#AM_Equality Tipsheet: March 1, 2017

by Allison Turner

We will not bow to fear and division; HRC implores lawmakers to address epidemic of anti-trans violence

WE WILL NOT BOW TO FEAR AND DIVISION: In a speech to a Joint Session of Congress last night, President Donald Trump doubled down on his commitment to replacing the late Justice Antonin Scalia with Neil Gorsuch, a judge with a troubling record on LGBTQ issues. He also vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act -- landmark legislation that provides access to healthcare for 22 million Americans, including millions of LGBTQ people. This decision could put countless lives at risk. And, just one week after his administration rescinded guidance from the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education regarding schools’ obligation to transgender students, Trump had the audacity to call education “the civil rights issue of our time.” Check out the speech transcript, as well as the fact-check from NPR.

HRC IMPLORES LAWMAKERS TO ADDRESS EPIDEMIC OF ANTI-TRANSGENDER VIOLENCE: In the wake of the deaths of at least seven transgender people in just the first two months of this year, HRC called on lawmakers to address the epidemic of anti-transgender violence. HRC also urged law enforcement officials and members of the media to improve their reporting and coverage of these tragic deaths. At least seven trans people -- six Black transgender women and one Native American transgender woman -- have been murdered in 2017. Those lost to violence in 2017 include Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, Sioux Falls, SD; Mesha Caldwell, Canton, MS; JoJo Striker, Toledo, OH; Tiara Richmond, Chicago, IL; Chyna Doll Depree, New Orleans, LA; Ciara McElveen, New Orleans, LA; and Jaquarrius Holland, Monroe, LA. More from HRC.

“The chilling reality of anti-transgender violence is an urgent crisis for our country,” said HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin). “Transgender women of color face a toxic combination of transphobia and racism that together fuel an environment of often fatal violence. In just two months since the start of 2017, the lives of Jamie Lee, Mesha, JoJo, Tiara, Chyna, Ciara, Jaquarrius -- and potentially others whose names remain unknown -- have been tragically cut short. The heartbreak of these murders is only amplified by the reality that their lives and identities are too-often disrespected in reporting by law enforcement and coverage by the media. At the same time that allies and advocates are calling on the federal government to protect transgender youth, all of us must also loudly declare that Native American, Latinx, and Black trans lives matter and implore elected leaders, the media and our own communities to finally address this epidemic of violence. Lives literally depend upon it.”

HRC MOURNS JAQUARRIUS HOLLAND, THIRD BLACK TRANS WOMAN KILLED IN LOUISIANA THIS MONTH: While mourning two transgender women murdered in New Orleans on Saturday and Monday, HRC was deeply saddened to learn that yet another woman -- 18-year-old Jaquarrius Holland—was killed in Louisiana earlier this month. Media coverage initially misreported her gender, and advocates did not learn that Holland was a transgender woman until her family and friends corrected those reports on social media, according to Mic. One friend, Chesna Littleberry, told Mic that Holland was “like a younger sister” and had helped her learn to accept herself. More from HRC.

WHAT WE’RE READING WEDNESDAY: Mack Beggs is a dedicated student athlete -- recently winning a championship match at the Texas state high school girls’ wrestling tournament. Mack, however, is a transgender boy,  but Texas school district rules force transgender athletes to participate in sports leagues based on the gender listed on their birth certificate rather than the gender they identify with. His school had given him an impossible choice: either wrestle in the tournament that goes against his gender identity, or give up his passion for wrestling -- and he chose the latter. Mack’s story has alerted many to this discriminatory practice, including famous sports anchor Dale Hansen. More from The Daily Beast.

WE CANNOT REPLACE HB2 WITH HB2.0: Yesterday in Raleigh, local business owners and a concerned mother of a transgender son joined Sen. Terry Van Duyn, Progress NC, HRC and Equality NC for a press conference at the Statehouse, where they urged lawmakers to fully repeal HB2 and reject the “new” HB186 proposal that would simply continue the harm caused by the discriminatory law. More from The News & Observer.

TRANS ACTRESS LEFT OFF OSCARS’ ‘IN MEMORIAM’ SEGMENT: One person was noticeably absent in the Academy Awards’ ‘In Memoriam’ segment -- transgender actress Alexis Arquette, a longtime advocate for transgender equality who died in September from complications related to AIDS. Alexis’ sister, actress Patricia Arquette, spoke about the lost opportunity to both honor her sister, and send a message to transgender young people. “We’re living in a time right now where trans kids can’t even go to the bathroom in schools and they’re diminished in society,” she said. “It’s really unfortunate that the Oscars decided they couldn’t show a trans person who was such an important person in this community. Because ― trans kids ― it could have meant a lot to them.” More from The Huffington Post.

HRC LAUNCHES LENTEN DEVOTIONAL EFFORT TO ENCOURAGE LGBTQ ACCEPTANCE IN FAITH COMMUNITIES: Today, HRC launched a campaign during the Christian holy season of Lent to tell the stories of LGBTQ people of faith and their allies. The campaign seeks to create an environment in which LGBTQ people of faith and their allies can practice the spiritual traditions of their faith in a welcoming, inclusive environment. The effort is being led by The Reverend Dr. J. Edwin Bacon, an author, Episcopal priest, and frequent guest on Oprah’s Soul Series whose faith informs his acceptance of LGBTQ people. For the next 47 days, HRC will share devotionals from faith leaders, LGBTQ people and allies on the HRC website and on Twitter and Facebook.

WWJD? PRO-EQUALITY PRIEST USES TWITTER TO SCHOOL COLLEAGUE ON TRANS EQUALITY: Father James Martin is a Jesuit priest and advocate for equality -- often using Twitter to send a message of love and acceptance to his followers. When a fellow priest criticized Father Martin’s view that all transgender students should be able to use the facilities that align with their gender identity and questioned his credentials, Father Martin reminded the priest of the Catholic principles of justice and inclusion. More from BuzzFeed.

ARKANSAS SENATE PASSES ABSURD ANTI-LGBTQ RESOLUTION TO UNDERMINE MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Yesterday, the Arkansas Senate passed a mean-spirited, meaningless measure calling for a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as the “union of one man and one woman.” Senate Joint Resolution 7 will now go to the state House of Representatives. “Marriage equality is settled law, and any bill or legislator seeking to undermine it is in conflict with the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Constitution,” said Kendra R. Johnson, HRC Arkansas state director. “HRC Arkansas calls on our lawmakers put an end to these cynical, divisive theatrics, and start focusing on the issues that matter to Arkansans instead introducing a bill that would only seek to harm LGBTQ people.” More from HRC.

UNITED NATIONS TO INVESTIGATE ANTI-LGBTQ DISCRIMINATION IN ARGENTINA: Vitit Muntarbhorn, the United Nations (UN) Independent Expert for Protection Against Violence and Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, will conduct a study to assess anti-LGBTQ discrimination in Argentina. More from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.


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