#AM_Equality Tipsheet: June 19, 2017

by Allison Turner

Citing no strategy, 6 members of Presidential Council on HIV resign; Trump is attacking progress on achieving a HIV-free generation.

SIX MEMBERS OF PRESIDENTIAL COUNCIL ON HIV RESIGN, CITING NO STRATEGY OR RESOURCES: In an alarming oped in Newsweek titled “Trump Doesn’t Care About HIV. We’re Outta Here,” one of the six dedicated HIV experts who had served on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) write about leaving over the Trump Administration’s complacency in fighting the HIV epidemic. “The Trump Administration has no strategy to address the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic, seeks zero input from experts to formulate HIV policy, and -- most concerning -- pushes legislation that will harm people living with HIV and halt or reverse important gains made in the fight against this disease,” they write. More from Newsweek.

TRUMP’S ATTACKS ON PROGRESS TOWARD ACHIEVING A HIV-FREE GENERATION: While paying lip service to the need to address the HIV epidemic, the administration actually plans to reduce activities around testing, prevention efforts, and support services for persons living with HIV. Trump supports the egregious American Health Care Act (AHCA), which would disproportionately affect vulnerable populations -- including those living with HIV/AIDS.  The bill's draconian caps will cut access to Medicaid coverage for people living with HIV, restricting access to life-saving treatments.

● Trump’s proposed budget includes a 20 percent cut to CDC prevention efforts for HIV, hepatitis, STIs and tuberculosis. It also proposed curtailing Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) prevention projects.

● He also proposes gutting research at the National Institutes of Health by $6 billion, with $838 million slashed from the Institute focused on finding a cure for HIV. 

● The proposed budget also aims to block Planned Parenthood from receiving reimbursement for services under the Medicaid program -- dramatically curtailing access to HIV testing.

BETSY DEVOS PLOTS ROLLBACK OF TRANS STUDENTS’ RIGHTS: A memo obtained by The Washington Post’s Emma Brown (@EmmersBrown) from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights indicates that discrimination against transgender students may be handled on a “case-by-case” basis, and lawyers have leeway to dismiss cases involving a student’s access to facilities including restrooms. While students are still entitled to the legal protections guaranteed by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, this is yet another move by the Trump Administration and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to muddle schools’ obligations to transgender youth -- who face disproportionately high rates of bullying, harassment and discrimination -- and sends a dangerous message that the current administration may not enforce inclusive policies or stand up for transgender children at school. More from The Washington Post.

● Reminder: In February, under the direction of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and DeVos, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education revoked the Obama Administration’s guidance detailing best practices for protecting transgender students under Title IX.

● The bipartisan U.S. Commission on Civil Rights announces investigation into Trump Administration -- NBC reports that the watchdog group is concerned about proposed cuts to departments that oversee civil rights, leaving “communities of color, LGBT people, older people, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups exposed to greater risk of discrimination." Read more at NBC.

MONDAY MUST WATCH: Stephanie Ruhle (@SRuhle) of MSNBC highlights the rise of anti-LGBTQ bills, noting that more than 100 bills in 29 states have been introduced in statehouses across the country. Many of these bills specifically target the transgender community, or aim to give taxpayer-funded agencies and employees a ‘license to discriminate’ against the LGBTQ community. More from MSNBC.

TWO-DAD FAMILIES ON THEIR EXPERIENCES WITH PARENTAL LEAVE: The United States is the only industrialized nation that provides no paid family leave, maternity or parental, to working adults. Of the states that require paid leave, only four states (NY, NJ, CA, RI) and DC require employers to grant paid leave for workers who need to care for a child that they are parenting regardless of their legal or biological relationship. Thus, LGBTQ parents are not always given the same rights as other caretakers. In fact, seven-in-ten LGBTQ Americans live in states that lack a leave law or have a law that only allows leave for workers who have a biological or legal relationship with the child. A new piece from BuzzFeed by Sarah Karlan (@SkarSkarSkar) and Susie Armitage (@Susarm) explores eight stories of two-dad families and their experiences with paid family leave. More from BuzzFeed.

● HRC calls for inclusive paid family leave. Since 1965, fathers in the U.S. have nearly tripled the time they spend caring for children and are now just as likely as working mothers to say they find it at least somewhat difficult to manage work and family responsibilities. However, our country’s policies on paid leave for fathers remain behind-the-times, undermining all of our families. More from HRC.

● Dads for Transgender Equality: Across the country, supportive fathers of transgender children are fighting back for their kid’s rights. Watch from HRC.

● The Associated Press’ David Crary (@CraryAP) takes a deep dive into progress -- and setbacks -- faced by LGBTQ adoptive parents. Bias against prospective LGBTQ adoptive parents “remains pervasive,” he reports. Ellen Kahn, director of HRC Foundation’s Children, Youth and Families Program, tells Crary: “We wouldn’t have kids waiting if we had enough families seeking to adopt. Yet the LGBT community is being pushed aside.” Read more at AP.

PAUL FEINMAN NOMINATED TO BECOME NY COURT OF APPEALS FIRST OPENLY LGBTQ JUSTICE: Speaking exclusively to Spectrum News NY1 about Feinman, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called him “highly qualified, also happens to be openly gay and is an extraordinary human being, and would be a great addition to that court.” More from The (Albany) Times Union.

HIV CLINIC STARTED BY HRC HIV 360 FELLOW OPENS IN DALLAS: The HOPE Health Center offers HIV and STD testing and treatment and PrEP to uninsured patients. HRC HIV 360 Fellow PJ Moton funded the new clinic with a grant from the Elton John AIDS Foundation. More from Dallas Voice.

FIGHT BREAKS OUT AT KIEV PRIDE: Anti-LGBTQ extremists attempted to break up the Ukranian LGBTQ Pride parade yesterday, but were stopped by police. More from BuzzFeed.

SWITZERLAND DELAYS MARRIAGE EQUALITY DECISION: The Swiss Parliament has extended its deadline to 2019 on whether to enact marriage equality. More from SwissInfo.


Dallas Morning News publishes a column from a mother of a transgender daughter about loving her child and fighting for her rights; Pix 11 reports the Stonewall Inn has received a $1 million grant from Google to preserve LGBTQ history;

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A.M. Equality