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#AM_Equality Tipsheet: December 15, 2017

NEW HRC REPORT DETAILS HARMS OF WRITING DISCRIMINATION INTO CHILD WELFARE LAWS: The publication of Disregarding the Best Interest of the Child: License to Discriminate In Child Welfare Services comes as legislatures across the country prepare to reconvene in January, with many states poised to consider anti-LGBTQ bills. “Anti-LGBTQ discrimination has no place in our nation’s child welfare services,” said Cathryn Oakley, HRC’s State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel. “A taxpayer-funded license to discriminate against LGBTQ parents and, in some cases, children is cruel, harmful and unconstitutional. This new report details the the harms imposed — at the taxpayers’ expense – upon children who are in the state’s care.” Seven states, including five in just the last three years, have passed laws granting a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people in foster care and adoption services. In 2017, the number of anti-LGBTQ child welfare-related bills nearly doubled, from four to seven. Laws like these allow agencies to refuse to work with LGBTQ people; some even allow them to refuse to provide certain types of medical treatment to LGBTQ children in their care. More from HRC.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY — SALLY RIDE TO BE ON USPS STAMP IN 2018: As a pioneering NASA astronaut and science education advocate, Sally Ride was both the first American woman and the youngest American to be launched into space. More from NewNowNext.

HRC MOURNS DEATH OF BRANDI SEALS, BLACK TRANSGENDER WOMAN MURDERED IN HOUSTON: Transgender rights advocate and blogger Monica Roberts reports that on Wednesday morning, Seals, 26, was found shot in front of a home under construction. Police are investigating but so far have no leads on a suspect. Multiple media outlets and law enforcement have misgendered Seals. Seals’ family described her as a “loving person” and “beautiful person.” Seals is now the 28th known trans person killed in the U.S. this year. Read more from HRC.

SAME-SEX PARENTAL CASE MAY BE FIRST TO REACH HAWAII SUPREME COURT: Tragically, a woman is seeking to sever her parental rights to a child her ex-wife gave birth to. More from The Associated Press.

DISGUSTING — TRANS WOMAN ASSAULTED AT D.C. LGBTQ COMMUNITY CENTER: A suspect entered Casa Ruby, the capital’s only bilingual, multicultural LGBTQ community center, and punched and maced a client. Police are investigating the incident as a suspected hate crime. More from The Washington Blade.

TWO DETROIT MEN TO STAND TRIAL FOR SHOOTING TRANSGENDER WOMAN: Charles Marion Brown and Jujuan Alexon Williams are charged with shooting  Sharita Maxwell, who described the horrors in court, reports Oralandar Brand-Williams of the Detroit News. The assault left Maxwell paralyzed. More from The Detroit News.

REMEMBERING CASSIDY KARAKORN, BELOVED HRC COLLEAGUE, FRIEND AND ADVOCATE: The Washington Post Magazine’s Britt Peterson spoke to Cassidy’s brother and sister — John and Kim — about her life, talents and passions. Over her 17-year career at HRC, Cassidy tirelessly championed civil rights for the LGBTQ community. As director of consumer marketing, Cassidy’s eye for fashion and art made a transformative impact on HRC and helped us reach more people than ever before. Our hearts go out to her  family and many friends grieving her loss. More from The Washington Post.

NEW REPORT — TRUMP-PENCE ADMINISTRATION HARMS LGBTQ PEOPLE IN HEALTH CARE: The Fenway Institute looks at the harm the Trump-Pence Administration’s actions have on LGBTQ people trying to access healthcare, and their experiences with social service providers, private businesses, and government officials. More from Augusta Free Press.

REMEMBER THE DAD OUTSIDE THE ROY MOORE RALLY WHO SPOKE MOVINGLY ABOUT HIS LESBIAN DAUGHTER WHO COMMITTED SUICIDE? Nathan Mathis told The Daily Beast’s Tim Teeman (@TimTeeman) that “I believe Patti would have appreciated what I did. I believe had Patti still been alive, she would have been out there holding up that sign herself.” More from The Daily Beast.

LGBTQ COMMUNITY CENTER IN CLEVELAND BREAKS GROUND: The new facility will have a community drop-in space, meeting rooms and event space. More from ABC 5 Cleveland.

DANICA ROEM — “YOUNG TRANS KIDS DESERVE REPRESENTATION, TOO”: Roem, speaking at an event in San Francisco, encouraged people to volunteer for the candidates they believe in. More from The Bay Area Reporter.

#METOO — THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY AND SEXUAL ASSAULT: Forty-seven percent of trans people report being sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. Forty-six percent of bisexual women have been raped, with 48 percent of them experiencing that sexual assault between the ages of 11 and 17; and 26 percent of gay men and 37 percent of bisexual men have experienced rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner. More from Bustle.

SAME-SEX UK COUPLE DENIED ACCESS TO FUNDED IVF TREATMENT: They were told by the local NHS Clinical Commissioning Group they would have to spend £6,000 on an interim procedure that a different-sex couple would not be required to undergo before starting IVF. More from Telegraph.

