Around the Nation – LGBT Weekly http://lgbtweekly.com Sat, 27 Aug 2016 19:30:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Federal judge blocks UNC from enforcing discriminatory provision of anti-LGBTQ HB2 law http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/27/federal-judge-blocks-unc-from-enforcing-discriminatory-provision-of-anti-lgbtq-hb2-law/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/27/federal-judge-blocks-unc-from-enforcing-discriminatory-provision-of-anti-lgbtq-hb2-law/#respond Sat, 27 Aug 2016 19:30:07 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73412

A federal judge has suspended enforcement of one of the discriminatory provisions of North Carolina’s HB2 law until plaintiffs have an opportunity to fully make their case in court. U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder blocked the University of North Carolina (UNC) from enforcing the provision which prevents transgender people from using restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity on UNC property.

“Even though UNC had already stated its intention not to enforce HB2, Judge Schroeder’s decision to block the deeply discriminatory provision guarantees that the student plaintiffs will not face negative consequences when exercising their right to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Instead of wasting tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars trying to defend the indefensible, Governor McCrory and state lawmakers should be working towards fully repealing HB2. They should be spending time working on improving education and growing jobs, not defending HB2 and inflicting further harm on the people, reputation, and economy of North Carolina.”

“Today’s decision is an important step toward rectifying the harm HB2 has done to North Carolina — specifically the LGBTQ people that call North Carolina home,” said Equality NC Director of Advancement Matt Hirschy. “Judge Schroeder’s decision confirms that HB2 is a blatant attack on the transgender community. The preliminary injunction will provide much-needed relief to the brave plaintiffs, and we are confident that this is just the beginning in an unfortunately long journey towards a full repeal of the worst anti-LGBTQ law in the nation.”

While the University had declared that they did not intend to enforce the provisions of HB2 that would put UNC in violation of its own non-discrimination policies as well as federal civil rights law, they then faced flagrant violation of state law, which could have adverse consequences on precisely the students the University was trying to protect.

In the reasoning for issuing the injunction, Judge Schroeder wrote, “Unless and until UNC openly defies the law, the signs that UNC posts on its bathrooms, showers, and other similar facilities render transgender individuals who use facilities that match their gender identities trespassers, thus exposing them to potential punishment (certainly by other authorities, if not by UNC). In addition, if the trespasser is a student, he or she is subject to discipline under one of UNC’s student codes of conduct, which generally prohibit students from violating federal, State, or local laws.”

This preliminary injunction is an early step in a complex case that brings equal protection claims and due process claims, in addition to the allegations that HB2 violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

In the more than five months since Governor McCrory and state lawmakers rammed HB2 into law, the economic fallout has continued to grow as companies concerned with protecting their consumers and employees have moved conventions, trainings, operations, productions, and other events out of state. With a recent decision by the NBA to move the 2017 All-Star Game out of the state due to the hostile environment created by HB2, the Tar Heel State lost out on an estimated 100 million dollars in All-Star Game related profits, on top of the at least $329.9 million already lost in business and taxpayer funds used to defend the discriminatory measure. The economic consequences of HB2 continue to mount, and more than 200 major CEOs and business leaders have signed an open letter calling for full repeal of HB2, including many of North Carolina’s largest employers.

Despite the widespread opposition to HB2, the North Carolina General Assembly adjourned its short session in July after refusing to repeal the law, and it is not scheduled to reconvene until January — leaving tens of thousands of people at risk of discrimination and harm over the months to come. Making only one tweak to the law, the General Assembly has been unwilling to even consider repealing the substance of HB2, including its provision targeting transgender people, and its removal of municipalities’ ability to pass LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination laws and minimum wage ordinances.

To date, there are five separate legal cases surrounding HB2. In May, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed its own suit in federal court, stating that HB2’s state-mandated discrimination against transgender people, including government workers and students, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1965, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and the Violence Against Women Act of 2011. Joined by 68 major companies, HRC filed an amicus brief in support of DOJ’s effort to block some of the most egregious and discriminatory components of HB2.

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HRC: Trump’s courting of hate movement dangerous to LGBTQ people http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/26/hrc-trumps-courting-of-hate-movement-dangerous-to-lgbtq-people/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/26/hrc-trumps-courting-of-hate-movement-dangerous-to-lgbtq-people/#respond Fri, 26 Aug 2016 19:08:34 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73406

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released the following statement ahead of Hillary Clinton’s speech addressing Donald Trump’s campaign of prejudice, paranoia and bigotry.

“Donald Trump has built an entire campaign based on division, fear and undermining equality,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Trump has threatened to undo crucial protections for LGBTQ people in the U.S. and around the globe, and courted the votes of anti-equality extremists. It’s also important to remember that the LGBTQ community is as diverse as the fabric of our nation. We are women and immigrants and Latinos and African Americans and people of all faiths — and Donald Trump’s campaign of hate has become a danger to us all.”

Donald Trump has embraced an anti-LGBTQ agenda from the start — opposing marriage equality and embracing laws that threaten the fundamental equality of LGBTQ people in their homes, schools and communities. He further doubled down on his opposition to equality by putting Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on the ticket. Pence became a national disgrace in 2015, for his “license to discriminate” bill that could have allowed businesses to deny service to LGBTQ people.

Over the last several months, Donald Trump has only burnished his anti-LGBTQ credentials. Last week, Trump was endorsed by James Dobson, who founded two of the most notorious anti-equality organizations in the nation: Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, which has since been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Dobson linked the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., with “turning our back on God” and the “redefinition” of marriage.” Dobson has said that same-sex marriage is the “fall of Western civilization itself” and was part of a “master plan” for destruction of family. He even suggested marriage equality could lead to a “civil war.” Dobson has called Obama’s transgender student guidelines an effort to “sow chaos” and “impose tyranny.” Trump has also campaigned alongside Tony Perkins — the current leader of the Family Research Council — and is scheduled to speak at his Values Voter Summit on September 9 in Washington, DC.

Just one day after the attack on Pulse nightclub — the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history — Donald Trump bragged on television that he would be a better president for LGBTQ people, despite holding an array of anti-LGBTQ policy positions and selecting Mike Pence as his running mate. On Aug. 12, the two-month anniversary of the Pulse nightclub tragedy, Trump appeared in Orlando

not to meet with victims’ families or pay respects, but to court votes from anti-LGBTQ activists including Liberty Counsel, which supports and defends archaic laws criminalizing homosexuality with harsh punishments around the world, and has condemned President Obama and the U.S. government for speaking out against such laws, saying, “America should not be trying to make that country act in an immoral way.”

In addition to Donald Trump’s own vile views and behavior, Trump Campaign CEO Steve Bannon has launched vile smears against transgender people while he worked for Breitbart News. Trump’s new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway is a former pollster for the National Organization for Marriage who once objected to the inclusion of openly LGBTQ people in the media, saying of one television show that featured a lesbian couple that people, “…don’t want their kids looking at a cartoon with a bunch of lesbian mothers.”

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Presidential Proclamation — Women’s Equality Day, 2016 http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/26/presidential-proclamation-womens-equality-day-2016/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/26/presidential-proclamation-womens-equality-day-2016/#respond Fri, 26 Aug 2016 19:03:14 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73404

Today, Aug. 26 is Women’s Equality Day. A day proclaimed each year by the United States President to commemorate the granting of the vote to women throughout the country. Below is a proclamation by President Barack Obama for Women’s Equality Day 2016.

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Nearly one century ago, with boundless courage and relentless commitment, dedicated women who had marched, advocated, and organized for the right to cast a vote finally saw their efforts rewarded on August 26, 1920, when the 19th Amendment was certified and the right to vote was secured. In the decades that followed, that precious right has bolstered generations of women and empowered them to stand up, speak out, and steer the country they love in a more equal direction. Today, as we celebrate the anniversary of this hard-won achievement and pay tribute to the trailblazers and suffragists who moved us closer to a more just and prosperous future, we resolve to protect this constitutional right and pledge to continue fighting for equality for women and girls.

