#AM_Equality Tipsheet: July 17, 2017

by Allison Turner

IBM speaks out against anti-trans legislation in Texas special session; Chechen President believes LGBTQ people are “devils”

TOMORROW -- TEXAS’ SPECIAL SESSION -- TECH GIANT IBM TAKES OUT FULL PAGE AD AGAINST TEXAS’ ANTI-TRANS PROPOSED LEGISLATION: The ad appears in The Dallas Morning News, San Antonio Express-News and Austin American-Statesman -- and calls on lawmakers to oppose legislation targeting the transgender community for discrimination. Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and other Texas politicians are gearing up for the July 18 (tomorrow) start of a 30-day special session that will include consideration of at least three measures legislating discrimination against transgender Texans. HB46, HB50, and SB23 would prohibit entities such as cities and school districts from protecting LGBTQ people in restrooms, locker rooms and other changing facilities. Such legislation would not only harm transgender people, but also damage the state’s economy and reputation. A broad range of other businesses have spoken out against potential anti-trans legislation leading up to the special session. More from The Dallas Morning News.

  • Texas House Speaker Joe Straus continues to speak out against anti-trans legislation, telling the San Antonio Express-News, “I see no good reason to promote a divisive bathroom bill when it does nothing but harm to the economy, and some very vulnerable people could be harmed.” Read the full interview here.

CHECHEN PRESIDENT CALLS LGBTQ PEOPLE “DEVILS,” “NOT PEOPLE”: In a chilling interview with HBO, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov said he does not believe that there are LGBTQ people in Chechnya, and that any who are there are “devils” and “not real people.” Since news first broke in April, more than 100 gay and bisexual Chechen 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 when Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G20 summit. President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson must raise concerns and take action against anti-LGBTQ Chechen human rights violations with their Russian counterparts. More from Advocate.

MONDAY MUST WATCH -- STEPHEN COLBERT SHREDS AG SESSIONS FOR APPEARING WITH ANTI-LGBTQ HATE GROUP: Prior to the release of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ speech to anti-LGBTQ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom, Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) criticized the closed-door meeting, saying, “A closed-door speech? Come on guys, it’s 2017, it’s OK to come out! Let your hate flag fly! You’re here, you fear, we’re used to it.” In the speech, Sessions advocated strongly for license to discriminate laws, which most frequently target LGBTQ people, and he shamefully invoked civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr. in a specious effort to defend his attempts to cloak his discrimination under the guise of religion. More from The Huffington Post.

UTAH COURT REFUSES TO ALLOW TRANSGENDER PEOPLE TO CHANGE GENDER MARKER ON LEGAL DOCUMENTS: A Utahn judge denied Angie Rice and Sean Childers-Gray’s request to update the gender marker on their legal documents -- despite the state granting similar requests in the past. Rice and Childers-Gray are now challenging that decision at the state’s highest court. More from The Salt Lake Tribune.

ICYMI -- HRC AND OTHER CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS MEET WITH BETSY DEVOS TO DISCUSS CRITICAL TITLE IX SEXUAL ASSAULT GUIDANCE: Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Candice Jackson, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office for Civil Rights, held a meeting with survivors of sexual violence and their advocates focusing on the Department of Education’s response to sexual violence on college campuses. Wagatwe Wanjuki, HRC Policy Coordinator Jordan Dashow (@J_Dashow) and HRC Senior Public Policy Advocate Jennifer Pike Bailey attended the meeting. More on the meeting from Dashow at HRC.

  • Transgender students have taken the fight to court since the Department of Education rolled back the Obama-era guidance on protections under Title IX for transgender students. More from The New York Times.

NEW FROM HRC -- BI-MONTHLY ‘RESISTANCE REPORT’: The Resistance Report provides bi-monthly updates on the latest actions HRC is taking to unite, resist and enlist against anti-LGBTQ hate on the federal, state and local levels. Check out the first edition from HRC.

#NotACharacterFlaw -- MINORITY MENTAL HEALTH MONTH: Jean-Phillipe Regis, HRC Manger of Children, Youth and Families, penned a powerful op-ed for Mental Health America about the urgency of addressing mental health. Regis writes, “In addressing the issue of mental health among minority and marginalized communities, it’s important to remember just how many people have had traumatic experiences in systems of care, especially those who may be of color, living with a disability, or consider themselves part of the LGBTQ community.” More from HRC and Mental Health America.

OMG -- WIN TICKETS TO THE SEASON PREMIERE TAPING OF WILL & GRACE: Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to be in the audience for the season premiere taping of “Will & Grace” in Los Angeles and get your photo taken with the cast! Donate $10 to HRC to be entered to win this unforgettable experience. Enter here.

JAZZ JENNINGS TAKES ON THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY: Transgender advocate and HRC Foundation Youth Ambassador Jazz Jennings (@JazzJennings__) appears in a new video to share a disturbing example of how the tobacco industry takes aim at the LGBTQ community. More from HRC.

‘QUEEN SUGAR’ ACTOR BRIAN MICHAEL SMITH COMES OUT AS TRANSGENDER: In an interview with NBC, Smith shared that playing a transgender character helped him to come out as transgender himself. More from NBC.

‘HEROES’ ACTOR THOMAS DEKKER COMES OUT AS GAY: In an Instagram post, Dekker (@theThomasDekker) came out and shared a story of being publicly outed. More from NewNowNext.

SAVANNAH, GA OPENS LGBTQ CENTER: The center will offer support groups, community gatherings, HIV testing and other health services. More from Savannah Now.


Advocate shares the power of LGBTQ films and the impact they have on youth; BuzzFeed sashays with the creator of a Cabaret show raising awareness about LGBTQ domestic violence; Gay Times introduces DC Comics’ first ever genderfluid character; Rewire advocates for more transgender woman to take PrEP

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A.M. Equality