#AM_Equality Tipsheet: October 6, 2017

by HRC Staff

Jeff Sessions instructs gov’t lawyers not to protect trans workers; Trump admin. set to release rule to undermine contraception coverage

SHOCKING ORDER FROM NATION’S TOP LAWYER -- DON’T PROTECT TRANSGENDER WORKERS FROM DISCRIMINATION: At the direction of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a memo to government lawyers rescinding Obama Administration guidance that discrimination protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1965 apply to transgender people.  The Trump-Pence DOJ instructed U.S. attorneys to adopt this dangerous position in all pending and future matters. “Yet again, the Trump-Pence administration continues to unleash shameful attacks against the transgender community in an effort to promote their disgusting agenda of hate,” said Sarah Warbelow, HRC Legal Director. “The DOJ’s jaw-dropping policy conflicts with years of interpretation from both the U.S. Supreme Court and federal circuit courts. Sessions is openly directing the department to ignore their responsibilities in protecting the civil rights of all Americans. Transgender workers deserve to know their government will have their back when they’re faced with discrimination."  More from HRC and BuzzFeed.

TRUMP-PENCE ADMINISTRATION SET TO RELEASE RULE TO UNDERMINE CONTRACEPTION COVERAGE: Reports indicate the Trump-Pence administration is getting ready to implement a new regulation that could deny millions of Americans access to critical contraceptive care previously guaranteed under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The regulation could allow employers -- including for-profit companies -- to refuse to provide insurance coverage of birth control on the basis of purported religious beliefs or moral convictions. Many in the LGBTQ community, particularly lesbians, bisexual women, and transgender men, have a real need for access to contraception for various healthcare needs including the prevention of pregnancy and family planning, as well as for the treatment of medical conditions like endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and migraines. Without coverage as part of their health insurance plan, millions will be shutout from these critical services. More from The New York Times.

HRC ENDORSES MINNESOTA’S ANGIE CRAIG FOR U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: “Angie Craig will fight for everyday Minnesotans and work for an America that values fairness, justice and equality,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Angie Craig is a proven champion of equality, and we proudly endorse her candidacy to represent Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District.” Said Craig: “Now, more than ever, we must work together to create the inclusive America that we all deserve. We must work to eliminate discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community in the military, in housing, in the workplace, and in adoption, among other areas. I'm honored to have the support of the Human Rights Campaign, and I look forward to continuing to work side-by-side to champion the Equality Act as a Member of Congress and accomplish our shared goals and vision for equality.” More from HRC.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY -- FOR FIRST TIME, RAINBOW FLAG WILL FLY ON FEDERAL LAND: A rainbow flag will soon fly at the Stonewall National Monument in Manhattan, the first such flag to be permanently placed on federal land and maintained by the National Park Service. Said Michael Petrelis, a LGBTQ and HIV activist who initiated the effort: “It is a victory for our community to have these symbolic colors flying majestically over our Stonewall, designated as a National Monument by President Obama, even as our LGBTQ brothers and sisters are under attack by the current regime in power.” More from Newsweek.

SENATE COMMITTEE PASSES BIPARTISAN RESOLUTION CONDEMNING VIOLENCE AGAINST LGBTQ PEOPLE IN CHECHNYA: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted unanimously yesterday to advance the measure. It now heads to the full Senate for consideration. “The Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s unanimous condemnation of the ongoing violence and persecution against LGBTQ Chechens is crucially important,” said Ty Cobb, director of HRC Global. “President Trump’s severe lack of leadership on this life-and-death situation in Russia is deeply disturbing, and it’s far past time he speaks out. Given the violence and arrests LGBTQ people are facing in places like Chechnya, Azerbaijan, Tanzania, and Egypt, the U.S. must not back away from leading on LGBTQ human rights.” More from HRC.