At every level of society, women are leaders at the forefront of progress. Serving as judges and Members of Congress, setting world records in sports, founding groundbreaking companies, and fighting on the front lines of combat, women continue to tear down barriers and shatter glass ceilings — just as they have done since the founding of our Nation. Yet such progress is not inevitable, and we must keep moving forward on our journey toward equality. In one of my first acts as President, I established the White House Council on Women and Girls to provide a coordinated response to challenges confronted by women and girls, ensuring their concerns and insights are taken into account in our policies and programs. And this year, my Administration hosted the first-ever United State of Women Summit to continue our efforts to underscore the passion, success, and ongoing commitment of advocates dedicated to advancing gender equality and realizing a brighter future for women of all ages.

No woman should earn less than a man for doing the same job — equal pay for equal work should be a fundamental principle of our economy and our democracy. That is why the first bill I signed into law as President was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and why I continue to call on the Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. Women make up roughly half of our workforce, and we need to invest more in affordable, high-quality childcare. We must strengthen paid sick, maternity, and family leave — too many families are forced to make difficult choices between caring for a newborn and receiving a paycheck, or staying home to help a sick child or parent and keeping their job. And we must continue striving for fairness and opportunity when it comes to improving workplace policies, because we know that when women succeed, our economy and our country succeed.

Ensuring all young women can live full and healthy lives is vital to their pursuit of personal and professional goals. Because of the Affordable Care Act, individuals can no longer be charged higher premiums simply for being a woman. But there is still more we can do to reduce discrimination when it comes to women’s health — such as protecting a woman’s right to choose and safeguarding access to sexual and reproductive health services, including abortion. Every person should be able to live and reach for their dreams free from fear of violence: In America, nearly one in four women has suffered physical domestic violence, a cruelty which deprives its victims of their autonomy, liberty, and security, and inhibits them from reaching their full potential. Approximately one in five women is sexually assaulted while in college. Through the It’s On Us campaign and the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault, we have called on individuals, communities, and institutions of higher education to recognize what they can do to stop sexual assault and change our culture for the better. We have striven to support survivors and focused on making sure our schools are safe places where all students can learn, grow, and thrive. Transgender women often face escalated levels of discrimination and violence, and we have taken a number of steps to secure their civil rights, including providing guidance to educators that can help rid school environments of discrimination. The Department of Justice has also urged law enforcement agencies to address any form of gender bias that exists in responding to domestic violence and sexual assault and ensure that such bias does not undermine efforts to keep victims safe.

Underrepresented in management positions, underfunded as entrepreneurs, under-encouraged in STEM fields, and confronted with higher levels of unemployment, women and girls of color still face very real challenges, significant opportunity gaps, and structural barriers. That is why we have hosted forums to discuss ways to increase programming and promote opportunities for women and girls of color so they can achieve success at school, at work, and in their communities. To continue building these ladders of opportunity for women — not just in communities across our country, but also around the world — I have made advancing gender equality a foreign policy priority. My Administration has sought to end gender-based violence across the globe, promote the role of women in ending conflict and building lasting peace and security, and empower the next generation by investing in adolescent girls and breaking down barriers to get 62 million girls into schools through the Let Girls Learn initiative.

In the many decades since suffragists organized and mobilized, countless advocates and leaders have picked up the mantle and moved our Nation and our world forward. Today, young women in America grow up knowing an historic truth — that not only can they cast a vote, but they can also run for office and help shape the very democracy that once left them out. For these women, and for generations of women to come, we must keep building a more equal America — whether through the stories we tell about our Nation’s history or the faces we display on our country’s currency. On Women’s Equality Day, as we recognize the accomplishments that so many women fought so hard to achieve, we rededicate ourselves to tackling the challenges that remain and expanding opportunity for women and girls everywhere.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim August 26, 2016, as Women’s Equality Day. I call upon the people of the United States to celebrate the achievements of women and promote gender equality.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.

BARACK OBAMA

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LGBT media outlet target of hate crime (VIDEO) http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/26/lgbt-media-outlet-target-of-hate-crime-video/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/26/lgbt-media-outlet-target-of-hate-crime-video/#respond Fri, 26 Aug 2016 18:01:28 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73393

A New England LGBT Newspaper and Media Outlet has been the target of a hate crime. A newspaper box belonging to The Rainbow Times was blown up by a group of people around 1.20 a.m. Tuesday.

Seven people were captured on surveillance video placing an unknown device inside the newspaper box , reports CBS Boston. As the suspects run away from the newspaper box, a large explosion can be seen in the video above. According to police, the explosion could be heard up to a mile away.

Gricel Ocasio, co-founder of the publication said, “When I saw the video, there are no words to express how I felt. It was a combination of sadness, anger.” According to Ocasio there have been numerous incidents targeting this box.

Ocasio is not deterred. He has ordered more boxes and vows to keep on publishing. “Everyone should be outraged because this touches on the fabric of everything that we know and every person,” he told CBS. “We are going to continue to be here. We are not scared.”

Identifying this as a hate crime, Salem Police Chief Mary Butler told CBS,“There are clearly other newspaper stands around it and they’re not being touched, so this is a particular, targeted hate crime.”

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New nonpartisan poll shows LGBTQ equality is a winning message http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/25/new-nonpartisan-poll-shows-lgbtq-equality-is-a-winning-message/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/25/new-nonpartisan-poll-shows-lgbtq-equality-is-a-winning-message/#respond Thu, 25 Aug 2016 18:30:28 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73375

A new national poll shows Americans are strongly rejecting laws like North Carolina’s HB2, which targeted transgender people and wrote discrimination into state law.

The national survey released by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute found that only 35 percent support such laws, while 64 percent of Americans oppose them. What’s more, only 30 percent support laws that allow businesses to discriminate and deny service to LGBTQ people because of who they are or whom they love. A majority — 63 percent — are opposed to such laws.

“Targeting LGBTQ people for discrimination isn’t just wrong, it’s a recipe for electoral disaster,” said HRC Communications Director Jay Brown. “From Pat McCrory to Donald Trump, those who somehow still believe it’s acceptable to target LGBTQ people with discriminatory laws that deny us equal treatment under the law are in for a rude awakening in November.”

In key states around the country like North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio and Florida, HRC has found that the number of LGBTQ eligible voters alone exceeds the average margin of victory over the last three presidential elections.

Meanwhile, with support for marriage equality at record highs, HRC’s own polling has also found that a 55 percent majority of voters are less likely to support an anti-equality candidate for president. This includes key swing groups like independents, married women and white millennial voters, all of which reported voting Republican in 2014 exit polling.

The poll from PRRI comes one day after a new poll in North Carolina shows that HB2 is hurting incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory, who trails his Democratic challenger by 9 points — the worst margin of any statewide Republican tested in the poll. Monmouth University reported, “7-in-10 voters (70%) feel the passage of HB2 has been bad for North Carolina’s reputation nationally.  Only 9% say it has been good for the state’s image and just 14% say it has had no impact.”

Last week, the Human Rights Campaign joined Equality North Carolina in endorsing Roy Cooper for Governor of North Carolina, citing McCrory’s refusal to fully repeal #HB2.

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California Legislature passes bill to boost student voter registration http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/25/california-legislature-passes-bill-to-boost-student-voter-registration/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/25/california-legislature-passes-bill-to-boost-student-voter-registration/#respond Thu, 25 Aug 2016 17:27:43 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73366

Voter registrationSAN FRANCISCO, Calif.—The California State Assembly Wednesday passed the Student Voting Act on concurrence, sending the bill to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown. AB 2455, authored by Assemblymembers David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), will increase voter registration and civic engagement among California students by creating an online link between class enrollment and voter registration for the almost three million students in California’s public college and university systems. The bill was the winner of Assemblymember Chiu’s first “There Ought to Be a Law” program and was proposed by two UC Berkeley Law Students, one of whom lives in San Francisco’s Mission District.