AUSTRALIAN BARBER REFUSED TO CUT TRANS MAN’S HAIR: The Kingsmen Hair barber shop has been reported to the Anti-Discrimination Board for refusing to serve and verbally harassing Casey Franklin. More from The Daily Telegraph.


The Standard speaks to an openly gay Australian dairy farmer on his reaction when learning about marriage equality; HBO reviews 15: A Quinceañera Story, a documentary including a transgender girl coming of age; India Today shares the story of Manpreet Singh Virk, a transgender Sikh man; NBC dives into the story of three openly gay men competing to be on the U.S. Olympic team; ABC interviews LGBTQ people in Paraguay about the discrimination they face; Billboard highlights five times Christina Aguilera advocated for LGBTQ equality

Have news? Send us your news and tips at AMEquality@hrc.org. Click here to subscribe to #AM_Equality and follow @HRC for all the latest news. Thanks for reading!

#FlashbackFriday—Today in 1973, the APA Removed Homosexuality From List of Mental Illnesses

Forty-four years ago today, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) — the largest psychiatric organization in the world — made history by issuing a resolution stating that homosexuality was not a mental illness or sickness. This declaration helped shift public opinion, marking a major milestone for LGBTQ equality.

The resolution stated, “We will no longer insist on a label of sickness for individuals who insist that they are well and demonstrate no generalized impairment in social effectiveness.” The statement continued to say the APA supports “civil rights legislation at local, state, and Federal levels that would insure homosexual citizens the same protections now guaranteed to others.”

Now, more than 40 years later, LGBTQ advocates are still fighting to achieve that reality. Despite significant steps forward, 31 states still lack clear, fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, meaning that LGBTQ people are at risk of being fired, denied housing, and denied services for who they are or whom they love.

That’s why HRC is fighting to pass The Equality Act, which would provide consistent and explicit federal non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs and jury service.

In recent years, the APA has continued to advocate for LGBTQ people, including forcefully opposing the dangerous practice of so-called “conversion therapy” and opposing the Trump-Pence Administration’s ban on qualified transgender people serving in the military.

HRC Mourns Brandi Seals, a Black Transgender Woman Murdered in Houston

HRC mourns the tragic loss of Brandi Seals, a 26-year-old Black transgender woman who was found shot to death in Houston, Texas.

Transgender rights advocate and blogger Monica Roberts reports that on Wednesday morning, Seals’ was found in front of a home under construction. Witnesses were reported hearing several gunshots before her body was discovered.

Police are still investigating but so far have turned up no leads on a suspect. Multiple media outlets and law enforcement have misgendered Seals.

Seals’ family described her as a “loving person” and a “beautiful person.”

Seals is now the 28th known trans person killed in the U.S. this year.

Her death comes after the HRC Foundation and the Trans People of Color Coalition released a report documenting the often deadly violence faced by transgender people — and particularly trans women of color — and exploring factors that have made 2017 the deadliest on record for the transgender community.

To learn more about HRC’s transgender justice work, and the epidemic of violence against transgender people, visit hrc.org/Transgender.

HRC Responds to Steve Bannon’s Removal From White House Position

Today, HRC released the following statement following news of the departure of Steve Bannon from the White House staff.

“A radical white nationalist like Steve Bannon should never have been put in a position of public trust in any White House,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC’s Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “His removal was necessary, but make no mistake, the bigotry in the White House goes far beyond one person. President Trump and Vice President Pence continue to push forward the same dangerous and hateful vision for America and the world that Steve Bannon embodies.”

Advocacy Group in India Dances for Visibility and Equal Rights

By Abhina Aher, HRC Global Innovator and Founder of Dancing Queens

For the last 14 years, Dancing Queens – a dance troupe made up of transgender and other LGBTQ people – has created magic on stage through dance and drama to advocate for queer rights and visibility. We now have 25 dancers, after initially starting off with just three transgender women who had a passion for dancing. Transgender women and especially hijras* (an ancient third gender identity in South Asia for people who are outside the traditional male or female binary) in India have traditionally used dancing and singing to beg for money for their survival. Hijras face constant humiliation, violence and rejection from society and their own families.

Last Sunday, Dancing Queens held an event that was a part of Mumbai Pride and supported by HRC through the Global Partnerships in Pride program. It highlighted stigma and discrimination against sexual and gender minorities in India. More than 200 people attended our colorful and engaging performance which was organized by the Transgender Welfare, Equity and Empowerment Trust (TWEET) Foundation.

“I dance with my transgender daughter because I want to show my strength and happiness in accepting my kid as she is!”, my 70-year-old mother, Managala Aher, said to a journalist before she walked on stage to perform a dance number last week.

It was not been an easy journey for my troupe of talented dancing queens. We had to train transgender women and hijras – who were begging on streets and often engaged in sex work and had no formal dance training – to become professional dancers.  

