#AM_Equality Tipsheet: July 12, 2017

by Allison Turner

Jeff Sessions cozies up with one of nation’s leading anti-LGBTQ hate groups; HRC launches largest grassroots investment in its history.

AG JEFF SESSIONS CONSORTS WITH ONE OF NATION’S LEADING ANTI-LGBTQ HATE GROUPS: Last night, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke in closed session to members of the largest anti-LGBTQ legal advocacy group, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), at the group’s summit in Orange County, Ca. ADF is a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group with a $50 million-plus annual budget, which it uses to oppose marriage equality, support ‘license to discriminate’ legislation to harm the LGBTQ community and file lawsuits against teachers and school administrators who support their LGBTQ -- and especially transgender -- students. ADF also endorses the dangerous and abusive tactic of so-called “conversion therapy,” and exports its hate abroad -- putting LGBTQ people in danger around the world. The nation’s top lawyer rallying with an anti-LGBTQ hate group? Outrageous. More from Metro Weekly and Washington Blade.

ICYMI -- HRC LAUNCHES LARGEST, EARLIEST GRASSROOTS INVESTMENT IN ITS 37-YEAR HISTORY AHEAD OF 2018: HRC has launched HRC Rising, a massive grassroots campaign aligned with staff & volunteer deployments across 50 states, with significant additional investments in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) yesterday announced that the organization would be going on offense with an investment of $26 million coast-to-coast: “It’s not enough to resist the hateful policies and attacks coming from the Trump-Pence regime -- we’ve got to accelerate the pace of progress toward full equality and secure protections for LGBTQ people in states and communities across the country.” Find out more about this historic effort, and how to get involved at hrc.im/rising. More from The Hill, KJZZ, Pink News, Advocate, Los Angeles Blade and Metro Weekly.

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING WEDNESDAY: In a new video, The Washington Post features Ruby Corado, a prominent transgender activist and leader in Washington, D.C., who grew up in El Salvador and fled the country at age 16 during a civil war. She is the founder and executive director of Casa Ruby, the capital’s only bilingual, multicultural LGBTQ community center. Corado helped add gender identity and expression to the D.C. Human Rights Law and worked with local and national experts to secure regulations ensuring access to transition-related healthcare for transgender people. More from The Washington Post.

THE WASHINGTON POST -- DELAYING RULE ALLOWING TRANSGENDER MILITARY RECRUITS “SENDS DISPIRITING MESSAGE” TO THOSE ALREADY SERVING: The Pentagon’s decision to delay by six months the rule that was to have gone into effect July 1 undermines the morale of the estimated 12,800 transgender servicemembers already serving our country openly under a policy instituted last June by the Obama Administration, writes The Post’s Editorial Board. Allowing transgender recruits to join the military openly is the last piece of that policy. Writes The Post, “If [Secretary of Defense Jim] Mattis and the Joint Chiefs of Staff conduct their six-month review process fairly, it will come to the same conclusion as the previous one: that transgender troops are valued members of the armed forces and deserve to be recognized as such.” Read more at The Washington Post.

STATE DEPARTMENT CALLS EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS ‘TROUBLING’: Yesterday, a State Department spokesperson called new reports from Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta saying that at least 27 men were executed without trial on January 25 in the Russian republic of Chechnya “troubling.” While this is a step, President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson must raise concern and take action against anti-LGBTQ Chechen human rights violations with their Russian counterparts. Since news first broke in April, more than 100 gay and bisexual men have been arrested and detained without charge. While some have been freed, reports indicate that many remain in detention, where they have been beaten, tortured, and killed. HRC has repeatedly called on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and President Trump to forcefully condemn the atrocities in Chechnya, including last week when Trump meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G20 summit. Human rights violations should not be on the back burner. More from Washington Blade.

NEW RESEARCH -- 10 PERCENT OF DEATHS AMONG PEOPLE ON HIV TREATMENT WERE CANCER-RELATED: While the overall death-rate for people has dropped due to new HIV treatment options, the number of deaths attributed to cancer has risen. More from POZ Magazine.

C-SPAN PANEL HIGHLIGHTS LGBTQ EQUALITY: Featured guests included marriage equality plaintiffs Jim Obergefell and Kris Perry, transgender advocate Candis Cox, marriage equality lawyer Walter Dellinger, Rep. Luke Clippinger (D-MD), and HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse. More from C-SPAN.

OH. MY. GOSH. ‘THE L WORD’ IS BACK! Time to get out your frequent-buyer card for The Daily Planet and perfect your choppy ‘Shane’ haircut, because the iconic Showtime series -- which ushered in an era of LGBTQ visibility in media -- is returning. Will we ever find out who killed Jenny? More from The Hollywood Reporter.

LAMBDA LEGAL TO PUERTO RICO -- YOUR ANTI-TRANS BIRTH CERTIFICATE POLICY IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL: The policy forbids transgender Puerto Ricans from changing the gender marker on their birth certificates, which Lambda Legal in a new lawsuit says violates the 1st and 14th Amendments. More from Washington Blade.

HRC GLOBAL INNOVATOR HELPS BRING MARRIAGE EQUALITY TO TAIWAN: Jennifer Lu discusses marriage equality in Taiwan and her continued work with the Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association to raise LGBTQ visibility. More from HRC.

HAPPENING TODAY -- MALTA TO VOTE ON MARRIAGE EQUALITY: At his swearing in for a second term last month, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat pledged to make marriage equality a legislative priority. Malta already has a federal law protecting citizens based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression -- and bans so-called “conversion therapy” for minors.


Forbes interviews David Freitag about the often overlooked benefits available to married same-sex couples; College Choice ranks the 50 best colleges for LGBTQ students; Pink News confirms that the damaging "bury your gays" trope is still alive and well in popular media; Out Magazine interviews Alan Motley (@AlanMotley) about his new musical, Streetkids, that focuses on LGBTQ homeless youth.

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