“Making it easier for students to register to vote when they enroll for classes is the first step in getting them to the polls,” said Assemblymember Chiu. “Students represent a significant segment of California’s eligible voting population, yet their voices are not being heard in our elections. Young adults face many challenges created by previous generations and need to get involved now to shape their futures.”

The Student Voting Act follows last year’s successful passage of California’s new Motor Voter law, which will automate voter registration for any eligible Californian who interacts with the Department of Motor Vehicles. The infrastructure created under AB 2455 will be the first step towards the establishment of an automated voter registration system for students enrolled at state public college and university campuses. These public educational institutions will serve as an important entry point to register thousands of additional Californians.

The bill builds on current efforts by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and civic engagement advocates to expand online registration within California’s public education systems.

A policy brief issued last year by the UC Davis Center for Regional Change as part of the California Civic Engagement Project highlighted the participation gap for young Californians. In the 2014 general elections, the 18 to 24 year-old population in California had the lowest turnout for all age groups, making up a meager 3.9 percent of those who voted. The turnout problem begins with low registration: only about half of all young people are registered compared with 70 percent registration in other age groups.

“AB 2455 will help empower young voters to participate in the political process and give them a seat at the table in the critical decisions being made in California every day,” said Assemblymember Bonta, a joint author of the bill.

“This measure would mobilize thousands of next-generation voters into our political process,” said contest winner Paul Monge, a Mission District resident and UC Berkeley Law student.

“Today’s students will become tomorrow’s leaders and community members. It is so important to engage them today and ensure access to the polls so that we’ll have a more active and engaged citizenry,” said contest winner Cindy Dinh, who graduated from UC Berkeley Law this spring. . “I am excited to work with Assemblymember Chiu and his staff on this initiative through the ‘There Ought to Be a Law Program.’ I feel that constituents’ concerns and ideas can and do make a difference.

AB 2455 now heads to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown, who will have until September 30 act on it.

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DOL issues regulations ensuring federal contractors comply with LGBTQ non-discrimination protections http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/24/dol-issues-regulations-ensuring-federal-contractors-comply-with-lgbtq-non-discrimination-protections/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/24/dol-issues-regulations-ensuring-federal-contractors-comply-with-lgbtq-non-discrimination-protections/#respond Wed, 24 Aug 2016 18:23:33 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73352

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued final regulations implementing President Obama’s executive order on Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces. Among its provisions, the regulations will help to ensure companies contracting with the federal government comply with non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Thomas Perez

Thomas Perez

“Federal contracts should deliver value for taxpayers in a way that is consistent with our nation’s values,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “Contractors that illegally cut corners at the expense of their workers should not benefit from taxpayer-funded federal contracts. At the same time, employers who meet their legal responsibilities should not have to compete with those who do not. The regulations and guidance we are announcing today seek to ensure a level playing field for contractors and workers alike.”

“With these regulations, the Department of Labor is implementing President Obama’s executive order that helps provide crucial non-discrimination protections to employees of companies contracting with the federal government,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “All workers, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserve to be able to go to work and make a living free from unfair and unjust discrimination. These regulations will level the playing field for companies that play by the rules and know that equal opportunity and non-discrimination protections are good for business. They will also help ensure taxpayer funds are not used to unlawfully discriminate against LGBTQ people.”

In July 2014, President Obama signed the executive order providing additional protections for workers employed by companies doing business with the federal government. By including new evaluation and enforcement mechanisms for reporting and remedying violations of existing labor requirements, that executive order bolstered the impact of the President’s previous landmark executive order that banned discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Companies bidding for federal contracts in excess of $500,000 will be required to publicly report any violations of existing labor laws over the previous three years. Once a company enters into a contract with the federal government, it will also be required to update this public report regarding potential labor law violations every six months for all contracted and subcontracted work. If violations have occurred, the executive order and DOL regulations provide a process for remedial and corrective action.

The regulations also provide additional protections for employees of companies contracting with the federal government. Among these protections, workers can no longer be required to sign arbitration agreements that allow an arbitrator — rather than a judge — to make binding decisions on sexual assault and civil rights complaints.  This requirement preserves the rights of some of the most vulnerable workers and ensures that they will have a right to take formal civil steps to hold companies accountable when they experience these grievances.

While these regulations will help protect employees of companies contracting with the federal government, the existing patchwork of legal protections for LGBTQ people in the United States as a whole leaves millions subject to uncertainty and at risk of discrimination. There is no federal law explicitly protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination, and 31 states still lack fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. That’s why HRC is working with advocates and lawmakers to pass the Equality Act in Congress, as well as strong non-discrimination protections at the state and local levels. The Equality Act would finally guarantee explicit protections for LGBTQ people under our nation’s existing civil rights laws. It would provide clear, permanent, and equal protections under federal law for all Americans in vital areas of life, including employment, access to public spaces, housing, credit, education, jury service, and federally-funded programs.

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HRC Foundation and Whitman-Walker Health release comprehensive transgender sexual health guide http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/24/hrc-foundation-and-whitman-walker-health-release-comprehensive-transgender-sexual-health-guide/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/24/hrc-foundation-and-whitman-walker-health-release-comprehensive-transgender-sexual-health-guide/#respond Wed, 24 Aug 2016 18:08:32 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73343

Safer Sex_TransWASHINGTON – Tuesday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation and Whitman-Walker Health, a community health center with special expertise in LGBTQ and HIV-related care, released Safer Sex for Trans Bodies, a comprehensive sexual health guide for transgender and gender expansive people and their partners. The guide fills a significant gap in inclusive, publicly-available sexual health resources for transgender and gender expansive people.

“Transgender people are too often denied crucial and relevant guidance around sexual health that everyone needs to live healthy, safe and whole lives” said HRC Communications Director Jay Brown. “Transgender health issues, especially those related to sexual health, are all too often stigmatized or completely ignored. Safer Sex for Trans Bodies provides essential information that will help minimize health risks that can develop because of a lack of knowledge.”

This first-of-its kind resource was drafted by HRC and Whitman-Walker Health in consultation with Casa Ruby, Trans United Fund, and TransLatin@ Coalition. It was made possible with support from the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with HRC in creating this important resource for the community,” said Josh Riley, Director of Community Commitment at Whitman-Walker Health. “Too often in healthcare settings, if there is a focus on sexual health at all, it is only explored through the lens of pathology or dysfunction. Sexual health for trans bodies is even less recognized, rendered invisible because of ignorance or stigma.  This new guide emphasizes sexual health, wellness, and exploration, in addition to risk reduction, and will be a valuable tool for trans-identified individuals across the spectrum, as well as their healthcare providers and other allies.”

The guide is written by and for members of the transgender community and offers them a long-overdue resource on potentially life-saving and affirming practices, from respectful terminology and definitions to helpful practices for sexual health following transition-related care. It will be available online and at Whitman-Walker Health’s locations in Washington, D.C. A Spanish-language will be released in the coming months. HRC and Whitman-Walker Health will also host a Facebook Live conversation about transgender health on Wednesday, August 24th at 1 PM Eastern on the HRC Facebook page.

Ruby Corado of Casa Ruby, a bilingual, multicultural organization providing life-saving services and programs to LGBT people in the DC-area, offered her support of the guide. “This publication is critical to support informed decision-making in trans communities that lack access to many resources. Through this guide, providers will have ready access to culturally competent guidance,” Corado said.

Transgender people frequently experience significant barriers to inclusive and competent care.  Last year, the HRC Foundation released a guide for transgender people navigating insurance plans, which often exclude coverage for medically necessary transition-related care. The annual Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), the HRC Foundation’s national benchmarking tool that evaluates health care facilities’ LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices, measures services and treatment of transgender patients.

