#AM_Equality Tipsheet September 29, 2017

by Allison Turner

Didja catch Will & Grace last night?; SCOTUS to hear Janus v. AFSCME

DIDJA CATCH WILL & GRACE LAST NIGHT?: Last night, millions celebrated the long anticipated return of NBC’s Will & Grace. 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. HRC was honored to be a part of the long-awaited return of Will & Grace. Across the country, HRC members and supporters gathered at watch parties -- one of which was surprised by Megan Mullally (@MeganMullally) and Max Mutchnick (@MaxMutchnick). If you’d like your own iconic ‘Make America Gay Again’ hat, visit hrc.im/MAGA. More from The Washington Post.

SCOTUS TO HEAR JANUS V. AFSCME: The case could set back unions in 22 states by making it harder for workers to join and form unions and have a voice at work. This could potentially endanger labor unions and weaken their ability to fight discrimination in the workplace. When the Trump-Pence administration continues to advance its anti-LGBTQ, anti-worker, and anti-family agenda -- unions are needed now more than ever. America needs unions to negotiate wages and benefits that support working families and better working conditions -- like safe staff-to-patient ratios in hospitals and smaller school class sizes that help students succeed. When working people have the opportunity to speak up together through unions, that progress benefits everyone -- like affordable health care, paid leave, a higher minimum wage, greater opportunity and non-discrimination protections. More from The Los Angeles Times.

  • M.B. Maxwell, HRC Senior Vice President for Programs, Research and Training wrote about the importance of unions to LGBTQ equality in a recent piece for The Advocate.

SUCCEED ACT FALLS SHORT OF HELPING DREAMERS: On Monday three Senate Republicans introduced the SUCCEED Act (S.1852), a bill that would create a pathway to legalization for so-called “Dreamers,” which falls short in protecting this vulnerable population in a number of ways. Dreamers are undocumented young people who were brought to the U.S. as minors, many of whom have been allowed to stay and continue their studies and work in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. But the Trump-Pence administration has announced the cancellation of the DACA program over the next six months. It is estimated that approximately 75,000 Dreamers are LGBTQ. HRC has endorsed the 2017 DREAM Act (H.R.3440/S.1615), which would provide a path to citizenship and stop the deportation of Dreamers. More from HRC.

NEXT WEEK -- ANTI-LGBTQ BROWNBACK TO BEGIN CONFIRMATION HEARINGS FOR FEDERAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM POST: President Trump nominated Kansas Governor Sam Brownback to serve as the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom -- an office tasked with promoting religious freedom as a key objective of U.S. foreign policy while monitoring religious persecution and discrimination around the world. The nation’s second least popular governor has promoted discriminatory laws, including a policy change that would make it nearly impossible for transgender Kansans to change their birth certificates to reflect their gender identity. He also signed a bill into law attacking LGBTQ college students. In 2015, Brownback attacked LGBTQ state employees by stripping away non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Later that year, following the landmark ruling declaring marriage equality law of the land, Brownback issued another blatantly discriminatory executive order against LGBTQ Kansans. More from The Topeka Capital-Journal.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: When schools are safe and welcoming to LGBTQ students, all students are more likely to succeed academically. Just check out this school in Minnesota -- an HRC Welcoming Schools Seal of Excellence-award winning school.

INCLUSIVE PAID LEAVE POLICIES BUILD STRONGER FAMILIES: The U.S. is the only industrialized country without government mandated paid leave. As a result, workers are often forced to cobble together vacation time, sick days or unpaid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave as they undergo some of life’s most significant or unexpected events. Company policies can often exclude or unintentionally discriminate against LGBTQ families. For instance, some discriminate by offering paid “maternity leave,” limiting benefits to pregnant women specifically, and withholding equal coverage to men or parents who pursue surrogacy. Or another example is when companies limit time off to parents welcoming a child through childbirth, an oversight that can disproportionately impact same-sex couples who are more likely to foster and adopt children. More from HRC.

PARENT OF TRANSGENDER CHILD CALLS FOR ACCEPTANCE DURING SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS MONTH: Joanne Lee is the mother of two transgender children, one of whom tragically died by suicide. “On his funeral day, I stood over Skylar’s casket where he lay peacefully. Looking down at my son one last time, I told him, ‘OK, Skylar, you rest. Mom is going to work and fight for you, just like you wanted me to during your life,’” Joanne writes in The Cap Times. “I had never been an activist for anything before, but on that day I promised him I would dedicate the rest of my life to protecting and saving LGBTQ youth.” Since then, she has joined HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council to fight for transgender youth like Skyler and Avi. More from The Cap Times.

  • HRC reflected on the month by sitting down with HRC Youth Ambassador Zachary Mallory, an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ youth and suicide awareness. More from HRC.

NEW HRC VIDEO -- EXPLORING HIV AND AIDS IN THE SOUTH: HRC spoke with Damon Johnson, an HRC Foundation’s HIV 360 Fellow and Associate Director of Programs at NAESM -- an Atlanta-based HIV and AIDS organization -- about his work to end the HIV and AIDS epidemic once and for all. “Some of the biggest drivers of HIV in the South is stigma, religion, economic status,” says Johnson. “HIV in the South is an epidemic.” Watch from HRC.

CDC CONFIRMS THAT VIRAL SUPPRESSION PREVENTS HIV TRANSMISSION: In a statement released on National Gay Men’s HIV & AIDS Awareness Day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that persons living with HIV “who take antiretroviral therapy (ART) daily as prescribed and achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner.”  With this statement, the CDC has joined HIV researchers, doctors and service providers throughout the world in affirming the efficacy of treatment as an HIV prevention strategy. More from HIV Plus Magazine.

DANTE ALENCASTRE -- DOCUMENTING TRANSGENDER LATINX COMMUNITIES: Alencastre’s activism with the LGBTQ community inspires him to create films that explore the lives and challenges of Latinx transgender people around the globe. Specifically, working closely with transgender women of color led him to Zoey Luna, a young transgender girl living in Los Angeles, and her mother, Ofelia. “Raising Zoey” premiered last year and is now screening in major cities across the U.S.  More from HRC.

DANTE ALENCASTRE -- DOCUMENTANDO LAS COMUNIDADES TRANSGÉNERO Y LATINX: Su activismo con la comunidad LGBTQ le inspiró a crear documentales sobre las vidas y los retos de personas transgénero. A través de su trabajo y colaboración con mujeres transgénero y latinx, Dante Alencastre tuvo la oportunidad de conocer a Zoey Luna, una joven transgénero que vive en Los Ángeles, y a su madre Ofelia. “Raising Zoey” el año pasado y está exhibiendo el filme en las principales ciudades de Estados Unidos actualmente. Más de HRC.

U.S. PRESENCE IN U.N.’S LGBTQ HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP ‘NOTICEABLY MUTED’: During the recent United Nations General Assembly, the United States did not once take the floor to speak during the meeting of the U.N.’s LGBTI Core Group -- a stark change from the Obama Administration. More from NBC.


Self shares tips to be an ally to transgender youth; The Stranger reviews a graphic novel that lifts up transgender voices; The Daily Dot explores nonbinary identities.

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A.M. Equality