#AM_Equality Tipsheet: January 4, 2017

by Allison Turner

Trump’s anti-LGBTQ Attorney General pick; Tennessee businesses warn state lawmakers about anti-LGBTQ measures

TRUMP’S ANTI-LGBTQ ATTORNEY GENERAL PICK: Confirmation hearings for President-elect Trump’s appointee for Attorney General are just around the corner -- January 11 -- and one thing is abundantly clear: Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is a longtime opponent of equality. He voted for a Constitutional ban on marriage equality ... voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) ... is a cosponsor of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) … voted against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, federal hate crimes legislation -- four times -- including expanding the law to includesexual orientation, gender identity, gender and disability … and he voted against repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” HRC is one of more than 200 civil and human rights organizations opposing his nomination and sent an open letter to U.S. Senate leaders last month outlining his alarming record on a range of issues. “Senator Sessions has a 30-year record of racial insensitivity, bias against immigrants, disregard for the rule of law, and hostility to the protection of civil rights that makes him unfit to serve as the Attorney General of the United States,” the letter, organized by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights’, states. Sessions received a zero on HRC’s Congressional Scorecard, and the ACLU characterizes his voting record as anti-civil rights.

Flashback: Sessions’ nomination for a federal judgeship in 1986 was rejected by the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee because of racially charged comments and actions.

Yesterday, the NAACP held a sit-in in Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R-AL) homestate office in Mobile, calling on him to withdraw as nominee for U.S. Attorney General.

TENNESSEE BUSINESSES WARN LAWMAKERS ABOUT ANTI-LGBTQ MEASURES: As the 2017 legislative session heats up, more than 300 Tennessee businesses are serving notice that they want their representatives in the State Capitol to learn from North Carolina’s disastrous anti-LGBTQ law -- and not make the same mistake. The group, Tennessee Thrives, is warning of similar repercussions if state lawmakers there move to discriminate. The coalition includes local Tennessee businesses and global giants like AT&T, Bridgestone, CMT, FedEx, Google, Hilton, Salesforce and Unilever. More from Gay Star News.

HRC’S SARAH MCBRIDE NAMED ONE OF FORBES’ “30 UNDER 30” GAME CHANGERS: Yesterday, Forbes released its annual “30 under 30,” list of 600 young entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers, including HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride (@SarahEMcBride). McBride made history last year when she became the first openly transgender person to address a major party convention. Check out her Forbes profile here. Other noted LGBTQ people on the list include actors Elliot Fletcher (@ElliotGF) and Evan Rachel Wood (@EvanRachelWood); YouTube Star Tyler Oakley (@TylerOakley); musicians Troye Sivan (@TroyeSivan), Frank Ocean and Charlie Puth (@CharliePuth); and James Charles (@JamesCharles), who became CoverGirl’s first male ambassador last year. Read the full list from Forbes.

WHAT WE’RE READING WEDNESDAY: The Denver Post serves up a terrific profile of Izzy Allen, an openly LGBTQ basketball player at Horizon High School in suburban Denver who is proud of the visibility she brings and is supported by her family, team and community. Writes The Post’s Kyle Newman (@kylenewmanDP), “Even in the promising light of the new year, sometimes it can feel like society is still weighed down by the same old biases, the same old judgments. But it’s people such as Izzy Allen, an openly gay basketball player at Horizon, who defy all that and remind us how far this country has come in terms of treating each other as equal.” More from The Denver Post.

ICYMI -- TRANSGENDER BOY KICKED OUT OF CUB SCOUTS: A New Jersey family is fighting back after their son, an 8-year-old boy, was kicked out of the Cub Scouts because he is transgender. “Denying a young boy an opportunity shared by his peers simply because he is transgender is wrong,” said Sarah McBride, HRC National Press Secretary. “The Boy Scouts of America, and their local chapters, should follow the inclusive lead of the Girl Scouts, which have made clear that transgender young people are welcomed and embraced as who they are...” In 2015, the Boy Scouts of America passed a policy barring discrimination against its employees based on sexual orientation, but has no policy protecting employees or members based on gender identity. More from CBS New York.

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE HAPPY COUPLE: On New Year’s Day, film and television writer, producer and director Greg Berlanti (@GBerlanti) and international soccer star Robbie Rogers (@RobbieRogers) of the LA Galaxy announced their engagement via Instagram. Berlanti and Rogers are longtime advocates for LGBTQ equality. Rogers made history in 2013 as the first openly gay man to participate in a U.S. professional team sports league. Last March, Berlanti joined a letter from entertainment industry leaders to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, demanding that he veto the state’s anti-LGBTQ House Bill 757 -- which he did.

NYC SUBWAY MOSAIC FEATURES SAME-SEX COUPLE IN FIRST PERMANENT PIECE OF LGBTQ PUBLIC ART IN STATE: The New York City subway’s new Second Avenue station features a mosaic by artist Vik Muniz, depicting everyday New Yorkers -- including Thor Stockman and Patrick Kellog, a local married couple. More from BuzzFeed.

RULING IN HISTORIC CHINESE ANTI-TRANSGENDER DISCRIMINATION CASE: A Chinese court has ruled that a transgender man was illegally fired from his job because the employer could not prove that it fired the plaintiff for reasons permitted under the country's labor law. However, the court found no proof the firing was due to anti-transgender bias. The case is believed to be the first in the country to address anti-transgender discrimination. More from The New York Times.

ITALY OPENS ITS FIRST CENTER FOR LGBTQ REFUGEES: The project in Bologna, called “Rise the Difference,” is a joint effort between LGBTQ organizations and the Italian National Bureau Against Racial Discrimination. More from Agenzia ANSA.


Deutsche Welle interviews the transgender advocates who opened India’s first school providing vocational training to transgender students… Focus Taiwan breaks down the country’s plan to ban the dangerous practice of so-called “conversion therapy”... The Washington Blade interviews a Kurdish group promoting LGBTQ equality through art…

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