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Recent blog articles published by the Human Rights Campaign 2020-03-19T14:55:00-04:00
Updated: 19 min 34 sec ago

Four Major Employers Join 40 Others Opposing State-Based Anti-Transgender Legislation

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 15:24

Written by: 

Nick Morrow, Nick.Morrow@HRC.org, 865-386-8244
Angela Dallara, Angela@freedomforallamericans.org, 646-430-3925

On the eve of Idaho potentially becoming the first state in the nation this year to pass a law specifically targeting transgender people, Chobani, GoDaddy, Hewlett Packard Inc. and Verizon today joined more than 40 major employers in a previously released open letter, calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose bills that target LGBTQ people, and transgender children in particular. These business leaders stress the importance of fairness and opportunity for their customers, their employees and their employees’ families. This letter was released earlier this month, but has been updated with these new, additional business signers.

The signers note, “We are deeply concerned by the bills being introduced in state houses across the country that single out LGBTQ individuals - many specifically targeting transgender youth - for exclusion or differential treatment. Laws that would affect access to medical care for transgender people, parental rights, social and family services, student sports, or access to public facilities such as restrooms, unnecessarily and uncharitably single out already marginalized groups for additional disadvantage. They seek to put the authority of state government behind discrimination and promote mistreatment of a targeted LBGTQ population.”

“Businesses succeed when they are innovative, welcoming and open to all,” said Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights Campaign. “Harmful legislation —  especially the torrent of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced across the country —  deeply affect businesses’ ability to recruit and provide opportunities to their customers and employees. Right now, we are asking Governor Little of Idaho to veto two anti-transgender bills, which were — amid this global pandemic — shockingly considered and passed by the legislature. This type of legislation would harm transgender people in Idaho, and affect the state’s reputation and ability to recruit and retain talent and investment. There is widespread corporate and public opposition to anti-LGBTQ legislation. It’s simple: businesses and voters writ large do not want anti-LGBTQ discrimination in their states and communities, particularly in these trying times.”

“America’s business community has consistently taken a strong stand opposing legislation that discriminates against LGBTQ workers and customers,” said Kasey Suffredini, Freedom for All Americans CEO and National Campaign Director. “Business leaders understand that discrimination is bad for business, and their economic competitiveness relies on fair and inclusive work environments for their employees. This is more important than ever in the midst of a national public health crisis that is threatening millions of Americans’ economic security. In this moment, state lawmakers should be focused on passing laws to protect Americans’ livelihoods, not threatening to pass laws that discriminate, jeopardizing future state economic development and risking driving business away. We’re proud of the business leaders who signed this letter. They know how important it is for them to speak up when their team members and their families are threatened by misguided policies.”

The letter was released by America Competes (a program of Freedom for All Americans) and the Human Rights Campaign. Here is a full list of companies that have signed on to the letter: 

AEO Inc.

Airbnb

Amalgamated Bank

Amazon

American Airlines

Apple

Asana, Inc.

AT&T

Bayer US LLC

Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc.

Boehringer Ingelheim USA

Capital One

Corning Incorporated

Chobani 

CSAA Insurance Group

Dow Inc.

Dropbox Inc.

Eastern Bank

Google

GoDaddy

Hewlett Packard Inc.

Hilton

IBM

IKEA North America Services, LLC

Instacart

Levi Strauss & Co.

Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics

Lyft, Inc.

Marriott International, Inc.

MassMutual

Microsoft

Mobilize

Nike, Inc.

PayPal

Salesforce

SunLife

Sustainable Food Policy Alliance, including member companies Danone North America; Mars, Incorporated; Nestlé USA; and Unilever United States

TechNet

Trillium Asset Management

Uber

Unilever United States

Verizon


#HRCTwitterTakover With Bisexual Resource Center to Honor #BiHealthMonth

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 14:11

1/ Hey Twitter! This is Alexandra Bolles (@anorianb) and Laura DelloStritto from the Bisexual
Resource Center (@BRC_Central). We’re here today for an #HRCTwitterTakeover to talk about #BiHealthMonth! pic.twitter.com/XFA3V6MFaL

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

2/ This March, we’re celebrating the 7th annual #BiHealthMonth. @BRC_Central founded the campaign in 2014 to address the social, economic and health disparities the bi+ community faces and inspire action to improve bi+ people's health. #HRCTwitterTakeover https://t.co/Bwq4RP1iD7

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

3/ Studies show that bi+ people comprise nearly half of LGBTQ people, making bi+ people the largest group within the LGBTQ community. But the LGBTQ community as a whole can do more to address bi+ folks' specific needs. #HRCTwitterTakeover https://t.co/f4nAvLDPZN

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

4/ Bisexual, pansexual, queer and fluid people experience far worse physical, sexual, social and mental health outcomes compared to their lesbian, gay and straight peers. #HRCTwitterTakeover https://t.co/N71RZBgqYg

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

5/ Moreover, bi+ people are far less likely to disclose our sexual orientation to, or have it taken seriously by, medical professionals, making it harder for us to get the care we need. #HRCTwitterTakeover #BiHealthMonth https://t.co/2kKC7Yz1TZ

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

6/ When bi+ people do come out, both to health care providers and to our friends and family, we often must confront harmful and damaging antagonism directed toward our bisexual+ identity. #HRCTwitterTakeover #BiHealthMonth

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

7/ This #BiHealthMonth, @BRC_Central & @PPMASS released a new resource, titled “Sexual Health Tips for the Bi+ Community & Best Practices for Providers.” #HRCTwitterTakeover https://t.co/OzpqbnOZYq pic.twitter.com/1zjEamxRtE

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

8/ Our new resource aims to combat the negative sexual health outcomes for bi+ people & to educate health care providers on how to best care for their bi+ patients. If we work together, we can help our community live happier and healthier lives! #HRCTwitterTakeover #BiHealthMonth pic.twitter.com/x27SpwPzaT

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

9/ One constant we see this month and in our work every day is the incredible resilience displayed by bi+ people despite the hardships that we constantly work to overcome.

That’s why the theme of this year’s #BiHealthMonth is “Resilience.” #HRCTwitterTakeover pic.twitter.com/GkbmKAgdXy

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

10/ At @BRC_Central, we know that bi+ people grow resilience by acknowledging unique hardships' impact on our well-being, while also recognizing that we grow stronger by building community and working together against anti-bi+ antagonism. #HRCTwitterTakeover #BiHealthMonth

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

11/11 This #BiHealthMonth, know that you’re not alone. The bi+ community is diverse, inclusive and here to welcome you with open arms. @BRC_Central has many resources for us and our allies. Stay proud and stay resilient! #HRCTwitterTakeover pic.twitter.com/g5HS0bLqwf

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2020

How The CARES Act Impacts LGBTQ People

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 10:27

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate passed a $2 trillion package to help address the COVID-19 crisis. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748) would provide significant assistance to individuals, families, health care providers, small businesses and key sectors of the economy. The House of Representatives is expected to pass the legislation on Friday and the president is expected to sign it into law. HRC supports many of the provisions in this bill, especially those that will help LGBTQ people, though we recognize the bill is not perfect. We will continue to work with Congress to ensure that further steps are taken to address our country’s needs in this difficult time.

The key features of the legislation are:

  • Expanded unemployment insurance
    • $600 per week increase
    • Incentives for states to eliminate waiting periods
    • Extended number of weeks of eligibility
  • Direct payments to individuals and families
  • Aid to hospitals and other health care providers
  • Loans and grants to small business and non-profits
  • Loans to larger companies to retain workers and maintain liquidity
  • Aid to states

The bill also expands programs that disproportionately impact LGBTQ people, particularly around health care:

  • Additional $90 million for the Ryan White Care Act for HIV/AIDS care and treatment.
  • Additional $65 million for housing for people living with AIDS (HOPWA).
  • Require that Medicare Part D plans provide up to a 90-day supply of a prescription medication if requested by a beneficiary during the COVID-19 emergency period.
  • Includes language to ensure that states are able to receive the 6.2% FMAP increase, the funding formula used to apportion money under Medicaid.  
  • Additional $25 million for carrying out activities under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act.   
  • $4 billion for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Emergency Solution Grants to prevent, prepare for and respond to COVID-19, address needs of individuals and families who are homeless or receiving homeless assistance. It also allocates funds to geographic areas with the greatest needs, and for the benefit of unsheltered and sheltered homeless and those at risk of homelessness.
  • $5 billion in additional funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant to provide child care assistance to health care sector employees, emergency responders, sanitation workers and other workers deemed essential.

