#AM_Equality Tipsheet: June 20, 2017

by Allison Turner

All eyes on Georgia’s Special Election; Human Rights Campaign to rally at the White House for World Refugee Day.

TODAY -- ALL EYES ARE ON GEORGIA’S SPECIAL ELECTION: Today, HRC-endorsed Jon Ossoff will face anti-LGBTQ Karen Handel in a runoff election for Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District seat. During her 2010 gubernatorial campaign, Handel opposed marriage equality, civil unions, domestic partnership benefits and allowing same-sex couples to adopt, and was caught on camera saying that same-sex parents aren’t as legitimate as different-sex parents. Watch the video here.

ALSO TODAY - HRC TO RALLY AT WHITE HOUSE FOR WORLD REFUGEE DAY: HRC will join refugees, faith leaders, legal and security experts and community advocates to honor refugees’ strength and perseverance, speak out against discriminatory policies and call on elected officials to do more in the face of the largest refugee crisis in recorded history. The action comes just days after the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled unanimously to prevent the implementation of President Trump’s refugee and Muslim ban. It marked the second time a federal court has halted his discriminatory executive order. Please contact press@hrc.org for more details. More from HRC.

CONGRESS CALLS ON INDONESIAN AMB. TO STOP ANTI-LGBTQ DISCRIMINATION: In response to numerous reports of the arrests of men for same-sex sexual activity -- and the public caning of two of them -- 37 members of Congress sent a letter to the Indonesian Ambassador to the U.S. calling on him to urge the government to investigate and end this discrimination, as well as discrimination against women and religious minorities. “The horrific violence targeting LGBTQ people in Indonesia is part of a troubling yet growing trend driven by hate and fear around the world, including in places like Chechnya, Bangladesh, and elsewhere,” said David Stacy, HRC Government Affairs Director. “With an absence of action from the Trump administration on these human rights abuses, we are grateful for the leadership of Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and the other 36 members in calling for an end to this violence and putting Indonesia officials on notice that the eyes of the world are closely watching.” More from Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney.

USAID NOMINEE PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR LGBTQ HUMAN RIGHTS: In a hearing before a U.S. Senate committee, Ambassador Mark Green, the nominee to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), pledged that, if confirmed, he would work to ensure that USAID’s programming reaches vulnerable LGBTQ people around the world. Ambassador Green (not to be confused with the anti-LGBTQ Mark Green who was forced to withdraw his nomination as Army Secretary) was nominated to lead USAID, America’s largest provider of global development assistance, investing nearly $16 billion in foreign aid each year in more than 100 countries. More from HRC.

TUESDAY TWEET: When Nikos Giannopoulos was invited to the White House after being named Rhode Island’s Teacher of the Year, he knew he wanted to show his LGBTQ pride -- as he does every day in the classroom. The now-viral photo of the teacher, posing with Donald and Melania Trump, shows Giannopoulos with a lace fan and rainbow ribbon on his lapel. “The entire day I was thinking about what it means to be in the White House and in the Oval Office,” he said. “What it represents to be an openly gay person and a queer LGBT person in the White House.” More from The Washington Post and NPR.

EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS RULES RUSSIA’S ANTI-LGBTQ ‘PROPAGANDA’ LAW IS DISCRIMINATORY: In 2013, Russia’s Federal Assembly passed a law banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations,” which was signed into law by President Vladimir Putin. Under the guise of protecting children from “homosexual propaganda,” the law imposes fines or jail time to citizens who disseminate information that may cause a “distorted understanding” that LGBTQ and heterosexual relationships are “socially equivalent.” Russia is only one of three countries to have such a law. More from The Guardian.

OREGON WILL NOW ALLOW THIRD GENDER OPTION ON DRIVER’S LICENSES: In a national first, Oregon will allow its residents to use “X” as their gender marker on driver’s licenses -- in recognition of non-binary identities. Oregon has also allowed two people to legally change their gender to agender and nonbinary. More from NBC.

● For many trans people, “ID anxiety” can happen daily -- worrying about how police, TSA agents, government officials or even bartenders may react to an ID that lists a gender inconsistent with the person’s gender identity. More from TIME.

THE COMPANY THEY KEEP -- TRUMP’S DEFENSE ATTORNEY FIGHTS FOR ANTI-LGBTQ EXTREMISTS: Jay Sekulow, who Trump hired following allegations of obstruction of justice, has said that school policies protecting LGBTQ students “go too far.” His organization wrote an amicus brief that said “men who by word or deed condone homoseoxuality cannot, therefore, be good men.” He testified in support of the Defense of Marriage Act… Need we go on? More from Newsweek.

CLAPBACK -- LAVERNE COX ON WHY TRUMP HASN’T RECOGNIZED LGBTQ PRIDE MONTH: When asked while on The View, the transgender actress and advocate said “Well, he’s really busy… he’s under investigation now so…” More from The View.

ANTI-LGBTQ DAVID CLARKE WITHDRAWS FROM CONSIDERATION FOR DHS JOB: The Milwaukee County sheriff was offered the position of Assistant Secretary for the Office of Partnership and Engagement at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). HRC strongly opposed Clarke’s appointment to this position. More on Clarke’s extensive anti-LGBTQ record from HRC and The Washington Post.

HIV ADVOCATE TURNS TRAGEDY INTO ACTION: After her father died from AIDS-related complications, Amanda Keller decided to devote her life to achieving an HIV-free generation. Working in Alabama, she has become a known advocate for the local LGBTQ community. More from The Daily Beast.

YES -- THIS SCHOOL ACTUALLY GETS TAXPAYER FUNDING: The Lighthouse Christian Academy in Bloomington, Indiana, reserves the right to deny admission to LGBTQ students, and yet receives over $665,000 in state funds -- and under school voucher-expanding proposals being considered by Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, could get more. More from IndyStar.

GERMANY OPENS RECONCILING MOSQUE: The Ibn-Rushd-Goethe-Mosque will welcome all Muslims, no matter their gender, religious sect or sexual orientation. More from The Associated Press.


The New York Times interviews New York City Pride Grand Marshall Geng Le; ABC 10 explores Sacramento’s LGBTQ history; Advocate shares Malta’s journey toward LGBTQ equality;

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A.M. Equality