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California Senate approves resolution urging passage of Federal Equality Act http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/23/california-senate-approves-resolution-urging-passage-of-federal-equality-act/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/23/california-senate-approves-resolution-urging-passage-of-federal-equality-act/#respond Tue, 23 Aug 2016 21:13:54 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73332
David Chiu 4

David Chiu

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—With the nation still mourning the hate-fueled massacre in Orlando, a resolution by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) urging Congress to pass the Equality Act was approved late yesterday by the California State Senate.

Despite the 2015 United States Supreme Court ruling in support of marriage equality, no federal law establishes discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans in areas such as employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, and federal funding. Introduced as House Resolution 3185 by U.S. Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island, the Equality Act provides essential updates to the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex in these areas.  The Act also addresses certain kinds of discrimination still facing women and people of color.

California has a strong record of advancing LGBT civil rights with laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and sex, but equality and acceptance is not universal across our country. In the absence of federal protections, a majority of states currently lack clear nondiscrimination protections for LGBT Americans.

“It is appalling that in 2016, many LGBT Americans still face daily discrimination and remain at risk of being fired or denied services because of who they love and their gender expression,” said Assemblymember Chiu. “We need to encourage a culture of inclusion and equality not segregation. I am glad my Senate colleagues agree it is time for Congress to vote for the Equality Act.”

“When more than 200 pieces of anti-LGBT legislation have been introduced in state legislatures in the past year across the nation, strong statements like AJR 45 are more meaningful than ever,” said Rick Zbur, Executive Director of Equality California. “LGBT people in a majority of states can be fired from their jobs, turned away by doctors when they need care, or evicted from their homes because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and they have no recourse. It is time to pass the federal Equality Act to make sure that all LGBT Americans are protected equally, and that LGBT Californians don’t leave their rights at the border when they leave our state.”

Consistent with California’s history of leading on LGBT civil rights, this AJR calls upon Congress to pass The Equality Act.

AJR 45 has been approved by the California Senate and now heads to the Assembly for concurrence.

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California Legislature passes ‘All-Gender’ Restroom Bill http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/23/california-legislature-passes-all-gender-restroom-bill/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/23/california-legislature-passes-all-gender-restroom-bill/#respond Tue, 23 Aug 2016 18:22:48 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73325

SACRAMENTO, Calif.–The California Legislature passed a bill Monday that would establish the nation’s most inclusive restroom access law. Assembly Bill (AB) 1732 was authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by Equality California, the Transgender Law Center and California National Organization of Women (NOW).  If signed into law, the bill would require single-occupancy restrooms in California businesses, government buildings, and places of public accommodation to be universally accessible to all genders starting March 1, 2017. It cleared the Assembly this afternoon by a bipartisan vote of 55-15 after clearing the Senate on August 18.

“This bill sends a simple message that everyone’s rights must be respected and protected.  It provides a common sense alternative to the hate being enacted in other states,” said Ting.  “Restricting access to single use restrooms defies reason.  It is a basic necessity of life and everyone should get in and out on the same terms.  By signing this bill, Governor Jerry Brown can chart a new course for equality that other states should follow.”

“This is a common sense proposal,” said Rick Zbur, Executive Director of Equality California.  “Our home restrooms are already all-gender.  So are restrooms on airplanes and at many hospitals and gas stations.  The benefits of this simple change will enable all Californians to use restrooms in a way that is more safe, fair, and convenient.”

The vote followed a ruling earlier today by a Texas federal judge preventing the U.S. Department of Education from implementing guidelines requiring school districts to allow transgender students to use restrooms that correspond to their gender identity.

“This law is a simple measure that will make everyone’s lives easier,” said Kris Hayashi, Executive Director of Transgender Law Center.  “Having restrooms open to all genders will mean less hassle for everyone going about their day, and will allow people who don’t fit neatly into expectations of what it looks like to be male or female to use the restroom without fear of harassment.”

“Having access to facilities when they are most needed is important to our health,” said Jerilyn Stapleton, President of California NOW.  “We shouldn’t have to wait or postpone having our needs fairly met in public.  Everyone should experience equal waiting time.  We have universal bathroom access at home and on airplanes so why not require it in public buildings?”

AB 1732 now moves to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature or veto before the end of September.

 

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Juneau Assembly passes LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/23/juneau-assembly-passes-lgbtq-inclusive-non-discrimination-ordinance/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/23/juneau-assembly-passes-lgbtq-inclusive-non-discrimination-ordinance/#respond Tue, 23 Aug 2016 18:15:31 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73321

JUNEAU, Alaska – Monday night, the Juneau Assembly voted 8 to 1 in favor of a city ordinance prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity, along with race, color, age, religion, sex, familial status, disability, or national origin. Juneau is the second major city in Alaska to pass a non-discrimination ordinance protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people, following the Anchorage Assembly’s passage of similar protections in September 2015. Juneau now joins more than 100 cities nationwide and 19 states with similar LGBTQ non-discrimination protections.

LGBTQ equality organizations involved in passing the measure released the following statements:

“This is truly a historic night for Juneau,” said Jenny Jahn, chair of the Southeast Alaska Gay and Lesbian Alliance (SEAGLA). “Our Assembly, lead by Deputy Mayor Jesse Kiehl, made a bold statement supporting equality and fairness in our community. This sends a clear message to Juneau residents, visitors, and those who are considering moving here: in Juneau, you will find a community that respects and values diversity, where you can attain whatever you dream, and where you will be judged based on your character, your behavior and work ethic, not on the color of your skin, your age, or who you love.”

“All Alaskans, including LGBTQ people, deserve to be able to live their lives and raise their families free from unjust and unfair discrimination,” said Marty Rouse, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) National Field Director. “We are incredibly proud to have worked side-by-side with local advocates in Juneau to pass these crucially important non-discrimination protections into law. The incredibly positive and robust discussion proves that Juneau is a welcoming and inclusive community. We are also very thankful for Deputy Mayor Kiehl’s thoughtful leadership in sponsoring this ordinance.”

“Tonight’s vote once again shows that fairness is a Juneau value,” said Joshua A. Decker, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska. “Treating others as we all want to be treated is what Alaska is about. With this strong and fair nondiscrimination ordinance, everyone in Juneau will be able to earn a living and support their families. We were proud to help make this ordinance a reality and were thrilled to be in the Assembly Chambers for tonight’s vote. We heartily congratulate the Assembly and everyone in Juneau.”

At the public hearing for the city ordinance last month, voters expressed nearly unanimous support for the measure. There are no explicit statewide sexual orientation or gender identity non-discrimination protections in Alaska.

Discrimination is a real and persistent problem for too many LGBTQ Americans. HRC polling has found that nearly two-thirds of self-identified LGBTQ Americans report experiencing discrimination. Currently, 50 percent of LGBTQ Americans live in states where they are at risk of being fired, denied housing, or refused service because of who they are. There is no federal law explicitly protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination, and 31 states still lack fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people.

The existing patchwork of legal protections for LGBTQ people in the United States as a whole leaves millions subject to uncertainty and at risk of discrimination. That’s why advocates are working with lawmakers to pass the Equality Act in Congress, as well as strong non-discrimination protections at the state and local levels. The Equality Act would finally guarantee explicit protections for LGBTQ people under our nation’s existing civil rights laws. It would provide clear, permanent, and equal protections under federal law for all Americans in vital areas of life, including employment, access to public spaces, housing, credit, education, jury service, and federally-funded programs.

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Surrogacy Parentage Protection Act passes legislature and heads to governor’s desk http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/23/surrogacy-parentage-protection-act-passes-legislature-and-heads-to-governors-desk/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/23/surrogacy-parentage-protection-act-passes-legislature-and-heads-to-governors-desk/#respond Tue, 23 Aug 2016 15:00:29 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73316

Same-Sex Parents SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Assembly Bill 2349 by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) Monday passed the Assembly on concurrence and now heads to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown. This measure would protect parents of children conceived through surrogacy in California – including many same-sex couples who rely on reproductive assistance to form their families – from having their rights violated outside the state.