NEW HRC VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS TRUMP COURT NOMINEE’S ANTI-LGBTQ STATEMENTS: HRC is calling on the Trump-Pence administration to withdraw the nomination of Jeff Mateer, an anti-LGBTQ extremist recently put forward for a district judge appointment in Texas. In a 2015 speech titled “The Church and Homosexuality,” Mateer objected to a transgender student using the bathroom consistent with her gender identity, saying “I mean it just really shows you how Satan's plan is working and the destruction that's going on.” More from Metro Weekly.

#STOPMARKGREEN -- NOW, THE ANTI-LGBTQ EXTREMIST IS RUNNING FOR CONGRESS: Mark Green of Tennessee, who in May withdrew from consideration for Secretary of the Army amid growing opposition based on his past slurs of Muslims and LGBTQ people -- as well as his skepticism about evolution, announced he’s running for the U.S. House of Representatives. Green’s shameful record includes using slurs against the transgender community, describing former President Obama’s guidance protecting transgender students an example of “tyrannical government,” saying being transgender is a “disease,” and encouraging the state of Tennessee to defy federal law and deny marriage licenses to gay couples. HRC led a robust campaign to #StopMarkGreen and expose his egregious history of attacking LGBTQ people, and is prepared to continue to do so. More from The Tennessean.

6TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS HEARS CASE OF WOMAN FIRED FOR BEING TRANSGENDER: Oralandar Brand-Williams (@oralandar_DN)  of The Detroit News reports that a three-judge panel heard arguments in the case of Aimee Stephens, who was fired in 2014 after informing her employer of seven years that she would be transitioning. “This is a case about my client being fired for who she is,” said John Knight, an attorney for the ACLU’s national LGBT Project who argued Wednesday before the appeals court, Brand-Williams reported. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had found that her termination was a result of unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII based on her gender identity, but a federal court in Michigan later ruled that her employer was exempt from compliance under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). More from Metro Weekly and The Detroit News.

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN SIGNS BILL PROTECTING LGBTQ SENIORS: The LGBT Seniors Bill of Rights bans long-term care facilities from discriminating against a resident based on gender identity, sexual orientation or HIV status. More from Capital Public Radio.

MIAMI POLICE BEGIN INITIATIVE FOR VICTIMS OF HATE CRIMES: The Safe Place Initiative provides locations for those who feel they are the victim of a bias-motivated crime to safely seek assistance. More from Miami CBS

WEST VIRGINIA RESIDENTS RALLY FOR LGBTQ EQUALITY: After the Parkersburg, W.V., City Council failed to pass an ordiance to protect LGBTQ residents from discrimination in housing and employment, equality advocates held a rally demonstrating their commitment to continuing the fight. More from West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR -- S.F. GAY MEN’S CHORUS TO TOUR THE SOUTH: On Sunday, Mississippians will have the opportunity to hear the renowned chorus perform for the first time at Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson. As part of its Lavender Pen Tour, the chorus will be joined by the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir and the New Orleans Gay Men’s Chorus choir during its tour of the southern states. More from HRC.

U.S. MISSION REACTS TO ANTI-LGBTQ HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN AZERBAIJAN: Yesterday, the U.S. Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe delivered an important statement in Vienna urging Azerbaijan to “uphold and respect its international human rights obligations and commitments,” in regards to its treatment of LGBTQ people. They also said they are monitoring the situation and will continue “to engage the Azerbaijani government on issues of human rights and democracy.” Read the full statement here.

TRANS GUATEMALAN WOMAN GRANTED ASYLUM IN U.S.: The woman fled the country due to harassment and death threats from local drug cartels and Guatemalan police. When she came to the U.S., she was held in a male detention center. More from The Washington Blade.

MAKING HISTORY -- ENGLISH CHURCH APPOINTS NON-BINARY PASTOR: Reverend Peta Evans, pastor at The Village Metropolitan Community Church, said of their appointment, “I  am excited to serve again in the community which first welcomed me and supported me in both my ministry journey and my gender transition.” More from Refinery29.


Rewire recounts the unique challenges facing transgender people when voting; Advocate looks at LGBTQ advancement in the corporate arena; E! News examines how Will & Grace influenced LGBTQ representation in TV; HRC highlights LGBTQ athletes fighting for equality;

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