Since 2020 is a major election year and the COVID-19 outbreak is making it even harder for people to vote, the bill includes $400 million in election assistance for states to expand vote by mail, early voting and online registration. 

This package is the third major bill that Congress has passed to address the crisis. Additional measures are expected as the full impact of the crisis becomes clearer.

To learn more about how LGBTQ people are impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, be sure to check out HRC’s Foundation newest report, “The Lives and Livelihoods of Many in the LGBTQ Community are at Risk Amidst COVID-19 Crisis.” 


#AM_Equality: March 27, 2020

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 10:10

HRC PRESIDENT ALPHONSO DAVID JOINS SLATE’S LGBTQ PODCAST, “OUTWARD,” TO DISCUSS COVID-19’S IMPACT ON THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY: David (@AlphonsoDavid) joined hosts J. Bryan Lowder (@jbryanlowder), Rumaan Alam (@Rumaan) and Christina Cauterucci (@c_cauterucci) to look at comparisons between the COVID-19 health crisis and the early days of the HIV and AIDS epidemic, and talk about how the LGBTQ community can stay organized while we’re unable to come together. More from Slate

TODAY -- HRC HOSTS WEBINAR AT 3PM EDT ON COVID-19 AND PERSONS LIVING WITH HIV: More from HRC

ANTI-LGBTQ CARDINAL BLAMES COVID-19 HEALTH CRISIS ON LGBTQ PEOPLE: “The harmful words of Cardinal Burke are immoral and unjustifiable,” said HRC Religion & Faith Program Director Michael Vazquez (@mvsebastian). “He is putting countless Catholics around the world at risk with his statement, including LGBTQ people. At the same time, he is further stigmatizing LGBTQ people who are uniquely impacted by COVID-19. In this moment of crisis, the Catholic Church must lead by encouraging social distancing and supporting the most vulnerable communities -- including the LGBTQ community.” Read more from The Advocate

FRIDAY FEELING -- ADVOCATING FOR COMPETENT HEALTH CARE AND VISIBILITY AS A BI+ MAN: “For many, growing up bi+ means having a hard time finding the right words to describe yourself,” writes HRC Senior Writer for Online Strategy Ryan Carey-Mahoney (@thegoodcarmah). “For some bi+ men, that means pushing part of you aside to live a life in the closet -- and for others, that means coming out as something we’re told is more ‘real’ like gay, or to a shrieking chorus of ‘it’s just a phase’ invalidation. We, as a collective community, need to do better. And there’s no better time to engage than right now as we commemorate Bisexual Health Awareness Month.” Read more from HRC

HRC JOINS MORE THAN 270 ORGANIZATIONS CALLING ON CONGRESS TO PASS COVID-19 RELIEF LEGISLATION THAT PROTECTS EVERY AMERICAN -- ESPECIALLY THOSE WITH DISABILITIES: More from HRC

AMERICA’S HEALTH CARE SYSTEM LEAVES LGBTQ PEOPLE AND PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV ESPECIALLY VULNERABLE TO COVID-19: “There is no federal law that expressly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “If I live in one of those 29 states where there are no affirmative protections and I’m facing discrimination in the allocation of services, where do I go?” Read more from Nico Lang (@Nico_Lang) at VICE

IN THE STATES

TRUMP-PENCE ADMIN FILES TRANSPHOBIC STATEMENT OF INTEREST IN CONN. COURT CASE: More from HRC

The Trump-Pence administration is once again attacking the trans community and reaffirming its dangerous stance towards LGBTQ people. We will continue to fight so all transgender people - especially trans youth - are treated fairly in every part of society. https://t.co/KTmoTmR88B

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 26, 2020

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

“SCHITT’S CREEK” STARS DAN LEVY (@danjlevy) AND NOAH REID (@olreid) ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THEIR CHARACTERS’ HAPPY ENDING: Read more from The Advocate

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

THE JIMME FOUNDATION, AN LGBTQ RIGHTS ORGANIZATION IN INDIA FOUNDED BY HRC GLOBAL INNOVATOR HARISH IYER (@hiyer), HAS LAUNCHED A FUNDRAISER TO SUPPORT SEX WORKERS IN MUMBAI: More from Openly

SECOND ADMINISTRATIVE COURT OF ANKARA, TURKEY HAS OVERTURNED A BAN ON LGBTQ ACTIVITIES IN THE CITY: More from Kaos GL

READING RAINBOW - Bookmark now to read on your lunch break!

Outsports shares a list of 39 LGBTQ sports books to check out

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!


#AM_Equality: March 26, 2020

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 10:16

IDAHO IS FOCUSING ON ANTI-TRANSGENDER LEGISLATION INSTEAD OF THE REAL CRISIS, COVID-19: “What makes these bills particularly hurtful for trans people in Idaho is the timing of the legislation,” writes Nico Lang (@Nico_Lang). “They were pushed through the state Senate during the same week that municipalities across the country took measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. And yet in Idaho, little has been done to stop its citizens from contracting coronavirus.” Read the full piece from VICE

  • Said HRC State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley (@CthrynOkly), “[This bill] is legislation that is based purely in misinformation about trans youth, and it is targeting trans youth for discriminatory treatment. For any trans person in Idaho, they are now on notice that their government is willing to make laws that are based on fear and not facts.” 

HRC PRESIDENT ON TRUMP “SHADOW DIPLOMAT” AND CABINET BIBLE STUDY LEADER BLAMING LGBTQ PEOPLE FOR COVID-19 PANDEMIC: Late last night, reports surfaced of Ralph Drollinger blaming LGBTQ people for “God’s consequential wrath” and the COVID-19 pandemic. Said HRC President Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid), “LGBTQ people around the country and around the world are struggling to cope with this global pandemic. They are worried about their health, their livelihoods and their families. Our country is in crisis, and rather than placing the blame to marginalized communities that are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, our leaders and their advisors must focus in, buckle up and flatten the curve.” More from HRC and NBC Out

THANKFUL THURSDAY -- WOMEN ON THE RISE: SPOTLIGHT ON LGBTQ LEADERS & ALLIES: From trailblazing figures of our past, to champions on the front lines of today’s movement, women have been at the heart of the fight for equality. For Women’s History Month, HRC is shining a light on openly LGBTQ women leaders and allies who are leading on LGBTQ-inclusive bills in the battleground states of Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin, as well as in our nation’s capital. Read more from HRC

For #WomensHistoryMonth, HRC is highlighting trailblazing women across battleground states who are running for office, have been elected and are advancing equality for LGBTQ people. https://t.co/FDfTsnAhir

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 25, 2020

 IN THE STATES

 YOUR LOCAL QUEER BUSINESS NEEDS YOUR SOCIAL-DISTANCED SUPPORT! 

  • Read more about how to support LGBTQ businesses and non-profits in Washington, D.C. from Austa Somvichian-Clausen (@austaclausen) at Thrillist
  • Read more about how to support LGBTQ businesses in Chicago from Jessi Roti (@JessiTaylorRO) at Thrillist

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

 “SCHITT’S CREEK” STARS DAN LEVY (@danjlevy) AND NOAH REID (@olreid) GRACE THE DIGITAL COVER OF ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: More from EW

Make a wish, David and Patrick. �� In our new digital cover story, #SchittsCreek stars @danjlevy and @olreid take us inside the journey that saw two business partners become soulmates: https://t.co/AnFr6IQRMY Story by: @shananaomi pic.twitter.com/sV0C3CvvY8

— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) March 25, 2020

DOMINIQUE PROVOST-CHALKLEY (@DominiqueP_C), STAR OF “WYNONNA EARP,” COMES OUT AS QUEER: More from Autostraddle

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

ANDORRA TO CONSIDER LEGALIZING MARRIAGE EQUALITY IN THE COMING MONTHS: More from NewNowNext

 READING RAINBOW - Bookmark now to read on your lunch break!

