#AM_Equality Tipsheet: October 16, 2017

by Allison Turner

Trump ‘jokes’ Pence wants to hang LGBTQ people; Sessions attacks LGBTQ community, then seeks credit for hate crimes; US House bill to protect trans service members

DEFINITION OF HYPOCRISY -- AFTER LAUNCHING UNPRECEDENTED ATTACKS ON LGBTQ PEOPLE, AG SESSIONS SEEKS CREDIT FOR ATTENTION TO IOWA HATE CRIME: “One week after Jeff Sessions changed Department of Justice policy by refusing to protect transgender people under Title VII and launched a sweeping license to discriminate against LGBTQ people, he’s seeking credit for prosecuting a hate crime? We believe Americans deserve an Attorney General willing to address systemic discrimination and enforce policies and laws that prevent hate violence in the first place,” said Sarah Warbelow, HRC Legal Director. HRC issued the statement in response to reports that Sessions is taking credit for directing a Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyer to help prosecute a hate crime case in Iowa. One week ago, at Session’s direction, the DOJ rescinded a memo issued by the Obama Administration and replaced it with a discriminatory memo arguing that anti-discrimination protections under Title VII do not apply to transgender people. The very next day, Sessions launched a sweeping “license to discriminate” that puts millions of LGBTQ Americans at risk of discrimination. Read the full statement at HRC.

  • The editorial board of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch slammed Sessions' actions against the LGBTQ and Black communities, writing “By limiting LGBT protections, Sessions fulfills one of Trump’s campaign pledges to religious conservatives. By inventing the black identity extremist — the FBI uses the acronym BIE as if it were a real thing -- the Justice Department creates a faux analog to the white supremacist movement.” Read the full piece from The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  • TOMORROW AT 7:30 PM ET -- Trump will address the anti-LGBTQ Heritage Foundation, reports Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson (@ChrisJohnson82). More from Washington Blade.

BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION INTRODUCED IN US HOUSE TO PROTECT TRANS SERVICE MEMBERS: HRC praised the introduction of the measure to protect currently-serving transgender service members from being discharged due to Trump’s transgender military ban. The legislation was introduced by Representatives Jackie Speier (D-CA), Charlie Dent (R-PA), Susan Davis (D-CA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Adam Smith (D-WA), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). “Transgender troops serve this nation with distinction and honor, and President Trump’s unpatriotic attack on their service is unconscionable,” said Stephen Peters, HRC National Press Secretary and Marine Corps veteran. “Qualified Americans who are willing to put their lives on the line for their fellow citizens should be allowed to do so — regardless of their gender identity.” The Senate version of the legislation was introduced last month by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Susan Collins (R-ME), John McCain (R-AZ), and Jack Reed (D-RI). Read more at HRC.

IN BLOCKBUSTER NEW YORKER PIECE, TRUMP “JOKES” PENCE WANTS TO HANG LGBTQ PEOPLE: In a stunning new piece, Jane Mayer (@JaneMayerNYer) profiles Vice President Pence and his long anti-LGBTQ history, writing: “Two sources also recalled Trump needling Pence about his views on abortion and homosexuality. During a meeting with a legal scholar, Trump belittled Pence’s determination to overturn Roe v. Wade. The legal scholar had said that, if the Supreme Court did so, many states would likely legalize abortion on their own. ‘You see?’ Trump asked Pence. ‘You’ve wasted all this time and energy on it, and it’s not going to end abortion anyway.’ When the conversation turned to gay rights, Trump motioned toward Pence and joked, ‘Don’t ask that guy -- he wants to hang them all!’ Read the full shocking piece from The New Yorker.

U.S. SEN. KAMALA HARRIS TO SPEAK, EMMY-WINNING ACTRESS UZO ADUBA TO BE HONORED AT 21st ANNUAL HRC NATIONAL DINNER: HRC announced that U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris will speak and two-time Emmy Award-winning actress Uzo Aduba will be honored at the 21st annual HRC National Dinner on October 28 in Washington. “Senator Kamala Harris is a champion of equality who is committed to helping us fight back against the Trump-Pence administration’s all-out war against the LGBTQ community,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Throughout her career in public life, Senator Harris has fought for the equal dignity of the LGBTQ community, and she is a national leader in the resistance against the politics of hate and fear. We look forward to welcoming Senator Harris to this year’s HRC National Dinner.” Continued Griffin: “Using her incredible talent to help change countless hearts and minds, Uzo Aduba is a powerful and compelling voice for justice, fairness, and equality. Aduba is unwavering in her commitment to helping advance equality for LGBTQ people around the globe. We are proud to honor her with the HRC Ally for Equality Award.” More from HRC.

