#AM_Equality Tip Sheet: December 2, 2016

TRUMP’S ATTORNEY GENERAL PICK LED ANTI-LGBTQ CAMPAIGN AGAINST STUDENT GROUP AS ALA. ATTORNEY GENERAL: In a morning must-read from Andrew Kaczynski (@KFILE), CNN unearthed a 1996 public campaign led by then Alabama Attorney General Jeff Sessions to block an LGBTQ student group from holding a conference at a public university. Donald Trump’s pick for Attorney General, Senator Sessions spoke out publicly and wrote to the University President in failed attempts to thwart the conference at the University of Alabama, which included workshops on HIV prevention, interfaith issues and coming out. Sessions sent a letter to the University President, asking for him or the university’s board of trustees to cancel the conference. “I intend to do everything I can to stop that conference,” Sessions told the Huntsville Times, saying a state law compelled him to do this. A U.S. District Judge ruled otherwise, saying there was “an open effort by the State Legislature to limit the sexuality discussion in institutions of higher learning to only one viewpoint: that of heterosexual people. This viewpoint limitation violates the first amendment.” Yesterday, HRC and more than 100 other civil and human rights organizations sent an open letter to U.S. Senate leaders opposing the nomination of anti-LGBTQ Alabama Senator Sessions to be U.S. Attorney General, and detailing his alarming record. “Senator Sessions has a 30-year record of racial insensitivity, bias against immigrants, disregard for the rule of law, and hostility to the protection of civil rights that makes him unfit to serve as the Attorney General of the United States,” the letter, organized by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights’ letter, states. Sessions received a zero on HRC’s Congressional Scorecard, and the ACLU characterizes his voting record as anti-civil rights. Sessions is just one of several leaders with troubling records on LGBTQ equality that Trump has selected to be a part of his administration. More on the letter from The Washington Blade. More on Sessions attempts to curb LGBTQ equality from CNN.

WORLD AIDS DAY – “THIS IS ABOUT THE EQUAL DIGNITY AND FUNDAMENTAL WORTH OF EVERY PERSON”: Yesterday, in remarks at the latest White House regional LGBT Summit in New Orleans, HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin), appearing with U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, said progress on the HIV and AIDS epidemic “is about so much more than ending an epidemic. This is about the equal dignity and fundamental worth of every person. No matter who you are, where you live, or what you look like, you have the right to lead healthy lives free from fear, stigma and discrimination. Those are our inalienable rights, and now more than ever before we must fight to preserve, protect and defend those rights.” Read Griffin’s speech in full here and watch the video of the event at HRC.

  • The University of Rochester River Campus Libraries’ Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation is sharing some of its more than 8,000 AIDS Education Posters with The Huffington Post.
  • From POTUS to Apple, major figures and business allies highlighted their commitment to ending HIV.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: In the aftermath of the presidential election, supporters of Hillary Clinton have been taking to the Facebook group Pantsuit Nation to share stories and provide encouragement to one another. One member of Pantsuit Nation, Susan, wrote recently about feeling shocked and hurt after receiving an an anonymous letter from a neighbor complaining that they were made to feel “uncomfortable” by the rainbow flag on Susan’s home. Susan originally hung the flag to show support for the LGBTQ community after the tragedy at Pulse nightclub in June. After she shared the letter with some neighbors, they began hanging rainbow flags in solidarity. More than 20 flags are now flying — including a few with HRC’s equality logo. Read Susan’s full post at HRC.

SPEAKING OF FLAGS — PENCE’S NEIGHBORS WELCOME HIM TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD: To welcome notoriously anti-LGBTQ Vice President-Elect Mike Pence to his temporary D.C. home while he waits for Inauguration Day, his neighbors are displaying rainbow flags on their porches and lawns, and sending a message of equality to the soon-to-be former Indiana governor. More from WJLA.

METRO ATLANTA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE STANDS AGAINST ANTI-LGBTQ LEGISLATION: Following Gov. Nathan Deal’s veto of a state anti-LGBTQ bill earlier this year, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce (MAC) announced yesterday that it would oppose any anti-LGBTQ legislation that might be raised in the upcoming legislative session. MAC chairperson Jenner Wood, in an announcement before the organization’s annual meeting, said: “We are not supportive of any bill that in any way would discriminate against any person.” If Deal had signed HB 757 into law, it would have weakened local non-discrimination protections, allowed businesses to discriminate and deny service to LGBTQ people and explicitly empowered discrimination by taxpayer-funded religious organizations. Georgia Unites Against Discrimination, a project of HRC and Georgia Equality, along with  Mayor Kasim Reed, MAC, major corporations, business leaders, sports teams and leaders in Hollywood joined to work against the bill. Georgia’s 2017 legislative session begins on January 9.

LGBTQ CONGRESSIONAL STAFFERS NEED TO BE SEEN — AND HEARD — DURING TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: Mitchell Rivard, president of the LGBT Congressional Staff Association, sat down with Roll Call to discuss LGBTQ issues under a Trump administration. He says, “With a new administration and with new positions that the president-elect may take, including on LGBT issues, it may become especially important for people who are LGBT, who work on the Hill and are members of our organization, to speak up and make sure that their rights are being protected.” Read the full interview at Roll Call.

DAPPER LOOKS FOR A GOOD CAUSE: Tie the Knot, Actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s (@JesseTyler) bowtie company, will donate its proceeds to LGBTQ charities from now until Christmas Day. More from OUT Magazine.

TRANSGENDER SAUDI ARABIAN SPEAKS OUT: Salman Al-Dukheil, a transgender man from Saudi Arabia, bravely spoke out at a conference yesterday, despite the country’s harsh laws against LGBTQ people. More from Reuters.


The Advocate explores bisexual identity in a new web series from Bill Posley… HRC shares that Tom Odell has joined HRC’s Equality Rocks program… The Bay Area Reporter interviews Candi Guerrero about living as a transgender woman in the ‘60s and ‘70s… USA Today shares a Maine basketball team’s demonstration against North Carolina’s HB2…

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