In the question and answer session after the performances, we discussed important issues around family acceptance, employment and discrimination with the audience.

I am glad that Dancing Queens is strengthening efforts at LGBTQ and transgender acceptance with every performance in India and am grateful to HRC for supporting this event.


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#AM_Equality Tipsheet: August 18, 2017

OUR HEARTS GO OUT TO THE VICTIMS OF THE BARCELONA TERRORIST ATTACK: Yesterday, at least 13 lives were senselessly taken when a van plowed into a crowd of people in Las Ramblas, a popular tourist area, and another person was killed during a police shootout with suspected terrorists in Cambrils, west of Barcelona. An additional 100 people were injured in the Barcelona attack. We must stand strong in the face of hatred, and come together to stand against violence. More from CNN.


PRESIDENT IMPLIES VIOLENCE AGAINST MUSLIM COMMUNITY BY SHARING BOGUS TALE OF GENERAL PERSHING: The mortifying story, which Trump tweeted he would “study up on,” involves General John J. Pershing shooting 49 Muslims with bullets dipped in pig’s blood — and telling the 50 victim to return to their home and tell others what they saw. This horrifying and debunked story is yet another nationalist, anti-Islamic move by the leader of our country. More from The Washington Post.

NEW YORK GOVERNOR TO INSURERS — YOU CAN’T DISCRIMINATE AGAINST TRANSGENDER PEOPLE:  In a letter issued this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration tells health insurers that they cannot deny coverage to or otherwise discriminate against people based on their gender identity. The action comes after reports that the Trump Administration is poised to roll back Obama-era Affordable Care Act (ACA) guidance that prohibits most insurers from discriminating on the basis of sex — including gender identity — when providing health coverage. More from The Associated Press.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: Newlyweds Tom Daley (@TomDaley) and Dustin Lance Black (@DLanceBlack) recently released their wedding video. The pair were married on May 6 in Bovey Castle in Devon surrounded by friends, including HRC President Chad Griffin. They are donating the ad revenue from the wedding video to LGBTQ organizations — LGBT+ Switchboard and It Gets Better. More from BuzzFeed.

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NEW STUDY — MORE THAN HALF OF PARENTS WOULD SUPPORT A TRANS CHILD: The online survey conducted on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association found that 53 percent of those polled would support their child if they came out as transgender. More from Pink News.

HRC MOURNS GWYNEVERE RIVER SONG, TRANS PERSON MURDERED IN DALLAS: HRC was saddened to learn that Gwynevere River Song was shot and killed in Dallas over the weekend, marking the 17th known homicide of a transgender person this year.  Song, 26, died in their home after an argument escalated into a violent altercation, according to the Advocate, which cites reporting from a local paper that misgendered and misnamed Song. Song was a 2015 graduate of the University of Texas in Austin. They identified as femandrogyne and a member of the bisexual community. More from HRC.

HRC ALSO MOURNS HOLLY BOSWELL, CREATOR OF TRANSGENDER SYMBOL: Transgender pioneer Holly Boswell, who created the powerful transgender symbol, passed away at 66 in Asheville, N.C. More from NewNowNext.

HRC WELCOMING SCHOOLS TRAINS MADISON, WISC. SCHOOL DISTRICT: Elementary school teachers are learning how to create more inclusive classrooms for LGBTQ students, with guidance from HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools, the nation’s premier professional development program dedicated to creating respectful and supportive elementary schools. More from HRC.

HISTORY LESSON OF THE WEEK: Euphemia Charlton Fortune’s impressionist paintings of the California countryside appear in over 70 churches across the country. She was also a lesbian, and turned heads in the early 1900s by wearing suits, living happily unmarried and having a successful career. More from Advocate.

NORTHERN IRELAND JUDGE DISMISSES MARRIAGE EQUALITY CASES: High Court Judge Justice O’Hara claimed he could not base his judgment on “social policy.” Northern Ireland is the only holdout in the United Kingdom without marriage equality. More from BBC.

  • Some equality advocates are looking to British Prime Minister Theresa May to intervene. More from Belfast Telegraph.

ICYMI — UGANDAN PRIDE SHUT DOWN FOR SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR: On Tuesday, LGBTQ activists in Uganda received the shocking news that the events had been shut down by Minister of Ethics Simon Lokodo. This disturbing development follows last year’s police raid on the Pride festival, which resulted in dozens of arrests. More from HRC.


NewNowNext previews eight books with LGBTQ themes coming out soon; HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools is streaming a training video titled “What Can We Do? Bias, Bullying & Bystanders” on its website; NewNowNext highlights 11 drag queens fighting for LGBTQ equality around the world; Mic shares that Kordal Lewis and Kaleb Anthony will be the first Black LGBTQ family to represent a high-fashion brand

Have news? Send us your news and tips at AMEquality@hrc.org. Click here to subscribe to #AM_Equality and follow @HRC for all the latest news. Thanks for reading!