Star Observer reports on a new series from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation about a trans high schooler 

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!


“Shadow Diplomat” and Cabinet Bible Study Leader Blames LGBTQ People for COVID-19 Pandemic

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 15:54

Late last night, reports surfaced of Ralph Drollinger blaming LGBTQ people for “God’s consequential wrath” and the COVID-19 pandemic. Drollinger has been called a “shadow diplomat” by the New York Times and leads a weekly Bible study group for President Donald Trump’s cabinet including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Housing & Urban Development  Secretary Ben Carson, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Azar and Carson are also on the COVID-19 Task Force. In response, Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights Campaign, issued the following statement:

“LGBTQ people around the country and around the world are struggling to cope with this global pandemic. They are worried about their health, their livelihoods, and their families. At a moment where we need to pull together by recognizing our shared humanity and mutual dependence, there are some of low moral character who see it as an opportunity to continue to try to divide us.

“Drollinger’s horrific assertions are ludicrous. Our government’s top leaders depend on him for moral advice and give him regular and direct access. His shameful views cannot be ignored. 

“Our country is in crisis, and rather than placing the blame on marginalized communities that are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, our leaders and their advisors must focus in, buckle up and flatten the curve.

“We need leadership that embraces fact and science. A leader whose priority is to improve and save lives. Donald Trump is not that leader.”

HRC recently published a research brief outlining the particular health and economic risks faced by the LGBTQ community during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Many in the LGBTQ community are uniquely vulnerable, as they are more likely to work jobs in highly affected industries, often with more exposure and/or higher economic sensitivity to the COVID-19 crisis, are less likely to have health coverage, and are more likely to smoke and have chronic illnesses like asthma. Read the full brief here, and find a full list of all of HRC’s efforts and COVID-19 resources at this link.


Women on the Rise: Spotlight on LGBTQ Leaders & Allies

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 14:52

From trailblazing figures of our past, to champions on the front lines of today’s movement, women have been at the heart of the fight for equality. For Women’s History Month, HRC is shining a light on openly LGBTQ women leaders and allies who are leading on LGBTQ-inclusive bills in the battleground states of Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin, as well as in our nation’s capital.

All across the country women are running for office, winning and advancing the rights for LGBTQ people.

In a huge 2018 midterm victory, Gretchen Whitmer defeated anti-LGBTQ Attorney General Bill Schuette, and as her first order of business, Whitmer signed an executive order to provide workplace protections for LGBTQ employees of the state. Building off this momentum, she has joined openly LGBTQ state legislators in support of amending the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act to guarantee protections in housing, workplace and public accommodations to all LGBTQ people living in the state. Gov. Whitmer also made history by flying the Pride flag for the first time in Michigan’s Governor’s office, signifying to all LGBTQ Michiganders that their leader sees them, accepts them and will fight for them.

Pro-equality Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered #Pride flags to fly on Michigan’s Capitol building for the first time ever. ��️‍����️

Thank you, @GovWhitmer, for showing solidarity with the LGBTQ community this #PrideMonth. https://t.co/6cH3MITuA3

— HRC in Michigan (@HRC_MI) June 19, 2019

Many battleground states such as Michigan and Ohio have fallen into the lowest category for LGBTQ-inclusive laws and policies, and women legislators are joining pro-equality governors like Whitmer by introducing protection bills.

This year, Ohio’s State Rep. Mary Lightbody introduced a bill to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and abusive practice of so-called “conversion therapy,” and State Sen. Mallory McMorrow introduced a similar bill in Michigan. Both of these bills would dramatically improve the lives of many Americans by helping end the patchwork of protections that currently leaves so many at the mercy of their ZIP code to define their rights.

Allyship toward LGBTQ equality extends from local government all the way up to the U.S. Congress. 

Under Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, pro-equality women in the House helped make history and passed the Equality Act. Two of these congresswomen were Nevada Reps. Dina Titus and Susie Lee, who have been longtime advocates of LGBTQ rights. In addition to voting in favor of pro-equality bills, Rep. Titus is leading on them -- including introducing the Globe Act, which would restore the State Department’s role in defending LGBTQ people’s rights around the world. 

Rep. Susie Lee has also been fighting alongside HRC for three years -- tirelessly empowering LGBTQ and Equality Voters to turn out and vote, to be represented in federal surveys that decided funding for programs and to hold elected leaders accountable for anti-LGBTQ views.

I’m proud to be an ally to @HRC & the LGBTQ community. Know that I’m w/ you every step of the way. That’s why I helped introduce the #EqualityAct, which will add gender ID & sexual orientation to the Civil Rights Act. All I can say is: it’s about damn time. Let’s keep fighting. pic.twitter.com/xlAlLnnEKD

— Rep. Susie Lee (@RepSusieLee) March 15, 2019

Women’s representation is intersectional, and many leaders in the states are also openly LGBTQ. 

More than ever, we are seeing openly LGBTQ women winning office and making history especially in swing states: 

  • Tammy Baldwin: Openly lesbian U.S. senator from Wisconsin 
  • Krysten Sinema: Openly bisexual U.S. senator from Arizona 
  • Nickie Antonio: Openly lesbian Ohio state senator and sponsor of the Ohio Fairness Act 
  • Dana Nessel: Openly lesbian attorney general of Michigan
  • Melanie Scheible: Openly bisexual state senator of the Nevada State Legislature 
  • Sarah Peters: Openly pansexual state assemblywoman of the Nevada State Legislature  
  • Pat Spearman: Openly lesbian state senator of the Nevada State Legislature 
  • Dallas Harris: Openly lesbian state senator of the Nevada State Legislature  
  • Jocasta Zamarripa: Openly bisexual state rep of Wisconsin State Legislature 

LGBTQ women of color are representing, leading and pushing our movement forward. 

Of these openly LGBTQ officials, women of color like Nevada legislators, Pat Spearman and Dallas Harris have supported underserved communities by passing a sweeping set of pro-LGBTQ bills, like expanding protections for those living with HIV and AIDS. Meanwhile, Wisconsin State Rep. Jocasta Zamarripa has partnered with HRC for Bi Visibility Day and helped raise awareness of the health disparities facing bisexual people, especially bisexual people of color. 

#BiHealthMonth #WomensHistoryMonth #TBT: Take a look back at Wisconsin's 8th District State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa (@repjocasta’s) @HRC_WI #twittertakeover. She spoke about being a proud bi Latinx Wisconsinite & the importance of representation. https://t.co/UqvrJ29Llf

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 19, 2020

As we lift up these women and countless others moving our movement forward, we must join them by ensuring we are turning out to vote in primaries and this November.


Advocating for Competent Health Care and Visibility as a Bi+ Man

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 14:22

Post submitted by Ryan Carey-Mahoney, Senior Writer for HRC’s Online Strategy team and one of two co-chairs of HRC’s Bi+ Employee Resource Group.

About a month ago, I was scrolling through Twitter and came across a hashtag that seemed tailor-made for me: #BisexualMenExist. With just a click, I found stories and photos of bi+ men from all over who were reclaiming and affirming their identity to the world.

Even in 2020, bisexual, pansexual, queer and fluid-identified men still have to prove our existence.

For many, growing up bi+ means having a hard time finding the right words to describe yourself. For some bi+ men, that means pushing part of you aside to live a life in the closet — and for others, that means coming out as something we’re told is more “real” like gay, or to a shrieking chorus of “it’s just a phase” invalidation.

For much of my adolescence, I chose the former. I told myself it wasn’t *that* hard to be closeted: I could enjoy dates with girls my age because I was attracted to them and had mostly male friends (as I’d come to learn, many of whom were also in the closet.)

