#AM_Equality Tipsheet: July 26, 2017

by Allison Turner

Trump harms military readiness by denying trans people ability to serve; Senate Republicans advance plan to rip healthcare from millions.

BREAKING -- TRUMP LAUNCHES ALL OUT ASSAULT ON SERVICE MEMBERS: Today, HRC blasted President Donald Trump’s dangerous and unpatriotic move to reinstate a ban on qualified transgender people serving in the military. His reprehensible action could result in the discharge of more than 15,000 transgender Americans currently serving our country at this critical time. “Today Donald Trump has proven himself as unpatriotic as he is unfit to serve as Commander in Chief. He has put a target on the backs of the more than 15,000 transgender troops proudly serving in our military,” said HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin). “This heinous and disgusting action endangers the lives of American service members, undermines military readiness and makes our country less safe. It is also the latest effort by Trump and Mike Pence to undo our progress and drag LGBTQ people back into the closet by using our lives as political pawns.” According to a Trump Administration official, this policy reversal is a blatant political maneuver designed to appeal to the most radical of Trump’s base, without consideration of how it will undermine military morale and readiness. The administration official confirmed, “This forces Democrats in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, to take complete ownership of this issue. How will the blue collar voters in these states response when senators up for re-election in 2018 like Debbie Stabenow are forced to make their opposition to this a key plank of their campaigns?” More from Washington Blade, Variety, Cleveland.com, NBC and USA Today.

SENATE REPUBLICANS ADVANCE PLAN TO RIP HEALTH CARE FROM MILLIONS: Yesterday, HRC condemned a procedural vote by Senate Republicans to pave the way for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). "We are deeply disappointed in the continued reckless attacks on millions of Americans and their acceses to critical health care," said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. "It is unconscionable that any Senator would vote in favor of the Motion to Proceed without knowing what the underlying bill to repeal the ACA actually includse, without any public committee hearings, or even a score from the Congressional Budget Office. The Trump-Pence-McConnell plan would result in millions of Americans losing their health care and billions of dollars in tax breaks for the wealthiest in our country -- this is unacceptable. This dangerous proposal would be especially harmful to the millions of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV. We urge the Senate to reject this disastrous proposal and work to improve our health care system through an open and democratic process." More from HRC and The Washington Blade.

  • HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy laid out the stakes for LGBTQ people in an NBC oped, writing, “Hatched in secret and with no public hearings or committee debate, their plans to repeal the ACA would strip key patient protections, slash Medicaid by hundreds of billions of dollars, and defund Planned Parenthood -- one of the country’s largest providers of transgender-inclusive health care and a primary site for HIV testing.” More from NBC.
  • Keeping the pressure on, HRC supporters have logged more than 44,000 calls and emails to their senators -- including 29,000 yesterday alone -- urging them to protect the ACA from attacks by Trump-Pence-McConnell.

TEXAS SENATE ADVANCES ANTI-LGBTQ SB3: Yesterday, radical members of the Texas Senate advanced the patently anti-LGBTQ SB3, introducted by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst with support from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. The measure mandates HB2-style discrimination in any multiple-occupany restroom or locker room in any property owned by a city, county, school distrit or other political subdivision. It especially attacks transgender Texans. Additionally, it would overturn LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances protecting millions of people across Texas in cities including Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth insofar as those ordinances protect people from discrimination in bathrooms. It also prohibits these entities from forbidding discrimination in athletics on the basis of any characteristic not currently reflected in state law -- an obvious attack on transgender athletes. More from HRC, The Washington Blade, Leicester Post and KBTX-TV.

“The Texas Senate just approved a blatantly discriminatory bill, demonstrating yet again that these lawmakers care more about pursuing cheap political points than protecting the lives of transgender Texans,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC senior vice president of policy and political affairs. “It is appalling that after hearing more than 10 hours of testimony, overwhelmingly from Texans who oppose this legislation, the Texas Senate still voted to move SB3 forward. Despite this broad opposition -- including from businesses, sports leagues, parents, and faith leaders -- the Texas Senate and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick appear to be fine with establishing Texas as the next North Carolina. HRC will continue to fight this harmful bill as it moves to the House.”

