#AM_Equality Tipsheet: May 18, 2017

by Allison Turner

HRC Pres calls for full, unimpeded investigation into Trump’s Russia ties; National Day of Reading of ‘I Am Jazz’ to support trans youth

HRC PRESIDENT CHAD GRIFFIN CALLS FOR FULL, UNIMPEDED INVESTIGATION INTO TRUMP CAMPAIGN TIES TO RUSSIA: Former FBI Director Robert Mueller “must be allowed to conduct this probe without interference by President Trump and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions,” Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) said after news broke of the appointment of Mueller as special counsel to investigate Trump et al. “Americans deserve the truth.” They also deserve to know why Vice President Mike Pence, who headed the Trump Administration’s transition team, allowed Michael Flynn to be appointed national security advisor -- even after Flynn disclosed to the transition team that he was already under federal investigation for working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign. Pence’s complicity in advancing the dangerously compromised Flynn cannot be ignored. Read more at The New York Times.

TODAY -- HRC & NEA SUPPORT TRANS YOUTH WITH NATIONAL DAY OF READING OF CHILDREN’S BOOK I AM JAZZ: Today, 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 HRC Youth Ambassador 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 guidance protecting transgender students -- the day of readings is intended to foster safe and welcoming schools and communities for young people. “Transgender youth deserve to know that their schools and communities stand with them,” said Mary Beth Maxwell, HRC Senior Vice President for Programs, Research and Training. “I Am Jazz is a joyful book that kids love and it’s a great tool for educators, parents and anyone who wants to lead with love in these challenging times.” The local readings will be taking place from coast to coast. More from HRC.

LET THEM IN -- U.S. REPORTEDLY DENIES VISA REQUESTS FROM GAY AND BISEXUAL RUSSIANS FLEEING VIOLENCE IN CHECHNYA: BuzzFeed’s J. Lester Feder (@jlfeder) reports that a number of gay and bisexual Chechens fleeing state-sanctioned violence are struggling to obtain visas allowing them into the U.S. In the Russian republic, gay and bisexual men are being rounded up, locked in secret prisons, tortured and even murdered by their own government. HRC has called on the U.S. government to condemn these heinous crimes and grant victims asylum in the U.S. More from BuzzFeed.

  • #EyesOnChechnya: Yesterday, on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), members of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus spoke out against the ongoing atrocities in Chechnya and called on President Vladimir Putin to stop the horrific violence. More from HRC.

  • Meanwhile, in the Ukraine, assailants attacked LGBTQ people attending an equality rally, torching a rainbow flag. More from Radio Free Europe.
  • And in Indonesia, two gay men have been sentenced to a public lashing, reports CNN.

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Saturday is the 21st anniversary of Romer v. Evans, the landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that laid the legal groundwork for some of the LGBTQ community's biggest victories -- including US v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges. In Romer, the Supreme Court determined that a Colorado anti-LGB voter referendum violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. In addition to strengthening the legal foundation for LGBTQ civil rights in the Constitution under the 14th amendment, Romer also sent a powerful message to lawmakers and courts that anti-LGBTQ attacks, or, as the court described it, a "bare... desire to harm a politically unpopular group," can never be a legitimate state interest. More on the case from HRC.

NEVADA GOVERNOR SIGNS BILL PROTECTING LGBTQ YOUTH FROM DANGEROUS “CONVERSION THERAPY”: Yesterday, HRC praised Nevada Republican Governor Brian Sandoval for signing SB 201 -- legislation protecting LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and discredited practice of so-called “conversion therapy.” HRC also commended State Senator David Parks for sponsoring the bill and shepherding it through to the governor’s office. “No child should be put through the dangerous and inhumane practice of conversion therapy,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Medical professionals agree this outdated and discredited practice not only doesn’t work, but can also have life-threatening consequences. It is nothing short of child abuse.” More from HRC, The Advocate and The Associated Press.

LEGISLATION TO PROTECT LGBTQ PEOPLE FROM CREDIT DISCRIMINATION REINTRODUCED IN CONGRESS: Yesterday, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) reintroduced the Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act, which would amend the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) to prohibit discrimination in the provision of credit based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Since there is no federal law that consistently protects LGBTQ people from credit discrimination, LGBTQ people can still be denied a mortgage, credit card, student loan, or other type of lending simply because of who they are. More from HRC.

TRUMP IS PROPOSING A BACKDOOR MUSLIM BAN… AGAIN: The State Department is on the verge of implementing new extreme vetting guidelines against Muslim travelers as President Trump continues his assault on the Muslim community. Now that Trump’s two illegal Muslim bans have been rejected by the courts, he is desperately trying a new way to implement his agenda by issuing new “extreme vetting” visa requirements, which were published in the Federal Register earlier this month. HRC condemns these actions. More from HRC.

CALL IT OUT -- HERE ARE THE EXTREMISTS SUPPORTING ANTI-LGBTQ LEGISLATION IN TEXAS: Anti-LGBTQ extremist Steve Hotze called on LGBTQ people and allies to be “consumed, collapse, rot and be blown away as dust,” in a blog post supporting a bill that would make it illegal for transgender people in Texas to access facilities consistent with their gender identity. More from The Dallas Morning News.

NEW REPORT HIGHLIGHTS BEHAVIORAL HEALTH DISPARITIES OF GENDER EXPANSIVE YOUTH: A new report published by Advocates for Youth and the All Students Count Coalition shows that gender nonconformity is associated with a wide variety of health disparities and risk behaviors. Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, the report also found that gender expression is associated with risk behaviors independent of sexual orientation. Read the report here. More from HRC.

SO SWEET!!! ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS HOST BAKE SALE FOR HRC: Earlier this month, HRC received a touching donation from the students at Helen C. Peirce School of International Studies in Andersonville, a neighborhood in Chicago. The money was raised during their “Bake Sale for Justice.” More from HRC.

NEW POLLING SHOWS GROWING ACCEPTANCE OF LGBTQ NIGERIANS: But even though acceptance of the LGBTQ community has increased over the past two years, Nigeria remains one of at least ten countries where same-sex sexual activity may be punishable by death. More from Reuters.


Openly gay racecar driver Danny Watts (@WattsRacing) writes about anti-LGBTQ harassment in sports for The Guardian; The New York Times publishes a guide on coming out as LGBTQ;

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A.M. Equality