But, whether I wanted it to or not, my truth pushed its way to the surface and ravaged my mental health. During my senior year of college, I started experiencing intense bouts of depression, irritability and self-hatred — at my lowest, I felt like I didn’t want to live at all and I began to take it out on my body. 

There came a point where I knew I had to choose: live my life as an out bisexual man or, potentially, have no life to live at all. Almost to the day that I first saw the #BisexualMenExist hashtag, I celebrated my six-year anniversary of coming out for the very first time, and, despite some hurdles that came with it, I’ve never looked back.

My story, unfortunately, isn’t a unique one. While I am out and proud now, many in the bi+ community are suffering — mentally, physically and emotionally — in silence.

We, as a collective community, need to do better. And there’s no better time to engage than right now as we commemorate Bisexual Health Awareness Month in March. Together, we need to uplift bi+ voices in our lives, consider the unique health and economic issues facing those in the bi+ community and do our part to dismantle biphobia every chance we get.

For me, that starts with sharing my story here and with the hope that doing so compels others to share theirs. Not to prove that we exist, but to get us to a world where our existence isn’t even questioned.


#AM_Equality: March 25, 2020

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 10:03

HRC PRESIDENT ALPHONSO DAVID IN THE HILL -- “THE SUPREME COURT MUST NOT LICENSE TAXPAYER-FUNDED DISCRIMINATION”: “The Supreme Court recently announced it will hear a case to decide whether a local government contractor can pick and choose which civil rights laws it follows,” writes David (@AlphonsoDavid). “The consequences of the Court’s decision could be profound and far-reaching. If the Court decides that organizations can pick and choose which non-discrimination laws they follow, it could open a floodgate of discrimination in child welfare services against not only LGBTQ people, but also people of different faiths, single women and people with disabilities. It’s crucial that the Supreme Court uphold the lower court ruling rejecting the argument that religious agencies performing public child welfare services have a special right to discriminate.” Read the full op-ed in The Hill

More than 400,000 children in foster care across the U.S. deserve a loving home. @HRC President @AlphonsoDavid discusses how a #SCOTUS case will decide if government-funded child welfare agencies can discriminate against LGBTQ individuals. @thehill https://t.co/4HYmKUg41j

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 24, 2020

HRC IS TURNING TO VIRTUAL ORGANIZING IN THE AGE OF COVID-19: While there is much uncertainty about what lies ahead in the coming weeks and months for our country, one thing the COVID-19 crisis has made even more clear is that the stakes of the election this November could not be higher. Last week, HRC shifted its Equality Convention to a virtual volunteer convention featuring speeches by both Jaime Harrison (@harrisonjaime) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren). Volunteers from across the country joined together to learn about HRC’s new tools and resources. Learn more about how you can get involved from HRC

WELCOMING SCHOOLS WEDNESDAY -- HRC LAUNCHES WEEKLY PROGRAMMING WITH ACTIVITIES AND RESOURCES FOR INCLUSIVE LEARNING AT HOME: Each week while most students are out of school due to COVID-19, HRC Foundation's Welcoming Schools will offer a book and a related activity adapted from our teacher lesson plans for parents to use with children at home. Week One focuses on The Family Book by Todd Parr (@toddparr), which celebrates the many different ways to be a family. Read more from HRC

HRC MOURNS THE LOSS OF PLAYWRIGHT TERRENCE MCNALLY: More from HRC

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of longtime HRC supporter Terrence McNally.

Both on and off the stage, he was a voice for many in the LGBTQ community. We send our condolences to his husband, Tom Kirdahy, and those who loved him. https://t.co/Tu7IHmMLk6

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 24, 2020

LGBTQ HOMELESS PEOPLE WORRY ABOUT ACCESS TO HOMELESS CENTERS, SHELTERS DURING COVID-19 HEALTH CRISIS: One in five LGBTQ people live in poverty, and 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. More from Reuters and HRC

IN THE STATES

GREENVILLE COUNTY COUNCIL IN S.C. VOTES TO NULLIFY ANTI-LGBTQ RESOLUTION: More from Greenville News

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

FX’S “POSE” (@PoseOnFX) DONATES SHOW’S REAL MEDICAL SUPPLIES TO NEW YORK CITY HOSPITAL TO ASSIST WITH RESPONSE TO COVID-19: More from The Advocate

10-TIME IRELAND NATIONAL TRACK AND FIELD TITLE WINNER DENIS FINNEGAN COMES OUT AS GAY: “I hope just telling my story might help one person notice there’s more acceptance out there,” said Finnegan (@denisfinnegan1). More from the Washington Blade

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

LGBTQ PRIDES AND OTHER EVENTS ARE BEING CANCELLED OR POSTPONED AROUND THE WORLD DUE TO COVID-19: Read more from Forbes

READING RAINBOW - Bookmark now to read on your lunch break!

Pride covers 17 LGBTQ movies to watch while social distancing; PopSugar shares 23 of Jazz Jennings’ (@JazzJennings__) most inspiring quotes 

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!


Welcoming Schools Wednesdays: Activities and Resources for Inclusive Learning at Home

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 16:08

Each week while most students are out of school due to COVID-19, HRC Foundation's Welcoming Schools will offer a book and a related activity adapted from our teacher lesson plans for parents to use with children at home. Our featured books will focus on Welcoming Schools themes: embracing all families, being an ally and respecting differences inclusive of LGBTQ identities. Don’t have the book? Don’t worry! We will provide a link to online readings to each book.

Week 1:

Book: The Family Book by Todd Parr

The Family Book celebrates the many different ways to be a family. Whether you have two moms or two dads, a big family or a small family, a clean family or a messy one, Parr assures kids that no matter what kind of family you have, every family is special in its own unique way. For those who don’t have the book at home, not to worry -- you can use this video of Parr reading the book aloud. We encourage you to interact with your children as you read together. Pause on different pages to talk with your child about what they are seeing. 

  • Do you know of any families where they have different skin tones (though maybe not green, yellow or purple as in the book)? 
  • Do you know what a step-mom is or what adoption is? 
  • Do some families really look like their pets? 

Activity: Draw Your Family Todd Parr Style

  • Take a look at the illustrations in the book and notice how they are very simple yet expressive -- most people have round faces with many different hairstyles drawn with only a few lines -- straight, curly, long, wavy. Notice that the bodies are also drawn with only a few lines -- short or tall, smaller or bigger. 
  • Have your child draw your family -- including any pets or important stuffies -- using crayons, colored pencils or markers, encouraging them to use wackadoodle colors as Todd Parr does in his book! 
  • Proudly display on your fridge! And share with HRC on social media! Tag @HRC on Twitter and @HumanRightsCampaign on Instagram

To find the Welcoming Schools lesson plan featuring The Family Book, check out Welcoming Schools family lessons. To find more great books about families, check out these family book lists.

HRC Foundation's Welcoming Schools is the nation's premier professional development program providing training and resources such as book lists and lesson plans to elementary school educators to embrace all families, create LGBTQ and gender-inclusive schools, prevent bias-based bullying, and support transgender and non-binary students.


#AM_Equality: March 24, 2020

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 10:10

SAM MANZELLA (@_sammanzella) AND KATE SOSIN (@shoeleatherkate) WRITE FOR NEWNOWNEXT ON THE HARDSHIPS LGBTQ WORKERS ARE FACING FROM COVID-19: Using data from HRC’s report on COVID-19, they write, “A disproportionate number of LGBTQ Americans [are] facing dire consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. Of the multiple sources NewNowNext spoke to, most are fear-stricken, sharing that their access to liveable income, health care or basic necessities like food or safe housing are in jeopardy.” Read the full piece here.

  • Last week, HRC released a research brief on the unique vulnerabilities of the LGBTQ community during the COVID-19 crisis. Read more from HRC and The Hill.

ICYMI -- ON SATURDAY EVENING, HRC HOSTED A VIRTUAL INTERFAITH PRAYER SERVICE: The service, titled “Remaining Home in Faith: An Interfaith Prayer Service,” as a part of its “Coming Home to Faith: A Search for Common Ground” tour. Faith can be a source of comfort for many during difficult times, and as people are no longer able to visit their places of worship in person, this virtual service was a time for LGBTQ people of faith and allies to come together and find community in a welcoming setting. More from HRC.

