#AM_Equality Tipsheet: May 15, 2017

by Allison Turner

Without global LGBTQ advocacy -- we all suffer; HRC Youth Ambassador fights bullying in schools and in the state legislature

WITHOUT GLOBAL LGBTQ ADVOCACY, WE ALL SUFFER: In a powerful call to action, HRC Global Director Ty Cobb writes today in The Advocate about the imperative that the U.S. stand up for LGBTQ human rights around the world. Cobb, in advance of Wednesday’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT),  calls on lawmakers to do more for LGBTQ people in countries where they are punished for who they are -- including in Syria, the South Sudan, and Chechnya. In Russia, the Putin regime has targeted the LGBTQ community with discriminatory so-called “anti-propaganda” laws and, in the Russian republic of Chechnya, the government is rounding up, jailing, torturing and murdering gay and bisexual men. Cobb writes, “If we turn a blind eye when human rights are violated, we all the suffer consequences of living in a world of violence and instability.” More from The Advocate.

MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY -- HRC YOUTH AMBASSADOR FIGHTING TO END BULLYING IN SCHOOLS AND IN THE LEGISLATURE: The Knoxville (Tenn.) Mercury profiles Roddy Biggs, an HRC Youth Ambassador passionate about ending LGBTQ bullying and suicide. Despite a difficult coming out experience, Roddy went on to lead his high school and college Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), and worked with local organizations to facilitate trainings on diversity and inclusion. Now, he’s working with the Tennessee Equality Project to fight HB 1111 -- a recently-passed law that undermines certain protections under state law for women and LGBTQ people in a shameful effort to challenge the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision on marriage equality. More from The Knoxville Mercury.

NEW GALLUP POLLING -- SUPPORT FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY HITS NEW HIGH: New polling shows that 64 percent of Americans support marriage equality -- up three percent from last year. Polling also shows that, for the first time, a majority of Protestants support marriage equality. Full results from Gallup.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY PLAINTIFF PASSES: Jon Penton-Robicheaux and his husband Derek bravely fought to bring marriage equality to the nation, leading a Louisiana lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on marriage equality after they married in Iowa and were unable to have their marriage recognized in their home state.

“WE WERE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL” -- THE INSPIRING STORY OF A GAY COUPLE FORCED TO FLEE IRAQ: At HRC’s recent Time to THRIVE conference, Washington Blade’s Michael Lavers (@MKLavers81) sat down with Nayyef Hrebid and Btoo Al Lami, whose Daytime Emmy Award-winning documentary film Out of Iraq chronicling their against-all-odds love story aired on Logo TV in June 2016. After falling in love, Al Lami, an Iraqi soldier, and Hrebid, a translator, were forced to flee the country separately after being targeted for who they are. More from Washington Blade.


  • On Wednesday, global LGBTQ advocates will celebrate the 13th annual International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT).
  • Also on Wednesday, Chelsea Manning will be released from military prison. In January, President Obama commuted much of her 35-year sentence. More from NPR.
  • On Thursday, teachers, parents and allies across the country will come together in support of transgender and gender-expansive children for HRC’s Welcoming Schools’ second National I Am Jazz School and Community Readings. More from HRC.

ACTRESS ALIA SHAWKAT COMES OUT AS BISEXUAL: Alia told Out Magazine, “I was a tomboy growing up, and I remember my mom asking me when I was 10, “Are you attracted to boys or girls?” I said I don’t know. Now I consider myself bisexual, and I think balancing my male and female energies has been a big part of me growing as an actor.” More from Out Magazine.

JIM PARSONS MARRIES LONGTIME PARTNER TODD SPIEWAK: Congratulations to the happy couple! More from People.

LAST NIGHT -- JANET MOCK AND CARSON KRESSLEY JUDGED MISS USA PAGEANT: Mock is the first openly transgender woman to judge the pageant since it began in 1952. More from Entertainment Weekly.

LGBTQ COMMUNITY USES ART TO EXPLORE INTERSECTING IDENTITIES: Art has always been an important way for the LGBTQ community to explore identities, demand representation and connect personal experiences to larger political and cultural narratives. This weekend, NBC spoke to a two-spirit performer using drag to connect his queerness to his Native identity; NPR shared the powerful photos of Mikael Owunna looking at the lives of LGBTQ Africans; and NBC historicies LGBTQ artists and art in the Baltics.

ICYMI -- HRC CELEBRATES LGBTQ AND ALLIED MOMS ON MOTHER’S DAY: From an Alabama foster mom celebrating her first Mother’s Day with her wife, to the moms who paved the way for nationwide marriage equality -- we have a lot to be thankful for. More from HRC.


Out & About Nashville reports on an upcoming panel discussing LGBTQ representation in music; The Washington Post talks to LGBTQ advocate Paul Kuntzler, who has been fighting for LGBTQ equality for 55 years;

Have news? Send us your news and tips at AMEquality@hrc.org. Click here to subscribe to #AM_Equality and follow @HRC for all the latest news. Thanks for reading!

A.M. Equality