#AM_Equality Tipsheet: July 21, 2017

by Allison Turner

Senate Republicans confirm Trump’s anti-LGBTQ judicial nominee; Testimony begins for anti-trans Texas bills.

SENATE REPUBLICANS CONFIRM TRUMP’S ANTI-LGBTQ JUDICIAL NOMINEE: HRC denounced the Senate’s confirmation of John K. Bush to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Bush’s confirmation is part of an alarming trend by the Trump-Pence Administration appointing anti-LGBTQ nominees at all levels of government. “Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell should never have advanced this nominee who is clearly unfit to serve as a federal judge and we are disappointed that Senate Republicans voted to confirm him,” said David Stacy, HRC Director of Government Affairs. “John Bush does not have the judgment or temperament to serve on U.S. Court of Appeals and has publicly demonstrated his contempt for LGBTQ people and their families.” In a letter to Senators, HRC reviewed Bush’s long public track record of speaking out against the equality of LGBTQ people and their families and called on the Senate to reject his nomination. More from HRC and Advocate.

TODAY -- SENATE TESTIMONY BEGINS FOR TEXAS’ ANTI-TRANS LEGISLATION: Today in the Texas Senate, the state affairs committee is hearing testimony on SB3 and SB91, two similar anti-transgender bills. SB3 and SB91 mandate HB2-style anti-transgender discrimination in any multiple-occupancy restroom or locker room in any property owned by a city, county, school district, state agency, or other political subdivision.  It would also overturn LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances protecting millions of people across Texas in cities such as Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth insofar as those ordinances protect people from discrimination in bathrooms. Testimony could last late into the evening before the bill faces a vote in committee.

  • The National Episcopal Church is urging Texas House Speaker Joe Straus to continue his opposition to anti-transgender bills. More from The Texas Tribune.
  • Openly transgender Texan athlete Mack Beggs has a message for the Texas Legislature: “Transgender athletes are not cheating. They’re not choosing. We belong. Transgender people are not to be feared. We deserve the same rights and protections as everyone else.” More from USA Today.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY -- HEARTWARMING INTERACTION BETWEEN DRAG RACE STAR AND LGBTQ TEEN: On the RuPaul’s Drag Race subreddit, a user named Brendan shared a powerful story of meeting Drag Race judge Michelle Visage (@MichelleVisage) in 2015. The tough-but-loving TV persona helped Brendan as he shared his struggles with his family due to his sexuality. Now, Brendan is soon to attend university, and says the interaction “saved his life.” We’re not crying, you’re crying. More from The Huffington Post.

ANTI-LGBTQ ACTIVISTS LAUNCH BALLOT MEASURE ASSAULT ON TRANS ALASKANS: Yesterday, HRC responded to claims from anti-equality activists that they have submitted nearly 8,500 signatures in an attempt to qualify for a ballot measure in Anchorage, Alaska, aimed at gutting protections for transgender residents and visitors in the city’s non-discrimination ordinance. The city clerk must verify that at least 5,753 signatures are from registered Anchorage voters in order for the discriminatory initiative to be placed on the April 3, 2018, mayoral ballot. “Anti-equality activists are hell-bent on reversing the progress made for LGBTQ equality in Anchorage and across the country,” said HRC Senior Regional Field Director Hope Wisneski. “This shameful ballot measure would damage Anchorage’s reputation, undermine civil rights, and enshrine discrimination against transgender people into law.” More from HRC.

HORRIFYING FIRSTHAND ACCOUNTS OF HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN CHECHNYA: Two gay Chechen men shared their experiences with ABC Nightline’s Terry Moran (@TerryMoran). The men describe fleeing their homes after hearing about countless friends being rounded up, detained without charge, and tortured for being gay or bisexual. One of the men was arrested himself, and locked in a basement for a week, where he was starved and electrocuted. Since news first broke in April, reports indicate more than 100 gay and bisexual Chechen men have been arrested and detained without charge. While some have been freed, many remain in detention and have been beaten, tortured, and even killed. More from ABC.

‘CRUEL SUMMER’ FOR ANTI-EQUALITY GOP: A new NYT piece breaks down the failures of extremist legislation attacking health care and the LGBTQ community -- including when Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) introduced an abhorrent anti-transgender amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. The amendment was voted down by the House last week by a vote of 214-209. However, House Freedom Caucus members are demanding House Republican Leadership allow it to be voted on again next week as part of the defense appropriations process, again putting moderate Republican House Members in the political cross-hairs. More from The New York Times.

ALLENTOWN, PA. PROTECTS YOUTH FROM SO-CALLED “CONVERSION THERAPY”: The vote was unanimous and signed by Mayor Ed Pawlowski (@Ed_Pawlowski). The city joins Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in banning the abusive practice on youth. “Cities and states are stepping up in the face of a federal government that has made attacking the LGBTQ community one of its top priorities,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Conversion therapy is child abuse and we commend the Allentown City Council for putting the well-being and safety of our youth first.” More from HRC and The Morning Call.

MICHIGAN CORRECTIONS DEPARTMENT IMPLEMENTS NEW POLICY FOR TRANS INMATES: Michigan’s transgender inmates will now have access to transition-related health care while incarcerated. More from The Associated Press.

NEW MOVIE TELLS THE STORY OF BILLIE JEAN KING WINNING ‘THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES’: Battle of the Sexes shows the story of Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) (spoiler!) beating Bobby Riggs in the famous ‘Battle of the Sexes’ tennis match in 1973. King, who later came out as lesbian, is known for her LGBTQ and women’s advocacy. Watch the trailer here.

WNBA STAR SUE BIRD COMES OUT AS GAY: In an exclusive for ESPN, the WNBA All-Star (@S10Bird) shared that she is in a relationship with U.S. national team soccer player Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe). More from ESPN.

NEW TLC SPECIAL HIGHLIGHTS TRANSGENDER YOUTH: Growing Up Evancho will follow the lives of Jackie Evancho (@jackieevancho) -- of America's Got Talent fame -- and her transgender sister, Juliet (@J_Evancho_). More from Variety.

TAIPEI BECOMES FIRST TAIWANESE CITY TO GIVE PARENTAL LEAVE TO SAME-SEX PARENTS: The historic move came after Taiwan became the first in Asia with full marriage equality. More from Gay Star News.


Bloomberg reports that the legal industry is the leading industry in transgender inclusive employee policies; NBC shares the unique struggles of LGBTQ people of faith; Pride Source interviews Nguvu Tsare (@NguvuTsare), an LGBTQ advocate running for Detroit City Council; The Huffington Post speaks to Indian transgender people about workplace discrimination;

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!

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