HRC IS PROUD TO JOIN OUR PARTNERS IN SIGNING ONTO A LETTER TO DENOUNCE THE RISE OF CRUEL, DISCRIMINATORY ANTI-ASIAN RACISM AND VIOLENCE TAKING PLACE IN THE WAKE OF COVID-19: More from HRC.

TUESDAY TWEET -- YESTERDAY MARKED 10 YEARS SINCE THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT WAS SIGNED INTO LAW: More from HRC.

The Affordable Care Act has been crucial to providing health care coverage for the LGBTQ community and those living with chronic health conditions like HIV.

As the #COVID19 crisis spreads, we need affirming care for all. #ACA10 https://t.co/V9HiCLephL

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 23, 2020

HIV ADVOCATES AND COMMUNITY LEADERS ARE APPLYING THE KNOWLEDGE THEY GAINED FROM THE EARLY DAYS OF THE HIV EPIDEMIC TO TODAY’S COVID-19 GLOBAL HEALTH CRISIS: More from NBC.

SUPREME COURT ISSUES RULING IN COMCAST CORP. v. NATIONAL AFRICAN AMERICAN-OWNED MEDIA: More here.

Important thread from @Sifill_LDF on the Supreme Court’s #Comcast ruling and its harmful impact on our civil rights. https://t.co/Ca0ytuuWtJ

— Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) March 23, 2020

IN THE STATES

JANE CLEMENTI WRITES ON THE IMPORTANCE OF OPPOSING ANTI-TRANSGENDER BILLS IN STATE LEGISLATURES: “Not only is it wrong for elected officials to try to dictate and control the very personal journey that trans youth face, but it is also incredibly harmful for them to hear their unique identities discussed and codified as if something is wrong with them,” writes Clementi (@ClementiJane), the co-founder and chief executive of the Tyler Clementi Foundation (@TylerClementi). Read the full letter to the editor at The New York Times.

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

100-YEAR-OLD POLISH ACTOR WITOLD SADOWY COMES OUT AS GAY: “For me, the most important thing is the survival of the truth,” Sadowy said. More from The Advocate.

LGBTQ AND ALLIED ACTORS AND PERFORMERS CAME TOGETHER FOR A BENEFIT ON THE ROSIE O’DONNELL SHOW: More from Towleroad.

Love seeing @KChenoweth on The Rosie O’Donnell Show wearing our “everyone” t-shirt! �� pic.twitter.com/hqduE1tFfQ

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 23, 2020

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

HRC EXPLAINS FIVE WAYS COVID-19 IS IMPACTING GLOBAL LGBTQ ADVOCACY: More from HRC.

READING RAINBOW - Bookmark now to read on your lunch break!

AP Stylebook shares a new topical guide to assist with and help guide coverage of COVID-19; The Advocate interviews Drag Race’s Rock M. Sakura (@RockMSakura) on social distancing, the experience of being on Drag Race and ways to support drag performers (warning -- spoilers at link!)

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!


“Remaining Home in Faith”: Finding Resilience and Faith in Times of Uncertainty

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 19:17

On Saturday evening, HRC hosted a virtual interfaith service, titled “Remaining Home in Faith: An Interfaith Prayer Service,” as a part of its “Coming Home to Faith: A Search for Common Ground” tour. The tour aims to work to establish common ground with prominent houses of worship and faith traditions across the country. 

The current and necessary practice of social distancing during the COVID-19 global health crisis is difficult for many people, but can be especially hard for the LGBTQ community. Many of us are facing this crisis while also grappling with other incredible hardships, from being isolated from chosen family and friends who acknowledge and affirm our identities, to facing the loss of income, jobs, housing and other living necessities. Faith can be a source of comfort for many during difficult times, and as people are no longer able to visit their places of worship in person, this virtual service was a time for LGBTQ people of faith and allies to come together and find community in a welcoming setting. 

Faith and community leaders from many different religious traditions and backgrounds came together for the virtual service, including HRC President Alphonso David; Senior Minister Carmarion Anderson; Ret. Bishop Gene Robinson; Rabbi Denise Eger; Rev. Michelle Higgins; Pastor Josh Scott; Imam Abdullah Antepli; Candidate for Ordination J.J. Warren; and HRC Foundation Religion & Faith Program Director Michael Vazquez. 

The words of faith and community leaders such as Toni Morrison, Howard Thurman, Rev. Pauli Murray, Maya Angelou and Thomas Merton were also featured prominently in the service, as were passages from scripture. Speakers also discussed themes such as water and the washing of hands, cultivating resilience and perseverance during times of adversity, finding hope through relationships with faith, friends and family and recognizing the power and dignity of the LGBTQ community. 

The virtual service was grounded in the reminder that we are not alone, and that we can find strength, resilience and hope during this difficult time both through our faith and in the knowledge that the LGBTQ giants who have come before us have shown us a way forward. 

During the service, HRC President Alphonso David said: 

“I look at the giants who came before us -- footsoldiers for justice like Harvey Milk, Bayard Rustin, Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and countless others -- who wrestled with discrimination and oppression, and a government who did not care about their lives or our lives. These leaders drew strength from each other in the face of incredible obstacles and went on to elevate and validate our communities, and built a framework for a more equal nation. 

“Their practice was justice. Their practice was resilience. Their practice was love. Every day, they decided to start again; every day, they made their communities and the world a little better, more joyful, and more free. It is this practice that I call on all of us to embrace anew.” 

During this difficult time, HRC is dedicated to providing resources to the LGBTQ community, and creating spaces where the LGBTQ community can come together and support each other. For more of what HRC is doing around this crisis, click here


Virtual Volunteering With HRC

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 15:09

While there is much uncertainty about what lies ahead in the coming weeks and months for our country, one thing the COVID-19 crisis has made even more clear is the stakes of the election this November could not be higher. HRC’s work to defeat Donald Trump is already underway and we need your help more than ever.

Here are five actions you can take immediately to ensure Trump is replaced by a pro-equality president:

1. Join Our Virtual HRC "Team"
Studies show friend-to-friend contact is as much as 9x more effective than traditional outreach for calls to action like voting. That’s why HRC is launching our new advocacy app, ‘TEAM’. By downloading this app, you can directly engage your own personal contacts via SMS text, email, and social media about the pro-equality issues they care about. Friend-to-friend outreach allows HRC supporters like you to engage in meaningful conversations as trusted messengers with your networks and move those who may not already be involved with HRC to take actions like sharing videos and social content, to recruiting HRC members and volunteers, and promoting virtual volunteer events. Sign up today! go.JoinTeam.com/HRC

2. Promote HRC's Election and Voting Resources
Visit HRC.org/Election2020 to:

  1. Pledge to get three friends to vote.
  2. Join HRC’s mobile action network to confirm your voter registration status and receive information about volunteer opportunities.
  3. Recruit individuals from your networks to become members of HRC.

In the coming weeks and months, this site will be updated with additional actions people can take as well as a series of online trainings we developed to prepare people to engage in HRC’s electoral work remotely.

3. "Operation Swing State"
Our staff has identified a set of states that will be pivotal to the outcome of the Election where we need to build capacity now. By joining, you will receive regular updates and routine voter contact opportunities including our weekly recurring volunteer virtual phone bank into these states. Starting now, every Tuesday through the Election, HRC staff and volunteers are calling into Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to help our on-the-ground organizing staff identify and mobilize HRC members and Equality Voters to get engaged in this year. Support and training will be provided via email, webinar, and phone or text message by HRC staff. Please sign up to join our ‘Swing State Squad’ now: HRC.im/SwingStateSquad

4. Sign Up For Virtual Volunteer Shifts
HRC is transitioning many in-person volunteer opportunities to virtual or remote events on Community Hub, our volunteer engagement platform. Community Hub requires all prospective volunteers to complete a brief application and in turn, shows them opportunities to get engaged in our volunteer communities. We will be rolling out more virtual actions you take over the coming days and weeks. Check out and bookmark the event page: HRC.im/VolunteerShifts

5. Join or Renew Your Membership
Support HRC and our organizing work by joining or renewing your membership this year and inviting friends to join as members for as little as $5. If you are not able to volunteer right now--your membership ensures we can still communicate with you about our work and you can help support the infrastructure HRC has built to deliver change on Election Day.


