#AM_Equality Tipsheet: September 8, 2017

by Allison Turner

Trump backs anti-LGBTQ baker in license to discriminate case; HRC shows concern over Sec. DeVos’s reversal of sexual assault protections.

SHAMEFUL: TRUMP-PENCE ADMINISTRATION URGES SUPREME COURT TO PROVIDE A LICENSE TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST LGBTQ AMERICANS: HRC released the following statement on the Trump-Pence Administration’s amicus brief in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a case involving a baker who in 2012 refused to provide a wedding cake for a same-sex couple: "Once again, the Trump-Pence Administration has taken direct aim at our nation’s progress on LGBTQ equality, this time urging the Supreme Court to grant a potentially sweeping license to discriminate against same-sex couples,” said Sarah Warbelow, HRC’s Legal Director. “The discrimination endorsed by this administration in their amicus brief is the same form of bigotry Mike Pence signed into law in Indiana in 2015 and for which he was swiftly rebuked by a national backlash among America’s businesses. If adopted by the court, the Trump-Pence Administration’s arguments would threaten to gut many of our nation’s most sacred civil rights laws - not just for LGBTQ people, but also for women, people of color, religious minorities, and Americans of all backgrounds.” Warbelow continued, “As has been the case throughout their eight months in office, Donald Trump, Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions are on the wrong side of both the law and history.” Last year, the Colorado Supreme Court upheld a ruling by the Colorado Court of Appeals that bakery owner Jack Phillips cannot cite religious beliefs or free speech in order to discriminate against same-sex couples. The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in the case this term. Read more from HRC and The Washington Post.

  • Eighty-six House and Senate Republicans also announced that they will file an amicus brief in the cake case. These elected officials are shamefully embracing overt anti-LGBTQ discrimination. More from The Hill.
  • The Washington Post’s Robert Barnes reports that since taking office, Trump has also “moved to block transgender Americans from serving in the military and his Department of Education has done away with guidance to schools on how they should accommodate transgender students. The DOJ also has taken the stance that gay workers are not entitled to job protections under federal anti-discrimination laws.” More at The Washington Post.

TRUMP’S SECRETARY OF ED BETSY DEVOS ROLLING BACK SEXUAL ASSAULT PROTECTIONS: HRC is gravely concerned by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s decision to begin a process to rescind 2011 Title IX guidance related to schools' obligations to address sexual harassment, including sexual violence. “With her announcement, Betsy DeVos is insinuating that she would prefer to take America back to a time when it was more difficult for survivors of sexual assault to receive justice,” said Sarah Warbelow, HRC Legal Director. “For the LGBTQ community, which faces disproportionate levels of sexual assault and violence, this decision sends a strong signal that the U.S. Department of Education will not use its full power to protect them from harm.” More from HRC and the Washington Post.

  • In an HRC Twitter takeover yesterday, campus sexual assault survivor Jordan Dashow, HRC’s policy coordinator, detailed the importance of Title IX guidance to survivors of sexual violence -- including and especially LGBTQ survivors like him.


UNITED STATES CONFERENCE ON AIDS RETURNS TO WASHINGTON, D.C.: USCA’s return to D.C. this week is especially important in today’s political climate, when continued government support for life-saving HIV and AIDS programs is uncertain. Marvell Terry, HRC’s HIV Program Manager, will be a strong voice at the conference this week, presenting workshops on HIV policy under Trump, safer sex for transgender people, and the intersection of racial justice, mass incarceration and HIV in the South. Read more from USCA.

  • At USCA’s opening  yesterday, Gilead Sciences announced it is donating $1 million to help HIV organizations affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. More from AIDS United and NMAC.
  • With USCA as a backdrop, Casa Ruby, a multicultural LGBTQ center in D.C., announced it is launching an initiative to bring HIV prevention and care services to the center. Founder Ruby Corado earlier this year received HRC’s Upstander Award for her work. More from Washington Blade.


FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: Logo has launched Made to Model: Trans Beauty in Fashion, a video series that profiles trans models including Geena Rocero, Carmen Carrera, Tracey ‘ Africa’ Norman, and Lauren Foster. The series gives an insider’s perspective as today’s emerging models meet these pioneers. Watch here -- and  also check out NewNowNext’s profiles of six young trans activists in its Young Leaders 2017 series.

LAMBDA LEGAL TAKES EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS CASE TO SUPREME COURT: Yesterday, Lambda Legal announced that it has asked the Supreme Court of the United States to review the employment discrimination case of Jameka Evans, who was harassed in the workplace and fired because of her sexual orientation. Lambda Legal is seeking a nationwide ruling affirming that sexual orientation discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Read more from Lambda Legal and Georgia Voice.

INTERSEX ADVOCATE SHARES HOW BUZZFEED CHANGED HER LIFE: HRC Global Innovator Irene spoke about her advocacy work in Russia and the Ukraine and how she came to an understanding of herself as intersex by watching a BuzzFeed video with Radio Free Qtopia.

LGBTQ HOMELESS YOUTH ARE HIT HARD BY HARVEY: LGBTQ homeless youth in Houston, TX are struggling after Hurricane Harvey. Read more from NBC Out.

#PROTECTTRANSKIDS: Sarah Tchoryk, a Michigan teacher and proud parent of a trans child, wrote a moving piece on the importance of ensuring the safety and inclusion of trans kids in school. Tchoryk is a member of HRC’s Parents for Trans Equality Council. Read the piece at Detroit Free Press.

HATE CRIMES AGAINST LGBTQ PEOPLE IN THE U.K. ARE ON THE RISE: A major new survey by LGBTQ rights group Stonewall has found that 21 percent of LGBTQ people have been the victim of a hate crime, up from 9 percent who said they had experienced a homophobic or biphobic hate crime in 2012. Read more from BuzzFeed.

TROUBLING -- BRITISH PRIME MINISTER HOPEFUL OPPOSES LGBTQ EQUALITY: Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Tory Eurosceptic Member of Parliament--  and according to The Guardian, the Conservative grassroots favorite to succeed Prime Minister Theresa May--  said he opposes marriage equality and opposes abortion under all circumstances. More from The Guardian.


Education Week details the effort to include more LGBTQ history in schools; Metro Weekly reviews the films in the LGBTQ Showcase at this year’s D.C. Shorts Film Festival; Independent Journal Review shares a writing guide for nonbinary gender pronouns from the University of Minnesota;

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A.M. Equality