#AM_Equality Tipsheet: June 7, 2017

by Allison Turner

TX Gov. calls special session to discriminate against trans people; DeVos refuses to rule out giving fed $ to anti-LGBTQ private schools.

REPREHENSIBLE - TEXAS GOV CALLS SPECIAL SESSION TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST TRANS PEOPLE: Yesterday, HRC sharply criticized Texas Governor Greg Abbott for calling a special session specifically to discriminate against transgender Texans. Throughout the legislative session, far-right lawmakers have considered anti-LGBTQ legislation -- including bills that would make it illegal for transgender people to access facilities consistent with their gender identity. “Gov. Abbott has called a special session partly dedicated to discriminating against transgender Texans. In doing so, he has caved to the demands of the fringe politicians who are using LGBTQ people as pawns to win cheap political points,” said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president of policy and political affairs for HRC. “We oppose any legislation that would target transgender people, and we will be fighting tooth and nail against bills that would codify discrimination into law.” More from HRC.

BETSY DEVOS AGAIN REFUSES TO RULE OUT GIVING TAXPAYER MONEY TO ANTI-LGBTQ PRIVATE SCHOOLS: During a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing yesterday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos astoundingly refused again to say whether she would deny federal funds under a voucher program to private schools that discriminate against LGBTQ people. During a heated back-and-forth with DeVos over the issue, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), said, “You are refusing to answer the question. I think that’s very important for the public to know -- that today, the Secretary of Education before this committee refused to affirm that she would put forward a program that would ban discrimination based on LGBTQ status of students or ban discrimination based on religion.” Watch at C-SPAN. More from HRC.

● TOMORROW -- Trump to celebrate LGBTQ Pride with his closest anti-LGBTQ activist buddies: Donald Trump refused to honor LGBTQ Americans with the traditional White House Pride proclomation. Now, just days before D.C.’s LGBTQ Equality March, Trump will address the Faith & Freedom Coalition, whose chairman once compared marriage equality to slavery, and those opposing it to abolitionists. More from The Washington Blade.

#EQUALITYFORWARD -- IT IS TIME FOR THE EQUALITY ACT: Yesterday, HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy joined Robert Traynham (@RobertTraynham) on Comcast Newsmakers to discuss the reintroduction of the Equality Act -- federal legislation that would finally guarantee explicit, permanent protections for LGBTQ people under our nation's existing civil rights laws. The bipartisan legislation would provide clear and equal protections under federal law for all Americans in vital areas of life, like employment, access to public spaces, housing, credit, education, jury service, and federally-funded programs. Today, in 31 states, LGBTQ people remain at risk of being fired, evicted or denied services because of who they are. More from Comcast Newsmakers.

WHAT WE’RE READING WEDNESDAY: NYT Magazine’s Linda Villarosa (@LindaVillarosa) dives into the harrowing statistics regarding Black gay and bisexual men and HIV, sharing the experience of a Jackson, Miss., nonprofit worker who supports local people living with HIV (PLWH). While the annual number of new diagnoses fell by 19 percent between 2005 and 2014, progress has been uneven across populations. Gay and bisexual men made up an estimated 2 percent of the U.S. population in 2013, but a shocking 55 percent of all PLWH in the United States. For Latinx and Black men who have sex with men, the rates of new HIV diagnosis are in 1 in 4 and 1 in 2, respectively. More from The New York Times Magazine.

● HIV funding is critical if we want to achieve an HIV-free generation, writes Allison Webel (@AllisonWebelPhD), assistant professor of nursing at Case Western Reserve University. More from U.S. News and World Report.

● To read about HIV 360°, the HRC Foundation’s fellowship program to support new and emerging nonprofit leaders in the Deep South who are critical to ending the HIV epidemic, go to HRC. HRC’s HIV and AIDS prevention work was recently featured in Poz Magazine.

HRC ENDORSES RON NIRENBERG FOR SAN ANTONIO MAYOR: Today, HRC announced its endorsement of Ron Nirenberg for mayor of San Antonio, Texas. Voters will decide the outcome of the city’s runoff mayoral election this Saturday. “Ron Nirenberg has the vision, experience, and commitment to equality that will continue to move San Antonio forward as a welcoming and inclusive city,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “HRC is proud to stand with Nirenberg because he firmly believes that every San Antonian should be treated fairly, regardless of who they are or whom they love.” In September 2013, Nirenberg supported a nondiscrimination ordinance with protections for LGBTQ people in contracting, housing, public accommodations, and city employment. The other candidate in the runoff race, current Mayor Ivy Taylor -- voted against the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance as a City Council member.. More from HRC.