Five Ways COVID-19 Impacts Global LGBTQ Advocacy

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 10:58

COVID-19 continues to disrupt everyday work life for a growing majority of Americans. As an advocate for global LGBTQ equality, that disruption feels even more acute, with the rapid spread of the virus to 159 countries and the ever-evolving restrictions on international travel and in-country movement. 

While connecting with people around the world today has never been easier, the work of global LGBTQ advocacy often requires bringing people together beyond borders. This is particularly the case for those living in places where the fight for rights is already difficult and the need for engaging with international allies has great impact. 

How do LGBTQ advocates recognize the ways COVID-19 is impacting that work and support those feeling the crunch, even as they continue to safeguard gains made, push back against anti-LGBTQ agendas and care for their community and own well-being? 

Here are five ways COVID-19 is impacting global LGBTQ advocacy:

1. Harder to support the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community: For many global advocates, their work begins locally by supporting their community members. Yet in communities that are quarantined, serving the most vulnerable becomes more difficult. 

Huang Haojie, director at Wuhan LGBT Center in China, recently told CNN about challenges faced by people living with HIV who are facing barriers in getting their medications. Across the Middle East, groups are finding ways to reach community members trapped with abusive families or struggling with isolation under lockdowns.

2. More difficult to carry out programs, be visible and raise funds: LGBTQ organizations around the world rely on delivering programs for support from donors and, often, increasing visibility to educate the public about their needs and secure new members, supporters and allies. 

COVID-19 is forcing organizations around the world to cancel meetings and events. Not hosting in-person celebrations on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB) on May 17 and Pride in June may mean less donor and community support, especially as governments and donors turn their resources toward responding to COVID-19 and saving local economies.

3. Fewer chances to safely and securely connect: While everyone sees the current ability to connect through screens, there is still nothing like face-to-face contact. Cancellation of convenings like HRC’s Global Innovative Advocacy Summit means fewer chances for LGBTQ advocates to be in the same room with each other and have deep discussions about their work and lessons-learned. 

Connecting in physical spaces builds trust and security that virtual spaces cannot always do. With the loss of access to physical workspaces and community centers and the lack of access to secure broadband internet, advocates may not always feel comfortable working and talking about LGBTQ issues at home and online.

4. Greater opportunities for governments to restrict freedoms, not be held accountable: As more governments declare local and national emergencies in response to the pandemic, they are restricting movement and association. As the International Center for Not-for-profit Law noted, “Governments can use a crisis as a pretext to infringe rights.” New government powers can easily have a negative impact on LGBTQ people. For example, China’s use of surveillance technology to track citizen movements could easily track LGBTQ people. 

Global advocacy gatherings like the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Reviews (UPR) gives advocates opportunities to hold their governments accountable to human rights obligations. HRC planned to support the advocacy efforts of Global Alumni at the UPR pre-sessions in Geneva before its cancellation.

5. Risks of burnout, need for self-care: During normal times for global advocates, it is already hard being on the frontlines everyday. Now, it can be even harder and more isolating as we lose our sense of normalcy, financial security and health and well-being. With a greater risk of exhaustion, there’s even more need for self-care at this time. 

We all should recognize the extraordinary work advocates around the world are doing and give the space, time and resources to take a break and take care of their own physical and mental health.

HRC continues to find meaningful ways to engage with our international partners and the global advocacy community, bring the community together virtually and spread LGBTQ equality around the world. As we do this, we invite you to join us by acknowledging the new realities of global LGBTQ advocates and continuing to support our movement’s work.

For more information about HRC’s work around the world, subscribe to our newsletter and visit hrc.org/Global


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: March 23, 2020

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 10:36

HRC RELEASES RESEARCH BRIEF ON THE UNIQUE VULNERABILITIES OF THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS: The research brief outlined health and economic risks facing the LGBTQ community. “We are facing a global public health crisis, and as in all emergencies, the most marginalized are at increased risk,” said HRC President Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid). “It is important to know and understand the unique impact of the virus on the LGBTQ community so that we can prepare to weather this crisis as we have weathered crises before -- by uniting as a community and helping those in greatest need.” More from HRC, The Advocate, Forbes and New York Daily News

  • David also joined MSNBC to discuss HRC’s new report and how the LGBTQ community is at increased risk during this global health crisis. Watch here

“LGBTQ communities are unfortunately disproportionately impacted here.”

On @MSNBC, @HRC President @AlphonsoDavid talked about the unique way #Covid19 impacts the LGBTQ community — economically and health wise. pic.twitter.com/0fYb0bHyjY

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 21, 2020

HRC MOURNS MONIKA DIAMOND, BLACK TRANS WOMAN KILLED IN NORTH CAROLINA: HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Monika Diamond, a 34-year-old Black transgender woman and business owner killed in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 18. Through her work, Diamond spent her adult life creating community and spaces for LGBTQ people in Charlotte and beyond to come together and celebrate their lives. She was a chosen mother to countless. Diamond’s death is believed to be the fourth violent death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2020. More from HRC

MUST-READ MONDAY --  EDUCATING BI+ YOUTH ON HEALTH AND COMMUNITY DURING BISEXUAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH: HRC Youth Ambassador and 21-year-old activist Nakiya Lynch knows how important it is to ensure that bi+ youth and young adults understand the health risks and realities facing the bi+ community. “It’s so important to uplift trans bi+ youth,” says Lynch. More from HRC

Bi+ people can be resilient and work to overcome hardships in health care settings and beyond by being visible and sharing stories. That’s what @HRC Youth Ambassador Nakiya Lynch aims to do in their work every day. #BiHealthMonth https://t.co/1T8YDonmHm

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 22, 2020

LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST HHS PROPOSAL TO GUT NON-DISCRIMINATION PROTECTIONS FOR LGBTQ AMERICANS: The proposed rule issued by the Trump administration in November would reverse a 2016 Obama-era rule prohibiting discrimination in HHS-funded grant programs and permit federally funded organizations to turn people away claiming conflicts with religious beliefs. More from Julie Moreau (@JEMoreau) from NBC.

LEADING INTO THE FUTURE: CELEBRATING WOMEN LEADERS THIS WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: Launched in advance of the 2018 midterms, HRC’s Women LEAD initiative brings together members of our HRC family from across the country to strengthen and elevate the impact of women and people across marginalized genders in the HRC community. “HRC Women LEAD launched in advance of the 2018 midterms because we knew when women organize, advocate and lead -- we all win,” said HRC Development Director Maya Rao. More from HRC

BUILDING INCLUSIVITY CONTINUES AS SCHOOLS TRANSITION ONLINE: Daily Voice Plus’ Donna Christopher reports how lessons on inclusivity shouldn’t end as schools move into virtual or remote teaching. Parents and educators can access a number of resources and projects available and free online, including from HRC Foundation’s own Welcoming Schools, to continue building inclusive environments. More from Daily Voice Plus

NATIVE COMMUNITIES LIVING WITH HIV ARE FACING INCREASED RISKS FROM COVID-19: More from HRC.

Today is National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, and in these uncertain times, it’s important that those in Native communities living with HIV understand their increased risks and take the necessary precautions against #COVID19. #NNHAAD https://t.co/74zxGoGove

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 20, 2020

STILL FIGHTING HARD -- SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (@EWARREN) DROPS IN ON HRC’S VIRTUAL EQUALITY CONVENTION: More from HRC

Look who showed up! ���� Thank you @ewarren for taking the time to check in with our members and volunteers during our virtual Equality Convention and of course for always being a fierce supporter of equality. https://t.co/r04wLMJfnq

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 20, 2020

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

A WEIGHT OFF MY SHOULDER -- ARGENTINA’S FIRST OPENLY GAY BASKETBALL PLAYER SEBASTIAN VEGA ON COMING OUT: More from Reuters

READING RAINBOW - Bookmark now to read on your lunch break!

