BEN CARSON, STILL ANTI-LGBTQ: Throughout his public life, Ben Carson, Donald Trump’s choice for Housing and Urban Development Secretary, has made clear he opposes equality for LGBTQ people– and his confirmation hearing yesterday was no exception. When asked by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) whether he would enforce LGBTQ housing protections, Carson said, “… I don’t think anyone should get ‘extra rights’.” Carson, whose ugly rhetoric has included equating marriage equality with bestiality, also opposes laws that protect LGBTQ Americans from discrimination. He has joked that same-sex couples might have their wedding cakes poisoned by anti-equality bakers, asserted that being LGBTQ is a “choice,” and suggested that transgender people be required to use separate bathrooms. If confirmed, this is the person who would be charged with enforcing the Fair Housing Act that protects LGBTQ people from housing discrimination. More from The Advocate.
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SECDEF NOMINEE GENERAL JAMES MATTIS COMMITS TO LGBTQ EQUALITY IN THE MILITARY: During questioning under oath at his Senate confirmation hearing yesterday, Secretary of Defense nominee Gen. James Mattis indicated he will not work to reverse the policies in place regarding combat positions open to women and open service by LGBTQ people in the military. In response to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) question, “Do you believe that allowing LGBT Americans to serve in the military or women in combat is undermining our [military’s] lethality?” Mattis sidestepped, saying, “I believe that military service is a touchstone for patriots of whatever stripe.” When pressed on a similar question from Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Mattis answered, “No.” We agree — being a woman or LGBTQ has nothing to do with one’s ability to serve this country.
FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: A special edition of The Washington Blade honoring and thanking President Obama and members of his administration features op-eds from important voices — including HRC Senior Vice President for Communications and Marketing Olivia Alair Dalton. In her piece, Respect. Empower. Include. Win., Alair Dalton, who served as a spokesperson for the Obama administration and both of President Obama’s campaigns, writes: “For eight years, President Obama put the full weight of his administration behind the LGBTQ community. Now we must step up — not just to secure his legacy, but to secure our own… As we bid farewell to President Obama’s time in the White House, let’s not forget how far these values can take us.” Read an introduction to the edition from Washington Blade Editor and Co-Owner Kevin Naff, here.
GALLUP FINDS INCREASING NUMBER OF ADULTS IN U.S. IDENTIFY AS LGBTQ: The Gallup Daily tracking survey of 1.6 million people finds that 4.1 percent of U.S. adults, or about 10 million people, now identify as LGBTQ, up from 3.5 percent in 2012. The increase is driven by millennials and women, Claire Landsbaum (@Landsbaumshell) reports in New York Magazine, and is also a reflection of increasingly inclusive attitudes toward LGBTQ people. Read more here, and more detail from Gallup here.
TEXAS ECONOMY COULD TAKE MULTI-BILLION $$$$$ HIT DUE TO SB 6: In an op-ed for the Austin American-Statesman, HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow, lays out the damage that Texas’ economy could face if lawmakers pursue harmful, anti-LGBTQ legislation like SB 6, an anti-transgender measure similar to North Carolina’s disastrous HB2 law. Warbelow warns, “Texas could lose so much and gain absolutely nothing by pursuing anti-LGBTQ laws such as SB 6.” In fact, a study by the Keep Texas Open for Business coalition shows that the state stands to lose $8.5 billion in GDP and 185,000 jobs if the legislature moves forward on anti-LGBTQ bills. Declining to pass SB 6, Warbelow explains is “not only the right thing to do, it’s good for Texas. The choice could not be clearer.” Read the full piece here.
HRC JOINS UPCOMING SOCIAL JUSTICE ACTIONS STANDING FOR EQUALITY AT DAWN OF TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: HRC is proud to both sponsor and join in major social justice actions next week in the nation’s capital, raising up our shared and continuing fight for equality for all. A contingent of HRC staff, members and volunteers will be participating in both the We Are Here To Stay Rally for immigrant and refugee rights and the We Shall Not Be Moved March on Washington for civil rights on January 14; and the Women’s March on Washington on January 21. HRC is a sponsor of both the Women’s March, and the We Are Here To Stay Rally. “At a time of great uncertainty for our country, we join our fellow Americans in standing up and speaking out for our shared values of equality and justice for all,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Next week and beyond, we will stand in locked arms with our progressive partners, reminding our new president that our communities are as diverse as the fabric of this nation. We are women. We are Muslim. We are Jewish. We are black, white, Latinx, Asian, and Native American. We are immigrants and we are people living with disabilities. And if you attack one of us, you are attacking all of us.” More from HRC.
IN NEW HRC VIDEO, YOUNG QUEER IMMIGRANT SHARES MOTHER’S SACRIFICE: Javier was just 6 years old when his mother brought him and his brother to the U.S. from Guatemala. But it wasn’t until he came out a decade later that he found out why she left her professional life and her extended family behind to bring her sons to a new country. “Right after I came out to my mother, the first thing she told me was that it was the reason we had immigrated to the United States,” Javier says in a new HRC video. “I guess I might’ve just been a very queer kid…and my mother realized it wasn’t something that was going to go away.” She feared that her son’s safety and well-being could not be assured if they stayed in Guatemala. In the video, Javier talks about the apprehension that has been rippling through the Latinx community in the U.S. after the election of Donald Trump, whose presidential campaign was marked by virulently anti-immigrant rhetoric. More from HRC.
LGBTQ STUDENTS, TEACHERS CONSIDER FUTURE UNDER TRUMP: For LGBTQ young people, schools can feel like an unsafe space. While the Department of Education under the Obama Administration has made strides to support LGBTQ students — from anti-bullying initiatives to guidance for transgender students — much of this could be in jeopardy in the next four years. More on these struggles, and interviews with LGBTQ students and teachers about their experiences and thoughts about the future from The Nation.
COUNTRY MUSIC TELEVISION STAR CODY ALAN COMES OUT AS GAY: In an Instagram message, he sent fans an encouraging message: “My hope for the future is to live the most honest, authentic, loving, and open life possible. Here’s to being happy with yourself, no matter who you are, who you love, where you come from, or what cards life has dealt you. Thanks again. With much heart, Cody.” More from People.