#AM_Equality Tipsheet: May 12, 2017

by Allison Turner

HRC calls on members to ask senators for a special prosecutor; Condemning prosecution of any kind… but we’ll get back to you on Chechnya

HRC CALLS ON ITS 2M MEMBERS & SUPPORTERS TO URGE SENATORS TO CALL FOR SPECIAL PROSECUTOR TO INVESTIGATE TRUMP’S RUSSIAN TIES: HRC is calling on its nearly 2 million members and supporters to contact their senators to call for an independent, special prosecutor to investigate Donald Trump’s ties to Russia in light of his firing of FBI Director James Comey. The Putin regime has targeted the LGBTQ community with discriminatory so-called “anti-propaganda” laws and, in Chechnya, the government is rounding up, jailing, torturing and murdering gay and bisexual men. In a new video, HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) says: “This is a moment for all Americans to unite and demand accountability.” Watch here.

“CONDEMNING PERSECUTION OF ANY KIND” … BUT WE’LL GET BACK TO YOU ON CHECHNYA: In comments at the the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians, Vice President Mike Pence claimed that the Trump Administration would condemn persecution “of any kind” -- a necessary and important step to protect people from religious persecution. Yet the White House has remained silent on Chechnya's persecution of gay and bisexual men. At yesterday’s White House press briefing, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders could not even confirm whether Donald Trump has been briefed on the matter. Both religious persecution and anti-LGBTQ human rights abuses are serious issues that demand equal focus by the Administration.

SHOT: "Under President Donald Trump, America will continue to condemn persecution of any kind, of any faith, any place, any time.  We will stand against it with our ideals and with all our might." [White House Office of the Vice President]

CHASER: "I'll have to get back to you," Sanders tells me when I asked if POTUS briefed on anti-gay violence in Chechnya. [Chris Johnson Twitter]

  • Five advocates arrested for demanding investigation into Chechen attacks: ABC News reports that five LGBTQ advocates were arrested in Moscow as they tried to deliver a petition to Russian authorities asking them to investigate these attacks. Russia is one of only three countries with so-called “anti-propaganda” laws that inhibit LGBTQ advocacy. More from ABC News.
  • Metal singer and LGBTQ advocate speaks out: In a powerful statement, OTEP vocalist and LGBTQ advocate Otep Shamaya writes, “Indeed our elected officials should use every procedure, program and course of action in their power to force this attempted genocide to end at once and for these concentration camps to be blasted to rubble.” More from Alternative Press.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY -- HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO THE MOMS WHO SUPPORT THEIR LGBTQ CHILDREN: For Mother’s Day this year, HRC is recognizing a group of spectacular moms across the nation who are working to achieve LGBTQ equality. While not all of them identify as LGBTQ, they are all on the forefront in our fight for equal rights. Several of these parents are fierce mama bears and vocal members of HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council. Others are working hard at the state and national level to advocate for pro-equality legislation. To honor these dedicated parent advocates, HRC’s Youth Ambassadors have a special message for their own moms.

  • Mother’s Day reflections: For one person’s reflection on how motherhood has made her a fierce advocate for equality, read at HRC.

THOUSANDS OF ADVOCATES TO HOST READINGS OF I AM JAZZ TO SUPPORT TRANSGENDER YOUTH: On May 18, thousands of parents, educators and allies across the nation will stand in solidarity with transgender students by hosting school and community readings of I Am Jazz, a children’s book by transgender teen trailblazer Jazz Jennings (@JazzJennings__). Following a year of unprecedented attacks on the rights and dignity of transgender young people -- including the Trump Administration’s rescission of protective school guidance for transgender students -- the day of readings is intended to foster safe and welcoming schools and communities for young people. The nationwide action is sponsored by the HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools Program. More from HRC.

LGBTQ MUSLIMS STAND STRONG IN FACE OF TRUMP ATTACKS: The Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity (MASGD) -- thought to be the only formally-established LGBTQ Muslim group in the country -- understands what it means to be at the intersection of identities. And with an administration that attacks the rights of Muslims, LGBTQ people, women, immigrants and other marginalized groups, MASGD’s mission is more critical than ever. More from Religious Dispatches.

CALL IT OUT -- BONKERS! MISSOURI LAWMAKER SAYS LGBTQ PEOPLE AREN’T HUMAN: In a speech on the Missouri House floor, State Rep. Rick Brattin literally said, “When you look at the tenets of religion, of the Bible, of the Qur’an, of other religions, there is a distinction between homosexuality and just being a human being.” The Editorial Board of The Kansas City Star shot back, calling the statement “deplorable,” and writing, “It betrayed a stunning lack of understanding of theology and self-government: The Constitution protects all Americans from the tyranny of any single faith-based approach to secular law.” More from The Kansas City Star.

HRC NAMES DEDICATED ADVOCATES TO LEAD COMMUNICATIONS, OUTREACH AND PUBLIC EDUCATION: Today, HRC named Chris Sgro (@cristoferosgro) as Communications Director; Alejandro Avilés (@janoaviles) as the Director of Outreach and Engagement; and Ashland Johnson (@ashlandj11) as Director of Public Education and Research. Chris Sgro currently serves as Equality North Carolina’s Executive Director, where he has worked closely with HRC in fighting HB2 and it’s anti-LGBTQ replacement, HB124. Avilés previously worked as a senior advisor at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he focused on improving the lives of vulnerable and marginalized communities by holding the government accountable. As Director of Public Education and Research, Ashland Johnson shapes HRC’s approach to generating research and educational campaigns. More from HRC.

NEW HRC GLOBAL FELLOW -- BULGARIAN LAWYER FIGHTING FOR LGBTQ EQUALITY: HRC’s new Global Fellow, Denitsa Lyubenov is the only lawyer working exclusively on LGBTQ rights in Bulgaria and co-founder of the LGBTQ youth organization Deystvie. HRC sat down Lyubenov, who is openly lesbian, to discuss Bulgaria, her goals and the fight for LGBTQ rights. More from HRC.


The American Bar Association Journal announces the launch of a study of biases encountered by LGBTQ and disabled lawyers; The Orlando Sentinel reports that the city’s LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce won Chamber of the Year from National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce; OutSports shares that the Los Angeles Rams will help light up the iconic Venice Beach sign in rainbow lights for Pride;

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