AB 2349 would clarify that California’s Superior Courts have jurisdiction over parentage cases arising from gestational surrogacy arrangements. This bill would also make clear that when intended parents are using donated gametes (eggs and/or sperm), the names of these donors need not be revealed in their surrogacy contracts.

“As LGBT civil rights are threatened in other states at an alarming rate, California must continue to lead the nation in protecting all families, including same-sex couples forming their families through assisted reproduction,” said Asm. Chiu “We are helping to ensure that the progressive protections offered in California regarding parentage rights are respected and enforced across state lines.”

Across the nation, and specifically in Alabama and Texas, there have been recent cases where same-sex couples have had to go to court to defend prior judgments regarding their parental rights. In both cases, one issue was whether the court issuing the parentage judgment had appropriate jurisdiction to do so. While California has made great efforts to protect LGBT couples and parents, families interact with many states that remain hostile to lesbian and gay families.

In the midst of the backlash against the Supreme Court’s historic same-sex marriage decision and the push for so-called “religious freedom” laws that seek to legitimize discrimination, some states are looking for new ways to undermine the legal recognitions afforded to same-sex couples and their children. One of the only recognized bases for refusing to grant full faith and credit to a court judgment is to assert that the court rendering the judgment lacked jurisdiction. This bill provides two simple clarifications that would help many parents, especially same-sex couples, avoid costly litigation and emotionally distressing situations that could potentially lead to losing their wanted child, as well as protecting California surrogates from another state entering an order inconsistent with California’s legislative scheme.

AB 2349 is supported by a coalition of assisted reproduction and LGBT civil rights advocates, including the Academy of California Adoption Lawyers (ACAL), Equality California (EQCA), National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and Our Family Coalition.

AB 2349 now heads to Governor Brown, who will have until September 30 to act on the measure.

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Trump delays immigration speech http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/22/trump-delays-immigration-speech/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/22/trump-delays-immigration-speech/#respond Mon, 22 Aug 2016 22:59:24 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73308

Donald Trump has postponed a major immigration speech he was set to deliver Thursday in Colorado as his campaign continues to fine-tune his immigration policy, reports CNN.

Trump said in an interview Monday morning that he wants to “come up with a really fair, but firm” immigration policy and then followed this up with a denial in an interview with Fox News that same day that he was “flip-flopping” on the issue of illegal immigration.
The Latino Victory Fund were not impressed with Trump’s statements saying the candidate has a “long, winding history” of proposing inhumane deportation practices, and has used various debunked and baseless myths about Latinos and immigrants rather than propose substantive policy.

“It’s no surprise that Trump has postponed his immigration speech. He’s shown time and time again how little he values and respects the lives of immigrants and Latinos across the country,” said César Blanco, Latino Victory interim director. “Whether it’s hiring a nativist Breitbart executive to advise him, avoiding and attacking Hispanic media, ignoring invitations from major Hispanic advocacy organizations, or just plain calling us rapists and murderers, the GOP’s presidential candidate has done a remarkable job of finding endless ways to offend our community. We won’t be fooled by Trump’s thinly veiled and convenient Hispandering on display this past weekend. Surely, Trump is just buying himself some time, cooking up some new ways to try and deceive our community into thinking that he’s changing his tone, and policies, when we all know that he’s nothing but a racist and a bigot who is only interested in attacking and hurting us.”

 

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Judge blocks federal guidance on transgender students http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/22/judge-blocks-federal-guidance-on-transgender-students/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/22/judge-blocks-federal-guidance-on-transgender-students/#comments Mon, 22 Aug 2016 22:43:45 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73306

A federal judge has decided to issue an injunction on guidance provided to school districts by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice regarding the civil rights of transgender students. In Texas v. United States, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor blocked the Department of Justice from enforcing the guidance that clarifies transgender students have a right to be free from discrimination in schools, including a right to use restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity.

“Judge O’Connor’s decision to bar the Department of Justice from enforcing this important guidance puts thousands of transgender students at even greater risk of marginalization, harassment, and discrimination as they return to school this fall,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “All students, regardless of their gender identity, deserve to be able to learn in an environment free from discrimination. Despite this judge’s decision, schools are not barred from following the federal guidance, and school administrators still have a responsibility to ensure that the civil rights of all students are respected and that transgender students have access to facilities consistent with their gender identity. As lawsuits on the scope of Title IX proceed, we believe that justice will prevail as courts continue to recognize that discrimination against transgender students is a form of sex discrimination.”

On May 13, 2016, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice released the guidance because schools and districts requested clarification on their obligations under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination in education programs based on sex. Clarifying how schools can safeguard transgender students’ rights to privacy and safety, the guidance makes clear that transgender students have the right to be free from discrimination, including the ability to use gender-separated facilities (such as restrooms and locker rooms) that match their gender identity. The guidance follows similar policies in states and school districts across the country, including many that have been treating transgender students with dignity and respect for more than a decade.

In March of 2015, Judge O’Connor also sought to block Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) rights for legally married same-sex couples despite the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision in United States v. Windsor (2013).

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AFGE applauds ruling affirming bathroom rights for transgender workers http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/22/afge-applauds-ruling-affirming-bathroom-rights-for-transgender-workers/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/22/afge-applauds-ruling-affirming-bathroom-rights-for-transgender-workers/#comments Mon, 22 Aug 2016 21:17:04 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73297

The American Federation of Government Employees is applauding the federal government's announcement that transgender federal workers must be able to use restrooms that correspond to their gender identity. AFGE represents 670,000 federal and D.C. government employees nationwide. (PRNewsFoto/AFGE)

WASHINGTON — The largest union of federal government employees is applauding the federal government’s announcement that transgender federal workers must be able to use restrooms that correspond to their gender identity.

The American Federation of Government Employees said the Aug. 18 memo from the General Services Administration affirms recent decisions by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other agencies that discrimination based on gender identity is illegal under the same laws that prohibit discrimination based on sex.

“The federal government has torn down another wall of bigotry by rejecting discrimination against employees based on their gender identity,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “Every person should be able to go to the bathroom that corresponds to their gender – and it’s up to each person to make that determination.”

The new regulation applies to all facilities that GSA owns, leases, or manages on behalf of federal agencies. GSA currently owns and leases nearly 400 million square feet of space in 9,600 buildings nationwide, including office buildings, courthouses, post offices, and laboratories.

One of AFGE’s own members, Tamara Lusardi, faced discrimination at work after transitioning from male to female, including not being able to use the women’s bathroom. Lusardi’s discrimination case against the Army went to the EEOC, which in April 2015 issued a landmark ruling that the Army had discriminated against Lusardi on the basis of sex, which is a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Today’s move by the GSA means that federal employees will no longer be harassed or intimidated from using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender,” said Augusta Y. Thomas, AFGE’s National Vice President for Women and Fair Practices. “This is one more step along the path to having a discrimination-free workplace.”

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FEMPRENEUR.XYZ: First-of-its-kind resource for trans women and non-binary femme entrepreneurs launched http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/22/fempreneur-xyz-first-of-its-kind-resource-for-trans-women-and-non-binary-femme-entrepreneurs-launched/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/22/fempreneur-xyz-first-of-its-kind-resource-for-trans-women-and-non-binary-femme-entrepreneurs-launched/#respond Mon, 22 Aug 2016 21:02:25 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73294

Pipeline Angels, a network of women investors that’s changing the face of angel investing and creating more capital for women social entrepreneurs, has announced the first program of its kind, FEMPRENEUR.XYZ: Trans Women and Non-Binary Femme Entrepreneurs Workshop & Clinic. Pipeline Angels has teamed up with Goodwin, a global 50 law firm with a history of working on groundbreaking legal and social justice matters, to provide a pro-bono name change and incorporation workshop for trans women and non-binary femme entrepreneurs. The workshop will include thirty-minutes of one-on-one, pro-bono legal counsel on the incorporation tools available on Goodwin’s Founders Workbench, and each participant may also apply for additional pro-bono counseling through Goodwin’s Neighborhood Business Initiative.

