#AM_Equality Tipsheet: January 6, 2017

by Allison Turner

TX Lt. Gov. plots discriminatory attack on trans Texans; VA Gov. extends LGBTQ protections to state contractors

TEXAS LT. GOV. PATRICK PLOTS DISCRIMINATORY ATTACK ON TRANSGENDER TEXANS: HRC yesterday blasted Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst for introducing SB 6 -- dishonestly titled the “Privacy Protection Act” -- a bill expressly intended to discriminate against and block facility access for transgender Texans. The bill would overturn non-discrimination ordinances currently providing critical protections in several major Texas cities; further, it would force state agencies, municipalities, public schools and public universities to discriminate against transgender people. The bill will come under consideration when the Texas Legislature convenes on January 10. “Dan Patrick’s attack on transgender Texans is a dangerous, politically-motivated assault on the rights of his own constituents,” said HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin). “Patrick and his anti-LGBTQ friends in the legislature have clearly learned nothing from the self-inflicted damage caused by North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2 law and want to throw away $8.5 billion in revenue from lost visitors, businesses, sports leagues and major entertainment groups. If lawmakers vote to discriminate against transgender people, Texas will be closed for business.” More from HRC.

  • Meanwhile, anti-transgender bills already filed in five states as 2017 legislative session begins: Check out TIME’s preview of the fight against bills in Alabama, Missouri, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington that include discriminatory anti-transgender provisions emulating those in North Carolina’s egregious HB2 law. These, and the measure in Texas, likely won’t be the only anti-transgender bills HRC and its partners will be fighting. HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow told TIME’s Katy Steinmetz (@KatySteinmetz): “Lawmakers are throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. We do anticipate a continued onslaught.” More from TIME.

VA GOV. MCAULIFFE ORDERS LGBTQ PROTECTIONS EXTENDED TO STATE CONTRACTORS: Yesterday, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order extending existing state employee non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity to contractors and in the delivery of state services. “While anti-equality politicians are introducing legislation targeting LGBTQ people, Governor McAuliffe is standing up against discrimination and sending a clear message that Virginia is open for business and welcoming to all,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “This executive order will help to ensure contractors doing business with the state are not using taxpayer funds to discriminate against LGBTQ people.” The full text of Executive Order 61 can be found here. More from HRC.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: This week, the city of Orlando held a dedication ceremony for 49 rainbow-colored seats at the Orlando City Stadium honoring victims of the tragic Pulse Nightclub shooting. More from Major League Soccer’s blog.

ANTI-LGBTQ FLORIDA AG BONDI RUMORED FOR JOB IN TRUMP ADMIN: According to media accounts, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is in the final stages of securing a spot in the Trump administration. As a reminder, as Florida’s top lawyer,  Bondi fought against marriage equality -- even after a federal judge ruled against the state’s marriage ban. Her crusade cost taxpayers more than $500,000, and -- if she had succeeded -- would have prevented spouses of Pulse victims from visiting their loved ones at the hospital. Read about this and more on HRC’s Twitter. More from Bloomberg.

  • And another anti-LGBTQ pick by Trump: Slate’s Nathaniel Frank (@NFrankResearch) reports that former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats may become Trump’s Director of National Intelligence. Coats voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and has earned multiple scores of “zero” on HRC’s Congressional Scorecard. More from Slate.

DEEPLY ALARMING -- REPORT SAYS DEVOS DISCUSSING GUTTING CRITICAL PROTECTIONS FOR LGBTQ YOUTH: Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Education, has had several conversations with a Senator who wants her to gut critical protections for young LGBTQ people, according to Politico. “(DeVos) has had several phone conversations with Republican Sen. James Lankford about reining in the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights,” Politico reported. “Lankford stressed to DeVos that there are areas that he sees as federal overreach — like the Education Department’s position that Title IX offers explicit protections for transgender students.” Last May, the U.S. Department of Education offered guidance to schools clarifying that transgender students have the right to be free from discrimination in schools, including the ability to use gender-separated facilities (such as restrooms and locker rooms) that match their gender identity. This guidance follows similar policies in states and school districts across the country, including many that have been treating transgender students with dignity and respect for more than a decade. More from HRC.

HRC MOURNS MESHA CALDWELL, FIRST REPORTED TRANS MURDER VICTIM OF 2017: HRC was deeply saddened to learn that transgender woman Mesha Caldwell, 41, was found dead near Canton, Mississippi, on the evening of January 4. Her death is believed to be this year’s first reported murder of a transgender person in the U.S. Caldwell well known in Canton as a hair and makeup artist, Mississippi News Now reported, and the community is mourning her loss. Mic.com interviewed Mary Young, a longtime family friend, who described Caldwell as “beautiful” and said it was painful to see her misgendered in initial media reports on her death. Local law enforcement is investigating Caldwell’s death as a homicide but have not announced a suspect. More from HRC.

AP LOOKS BACK AT OBAMA AS THE MOST PRO-LGBTQ PRESIDENT IN HISTORY: The Associated Press examines the many ways President Barack Obama furthered the cause of LGBTQ equality during his administration -- and the fear many within the community have at the prospect of Trump’s presidency. More from The Associated Press.

NYT CREATES WEEKLY COMPILATION OF BIAS-MOTIVATED INCIDENTS IN WAKE OF TRUMP PRESIDENCY: Since November, The New York Times’ Editorial Board has been chronicling the disturbing incidents of hate crimes and harassment around the country. In its most recent weekly installment, the Times relates the details of a violent attack on a black transgender man on a Manhattan subway, and several troubling anti-Semitic and racist incidents. More here.

HRC PARTNERS WITH PREVENTION ACCESS CAMPAIGN TO CORRECT MISINFORMATION ABOUT HIV: Yesterday, HRC announced a partnership with the Prevention Access Campaign (PAC) to correct misinformation about HIV in the news media through a new joint initiative called the Accuracy Watchdog. PAC and HRC are among a growing number of organizations getting the word out that people living with HIV cannot transmit the virus to a partner if they’ve consistently taken their medication and achieved an “undetectable viral load.” This means the amount of HIV in a person’s body is so low that it cannot be detected by a standard HIV test. Read an interview with PAC’s Bruce Richman and John Byrne at HRC.

MILK WRITER ON EMBRACING DIFFERENCE IN GLOBALIZING WORLD: Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winning writer of the Harvey Milk biopic, Milk, writes about the range of emotions he felt while watching the new film Lion, and the message he took from it as a gay man. He writes, “Lion tells us that in becoming global, our goal is not to become the same, but to hold onto the magnificence of our differences, and that in this brave endeavor, we might find family, love, and perhaps even become truly whole… no matter our place of birth, the color of our skin, or the God we pray to.” Read the full oped at Deadline.

STARTUPS IN INDIA FIGHTING HIV WITH TECH: New startups in India are offering technology-based solutions to fight HIV by simplifying HIV diagnostic tests, creating more affordable treatment options and combating stigma. More from Forbes.


BuzzFeed profiles the new face of Maybelline Mascara -- openly gay Manny Gutierrez… CNN looks at the history of hate crime tracking in the U.S…. Gay Times shares James Corden’s touching tribute to George Michael… The Advocate highlights 25 openly LGBTQ video game characters...

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

A.M. Equality