  • Texas law enforcement and school officials condemn anti-transgender bill. “This bathroom bill is a non-issue, it’s a solution looking for a problem," San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said. Read Ryan Poppe’s (@RyanPoppe1) report at KSTX.

SOURCES SAY SESSIONS POISED TO UNDERMIND CRUCIAL LGBTQ WORKPLACE PROTECTIONS TODAY: The Washington Blade's Chris Johnson (@ChrisJohnson82) reports that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is preparing to file a brief today that will seek to undermine a growing legal consensus that LGBTQ  people are protected from discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Sources told Johnson that the Justice Department will file a friend of the court brief in the case of Zarda v. Altitude Express, asserting that Title VII doesn’t prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. It would reverse former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s assertion that discrimination on the basis of gender identity is prohibited under Title VII. Read more at The Washington Blade.

  • Reports Johnson: “The brief would be inconsistent with significant case law affirming discrimination based on transgender status is prohibited under Title VII. Four federal appellate courts -- the First, Sixth, Ninth and Eleventh circuit courts of appeals -- have determined employment discrimination against transgender people is barred under the law.”

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING WEDNESDAY: A new series from the sports apparel company PUMA features openly LGBTQ actor Cara Delevingne encouraging people -- and especially women -- to share their stories. A recent installment features Daniella, a transgender woman using her passion for martial arts as a tool for empowerment and defense against violence. Watch here.

HRC TO SENATORS -- MAINTAIN "BLUE SLIP" PROCESS FOR COURT NOMINEES: President Trump currently has 21 United States Court of Appeals and 107 United States District Court vacancies on his “to fill” list. And some Republican senators are looking to grease the skids for Trump nominees by changing the traditional “blue slip” process, an essential part of nomination and confirmation since at least 1917 that allows home-state senators to put a hold on nominees. HRC urges the Senate Judiciary Committee to respect the blue slip process and for senators to withhold blue slips for nominated judges until they receive adequate information regarding their judicial records. More from HRC.

MICHIGAN LGBTQ GROUPS ASK STATE TO CLARIFY LAW: Thirty-eight civil rights organizations have asked the state’s Civil Rights Commission to clarify that Michigan’s Civil Rights Act includes sexual orientation and gender identity under its ‘gender’ clause. More from Michigan Chronicle.

NEW REPORT SHOWS HARMS OF MEDICALLY UNNECESSARY SURGERY ON INTERSEX CHILDREN: The report from Human Rights Watch and interACT says such surgeries can cause permanent harm to intersex people. Read the report here. More from NBC.

  • The American Medical Association is considering a proposal to ban genital surgery on intersex children. More from The Associated Press.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, EQUALITY FEDERATION!: The organization, which partners with the HRC on its Municipal Equality Index and State Equality Index, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. More from The Huffington Post.

MTV ANNOUNCES NOMINATIONS FOR VMAs -- GENDER NEUTRAL CATEGORIES: Among the nominees are Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, openly lesbian rapper Young M.A and Fifth Harmony, whose member Lauren Jauregui is bisexual. This VMAs will also mark the first to have gender neutral award categories. More from Entertainment Weekly.

LGBTQ VOLUNTEERS CREATE MILITARY UNIT TO FIGHT ISIS: The group, called The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army, is part of a collection of foreign fighters in northern Syria fighting alongside the Kurdish military. More from Newsweek.

INCREASINGLY DANGEROUS CLIMATE FOR LGBTQ PEOPLE IN POLAND: When the Law and Justice Party came into power in Poland, it has been attacking LGBTQ rights, including limiting legal protections and failing to take action against bias-motivated crimes. More from World Politics Review.


The New York Times shares how the Australian Football League is fighting for LGBTQ equality in sports; WLNS reports on a gubernatorial race primary forum on LGBTQ issues; NPR interviews LGBTQ advocates in South Korea

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A.M. Equality