While entrepreneurship is tough, it’s a rewarding road that allows founders to take control of their own fates and shape them as they see fit. Unfortunately, Black, Latinx, and/or Indigenous trans women and non-binary femmes often find themselves left in the dark due to poverty, fear, and lack of accessible resources about what entrepreneurship requires.

Pipeline Angels is committed to supporting more voices and when we were encouraged to launch our signature angel investing bootcamp in Charlotte, North Carolina, it was important for us to identify a way to support more voices locally. Pipeline Angels Founder & CEO Natalia Oberti Noguera brought Riley Hanson on board, Co-Founder and CTO of Inclusion Through Innovation (ITI), to help engage more trans women of color entrepreneurs in the Pipeline Angels Pitch Summit application process. Riley’s feedback inspired the launch of FEMPRENEUR.XYZ.

FEMPRENEUR.XYZ will hold in-person events in Charlotte and NYC, as well as host an online version to help trans women and non-binary femme entrepreneurs incorporate their businesses and participate in the 2016 Fall Pipeline Angels Pitch Summits. Goodwin will also provide name change services to those who need it, so entrepreneurs can focus on growing their businesses as their true, authentic selves.

Harmony Rodriguez, a trans woman interested in FEMPRENEUR.XYZ, had this to say: “A service like this is necessary because traversing the legal system to change one’s name is a daunting task. Doing it on your own can be difficult and costly, so it’s good we have someone in our corner.”

“A name change for trans women and/or non-binary femmes can be as life-saving as any other aspect of publicly embodying our gender. For trans women especially, having a legal name that can out them as transgender is dangerous, given the transmisogynist violence within the civil and penal systems, which is in turn used to deny them access to basic human rights and dignity,” explained Boudica Cooper, a non-binary Black femme who is the Program Coordinator at Pipeline Angels, adding, “To offer this service to trans women and non-binary femme entrepreneurs allows us to grow our businesses without needing to sign or create documents with a legal name that misgenders us. It allows us to order services, to incorporate our businesses, and to market ourselves, all under our correct name. Instead of being financially burdened by needing to change our documents, contracts, and licenses to our correct name at a later date, by providing name change services, FEMPRENEUR.XYZ will help us save money that can go toward growing our businesses, our communities, and ourselves.”

FEMPRENEUR.XYZ supporters include the founder of TransH4CK, Dr. Kortney Ziegler. We will be leveraging the technology of AerialSpaces, a startup he co-founded with Tiffany Mikell, to offer the program as a webinar for trans women and non-binary femme entrepreneurs unable to attend any of the in-person events. Dr. Ziegler, who is trans himself, had this to say about the program: “Business literacy is important for trans and gender non-conforming individuals who are often excluded from spaces that provide it. We’re excited to work with Pipeline Angels and use our online platform to help reduce those barriers and make this important information more accessible to trans women entrepreneurs.”

Blake Liggio, a senior associate at Goodwin, is excited to be supporting this effort. “Diversity and inclusion are core values at Goodwin, and it means so much to me that I can work with my firm to empower trans women and non-binary femme entrepreneurs to build their businesses in our communities. Transgender and gender non-conforming people face unique challenges in our society from discrimination, stigma, and systemic inequality. I have experienced these challenges first-hand and I am eager to help others who might find themselves encountering similar adversity in whatever way I can. We hope that by assisting the participants in this workshop advance professional opportunities available to them through the formation of their businesses, that we will help contribute to dismantling discriminatory hurdles and enhancing visibility for issues facing the trans and gender non-conforming communities.”

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HRC and Equality NC endorse Roy Cooper for governor of North Carolina http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/21/hrc-and-equality-nc-endorse-roy-cooper-for-governor-of-north-carolina/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/21/hrc-and-equality-nc-endorse-roy-cooper-for-governor-of-north-carolina/#respond Sun, 21 Aug 2016 14:00:21 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73271
Roy Cooper

Roy Cooper

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Equality NC have announced both organizations have endorsed Roy Cooper for Governor of North Carolina.

“Roy Cooper is a stalwart advocate for LGBTQ equality and a proven leader who will work to make the Tar Heel State inclusive and welcoming for all,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Day after day, Pat McCrory has continued his reckless defense of the discriminatory HB2 with disregard for the very real harm inflicted on the people, reputation and economy of North Carolina. As governor, Roy Cooper will work to repeal HB2, stand up for common decency and fight to pass statewide, LGBTQ-inclusive, non-discrimination protections. The choice this election couldn’t be clearer. And we are proud to endorse Roy Cooper for Governor so that each and every LGBTQ person across North Carolina can finally live free from fear of discrimination.”

The endorsement comes one day after Donald Trump and Pat McCrory campaigned together in North Carolina and a month after news that Gov. McCrory and his allies have earmarked $500,000 in taxpayer funding to defend HB2 in court, even though it is opposed by fair minded North Carolinians and more than 200 major business leaders and CEOs, many of which lead the state’s largest employers.

“Roy Cooper is the leader we need for North Carolina. He has a strong track record of fighting for civil rights, education and economic growth that Pat McCrory lacks,” said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro. “While Pat McCrory has caused deep harm to both the LGBTQ community and the economy of our state every day since the passage of HB2, Roy Cooper has been a leader we need. The choice could not be clearer — we must elect Roy Cooper as our next governor.”

Polling in North Carolina has found that voters have consistently rejected HB2. An August Public Policy Polling survey found that a 58 percent majority think HB2 is hurting the state’s economy. Only 30 percent support HB2 while 43 percent oppose it. A CNN poll this year found that nationally, 57 percent of Americans opposed laws like North Carolina’s HB2, while 75 percent of Americans said they would back laws that guarantee equal protection under the law for transgender people in jobs, housing and access to public places.

While Donald Trump has embraced Pat McCrory’s discriminatory HB2, a host of Republicans around the country have declined to follow suit. Republicans like Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, Dennis Daugaard, Mark Kirk and Rob Portmanhave all declined to follow in the footsteps of Pat McCrory and have either spoken out or vetoed anti-transgender bills that write discrimination into state law.

Cooper’s strong support for LGBTQ equality stands as a clear difference compared to Governor Pat McCrory’s long history of anti-equality rhetoric. As the current Attorney General of North Carolina, Roy Cooper has refused to defend the constitutionality of the state’s deeply discriminatory HB2 law in court. He also publicly opposed Amendment One, the state’s 2012 constitutional ban on the freedom to marry, calling it “unclear, unwise and unnecessary.” A vocal opponent to legislation intended to enshrine discrimination into state law under the guise of so-called religious liberty, Cooper made clear that he would veto such destructive measures, saying, “There are laws in place that protect religious liberties. We don’t need these laws that hurt people and our economy.”

Despite widespread opposition to HB2, Governor McCrory continues to double down in reckless defense of the deeply discriminatory law that bans transgender people from accessing restrooms consistent with their gender identity in government offices and schools, and removed the ability of municipalities to pass LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination laws and minimum wage ordinances.

McCrory has a long history of opposing LGBTQ equality. Prior to being elected Governor, he defended a gym in Charlotte that denied service to a man because he was gay, he repeatedly voted against local non-discrimination measures and he once suggested that rather than holding public parades, LGBTQ Pride festivals should be hidden away in hotels.

In the more than four months since Governor McCrory and state lawmakers rammed HB2 into law, the economic fallout has continued to grow as companies concerned with protecting their consumers and employees have moved conventions, trainings, operations, productions and other events out of state. Citing the hostile environment created by the state’s HB2 law, and after repeated warnings the league would move the event if the law remained on the books, the NBA recently announced it was moving the game out of Charlotte after state lawmakers failed to repeal the measure.

HB2 has cost North Carolina $329.9 million in lost economic activity, including an estimated $100 million in economic development that will be lost because the NBA has relocated the 2017 All-Star Game outside the state.

