#AM_Equality Tipsheet: May 11, 2017

by Allison Turner

HRC calls for special prosecutor in light of firing of FBI Director; TX House gives final approval to anti-LGBTQ HB 3859

PROGRESSIVE GROUPS RALLY -- CALL FOR SPECIAL PROSECUTOR IN LIGHT OF FIRING OF FBI DIRECTOR COMEY: Yesterday, HRC rallied at the White House with other progressive organizations calling for a special prosecutor to investigate Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, who was leading the inquiry into the president’s ties to Russia. Comey was fired at the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had promised to recuse himself from that probe after lying under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Two months ago, HRC called for Sessions to resign following reports that he gave false testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding conversations he had with Russia’s U.S. ambassador during the Trump presidential campaign. Watch the Facebook Live coverage of the rally here. More from The Washington Post.

DISCRIMINATION IN TX -- HOUSE GIVES FINAL APPROVAL TO ANTI-LGBTQ BILL: Yesterday, HRC called out the Texas House of Representatives for passing  a shameful bill that would allow child welfare organizations -- including adoption and foster care agencies -- to discriminate against qualified LGBTQ prospective parents and children in need of a loving, secure home. It could also lead to concrete harm to children in care, and would forbid the state from cancelling contracts with agencies that subject children in their care to dangerous practices such as so-called “conversion therapy.” “HB 3859 is yet another example of Texas legislators’ coordinated efforts to pursue discrimination against LGBTQ people instead of focusing on the best interest of all Texans,” said Marty Rouse, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign, and an adoptive and foster parent. “If signed into law, this bill would most harm the children in Texas’ child welfare system -- kids who need a loving, stable home. Discrimination under law is unacceptable. The Senate must recognize this bill for what it is: an attempt to discriminate against LGBTQ Texans, this time targeting some of Texas’ most vulnerable residents: children in the child welfare system.” More Salon, Houston Chronicle and The New York Times.

CONNECTICUT GOV SIGNS BILL PROTECTING LGBTQ YOUTH FROM DANGEROUS “CONVERSION THERAPY”: HRC praised Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy for signing into law HB6695 -- legislation protecting LGBTQ youth in the state from the dangerous and discredited practice of so-called “conversion therapy.” Said HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin): “No child should be subjected to this abusive practice. Medical professionals agree this extremely harmful and discredited practice not only doesn’t work, but can also have life-threatening consequences. We thank Governor Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly for passing these crucially important protections for the state’s LGBTQ youth.” More at HRC.

GRIMM LAWYERS FILE BRIEF ARGUING CASE IS RELEVANT FOLLOWING GAVIN’S GRADUATION: The lawyers representing Virginia transgender teen Gavin Grimm have filed a brief in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals asserting that the case remains relevant even after Grimm graduates from high school. In March, the Supreme Court of the United States sent the Grimm case back to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals following the Trump Administration's decision to rescind guidance that protected transgender children in schools. Because the Fourth Circuit's original ruling was heavily based on the Obama Administration's guidance, the Supreme Court has asked the lower court to revisit the case and rule on the underlying statutory question regarding the scope of Title IX. Title IX prohibits discrimination against transgender students including with respect to restroom access, regardless of the guidance. More from The Associated Press.

“DON’T SEND US BACK TO THE CLOSET”: In a New York Times oped today, Praveen Fernandes writes powerfully about how the Trump Administration’s shameful decision to scrap plans by the Census Bureau to collect data on sexual orientation and gender identity harms LGBTQ people, essentially erasing them from the American family portrait. “The government can’t serve LGBT people if it won’t count us,” Fernandes writes.  Read the piece at The New York Times.

THANKFUL THURSDAY -- HRC CELEBRATES CHICAGO COMPANIES DOING RIGHT FOR THEIR LGBTQ EMPLOYEES: HRC’s Chicago steering committee last week celebrated companies that earned a perfect score of 100 on HRC Foundation's 2017 Corporate Equality Index (CEI). At a reception hosted by Baker McKenzie, Chicago-area companies earning the 2017 Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality designation were honored. The CEI is the premier national benchmarking tool on LGBTQ-inclusive corporate policies and practices. Speakers reflected on the remarkable progress and unprecedented number of employers earning 100 points in the 2017 CEI, and gave a preview of the CEI’s new criteria for the 2019 survey. More from HRC.

HAS THE PRESIDENT BEEN BRIEFED ON CHECHNYA? We don’t know -- and apparently neither does Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. At yesterday’s White House press briefing, Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson (@ChrisJohnson82) asked Huckabee Sanders that exact question, to which she replied: “I’ll have to get back to you.” In case Trump is unaware -- despite thousands of letters sent to the White House by HRC members on this very topic -- numerous media outlets and human rights organizations around the globe are reporting that Chechen authorities have been rounding up dozens of men on the suspicion of being gay. They have been humiliated, tortured, placed in detention and killed. Yes, do get back to us, Huckabee Sanders. More from HRC.

  • Anti-LGBTQ violence cannot go unanswered, equality advocates write in today’s San Francisco Examiner, where they compare the targeting of LGBTQ people in Chechnya to Hitler’s purges in 1930s Germany. More from The San Francisco Examiner.

TEXAS BILL COULD PROHIBIT TRANSGENDER STUDENT ATHLETES FROM COMPETING: Yesterday, the Texas Senate passed a bill that would directly impact transgender student athletes in Texas. TX SB2095 seeks to regulate “steroid” use by student athletes that compete in sport competitions sponsored or sanctioned by the Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL). However, in practice, this bill is an attempt to prohibit trans student athletes, who may rely on hormone therapy, from being members of public primary and secondary schools sports teams that are consistent with the student’s gender identity. More from The Dallas Morning News and CNN.

NEW VIDEO SERIES HIGHLIGHTS LGBTQ SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS: The series “Outspoken” focuses on LGBTQ Seventh-day Adventists and their families. One of the featured families, the Widmers, discuss their child coming out as transgender, and what it means for her father -- a pastor with a 32-year career. More from NBC.

TEL AVIV PRIDE 2017 THOUGHT TO BE FIRST WITH BISEXUAL THEME: The Pride’s theme is “Bisexuality Visibility.” More from San Diego LGBT Weekly.

WHY DID THE RAINBOW CROSS THE ROAD? TO PROMOTE LGBTQ EQUALITY! Lethbridge, a city in Alberta, Canada, has approved two permanent sidewalk decorations to celebrate LGBTQ Pride in June -- one will be painted as a transgender Pride flag, and the other as an LGBTQ Pride flag. More from LGBTQ Nation.


USA Today interviews Chris Mosier (@TheChrisMosier), a Team USA duathlete and VP for Program Development at You Can Play, about his experience as a transgender athlete competing in North Carolina; Newsarama shares plans for a LGBTQ-themed pride series from Image Comics; NPR talks to intersex musician Dalea Rundblad (@DeleaMusic)


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