CHURCH BELLS  TO TOLL ON ONE-YEAR MARK OF ORLANDO SHOOTING: More than 100 churches in five countries have pledged to join the somber chorus at noon on June 12 to honor the 49 innocent victims of the Pulse Orlando shooting one year ago. One Orlando Alliance, an advisory group comprised of community leaders, family members, and local LGBTQ groups, is spearheading the 49 Bells movement to pay tribute to loved ones taken that day. More from HRC.

HRC MOURNS KENNE MCFADDEN, TRANS WOMAN MURDERED IN SAN ANTONIO: HRC was horrified to learn that Kenne McFadden, a 27-year-old transgender woman, was murdered weeks ago in San Antonio. McFadden’s body was found on April 9 in the San Antonio River, but police have only now announced that her death was a homicide. San Antonio police, who misgendered McFadden in this week’s announcement, believe she was pushed into the river, which runs through downtown San Antonio. The department says it has identified a person of interest, who was acquainted with the victim. MySA.com reports that person is already in custody on another charge. More from HRC.

WHAT??? GIRL WITH SHORT HAIR KICKED OUT OF SOCCER GAME: Mili Hernandez, an 8-year-old girl, was thrown out of a soccer game in Omaha because she chooses to have short hair -- prompting a parent to complain that Mili’s all-girls team “had a boy on it.” Now, Mili’s soccer heroes -- Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach -- are standing up for her and speaking out on social media. More from The Washington Post.

HRC JOINS INTERNATIONAL COALITION CONDEMING INDONESIA’S ANTI-LGBTQ ABUSES: HRC has joined 27 organizations and individuals in calling out anti-LGBTQ human rights abuses in Indonesia after nearly 150 men were arrested during a raid in the capital of Jakarta. While same-sex acts are not illegal in Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, LGBTQ people are nevertheless socially ostracized, frequently harassed and attacked by religious leaders and vigilantes. More from HRC and Erasing 76 Crimes.

COURT DISMISSES LAWSUIT AGAINST GYM’S TRANSGENDER-INCLUSIVE LOCKER ROOM POLICIES: In 2015, Yvette Cormier’s membership to Planet Fitness was cancelled after she complained continuously about a transgender woman using the women’s locker room. A Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that Cormier’s complaint had no substance, upholding a lower court’s dismissal of her lawsuit against Planet Fitness. More from Law Newz.

UNITED METHODIST CHURCH COMMISSIONS NONBINARY PERSON AS DEACON: Reverend M. Barclay is thought to be the first openly nonbinary person to become a United Methodist Church deacon. They were commissioned this weekend at the Northern Illinois Conference. More from UMC News.

QUICK, PASS ME THE AUX CORD: To honor LGBTQ Pride Month, Spotify has put together a collection of Pride-themed playlists, including ones curated by LGBTQ artists, athletes and advocates including Troye Sivan (@TroyeSivan), Kris Perry (@KMPPerry) and Sandy Stier (@SandyStier), Jacob Tobia (@JacobTobia), Tyler Oakley (@TylerOakley), Jason Collins (@JasonCollins98), Gigi Gorgeous (@TheGigiGorgeous) and Tom Daley (@TomDaley1994). Check them out on Spotify.

ICYMI -- HRC LAUNCHES HUB FOR SPANISH-LANGUAGE RESOURCES: HRC launched Recursos en Español de HRC, to expand outreach and resources for Spanish-speakers as well as Spanish-language media. HRC also released a video celebrating Latinx LGBTQ pride. More from HRC.

HRC PARTNERS WITH BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS: Last week, Alison Delpercio, HRC’s Deputy Director for the Children, Youth & Families Program trained the staff at Big Brothers Big Sisters of America national headquarters to help the program better transform the lives of LGBTQ young people and LGBTQ caring adults looking to make a difference in a child’s life. More from HRC.


Advocate reviews the musical film ‘Saturday Church’ -- the story of a gender nonconforming child finding refuge in an affirming church; NBC profiles YouTuber and LGBTQ advocate Hannah Hart (@harto); Popsugar offers advice for parents of transgender children;

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!

A.M. Equality