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Trump’s first general election ad steeped in anti-immigrant rhetoric and imagery http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/20/trumps-first-general-election-ad-steeped-in-anti-immigrant-rhetoric-and-imagery/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/20/trumps-first-general-election-ad-steeped-in-anti-immigrant-rhetoric-and-imagery/#respond Sat, 20 Aug 2016 19:30:22 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73286

Friday, Donald Trump’s campaign aired its first general election ad. The ad which depicts a dystopian and bleak image of the United States will run through Aug. 29 in key battleground states like Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Pennsylvania and is steeped in anti-immigrant rhetoric and imagery. The ad even cites Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which has been labeled an “anti-immigrant nativist” organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“Trump’s latest ad is tired and totally unsurprising, full of recycled outdated nativist talking points borrowed from GOP Governor Pete Wilson’s playbook and infamous ad in the 1990s,” said César Blanco, Latino Victory interim director. “Trump’s ad, once again, proves that The Donald will never change; he is dangerous for our country and for our community, and he will continue demonizing and attacking us all the way to election day. No matter how many times the GOP says Trump will pivot, or how many campaigns the RNC runs to appeal to the Hispanic community, Trump will be Trump, and Latinos won’t be fooled by his lies and fear tactics. Trump’s policies won’t make America safe, and immigrants and refugees are not the enemy. Our country is better than this, and Latinos will keep fighting until November and beyond to make sure Trump and anyone who supports him and feels emboldened by him knows that we will not tolerate their hate, and that they have no place representing our communities.”

Watch the ad above.

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Federal judge upholds firing of transgender employee http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/19/federal-judge-upholds-firing-of-transgender-employee/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/19/federal-judge-upholds-firing-of-transgender-employee/#respond Fri, 19 Aug 2016 14:28:13 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73265

A federal judge in Michigan ruled Thursday in favor of a Detroit-based funeral home who fired a transgender employee due to her gender identity. U.S. District Court Judge Sean Cox ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) could be used as a defense in a sex discrimination claim under Title VII — exempting the employer from Title VII’s non-discrimination requirements.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) brought the lawsuit against R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes arguing that the employer had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by firing Aimee Stephens based on her gender identity.

“This is a reckless ruling against a woman who was fired simply because she is transgender,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Judge Cox’s deeply disappointing decision has the possibility of setting an incredibly dangerous precedent that purported religious beliefs can be used as an excuse to violate non-discrimination laws. It has the potential of opening a Pandora’s box of discrimination against a wide range of vulnerable communities. We are incredibly concerned about the implications.”

In his decision, Judge Cox wrote: “…the question becomes whether the law at issue here, Title VII and the body of sex-stereotyping case law that has developed under it, imposes a substantial burden on the ability of the Funeral Home to conduct business in accordance with its religious beliefs. The Court concludes that the Funeral Home has shown that it does.”

Referencing the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision in Hobby Lobby, Judge Cox reasoned that, “The majority in Hobby Lobby concluded that a for-profit corporation is considered a ‘person’ for purposes of RFRA protection. Hobby Lobby, 134 S.Ct. at 2768-69. The Funeral Home, a for-profit, closely-held corporation, is therefore entitled to protection under RFRA.”

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HRC: Trump’s staff shakeup disturbing preview of what a Trump-Pence administration would look like http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/19/hrc-trumps-staff-shakeup-disturbing-preview-of-what-a-trump-pence-administration-would-look-like/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/19/hrc-trumps-staff-shakeup-disturbing-preview-of-what-a-trump-pence-administration-would-look-like/#respond Fri, 19 Aug 2016 13:58:39 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73261

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  The Human Rights Campaign has criticized the Trump campaign after the announcement that its new leadership team will include Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, two political operatives with histories of anti-LGBTQ activism.

Bannon, who was named CEO of the Trump campaign Wednesday, launched a vile smear against transgender people during a May interview with the American Family Association while he was at the helm of Breitbart News. Bannon attacked non-discrimination protections that ensure transgender people are able to use facilities that match their gender identity, repeating the debunked claim that such protections force children to “go into a bathroom with a guy with a beard in a dress.” Meanwhile, Kellyanne Conway is a former pollster for the anti-LGBTQ National Organization for Marriage and has railed against the inclusion of open LGBTQ figures in pop culture and entertainment.

“Donald Trump’s staff shakeup is a disturbing preview of what a Trump-Pence administration would look like,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Trump has stocked his inner circle with anti-equality activists who share his commitment to rolling back the rights and protections of LGBTQ Americans. His hiring decisions, including the selection of Mike Pence as his running mate, have left no doubt that Trump is the biggest threat the LGBTQ community has ever faced in a presidential election.”

In addition to slurring transgender people himself in an article, Bannon managed a news site that regularly attacks LGBTQ people. His site features Austin Ruse as a contributor. Ruse has published shameful conspiracy theories alleging Matthew Shepard’s murder was not a hate crime. Bannon also directed a movie starring Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, who promoted warnings against “poll-driven morality” (as a reference to growing acceptance of LGBTQ people).

Besides her work with the National Organization for Marriage, Conway has objected to the inclusion of openly LGBTQ people in the media, saying of one television show that featured a lesbian couple that people, “…don’t want their kids looking at a cartoon with a bunch of lesbian mothers.”

The new hires come days after Trump courted anti-LGBTQ activists just 10 miles from the site of the Pulse tragedy in Orlando that took the lives of 49 LGBTQ people and allies. Among the organizations attending was Liberty Counsel, which supports and defends archaic laws criminalizing LGBTQ people with harsh punishments around the world, and has condemned President Obama and the U.S. government for speaking out against such laws, saying, “America should not be trying to make that country act in an immoral way.”

Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, became a national disgrace in 2015, for his “license to discriminate” bill that could have allowed businesses to deny service to LGBTQ people — and for subsequently defending the bill after an outcry from the business community and a majority of Hoosier voters. In a now notorious interview with ABC last year, Pence refused to answer eight separate times when asked whether businesses should be able to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

In recent weeks, Trump has also campaigned alongside Tony Perkins — leader of the Family Research Council, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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LGBTQ advocates welcome Justice Department’s decision to stop use of private prisons http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/19/lgbtq-advocates-welcome-justice-departments-decision-to-stop-use-of-private-prisons/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/19/lgbtq-advocates-welcome-justice-departments-decision-to-stop-use-of-private-prisons/#respond Fri, 19 Aug 2016 13:46:50 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73256
U.S. Department of Justice

U.S. Department of Justice

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National LGBTQ Task Force is welcoming the decision by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to stop using private prisons.

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced the decision on Thursday in a memo that instructs officials to either decline to renew the contracts for private prison operators when they expire or “substantially reduce” the contracts’ scope, reports The Washington Post.

“The fact of the matter is that private prisons don’t compare favorably to Bureau of Prisons facilities in terms of safety or security or services, and now with the decline in the federal prison population, we have both the opportunity and the responsibility to do something about that,” Yates said.

Russell Roybal, deputy executive director, National LGBTQ Task Force welcoming the news said, “The decision by the Department of Justice to stop using private prisons is a significant breakthrough in the process of radically reforming our criminal justice system. Private prisons have been a complete failure—providing substandard services, overuse of solitary confinement and protective custody, and even more deplorable conditions in an already strained and broken system. A profit motive should never be involved in the decision of whether to incarcerate a human being,”

In the United States, two out of three (about 66 percent) of adults in prison and jail are people of color while only compromising one in three (about 33 percent) of the country’s adult population. In the country’s juvenile justice facilities one out of five are LGBTQ and gender non-conforming youth—and of those 85 percent are LGBTQ youth of color. Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of LGBTQ people in prison and jails report experiencing discrimination and verbal harassment report experiencing discrimination, verbal harassment, and physical assault by prison staff.

