#AM_Equality Tipsheet: May 24, 2017

by Allison Turner

Taiwan High Court approves marriage equality -- a first in Asia; Trump downplays U.S. role in promoting global human rights

TAIWAN HIGH COURT APPROVES MARRIAGE EQUALITY -- A FIRST IN ASIA: Taiwan’s Constitutional Court ruled that same-sex couples have a “freedom of marriage” that must be protected. The decision comes in a marriage equality case brought by a veteran LGBTQ activist with support from authorities in the capital city, Taipei, and after decades of work by activists across Asia. Two HRC Global Innovators -- Jennifer Lu, from the inaugural HRC’s Global Innovative Advocacy Summit class in 2016, and Sean Sih-Cheng Du, from this year’s class -- have been working with the Marriage Equality Coalition in Taiwan. The National Yuan, or legislature, must now enact legislation or reconcile an existing bill to facilitate the decision in the next two years. Lu, Du and the Marriage Equality Coalition plan to launch a campaign to press the National Yuan for swift action to carry out the letter and spirit of the ruling. Read the decision here. More from BBC.

TRUMP CLAIMS HE WON’T ‘LECTURE’ ON HUMAN RIGHTS -- WHILE IN A COUNTRY THAT MURDERS LGBTQ PEOPLE: During a speech in Saudi Arabia -- one of at least 10 countries where same-sex sexual activity is punishable by death -- President Trump downplayed human rights, claiming he will not “lecture.” His comments mirror previous statements by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has implied that his State Department will de-emphasize human rights, saying the U.S. should not use them as “leverage”. These sentiments diminish the importance of the U.S. role as a beacon of hope to people worldwide seeking human rights and dignity. More from The Washington Post.

TEXAS SENATE TRYING TO MAKE LEGISLATION EVEN WORSE: The Dallas Morning News reports that the Texas Senate will not accept an anti-transgender student amendment passed by the Texas House on Sunday night, due to the fact that they want to add even broader discriminatory language. The House added a harmful amendment to an otherwise unrelated education bill, SB 2078, that makes classifications on the basis of “biological sex” -- designed to alienate transgender students from their peers. Dallas Morning News reporter Lauren McGaughy (@lmcgaughy) reports that that the original Senate sponsor of the anti-transgender student bill plans to kill this new legislation out of retribution. “The Texas Senate announced plans to reject the anti-transgender amendment added to SB 2078 by the House to pursue even more broader harmful, anti-transgender language," said HRC Press Secretary Nick Morrow (@NRMorrow). “As these far-right extremists in the legislature continue to put politics before people and threaten a special session simply to discriminate against LGBTQ Texans, we have to ask: how much discrimination will be enough?” Read the full piece from The Dallas Morning News.

  • Additionally, overnight the Texas Senate doubled down on the discriminatory SB6, adding anti-transgender amendments to an otherwise unrelated bill, HB 4180. The bill will have to go back to the Texas House for concurrence, where the whole bill may now be in jeopardy now that these discriminatory amendments have been piled on. More from The Dallas Morning News.
  • Wendy Davis to former colleagues -- stop attacking trans youth: In a compelling piece for TIME, former Texas State Senator Wendy Davis excoriates Texas legislators who have been attacking transgender youth. Read the full piece from TIME.

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING WEDNESDAY: The United Nation’s Free & Equal campaign for LGBTQ equality has released a new video showing a genderqueer youth bonding with his father at a local soccer game. The video, ‘Culture,’ highlights the ways tradition and culture can bridge differences and bring people together. Watch here.

HRC TO SURVEY MEXICAN BUSINESSES ON LGBT-INCLUSIVE POLICIES: Yesterday, HRC announced that its HRC Equidad MX: Global Workplace Equality Program is undertaking a groundbreaking new survey of Mexican businesses’ LGBT-inclusive policies and practices. “Businesses around the world continue to lead for LGBT equality,” said Mary Beth Maxwell, HRC’s Vice President for Programs, Research and Training. “From the companies taking the Equidad MX survey on inclusion to the HRC Global Business Coalition raising the bar, private sector partners around the world are sending a clear message that equality and inclusion are good for business.” In coming months, Mexico-based HRC Equidad MX will collect responses to the survey, which will run parallel to HRC Foundation’s annual Corporate Equality Index (CEI) survey, and release the results this fall. More from HRC.

EXPORTER OF HATE -- BEN CARSON MAY SPEAK AT WORLD CONGRESS OF FAMILIES: The hate-mongers at the misleadingly named World Congress of Families (WCF) -- designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a hate group -- has touted a special guest at its conference this week in Hungary: none other than U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson. But after the SPLC got word out that the Trump cabinet member would be featured at the conference, which has a line-up of virulently anti-LGBTQ and anti-choice speakers, Carson’s name mysteriously disappeared from the WCF’s list of speakers and special guests. So, what is it, Secretary Carson? Exporting hate or not? More from HRC.

BIPARTISAN HOUSE RESOLUTION INTRODUCED CONDEMNING ANTI-GAY & BI VIOLENCE IN CHECHNYA: U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Darrel Issa (R-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Ed Royce (R-CA) and Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced H. Res. 351, condemning the violence and persecution in Chechnya. More from HRC.

FEDERAL JUDGE RULES THAT TRANS WOMAN CAN SUE EMPLOYER UNDER ADA: Judge Joseph Leeson ruled that Kate Lynn Blatt, a transgender woman who alleged she was discriminated against while at work, can sue under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In his ruling, Leeson noted that while gender identity is not covered by the ADA, the law does not preclude coverage of gender dysphoria. More from LGBTQ Nation.

SHAME -- INDONESIAN AUTHORITIES CANED TWO MEN FOR SAME-SEX SEXUAL ACTIVITY: The two men were caned dozens of times in front of a crowd of more than one thousand people. Certain provinces in Indonesia criminalize same-sex sexual activity. More from HRC and The Associated Press.

LEBANON’S CAPITAL BECOMES SAFE HAVEN FOR LGBTQ REFUGEES: Lebanese LGBTQ advocates are making strides to decriminalize same-sex sexual activity, and the capital city of Beirut has become a haven for the LGBTQ community -- including LGBTQ refugees from the nearby Iraq and Syria. NPR’s Alison Meuse (@AliTahmizian) spoke to one of Lebanon’s leading LGBTQ advocates about the progress, and the work they continue to do. More from NPR.

  • Also in Beirut, the LGBTQ community held a LGBTQ Pride Festival -- thought to be a first for Lebanon. Nearly 20 bars flew the LGBTQ Pride flag in support. More from Voice of America.


The New York Times shares the experience of a gay student who found acceptance at the University of Mississippi; OUT Magazine previews an upcoming Netflix documentary on transgender cartoonist Laerte Coutinho; The New York Times interviews Tomoya Hosoda, who is thought to be the first openly transgender man elected in Japan;

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