#AM_Equality Tipsheet: March 6, 2017

by Allison Turner

SCOTUS sends Grimm case back to 4th Circuit Court of Appeals; Discriminatory Arkansas birth certificate bill targets trans community

BREAKING -- SCOTUS SENDS GAVIN GRIMM CASE BACK TO 4TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS: Today, the Supreme Court of the United States announced it will not hear the case of G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board this term. Gavin Grimm, a transgender boy, filed suit against the school board alleging it violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 by denying him use of the boy’s restroom. “The Supreme Court of the United States sent this case back to the Fourth Circuit as a direct result of the Trump Administration rescinding school guidance protecting transgender students. Now, thousands of transgender students across the country will have to wait even longer for a final decision from our nation's highest court affirming their basic rights,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “To be clear, transgender students are covered by Title IX and are entitled to the same rights and protections as every other student. But while this plays out in our courts, we are deeply concerned about the consequences this could have for transgender students, who may not be aware of their rights or be subject to increased discrimination by others who feel emboldened by the Trump Administration’s recent actions. Now more than ever it is crucial for all of us to affirm to transgender students that they are equal, they are valued, and there are millions of people across our country who will have their backs, no matter what.” More from HRC.

  • TODAY AT NOON: HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow will answer questions related to the SCOTUS decision on Facebook Live at 12 PM ET. Watch on HRC’s Facebook page.

DISCRIMINATORY ARKANSAS BIRTH CERTIFICATE BILL TARGETS TRANSGENDER PEOPLE: HRC is calling on Arkansas lawmakers to reject a dangerous bill that would prohibit changes to a person’s gender marker on their birth certificate, a move that would disproportionately affect transgender Arkansans. H.B. 1894, doubles down on discrimination, and would make an onerous process even more difficult for transgender Arkansans seeking to have their identification documents reflect their gender identity. “This bill is a mean-spirited attempt to further marginalize and target transgender Arkansans by denying them the dignity of having their official government documents reflect who they are,” said Kendra R. Johnson, HRC Arkansas state director. “Not allowing transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificate opens them up to all types of discrimination -- including in housing, employment and health care.” Current state law makes it difficult and expensive for transgender people to update their birth certificate, requiring them to undergo surgery just to get an amended document -- surgery that not every transgender person wants or has access to. More from HRC.

MUST WATCH MONDAY: Brandi Burgess is the daughter of the popular syndicated radio show host Rick Burgess of the Rick & Bubba show. Earlier this year, Brandi wrote a column for AL.com in which she came out as bisexual, causing a minor media frenzy in Alabama where her dad is a morning radio fixture. Following the column, Rick unfortunately spoke negatively about Brandi on his radio show. In an HRC video, Brandi talks about her childhood, growing up as an LGBTQ southerner and her father’s very public rejection. More from HRC.

  • #LoveYourNeighbor: In HRC’s latest installment of the #LoveYourNeighbor video series, Melanie shares her pride in her hometown of Tupelo, Miss., and the progress toward LGBTQ equality being made in the city. More from HRC.

YELP INTRODUCES FEATURE TO HELP USERS FIND BUSINESSES WITH GENDER NEUTRAL BATHROOMS: The new feature to Yelp’s website will allow transgender and gender nonconforming consumers find businesses that offer facilities they can comfortably use. Yelp is one of the 53 businesses that signed HRC’s amicus brief in support of transgender student Gavin Grimm in G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board. More from SF Weekly and TechCrunch.

SENATORS TAKE A STAND TO COMBAT HATE CRIMES: Last week, 25 Senators, led by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, urging the Department of Justice (DOJ) to prioritize combating hate crimes and to reaffirm its commitment to working with state and local officials to prosecute hate crimes and improve their reporting. In addition, the letter requests full funding for DOJ’s Community Relations Service and Civil Rights Division for FY 2018 and the remainder of FY 2017, and calls on Sessions to reaffirm DOJ’s commitment to prosecuting hate crimes at the federal level when appropriate. More from HRC.

STATE DEPT. RELEASES ANNUAL HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT: The annual human rights report released by the U.S. State Department highlights anti-LGBTQ discrimination and violence throughout the world. The report notes the harrowing epidemic of violence against LGBTQ people worldwide -- including at least 346 murders in Colombia and a number of LGBTQ people executed by ISIL. More from The Washington Blade.

LGBTQ RIGHTS CRUSADER’S STORY HIGHLIGHTED IN NEW MEMOIR & TV MINISERIES: Cleve Jones (@CleveJones1), whose memoir inspired Dustin Lance Black’s (@DLanceBlack) ABC miniseries When We Rise, has been a crusader for LGBTQ rights for more than 50 years. A protégé of Harvey Milk, a co-founder of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, a creator of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, a marriage equality activist and much more, Jones has left an indelible mark on the lives of countless LGBTQ Americans. Read HRC’s interview with Jones here.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE SENDS MESSAGE TO LGBTQ COMMUNITY IN IHEARTRADIO ACCEPTANCE SPEECH: Last night, after winning Song of the Year at the iHeartMusic festival, JT sent a message of love and acceptance to the LGBTQ community. “If you’re gay, or you’re lesbian, or you are trans, or maybe you’re just a sissy singer boy from Tennessee -- anyone who has treated you unkindly, it’s only because they’re afraid or they have been taught to be afraid of how important you are,” he said. “Because being different means you make a difference.” More from Instinct Magazine.

SIBLING RIVALRY PLAYS OUT IN PRO-EQUALITY COCA-COLA AD: Equality is in the spotlight again in a new Coca-Cola ad, this time featuring a brother and sister fanning over the same pool boy. The Coca-Cola Company has a strong record of supporting LGBTQ equality and consistently receives a 100 on HRC Foundation’s annual Corporate Equality Index (CEI). The CEI is the nation’s premiere corporate benchmarking tool assessing LGBTQ-inclusive workplace policies and practices. More from HRC.

TOKYO WILL HAVE GENDER NEUTRAL RESTROOMS AT 2020 OLYMPICS: While gender neutral bathrooms (called daredemo toire or “everyone’s toilets”) are already common in the Japanese city, Tokyo’s city government is committed to ensuring they are available at Olympic events. More from The Guardian.


The New York Times interviewed Peche Di, who has opened a modeling agency exclusively for transgender model… Singer-songwriter Daya joins HRC’s Equality Rocks campaign… HRC highlights 10 trans and genderfluid youth advocates working for equality…

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A.M. Equality