#AM_Equality Tipsheet: September 25, 2017

by Allison Turner

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos rescinds critical sexual assault guidance; HRC calls on Trump to withdraw anti-LGBTQ nominee Jeff Mateer.

SECRETARY OF EDUCATION DEVOS RESCINDS CRITICAL SEXUAL ASSAULT GUIDANCE: HRC responded to Trump-Pence administration’s announcement that they will be rescinding Title IX guidance related to schools' obligations to address sexual harassment, including sexual violence. “With today’s announcement, Betsy DeVos and the Trump administration have clearly drawn a line in the sand, stating that they prefer it be more difficult for survivors of sexual assault to receive justice,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “LGBTQ Americans face disproportionate levels of sexual assault and violence. This unconscionable decision -- coupled with the decision to rescind guidance aimed at protecting transgender students -- sadly indicates that the Department of Education is no longer in the business of protecting students from harm.” LGBTQ people are disproportionately affected by sexual assault and harassment, and the stigma that many LGBTQ people face can make it more difficult for survivors to report. More from HRC, San Diego LGBT Weekly and Metro Weekly.

  • Sexual assault survivor Jordan Dashow relied on the Title IX guidance to seek justice and protection. Its repeal is cruel and dangerous. Hear his story here.

HRC CALLS ON TRUMP TO WITHDRAW ANTI-LGBTQ NOMINEE JEFF MATEER: HRC called 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. HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) said, “The Trump-Pence administration either failed to vet Jeff Mateer or they knew his hateful, extremist views and nominated him anyway. In either case, they must withdraw the nomination of someone who viciously attacks transgender children, openly embraced Mike Pence’s license-to-discriminate law in Indiana, and has repeatedly opposed anti-discrimination protections throughout his career. If the White House won’t withdraw this nomination, it is incumbent on the Senate Judiciary Committee to block this attack on LGBTQ people and the civil rights of all Americans.” 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 HRC.

#TakeAKnee -- HRC SUPPORTS ATHLETES STANDING AGAINST RACIAL INJUSTICE AND FOR FREE SPEECH: In a dangerous move over the weekend, President Trump used the power of his office to advocate for the suppression of voices of those fighting systemic injustice and equality by tweeting out that the National Football League (NFL) should fire or suspend those who choose to take a knee during the national anthem in protest. Make no mistake, these athletes are patriots. Trump’s actions are attempts to suppress, intimidate and silence free speech.

#DoNoHarm -- GRAHAM-CASSIDY REVISE ‘HEALTH CARE’ BILL TO APPEAL TO HOLDOUTS, WILL STILL HARM COUNTLESS: The initial 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. More from Politico.

  • A coalition of 115 groups including HRC sent a letter to the Senate Finance Committee opposing this bill. Read the full letter here.
  • In a statement to the Senate Finance Committee, HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy said of the bill: “By drastically restructuring the Medicaid program, and repealing the ACA’s expansion of that program, Graham-Cassidy would have a swift, stark, and devastating impact on vulnerable Americans, including LGBTQ individuals or persons living with HIV.” Read Stacy’s full statement here.

MUST WATCH MONDAY: Logan and Laila Ireland are a transgender military couple struggling with Donald Trump’s unconscionable ban on transgender service members. They, along with Logan’s mom, joined Ellen DeGeneres on The Ellen Show to share their story and hopes for the future. Ellen surprised the couple with a check for $25,000 to help the couple as they grapple with Logan potentially losing his job and to help them adopt the child they’ve always wanted. Watch here.

WILL & GRACE RETURNS THIS THURSDAY: It’s finally time to celebrate the long anticipated return of NBC’s Will & Grace this Thursday. We’re especially excited because we all know that the show has not only been a staple of LGBTQ culture -- it’s also helped change American culture since it first aired in the fall of 1998. Will and Grace -- and Jack and Karen too! -- spent eight seasons bringing LGBTQ characters into living rooms all across America. More from HRC.

TRANSPARENT STAR JEFFREY TAMBOR WANTS TRANS REPRESENTATION TO HAPPEN FASTER: The fourth season of the groundbreaking show Transparent returned to Amazon Prime last week. The show revolves around a Los Angeles family grappling with the transition of their transgender parent. Jeffrey Tambor, who plays the transgender lead, Maura, told USA Today that transgender representation -- both in front of and behind the cameras -- needs to “happen faster.” Read the full interview from USA Today.

All-WOMEN’S COLLEGE ACCEPTING TRANSGENDER STUDENTS: Spelman College, an all-women’s historically black college and university (HBCU) in Atlanta, recently announced that it would update its admission process to include transgender women -- joining more than a dozen other women’s colleges with inclusive policies for trans women. More on this welcoming trend from Vox.

HRC CELEBRATES OPENING OF PHOENIX LGBTQ YOUTH CENTER: HRC was on the ground in Phoenix to celebrate the ribbon cutting for the new home of one•n•ten, an LGBTQ youth center, that was set on fire in an arson attack in July. One•n•ten enhances the lives of LGBTQ young people in Phoenix by providing empowering social and service programs that promote self‐expression, self‐acceptance, leadership development and healthy life choices. More from HRC.

SCREENING OF RAISING ZOEY IN DC: Raising Zoey is a powerful documentary of 13-year old transgender girl Zoey Luna fighting for the right to use her correct name, pronouns, and gender-segregated facilities in her school. The documentary will be screened at the Human Rights Campaign on Sept. 29. More from the Washington Blade.

AUSTRALIAN PIZZA SHOP USES A SLICE OF HUMANITY TO DISRUPT ANTI-MARRIAGE EQUALITY SIGN: The restaurant spray painted their building, which is next to the sign, to make the anti-equality billboard read “It’s OK to say no to pineapple on pizza.” Our vote for both pineapple pizza AND Australian marriage equality is a resounding ‘YES!’ More from Mashable.

NEWFOUNDLAND MOVES TO LEGALIZE ‘X’ GENDER OPTION ON IDENTIFICATION DOCUMENTS: Last month, Canada allowed for all Canadians to opt for an ‘X’ on their passports. More from The Globe and Mail.


NBC lists 11 LGBTQ podcasts to listen to; inUth looks at eight Bollywood films with LGBTQ themes;

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A.M. Equality