#AM_Equality Tipsheet: September 22, 2017

by Allison Turner

Ala. Senate candidate thinks ‘homosexual conduct should be illegal’; Air Force top leader pledges support for trans troops

ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE THINKS ‘HOMOSEXUAL CONDUCT SHOULD BE ILLEGAL’: In a 2005 C-SPAN interview uncovered by CNN’s Nathan McDermott (@NathanMcDermott) and Andrew Kaczynski (@KFILE), disgraced former Alabama Supreme Court Justice and current Senatorial candidate Roy Moore said “homosexual conduct should be illegal.” The statement, in response to the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas, is one item in a long line of attacks against the LGBTQ community. “Roy Moore has made a career in Alabama out of attacking the LGBTQ community, and it’s one of the many reasons he is unfit for office,” said HRC Alabama State Director Eva Kendrick. “His statements have been dangerous and bigoted for years, which is why, this year, people who value fairness have to reject Roy Moore at the ballot box.” More from CNN.

AIR FORCE TOP ENLISTED LEADER PLEDGES SUPPORT AND RESPECT FOR TRANS TROOPS: At the Air Force Association’s Air Space Cyber Conference on Wednesday, Chief Master Sergeant Kaleth Wright affirmed that trans troops in the US Air Force will be treated with dignity and respect, invoking the end of racial segregation in the military. “There was a time when I couldn‘t serve in our United States Air Force,” Wright said. “There was a time when my wife, who is retired, couldn’t serve in our United States Air Force, because [the military] thought it would be too disruptive. So as long as they are in uniform and considered airmen in our United States Air Force, we treat them with the same level of dignity and respect we would treat any other airmen.” More from Air Force Times.

KB HOME CEO GOES ON ANTI-LGBTQ, ANTI-WOMEN TIRADE: The tirade by Jeffrey Mezger, caught on camera, focused on Kathy Griffin. KB Home’s board of directors has responded by cutting his bonus. “Jeffrey Mezger's hateful comments are unacceptable. Hate speech -- including homophobia, misogyny, transphobia, and racism -- is never acceptable. It's especially troubling for the leader of a major corporation to stoop so low,” said HRC Communications Director Chris Sgro. “It is hard to imagine, with these words and actions coming from Mezger, that the LGBTQ and allied employees of KB Home will feel welcome in their workplace. A terse apology from Mezger cannot undo the harm he has done or the hatred he has validated to others.” More from The Washington Post.

HRC MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS MADE OVER 13,000 CALLS IN ONE DAY ALONE CONCERNING CASSIDY-GRAHAM ‘HEALTH CARE’ BILL: The proposal, concocted behind closed doors without any public input, is yet another effort by President Trump and some Senate Republicans to take away health care from millions of Americans. It has yet to have a hearing or receive a score from the Congressional Budget Office, and would allow states to charge higher premiums for people with preexisting conditions, gut the essential health benefits guaranteed by the ACA and cut billions of dollars in funding for Medicaid -- leaving states to make up huge budget shortfalls.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: On Thursday, as a part of the film series “Our Stories, Our Reality, #Our100Days,” Firelight and Field of Vision have partnered on a documentary about Gavin Grimm (@GavinGrimmVA) and the months leading up to what would have been his Supreme Court case. In the documentary, Gavin makes it clear that although the case didn’t go the way he hoped, his fight is far from over. Read more from Teen Vogue.

OFFICER WHO KILLED TRANS PERSON WAS NOT TRAINED IN CRISIS INTERVENTION: HRC mourns the loss of LGBTQ activist Scout Schultz, who was shot and killed by Georgia Tech campus police over the weekend. The family attorney, Chris Stewart, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he believed Schultz was having a mental breakdown and that Georgia Tech police overreacted by using deadly force. “Scout was holding a closed multipurpose tool,” Stewart said in the statement. “[Schultz's] cry for help was met with a bullet.”  The officer who shot and killed Schultz had not taken crisis intervention training. While the investigation continues to unfold, Scout’s death underscores the serious need for law enforcement to be trained on de-escalation techniques and interacting with individuals experiencing mental health issues. More from Newsweek.

ANTI-TRANS BATHROOM BALLOT INITIATIVE IN MONTANA SUFFERS SETBACK: The Montana Supreme Court has ordered the state attorney general to rewrite unclear language in a discriminatory anti-trans ballot initiative that would prevent transgender people from using public restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. More from The Associated Press.

REMEMBERING TYLER CLEMENTI ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF HIS DEATH: Tyler Clementi was an LGBTQ freshman at Rutgers University. After being harassed for his sexuality, Clementi tragically ended his life on September 22, 2010. After his death, Clementi’s parents founded the Tyler Clementi Foundation to combat bullying and harassment and promote safe and inclusive environments for LGBTQ youth. In April, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) reintroduced the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act, which would require colleges and universities to have comprehensive anti-harassment policies that include LGBTQ young people. Read more on the act from HRC.

WE’VE GOT YOUR WEEKEND PLANS RIGHT HERE: This weekend, not one -- but TWO -- fantastic pieces of LGBTQ media premiere. The groundbreaking show Transparent returns to Amazon Prime, and Battle of the Sexes -- a biopic of openly lesbian tennis icon Billie Jean King -- will premiere in theatres. More from HRC.

  • Jill Soloway (@JillSoloway), creator of Transparent, spoke to The Daily Beast’s Kevin Fallon (@KPFallon) about the premiere and efforts by Donald Trump and Mike Pence to ban qualified transgender people from serving in the military. More from The Daily Beast.

SATURDAY IS BI VISIBILITY DAY: Bisexual Awareness Week, also known as #BiWeek, culminates on September 23, with Bi Visibility Day. Follow HRC’s blog to learn more about how we honored Bisexual Awareness Week and check out hrc.org/bisexual for more information about the community and the issues they face. More from HRC.

ICYMI -- CATHOLIC SUPPORT FOR FATHER MARTIN GROWS AFTER LECTURE CANCELLATIONS: The recent decision by Catholic University’s seminary and two other Catholic institutions to cancel speeches by the Rev. James Martin, a prominent Jesuit priest and author of a book encouraging the Catholic Church to open dialogue with the LGBTQ faithful, has again highlighted the deep gulf between the church’s priests and its conservative leaders. More from HRC.

RUSSIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST TO FACE TRIAL FOR “PROMOTING HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA”: HRC is alarmed that Evdokia Romanova, a human rights activist in Russia, has been charged with and is awaiting trial for “promoting homosexual propaganda.” Russia is one of three countries in the world that criminalizes LGBTQ-affirming speech. Romanova works at the Samara Regional Public LGBT Movement and is a member of the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights. On July 26, she was called to the local police station to serve as a witness and testify for a different case, but was immediately put under investigation and charged with promoting “homosexual propaganda,” according to Collective Evolution. More from HRC.


GLAAD profiles 10 bi+ Youtubers to watch during #BiWeek; The Daily Beast interviews Emmy Award-winning actor and writer Lena Waithe (@LenaWaithe);

Have news? Send us your news and tips at AMEquality@hrc.org. Click here to subscribe to #AM_Equality and follow @HRC for all the latest news. Thanks for reading!

A.M. Equality