#AM_Equality Tipsheet: May 2, 2017

by Allison Turner

Equality Act reintroduced in Congress; SCOTUS rejects challenge to bill protecting youth from ‘conversion therapy’

TODAY -- EQUALITY ACT TO BE REINTRODUCED IN CONGRESS WITH UNPRECEDENTED CORPORATE SUPPORT: Today, HRC joins with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle and an unprecedented number of businesses -- more than 90 -- to announce the re-introduction of the Equality Act. The federal legislation would finally guarantee explicit, permanent protections for LGBTQ people under our nation's existing civil rights laws. The bipartisan legislation would provide clear and equal protections under federal law for all Americans in vital areas of life, like employment, access to public spaces, housing, credit, education, jury service, and federally-funded programs. “No person’s fundamental rights should be determined by which side of a state line they live on,” said HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin). “The Equality Act will once and for all end the unacceptable patchwork of nondiscrimination laws across this country that leaves LGBTQ people at risk. Every American should have a fair chance to earn a living, provide for their families, and live their lives without fear of discrimination. And at its core, that’s what the Equality Act is all about.” The Equality Act is co-sponsored by 240 members of Congress. More from HRC and The Advocate.

  • The Equality Act has unprecedented support from the business community: More than 90 major corporations have now joined HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act.
  • Discrimination is a real and persistent problem for far too many LGBTQ Americans. HRC polling has found that nearly two-thirds of self-identified LGBTQ Americans report experiencing discrimination.
  • Currently, 50 percent of LGBTQ Americans live in states where they are at risk of being fired, denied housing, or refused service because of who they are. Thirty-one states still lack fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people.
  • The overwhelming majority of Americans support full federal equality for LGBTQ people. Polling released last year by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) found that support for a bill like the Equality Act topped 70 percent nationally, including a majority of Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

SCOTUS AGAIN REJECTS CHALLENGE TO BILL PROTECTING YOUTH FROM DANGEROUS ‘CONVERSION THERAPY’: Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States rejected for the third time a challenge to California’s 2012 law that protects LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and discredited practice of so-called “conversion therapy.” The Court’s action leaves in place the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s decision upholding the law’s constitutionality. In June of 2014, the Supreme Court refused to hear two other challenges to the California law. More from HRC and Reuters.

  • May is National Foster Care Month: Research has shown that LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in the foster care system -- many having faced family rejection around their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. While in care, LGBTQ youth face higher rates of harassment, disruptive placements and trauma than their non-LGBTQ peers. More from HRC.

TUESDAY TWEET --  HAPPY 50TH ANNIVERSARY TO THE ADVOCATE: In honor of its 50th anniversary, The Advocate features on its cover LGBTQ youth advocates Kat Blaque (@Kat_Blaque), Gigi Gorgeous (@TheGigiGorgeous) and Connor Franta (@ConnorFranta), highlighting the role social media is playing in today’s LGBTQ movement. More from The Advocate.

RUSSIAN POLICE ARREST CITIZENS PROTESTING MURDERS OF GAY MEN BY CHECHEN POLICE: Yesterday in St. Petersburg, police in riot gear arrested LGBTQ advocates who are raising awareness about reports that Chechen police have detained, beaten and tortured at least 100 gay men. Russia is one of three countries with a so-called “anti-propaganda” law that inhibits LGBTQ advocacy. More from The Independent.

  • Gay Chechens continue to report beatings and torture at the hands of “Russian-backed thugs”: The Kremlin continues to deny mounting evidence. Read more from The Independent, and ABC.

U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRATIC WHIP HOYER CALLS ON TRUMP TO WITHDRAW MARK GREEN NOMINATION: House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) had this to say about Trump’s nomination of the anti-LGBTQ former Tennessee State Senator Mark Green for Secretary of the Army: “What message would such an individual’s appointment send to the courageous LGBT Americans proud to serve their nation in uniform and who are doing so every day with distinction?  What kind of message would it send to the world, particularly nations like Russia where LGBT individuals are routinely repressed?  Our military cannot be strong unless its values are strong and adhere to the vision of inclusion and the equal opportunity to serve.” Read the full statement here.

  • Oh, and in addition to being an anti-LGBTQ extremist, Green doesn’t believe in evolution. CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski (@KFILE) and Chris Massie (@ChrisMassie) report that in a 2015 speech, Green, “a self-identified ‘creationist,’” rejected the theory of evolution -- and shared his own theory that has something to do with a rusted lawn mower. Read more at CNN.  

CONN. BOARD OF REGENTS AFFIRMS TITLE IX WITH POLICY ALLOWING  STUDENTS TO USE FACILITIES ALIGNED WITH THEIR GENDER IDENTITY: The decision reaffirms Title IX, which requires places of public education to ensure all students -- regardless of gender or gender identity -- have equal access to education. The board also approved a policy allowing students to update their first name on all unofficial documents and records, such as student IDs. More from The Associated Press.

#RISEUP FOR EQUALITY FOR IMMIGRANTS AND WORKERS: Yesterday, HRC state, members and volunteers were proud to join the May Day of Action: Immigrants and Workers March across the country. During the unprecedented event, hundreds of thousands of people turned out in a show of solidarity in 130 cities and 36 states. The Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), a coalition of 43 different organizations, organized the event to support and demonstrate the resilience of all immigrant communities in America. More from HRC.

LGBTQ ACTORS, ALLIES AND PERFORMANCES NOMINATED AT THE TONY’S: LGBTQ advocates Sally Field (@RealMommaGump), Andrew Rannells (@AndrewRannells), Cynthia Nixon, David Hyde Pierce, Patti Lupone, Bette Midler, Nathan Lane, Jenn Colella (@JennColella) and Gavin Creel are all nominated for awards. Falsettos, which tells the story of a father coming out as gay and the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, is nominated for Best Revival of a Musical. See the full list of nominees from Variety.

HONG KONG JUDGE RULES THAT MARRIED SAME-SEX COUPLES ENTITLED TO EQUAL CIVIL SERVANT BENEFITS: The decision came after Leung Chun-kwong filed a lawsuit to have his husband -- who he married overseas -- recognized on his benefits. More from South China Morning Post.


The Guardian interviews Kami Sid, who is thought to be Pakistan’s first openly transgender model;

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