HRC ON THE GROUND IN VIRGINIA TO ADVOCATE FOR PRO-EQUALITY CANDIDATES: This weekend, HRC members and supporters canvassed on behalf of a slate of HRC-endorsed, pro-equality candidates working to move the Old Dominion State forward. With an estimated 185,366 eligible LGBTQ voters and hundreds of thousands more allied voters in Virginia, HRC’s get-out-the-vote effort for the pro-equality candidates could make all the difference in the next election. In Virginia, HRC has endorsed Ralph Northam for governor, Attorney General Mark Herring for re-election and Danica Roem for state delegate.

FROM DAHLIA LITHWICK IN SLATE -- LAWYERS V. WHITE SUPREMACISTS: Attorneys Robbie Kaplan, who represented Edie Windsor in the 2013 case that successfully challenged the Defense of Marriage Act, and Karen Dunn filed this suit on behalf of 11 plaintiffs who suffered as a result of the violence of known neo-Nazi Richard Spencer and his white supremacist followers -- particularly the Black, LGBTQ and Jewish victims of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.  “The whole point of this lawsuit is to make it clear that this kind of conduct -- inciting and then engaging in violence based on racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism -- has no place in our country,” Kaplan told Lithwick (@DahliaLithwick). “We are a nation of laws, dedicated to the principle that all people are created equal. On behalf of our very brave clients, we are using those laws to prevent these defendants and others like them from being able to repeat what happened in Charlottesville ever again.” More from Slate.

DESPICABLE -- GOP CANDIDATE FOR CHARLOTTE, N.C. MAYOR WON’T RULE OUT VETOING LGBTQ NON-DISCRIM PROTECTIONS: Kenny Smith, the Republican candidate for Charlotte’s mayor against HRC-endorsee Vi Lyles, told The Charlotte Observer that he “doesn’t know whether he would veto a council ordinance that gave legal protections to the LGBT community.” Smith voted against these protections twice while on the city council. More from The Charlotte Observer.

FOUR LGBTQ LAWMAKERS CREATE FIRST LGBTQ CAUCUS IN AZ LEGISLATURE: They made the announcement on National Coming Out Day last week. The group will work to ensure that issues affecting LGBTQ Arizonans will be seen by the governor and lawmakers. More from AZ Central.

PHILADELPHIA LOOKS TO PROTECT LGBTQ SENIORS: The city is considering a bill of rights for LGBTQ seniors that would help ensure they are not discriminated against by care providers. The bill is based on a similar law in California that was passed earlier this month. More from Instinct Magazine.

IN PEORIA, ILL., PLANNED PARENTHOOD FILLS THE HEALTH CARE GAP FOR TRANS COMMUNITY: Peoria Public Radio sat down with Dana Garber of Peoria Planned Parenthood, who describes how clinic serves the transgender community and her own efforts to help other area hospitals support the trans community. More from Peoria Public Radio.

U.N. RIGHTS EXPERT RAISES ALARM OVER LGBTQ PEOPLE TORTURED IN AZERBAIJAN: One man described being abducted, detained and threatened while walking down the street. Local police claim the arrests are part of an “anti-prostitution campaign,” but advocates in the area say the arrests are part of a larger anti-LGBTQ crackdown leaving dozens beaten and humiliated. More from RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty.


NBC Out recommends 11 books to read during LGBTQ history month; Outsports interviews out All-American swimmer Joe Hladik (@NotSoAverageIV); PinkNews reports that Prince Harry accepted a posthumous award from gay magazine Attitude on behalf of his mother; HRC lists global LGBTQ advocates you need to know; The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Atlanta Pride likely set an attendance record;
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