#AM_Equality Tipsheet: March 17, 2017

by Allison Turner

It is March. HB2 is Madness; Alabama House advances bill allowing taxpayer-funded discrimination.

IT IS MARCH. HB2 IS MADNESS: There was a crowd of basketball fans outside of the Greensboro Coliseum yesterday, but it wasn’t for March Madness. They were protesting HB2 -- the anti-transgender state law that cost North Carolina the chance to host NCAA games, including the Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament that’s happening now. Even the state’s biggest sports rivalry, UNC and Duke, are united in their opposition to the discriminatory law, with Coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke and Coach Roy Williams of North Carolina continuing to speak out about it. Yesterday, Coach K called the law “a stupid thing,” saying, “If I were president or governor I’d get rid of it.” Williams echoed the sentiment, saying he was “very sad” and “very disappointed.” More from WFMY and USA Today.

  • Meanwhile, Greenville, S.C. has seen a boost in its economy, as the city hosts the games their neighbor to the north lost. More from WLOS.
  • In an editorial, the The Virginian-Pilot, reiterates the consequences -- present and future -- of the discriminatory HB2. Sharing a rumor that the ACC is considering moving its offices from Greensboro because of HB2, the paper slyly notes that the conference “might find a more centralized office to its benefit.” (Maybe in …Virginia?). More from The Virginian-Pilot.

ALABAMA HOUSE ADVANCES BILL ALLOWING TAXPAYER-FUNDED ANTI-LGBTQ DISCRIMINATION: HRC blasted the Alabama House of Representatives for advancing the discriminatory H.B. 24 to the Alabama Senate yesterday with a 60-14 vote. The bill, deceptively titled the “Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act,” would enshrine taxpayer-funded discrimination into Alabama law by allowing state-funded and licensed adoption and foster care agencies to reject prospective LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents based on the agency’s religious beliefs. “This bill unconscionably harms the nearly 5,000 children in Alabama’s child welfare system who are waiting to be placed with a loving and supportive family,” said Eva Kendrick, HRC Alabama state manager. “It’s disappointing that legislators in the House seem focused on creating new ways to discriminate against LGBTQ people instead of securing loving homes for these children.” More from HRC.

CONGRESS MEMBERS CALL ON AG SESSIONS TO INVESTIGATE ANTI-TRANS VIOLENCE: A group of U.S. members of Congress are calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the epidemic of violence against Black transgender women. In a letter to Sessions, they write, “It is incumbent upon the Department of Justice to enforce the federal laws that govern such clear examples of anti-transgender violence, especially because most states lack similar hate crime protections for transgender people.” Too often, reports of anti-transgender violence goes unrecognized, due to police and media misgendering the victim. “We have a problem with local crime jurisdictions not taking them seriously. There’s still a significant problem with undercounting,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “I would hope that the Justice Department would take seriously a letter from multiple members of Congress on issues of this gravity." The letter is signed by Reps. Keith Ellison, Raul Grijalva, Mark Pocan, Barbara Lee, Joe Kennedy and Jackie Speier. More from The Washington Post.

HRC, OTHER LGBTQ GROUPS SEND LETTER TO SENATE URGING MEMBERS TO VET GORSUCH ON EQUALITY ISSUES: Nineteen LGBTQ civil rights organizations, including HRC, sent a letter to the leading members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, noting that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s views on civil rights issues “are fundamentally at odds with the notion that LGBT people are entitled to equality, liberty, justice and dignity under the law.” More from BuzzFeed.

LOL OF THE WEEK: Earlier this week, former NC Gov Pat McCrory told an Asheville-based podcast, “People are reluctant to hire me, because, ‘oh my gosh, he’s a bigot’.” Samantha Bee and the team at Full Frontal decided to help the poor guy, building him a resume complete with all his skills and charms -- like “[promoting] a pro-business, anti-trans-people-doing-their-business agenda.”

TIME COVER -- “BEYOND HE OR SHE”: In the latest edition of TIME, Katy Steinmetz (@KatySteinmetz) shares new data from GLAAD showing that 20 percent of millennials identify as something other than straight and cisgender. The story also interviews people across the country about their attitudes regarding LGBTQ identities and the promising cultural shift toward acceptance. Read about the cover article here and more from TIME.

ANTI-LGBTQ ACTIVIST RIPS DOWN CONGRESSMAN’S PRIDE FLAG: On Wednesday, a man tore down the rainbow flag Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) hangs outside of his office in support of the LGBTQ community before entering the Capitol Hill office and spewing anti-LGBTQ venom at the Congressman’s staff. This act is just one of a notable increase in hate-motivated acts across the country. 

TRIBAL EQUALITY FOR TWO SPIRIT AND LGBTQ PEOPLE: The Tribal Equity Toolkit 3.0: Tribal Resolutions and Codes to Support Two Spirit and LGBTQ Justice in Indian Country is the first of its kind -- providing sample legal language for adapting tribal resolutions and codes to recognize the rights of all tribal citizens. A third edition of the toolkit was published with the support of a growing coalition of national organizations, including HRC, the National Congress of American Indians, National Center for  Transgender Equality and others. Access the toolkit here.

HRC’s #AskTheGays EARNS FINALIST SPOT IN SHORTY AWARDS: Just days after the horrific shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Donald Trump had the audacity to pander to LGBTQ voters by challenging his skeptics to "ask the gays" about where he stood on LGBTQ equality. HRC answered. Using the hashtag #AskTheGays, countless took to social media to call out Trump and Mike Pence on their anti-LGBTQ records. More on the campaign and the Shorty Awards here.

PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER ANTHONY BOWENS COMES OUT AS BISEXUAL: After filming a funny YouTube video with his boyfriend, Bowens decided to come out publicly as bisexual, saying, “I look forward to changing perceptions and breaking stereotypes as I continue on my journey.” More from Refinery29.


The Guardian looks at the Broadway classic La Cage aux Folles and its effect on LGBTQ acceptance… HRC interviews Shawn, a transgender advocate in Montana working to fight anti-LGBTQ legislation… 

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