The Philadelphia Sunday spotlights how Kendall Stephens is creating positive change in the Philly LGBTQ community; NewNowNext shares queer-themed videos and content to watch on YouTube during social distancing 

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!


HRC Mourns Monika Diamond, Black Trans Woman Killed in North Carolina

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 15:58

HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Monika Diamond, a 34-year-old Black transgender woman and business owner killed in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 18. Diamond’s death is believed to be the fourth violent death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2020

Diamond was active in the Charlotte LGBTQ and nightlife community and was the co-owner and founder of Ncphyne Promotion Company LLC, an event promotion company that is about to honor its 10th anniversary, according to its Facebook page. She also was the co-CEO of the International Mother of the Year Pageantry System -- a pageant that honors LGBTQ mothers. 

Through her work, Diamond spent her adult life creating community and spaces for LGBTQ people in Charlotte and beyond to come together and celebrate their lives. She was a chosen mother to countless. She was a business owner, a loving friend and she did not deserve to have her life taken from her. 

WBTV reports that Charlotte police and paramedics responded to a call about a disturbance, where they were met by a group of people who noted a woman, Diamond, was experiencing shortness of breath. After Diamond was placed in an ambulance, she was shot several times. No additional people were harmed in the shooting. Prentice Bess, 34, has been arrested for the shooting and faces a charge of murder.

There is an epidemic of violence against the transgender and non-binary community, and especially against Black transgender women. In November 2019, ahead of Transgender Day of Remembrance, HRC Foundation released “A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in America in 2019,” a heartbreaking report honoring the trans people killed and detailing the contributing and motivating factors that lead to this tragic violence. Sadly, 2019 saw at least 26 transgender or gender non-conforming people fatally shot or killed by other violent means. We say at least because too often these stories go unreported -- or misreported.

There are currently very few explicit federal legal protections for transgender or gender-expansive people. Transgender and gender non-conforming people in North Carolina are not explicitly protected in employment, housing or in public spaces, and they are not covered under the state’s hate crimes legislation. Nationally, despite some marginal gains in state and local policies that support and affirm transgender people, recent years have been marked by anti-LGBTQ attacks at all levels of government. 

We must demand better from our elected officials and reject harmful anti-transgender legislation appearing at the local, state and federal levels because it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color. The intersections of racism, transphobia, sexism, biphobia and homophobia conspire to deprive them of necessities to live and thrive.

HRC will continue to hold the Trump-Pence administration and all elected officials who fuel the flames of hate accountable at the ballot box. 

This epidemic of violence that disproportionately targets transgender people of color -- particularly Black transgender women -- must cease.

For more information about HRC’s transgender justice work, visit hrc.org/Transgender.


HRC Releases Research Brief on the Vulnerabilities of the LGBTQ Community During the COVID-19 Crisis

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 14:41

Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation published a research brief outlining health and economic risks faced by the LGBTQ community during the COVID-19 public health crisis. This brief provides critical data for policymakers and community advocates working to address the health and safety needs of the community during this crisis.

“We are facing a global public health crisis, and as in all emergencies, the most marginalized are at increased risk,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Many in the LGBTQ community may lack the resources to effectively combat COVID-19, lacking access to paid sick leave or living without health coverage, and are more likely to work in an industry that has been most affected by the pandemic, putting them in greater economic jeopardy or increasing their exposure to the virus. It is also critical to understand the challenges facing the LGBTQ young person who has been sent home from school to face family rejection or the LGBTQ senior who is more likely to be living alone during this crisis. It is important to know and understand the unique impact of the virus on the LGBTQ community so that we can prepare to weather this crisis as we have weathered crises before -- by uniting as a community and helping those in greatest need.”

Last week, HRC joined public health officials and coalition partners at the National LGBT Cancer Network, GLMA and other organizations in outlining our concerns and laying out specific steps to minimize any disparity for the LGBTQ community and individuals living with HIV. 

LGBTQ people are more vulnerable to the health risks of the virus. They are less likely to have health coverage, are more likely to smoke and have asthma, and have a variety of chronic illnesses:

  • 17% of LGBTQ people lack health coverage;
  • One in five LGBTQ people have not seen a doctor when they needed to because they couldn’t afford it;
  • 37% of LGBTQ adults smoke every day compared to 27% of non-LGBTQ people;
  • 21% of LGBTQ people have asthma, compared to 14% of non-LGBTQ people;

LGBTQ people are more likely to work jobs in highly affected industries, often with more exposure and/or higher economic sensitivity to the COVID-19 crisis:

  • One in five LGBTQ people live in poverty and 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ;
  • The top 5 industries that LGBTQ adults work in are industries heavily impacted by COVID-19, affecting more than 5 million LGBTQ workers or 40% of LGBTQ workers (compared to 22% of non-LGBTQ individuals working in those industries);
  • A disproportionate number of LGBTQ people work in restaurants (15%) compared to their non-LGBTQ peers (6%) and the median wage in 2018 for food preparation and service occupations is $11.09 per hour;
  • Only 29% of respondents to HRC Foundation’s 2018 LGBTQ Paid Leave Survey said their employer offers paid leave specifically for medical reasons and that they were eligible to use it.

Further, given the severity of this pandemic, HRC has taken steps to protect the health and safety of our staff, members, volunteers, supporters and all those who are fighting so hard to advance equality and build a better world for all of us. Specifically, HRC will, among other things, cancel or postpone all of our public events, including our gala dinners in Nashville on March 14, Los Angeles on March 28 and Houston on April 4. HRC will instead host volunteers and board members from across the country for a virtual Equality Convention on Friday, March 20. Find a full list of all of HRC’s efforts and resources at this link. Read the full brief here.


#AM_Equality Tipsheet: March 20, 2020

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 10:28

OUR HISTORY HAS PREPARED US FOR THIS -- A MESSAGE FROM HRC PRESIDENT ALPHONSO DAVID (@AlphonsoDavid) ON COVID-19: The LGBTQ community has known adversity. In fact, we have drawn much of our strength and power from times of great uncertainty. As we have time and again, we must raise our voices together to fight for our community, to lift each other up and to vote out those who are not protecting us. More from HRC

MAJOR HEALTH, EDUCATION AND CHILD WELFARE ORGANIZATIONS OPPOSE STATE-BASED LEGISLATION TARGETING TRANS YOUTH, LGBTQ COMMUNITY: The letter is released as Idaho passes two anti-transgender bills that attack youth in sports and transgender Idahoans seeking to update their birth certificates. “Harmful legislation, such as the torrent of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced across the country, deeply affect youth-serving professionals’ ability to do their job -- caring for America’s young people,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “The letter released today underscores the widespread professional and public opposition to anti-LGBTQ legislation and clearly warns states that LGBTQ discrimination will harm states’ education, health care and child welfare.” More from HRC and Metro Weekly

Amidst a pandemic spreading throughout our nation, Idaho lawmakers are choosing to focus their attention NOT on the health and safety of their constituents, but instead on attacking trans people. https://t.co/zI6vbuxypx

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 18, 2020

ON SATURDAY -- HRC TO HOST VIRTUAL INTERFAITH PRAYER SERVICE: HRC will host a virtual interfaith service, titled “Remaining Home in Faith: An Interfaith Prayer Service,” as a part of its “Coming Home to Faith: A Search for Common Ground” tour. The service, which will be hosted on Zoom on Saturday evening and posted publicly by HRC on Sunday, comes as HRC canceled or postponed all of its public events through the weekend of April 4 in light of the current global health crisis.

  • If you would like to RSVP to attend the virtual prayer service, please email your full name, outlet affiliation, role and cell phone number to Madeleine Roberts at madeleine.roberts@hrc.org.

