABAMA’S NEWEST U.S. SENATOR: Senator-elect Jones, who last month defeated the anti-LGBTQ bigot Roy Moore in a special election, will take the solemn oath to represent all Alabamians when he’s sworn into the U.S. Senate. In the weeks leading up to Election Day, HRC organized dozens of events, recruited hundreds of volunteers, and partnered with NAACP of Alabama on statewide GOTV efforts. More than 160 HRC volunteers and 11 HRC staff worked to reach the nearly 200,000 “Equality Voters” across Alabama -- a voting bloc comprised of not only the 60,000 LGBTQ voters across Alabama, but allies HRC has identified.

ICYMI -- TRUMP FIRES HIV & AIDS ADVISORY COUNCIL: The Trump-Pence administration  has summarily fired the remaining 16 members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). PACHA members said no explanation was given in the termination letter they received via FedEx. “For more than 22 years, the Presidential Advisory Commission on HIV/AIDS has worked under both Democratic and Republican Administrations to ensure Americans affected by this illness have a voice in our government,” said Peter Cruz, HRC's Associate Director of the HIV and Health Equity Program. “In the midst of slashing social programs that the LGBTQ community relies on, this action taken by the Trump-Pence Administration is especially callous, irresponsible, and without logic.” In June, six members resigned, citing the Trump-Pence Administration's “lack of regard” on the issue. Here are the facts:

  • The move came less than a week after it was revealed that Trump reportedly asserted "they all have AIDS" in reference to 15,000 Haitians who were granted visas to enter the U.S. in the first half of 2017.
  • As governor of Indiana, Pence was asleep at the switch while an AIDS crisis grew in his state, and only took small mitigating steps under enormous pressure and a federal intervention.
  • The Council was created in 1995 to make recommendations to the government on addressing the HIV and AIDS crisis, ensuring that some of our most vulnerable citizens have representation at the highest levels.

WHAT WE’RE READING WEDNESDAY -- A NEPALI TRANS WOMAN’S POWERFUL JOURNEY: In a piece for The Daily Beast, HRC Global Innovator Manisha Dhakal writes about growing up and becoming a voice for her country’s LGBTQ community -- including sharing her personal story before the Nepali Supreme Court prior to its favorable 2007 ruling on LGBTQ rights and protections. Dhakal is a founding member and executive director of Blue Diamond Society (BDS), Nepal’s largest LGBTI rights organization. Because of the work BDS has done, Nepal’s new constitution of 2015 protects LGBTI people, a first in Asia. More from The Daily Beast.

MEET THE BRAVE TRANS PEOPLE WHO WERE FINALLY ABLE TO ENLIST ON JAN. 1: Qualified transgender people who want to serve their country in the military were finally allowed to sign up openly after the Department of Justice decided not to appeal federal court rulings blocking Trump's discriminatory transgender military ban. While an important step, the fight is not over to ensure trans troops can continue to serve. More from The Washington Examiner, KTVN and NBC.

DOYLESTOWN, PA, COUNCIL PROTECTS YOUTH FROM SO-CALLED “CONVERSION THERAPY”:  It is the fifth community in the state to pass such a measure, following Allentown, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Reading. More from The Intelligencer.

LGBTQ YOUTH FACE DISPORPORTIONATE RISK OF HOMELESSNESS: This disturbing statistic comes from a study by The Pew Charitable Trusts, which cites lack of acceptance inside and outside of the home as causes. More from EdSource.

UCLA SURVEY -- 27 PERCENT OF CALIFORNIA YOUTH VIEWED BY OTHERS AS GENDER NONCONFORMING: The study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research also shows that gender nonconforming students were twice as likely as their gender conforming counterparts to experience psychological distress. More from The Williams Institute.

BEN BARRES, FIRST OPENLY TRANS SCIENTIST ELECTED TO NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, DIES: “The mere existence of Ben Barres -- a successful, brilliant, undeniably high-impact scientist who was unashamed and so graceful in demystifying what being transgender means ... he saved lives, I’m sure,” said his colleague Carolyn Bertozzi. “Thanks to him, there are countless people who looked in the mirror and said: ‘There’s a place for me in this world.’” More from The Atlantic.

I AM JAZZ RETURNS TO TLC: Yesterday, the fourth season of HRC Youth Ambassador Jazz Jenning’s (@JazzJennings__) reality show, I Am Jazz, premiered on TLC. More from In Touch Weekly.

EGYPTIAN LGBTQ ADVOCATES RELEASED ON BAIL: Sarah Hejazy and Ahmed Alaa were arrested for raising a rainbow flag at a concert in Cairo. HRC has called on Egyptian authorities and the media to respect the human rights and freedom of expression of their LGBTQ citizens. More from The Washington Blade and Reuters.

DISGUSTING & DANGEROUS -- MALAYSIAN STATE GOVERNMENT FUNDING SO-CALLED “CONVERSION THERAPY”: The government of a state in Malaysia will allegedly use state-funded clinics offering the debunked practice to target transgender women. More from Gay Times.

MEET A TRANS THAI BOXER FIGHTING FOR EQUALITY IN AND OUT OF THE RING: When Nong Rose competes in her foreign debut, she will become the first openly transgender fighter to enter the boxing ring in France. More from Agence France-Presse.

Advocate examines the buying power of the LGBTQ community; The Daily Dot interviews Lily Madigan, the U.K. Labour Party’s first-ever openly transgender women’s officer; Pink News reviews Saturday Church, a new film with LGBTQ themes; Autostraddle shares LGBTQ and feminist books to read in 2018, including HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride’s (@SarahEMcBride) upcoming memoir, Tomorrow Will Be Different;

Have news? Send us your news and tips at AMEquality@hrc.org. Click here to subscribe to #AM_Equality and follow @HRC for all the latest news. Thanks for reading!

A.M. Equality