#AM_Equality Tipsheet: January 30, 2017

by Allison Turner

No ban, no wall; HRC opens field offices in Texas in preparation of state legislative session

NO BAN, NO WALL: Yesterday, HRC staff and volunteers joined protests and other peaceful actions across the country to call out President Donald Trump’s harsh new refugee policies that could mean the difference between life and death for countless refugees– including refugees from anti-LGBTQ regimes in countries like Syria. That the unjust, dangerous action was issued on Holocaust Remembrance Day demonstrates how the Trump administration is blind to the lessons of history. HRC will continue fighting to keep the doors of our country open for LGBTQ people and all others seeking refuge from violence and persecution. No walls, no matter how high, will block our fight for liberty and justice for all. More on the order from HRC.

HRC OPENS OFFICES IN TEXAS TO FIGHT ANTI-LGBTQ STATE LEGISLATION: With the start of Texas’ state legislative session, HRC is opening up field offices in Austin, Houston and Dallas. Already on the table is SB6, a harmful anti-transgender bill being considered by the Texas state legislature. Tech companies are signing on to a letter to lawmakers urging them to abandon the discriminatory bill. Additionally, a study by the Keep Texas Open for Business coalition shows that the state stands to lose $8.5 billion in GDP and 185,000 jobs if the legislature moves forward on anti-LGBTQ bills. "In addition to listening to the business community, [Lt. Gov.] Dan Patrick should take the time to get to know transgender Texans and their families," HRC President Chad Griffin told Texas Tribune writer Alexa Ura (@AlexaUra). "What he'll find is that they're just like everyone else — they're his neighbors, they're his fellow congregants at church — and when he gets to know our community it's going to make it harder and harder for him to hold these hateful views against us." More from The Texas Tribune.

  • The Houston Chronicle becomes the latest newspaper to oppose anti-transgender legislation. In announcing its opposition to SB6, the editorial board writes that it  “is a bill that targets transgender Texans… No good will come from SB 6.” Read the full editorial at The Houston Chronicle.


In an appearance on Ellen, LGBTQ Iraqis Nayyef and Btoo shared their love story that began when they were both soldiers. When Nayyef was granted asylum in the United States, he and Btoo were separated for four years. When Btoo was finally able to join him in the U.S., they married and now work with other LGBTQ immigrants from the Middle East who come to the U.S. Watch Ellen surprise them with a gift marking their efforts, and helping with their life together. Unfortunately, under Trump’s proposed immigration plan, LGBTQ Iraqis like Nayyef and Btoo won’t be able to seek a safe haven in the United States.Watch the full interview here.

Chris Salvatore, an openly gay actor, and his 89-year-old neighbor, Norma, are inseparable. When Norma was diagnosed with leukemia, Salvatore raised money for her care, eventually inviting her to live with him and caring for her “like a grandma.” Watch this beautiful story at NBC News.

ADVOCATES CALL OUT UTAH LAW THAT PREVENTS DISCUSSION OF LGBTQ IDENTITIES IN SCHOOLS: Equality Utah and the National Center for Lesbian Rights are asking seeking a preliminary injunction against a state law that restricts discussion of LGBTQ identities in public schools. More from PBS.

SAG HONORS LGBTQ ACTORS, FILMS: Yesterday, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards presented openly lesbian actress and comedian Lily Tomlin with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Mahershala Ali won outstanding performance by a male actor in a supporting role for his part in Moonlight, the story of a Black gay man. Orange is the New Black won Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. Openly LGBTQ Sarah Paulson won Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries for her role in Ryan Murphy's The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. More from The Hollywood Reporter.

LEANN RIMES TO BE HONORED AT HRC NASHVILLE EQUALITY DINNER: announced that LeAnn Rimes will be honored with the Ally for Equality Award at the HRC Nashville Equality Dinner on Saturday, March 25, 2017. The HRC Ally for Equality Award recognizes the outstanding efforts of those outside of the LGBTQ community who use their voice to publicly stand-up for equality for all Americans. These individuals dedicate their time, energy, spirit and whole-hearted commitment to better the lives of LGBTQ people. More from HRC.

THAI GOVERNMENT CONSIDERS LGBTQ-EXCLUSIVE PRISONS: A little-known policy in Thailand separates LGBTQ prisoners from the general prison population. The country is now considering creating entirely separate prison facilities for the LGBTQ community. More from The Associated Press.

BuzzFeed shares a viral photo series of clothing designed by a Thai trans woman, worn by LGBTQ children…

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