FEEL FOOD FRIDAY -- ACTOR LACHLAN WATSON SHARES A POWERFUL MESSAGE TO LGBTQ YOUTH: More from HRC

Lachlan Watson, best known for their role on @sabrinanetflix, received the HRC Visibility Award at our Arizona Gala Dinner. Thank you for being an advocate for the non-binary and trans community both on and off screen! ��️‍�� pic.twitter.com/KaoEttzjhf

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 19, 2020

VIRGINIA VALUES ACT MAKING LGBTQ HISTORY IN THE SOUTH: Virginia Values Act is on its way to the governor’s desk to become law. Once this bill is enacted, Virginia will be the first state in the South to have non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, the first state in more than a decade to add sexual orientation and gender identity to existing non-discrimination law and the first state since 1993 to add a prohibition on discrimination in public accommodations where none existed before. More from HRC

  • Opponents of equality are threatening to gut reforms that would protect all Virginians from discrimination. Take action in support of the bill here.

NEWNOWNEXT’S KATE SOSIN WRITES ON WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE TRANS AND NEED TO GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM: Sosin (@shoeleatherkate) shares advice from Dr. Nick Gorton (@RNickGorton), a trans ER doctor and primary care physician at Lyon-Martin Health Services in San Francisco, and Dallas Ducar (@DallasDucar), a clinical lead for mental health services at the Massachusetts General Hospital Transgender Health Program. More from NewNowNext

LGBTQ COMMUNITY MAY BE “PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE” TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC: More from Louisville Courier Journal’s Savannah Eadens (@SavannahEadens) in USA Today.

GET CULTURED - Entertainment, arts and sports news!

GAY TIMES SPOTLIGHTS BIG FREEDIA (@bigfreedia), HER IMPACT IN THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY AND THE MUSIC INDUSTRY: More from Sam Damshenas (@samdamshenas) at Gay Times.

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

STATE DEPARTMENT REPORT GIVES FRAGMENTED OVERVIEW OF ONGOING HOSTILITY AND VIOLENCE FACED BY LGBTQ PEOPLE ACROSS THE GLOBE: The annual State Department’s Human Rights Report reveals a broad picture of LGBTQ abuses across the globe yet also omits anti-LGBTQ abuses in several countries including Russia, Egypt and Brazil. More from Council for Global Equality

COVID-19 LOCKDOWN EXPOSES LGBTQ PEOPLE TO FAMILY ABUSE IN THE MIDDLE EAST: More from Reuters

READING RAINBOW - Bookmark now to read on your lunch break!

Metro shares that Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness (@jvn) is being creative during social distancing, reveals a DIY TV station starring his cat Harry Larry; NewNowNext shares 11 queer books to read by LGBTQ authors or featuring LGBTQ characters; Vulture highlights artist Salman Toor (@Salmantoor)

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!


Educating Bi+ Youth on Health and Community During Bisexual Health Awareness Month

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 10:23

HRC Youth Ambassador and 21-year-old activist Nakiya Lynch knows how important it is to ensure bi+ youth and young adults understand the health risks and realities facing the bi+ community. 

As someone who works at the Department of Social Services in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and advocates to make sure LGBTQ people are educated on topics like sexual health, they do education and outreach  every day. 

“Education is extremely important for all queer people,” says Lynch. “There’s so much … general ignorance about [sex education] that it hinders queer people from learning important things.” 

As a result of bias, biphobia and erasure, bi+ people face worse health disparities than their gay, lesbian and straight peers, with higher rates of mood disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders, cancers and more. Those numbers are even more alarming among bisexual transgender and non-binary people, people of color or people with disabilities. Bi+ people are also less likely to be out to their health care providers

The lack of knowledge about different bi+ identities (meaning bisexual, pansexual, queer and fluid identities) is widespread, even among bi+ people themselves, as is a multitude of negative stereotypes. Whether Lynch is chatting with friends in casual conversations, or speaking with the kids they work with, the topic of bi+ identities often comes up. 

“There’s so much controversy about what it means to be bi+,” explains Lynch. “But it’s usually all coming from non-bi+ people tryna’ tell us about our identities! We lack the ability to tell our stories without immediately being told we’re wrong about our own experiences.”

Uplifting the stories of bi+ people is one way to push back against negative rhetoric, and lifting up the voices of bi+ trans youth is especially important. HRC Foundation’s recent Bi+ Youth Report found that 58% of transgender and gender-expansive youth identify as bi+. Lynch, who is genderqueer and panromantic asexual, understands firsthand why supporting youth at the intersections of those identities is key.

“It’s so important to uplift trans bi+ youth,” says Lynch. “It’s so easy to feel invalid if you’re queer and trans at the same time, but it’s also so wonderful! It’s important that everyone knows that there’s no limit on how queer you’re ‘allowed’ to be! … You only have one life, [so] you have to spend it being yourself and surrounded by people who celebrate that.” 

Another way to push back against negative stereotypes about bi+ people is through the many actors, musicians, athletes and influencers who are coming out as bi+. Their visibility offers bi+ youth more chances to see themselves reflected, and to discover who they are. One of Lynch’s favorite bi+ icons is Janelle Monáe.

“She was the first R&B artist that I actually saw myself in,” said Lynch. “It meant a lot to be that she wasn’t afraid to be herself unapologetically.” 

The theme of this year’s Bi Health Month is resilience. To Lynch, “resilience means that you continue to live. Despite everything, you continue to live the life…that makes you the most happy.” 

Bi+ people can be resilient and work to overcome hardships in health care settings and beyond by being visible and sharing stories, and that’s exactly what Lynch aims to do in their work every day.


LEADing into the Future: Celebrating Women LEADers this Women’s History Month

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 16:03

Launched in advance of the 2018 midterms, HRC’s Women LEAD initiative brings together members of our HRC family from across the country to strengthen and elevate the impact of women and all marginalized genders in the HRC community.

This year, in advance of the most pivotal election of our lifetimes, HRC held its first Women LEAD summit to gather a national community of LEADers for a series of trainings, workshops and community building.

“HRC Women LEAD launched in advance of the 2018 midterms because we knew when women organize, advocate and lead - we all win. And it'll be because of women that we see a similar force for change in 2020 and beyond,” explained HRC’s Development Director Maya Rao. “The timing of the inaugural HRC Women LEAD Summit was intentional. We wanted to kick off the new year and 2020 alongside the women who are championing equality in their communities across the country."

The summit weekend featured special guest speakers, personal leadership advancement and opportunities to build community among LEADers at HRC through spirited discussion, practical insights and impactful networking.

Speakers and panels included an opening plenary with the Honorable Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General and a 2020 panel with JoDee Winterhof, HRC’s Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs; Lynne Bowman, HRC’s Deputy Campaign Director; Rebecca Marques, HRC’s Texas State Director who outlined HRC’s path ahead to taking back the White House and key state elections.

The summit also featured a conversation on the importance of women in elected office and the changing landscape of women in politics. Participants included Winterhof, HRC’s National Press Secretary Sarah McBride, Texas Representative Julie Johnson and Vice President of Minneapolis City Council Andrea Jenkins.

“From city government to national office, pro-equality women are running for office at all levels across the country, and it is mission critical to support these HRC endorsed candidates,” said McBride. “The inaugural HRC Women LEAD Summit highlighted the importance of women in elected office and provided the tools and resources necessary to support women candidates up and down the ballot.”

HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow led a session on how HRC is working to combat attacks on LGBTQ equality at home and around the world through legislatures and the courts.The summit also featured a panel on how best to support to support transgender youth and strategies for cultivating greater acceptance and inclusion for transgender children led by Ellen Kahn, HRC’s Senior Director of Programs and Partnerships.

Participants left the weekend firmly rooted in the HRC community with new tools in their path to personal leadership and advocacy.

The stakes are higher than ever before, and HRC Women LEAD is a concentrated effort to engage and activate equality-minded folks to take up the fight for inclusive LGBTQ equality with renewed energy and force. At this pivotal moment in history, women and people across marginalized genders and of all backgrounds are coming together more than ever to unify their voices for change.


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