“Prisons in general are not safe for anyone, and are particularly unsafe for LGBTQ people, who face higher rates of physical and sexual harassment and abuse in incarceration. This is especially true for LGBTQ people of color, low-income LGBTQ people, and transgender and gender nonconforming people who are disproportionately represented in the criminal legal system, including in incarceration. As we work toward a criminal justice system that is more about justice than about needlessly criminalizing people — and we see incarceration levels decrease as a result — we also need to ensure that LGBTQ people have the services and support they need when they return to their communities. That’s why the National LGBTQ Task Force has been working with the Bureau of Prisons, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and others to make services and supports more easily available to members of our community who are returning home from incarceration,” said Roybal.

The National LGBTQ Task Force, through its Criminal and Economic Justice Project, advocates for criminal justice reform, including improving conditions for LGBTQ people who are incarcerated and releasing incarcerated people who are serving sentences in unsafe conditions. The advocacy organization has also been working with the Administration to reform the immigration system. The Department of Justice’s announcement will impact many people who are incarcerated for immigration-related offenses and are being held in DOJ facilities.

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LGBTQ Advocates reject Trump’s ‘more police’ call as ‘out of touch’ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/18/lgbtq-advocates-reject-trumps-more-police-call-as-out-of-touch/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/18/lgbtq-advocates-reject-trumps-more-police-call-as-out-of-touch/#respond Thu, 18 Aug 2016 16:54:37 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73205

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund is rejecting Donald Trump’s call for “more police” in black neighborhoods as being “out of touch with reality and the reality of black lives.”

Tuesday in West Bend, Wis. Trump called for more police in America’s inner cities, arguing that Democratic policies have failed minority communities and accusing Democrats of “peddling the narrative of cops as a racist force.”

“I’m asking for the vote of every African American citizen struggling in our country today who wants a different and much better future. It’s time for our society to address some honest and very very difficult choices,” Trump said.

Russell Roybal, deputy executive director, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund rejecting Trump’s claims said, “Donald Trump’s answer to the epidemic of police killings of Black people is to put more police in Black neighborhoods. He is clearly out of touch with reality and the reality of Black lives. More police are not the answer; radical reform of our criminal justice system and police accountability to communities is. More belligerent talk and demonizing people is not the answer to creating a more peaceful and secure nation; meaningful legislation that addresses violence and guns is.”

 

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Drunk driving prevention bill wins Senate approval http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/17/drunk-driving-prevention-bill-wins-senate-approval/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/17/drunk-driving-prevention-bill-wins-senate-approval/#respond Wed, 17 Aug 2016 19:16:10 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73130
Lorena Gonzalez

Lorena Gonzalez

SAN DIEGOLegislation by California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to require all restaurant and bar employees who sell or serve alcoholic beverages to undergo Responsible Beverage Service training was approved by the State Senate on a unanimous 36-2 vote today. It now returns to the Assembly for final consideration.

Assembly Bill 2121 will make responsible beverage training mandatory statewide for anyone serving alcoholic beverages. The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control will authorize an accreditation agency to accredit responsible beverage training providers. Educating beverage servers in bars and restaurants is a key part to reducing drunk driving fatalities. Although the ABC currently has a free and voluntary program, existing training programs in California are not mandatory at the state level.

“This is one effective way to protect innocent families from going through the same heartache caused by too many preventable accidents,” said Gonzalez. “By intervening before drunk people get behind the wheel, we can do better than relying on luck or law enforcement being in the right place at the right time, keeping our communities safe before they’re put at risk.”

In May 2015, two UC San Diego medical students were killed by a wrong-way drunk driver in the Mission Valley area of San Diego. The drunk driver was leaving a local restaurant when he went the wrong way on State Route 163 and caused the collision that killed two and injured three other students. In the wake of the accident, classmates of the victims have worked with Assemblywoman Gonzalez and her office to develop legislation that would better equip servers to identify signs of overconsumption and intervene before tragedy strikes.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 10,000 people throughout the United States die on our roadways due to drunk driving every year, the equivalent of one fatality every 53 minutes. Even though training is not currently mandatory at the state level, many local governments have made training mandatory. Additionally, 18 other states and the District of Columbia have already established a mandatory responsible beverage training course.

AB 2121 is coauthored by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) and Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), sponsored by the California Medical Association, and supported by health and public safety organizations including the California Police Chiefs Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, American Academy of Pediatrics, California, County Health Executives Association of California, Alcohol Justice and the San Diego Police Officers Association.

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US Navy makes history by naming ship after LGBTQ civil rights leader Harvey Milk http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/17/us-navy-makes-history-by-naming-ship-after-lgbtq-civil-rights-leader-harvey-milk/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/17/us-navy-makes-history-by-naming-ship-after-lgbtq-civil-rights-leader-harvey-milk/#respond Wed, 17 Aug 2016 19:07:21 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73124
Ray Mabus

Ray Mabus

At a ceremony in San Francisco Tuesday, the U.S. Navy made history by naming a new Military Sealift Command ship after Harvey Milk, the former Navy diver and pioneer in the LGBTQ civil rights movement who was assassinated in 1978. In another historic first, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus selected transgender Navy veteran Paula Neira as a sponsor of the ship, along with U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

City Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez led a San Diego delegation to San Francisco for the official naming ceremony of the Harvey Milk Navy ship to be built and dedicated in San Diego.

The San Diego delegation at the Harvey Milk Navy ship naming ceremony in San Francisco

The San Diego delegation at the Harvey Milk Navy ship naming ceremony in San Francisco

Among the San Diego delegation was Councilman Todd Gloria, Assembly Speaker Emeritus Toni  Atkins, Ben Dillingham III, (Member of the San Diego County Veterans Advisory Board), City Commissioner Bruce Abrams (chair of City of San Diego’s Foreign Affairs Commission), Robert Gleason (past chair of the San Diego Regional Airport Authority) and Marine veteran Bob Lehman (past chair of American Veterans for Equality.)

“The naming of a Navy vessel in honor of Harvey Milk is America acknowledging the service of LGBT active military and veterans who have served our great nation since the Revolutionary War,” stated Ramirez.

Speaker Emeritus Atkins speaking from Treasure Island’s Great Lawn in San Francisco said, “The news that the Navy will name a ship after the great Harvey Milk is thrilling for the LGBTQ community because it’s yet another prestigious honor for one of our heroes. It’s deeply personal for me for many reasons, one of which is that the ship will be built in San Diego, where Mr. Milk was once stationed as a Navy diving instructor. He was also a passionate supporter of labor, and it means more jobs created in San Diego. This is truly a win-win- win.”

During the Korean War, Harvey Milk served aboard the submarine rescue ship, USS Kittiwake. He also served as a Navy diving instructor before being discharged at the rank of lieutenant junior grade in 1955. In 1977, Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, becoming one of the first openly gay people elected to public office. He was assassinated in City Hall a year later. During his life, Milk was a major advocate for people coming out and is often remembered by one of his most powerful quotes, “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door in the country.”  In 2009, Milk was posthumously awarded the U.S. Medal of Freedom and, in 2014, the U.S. Postal Service honored Milk with a postage stamp dedication. HRC’s San Francisco Action Center and Store in the Castro District is located in the historic home of the civil rights legend. The location is the former home of Milk’s Castro Camera, where Milk worked, lived, and organized the political campaigns that eventually led him to his historic election.

“Today’s historic ceremony is so much more than naming a ship after the legendary Harvey Milk. It is further evidence of the profound progress on LGBTQ equality we continue to make as a nation,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.“In his bold and unabashed advocacy, Milk inspired LGBTQ people for generations. And in her tireless career and service, Paula Neira has played a major role in lifting the ban on transgender service members. As we work to achieve our shared vision of equality for all LGBTQ people, we are grateful to the United States Navy and Secretary Ray Mabus for their continued leadership in ensuring all sailors have the dignity and respect they deserve.”

“Like Harvey Milk, hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ service members have defended our freedoms by serving in the military,” said HRC spokesperson Stephen Peters, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and spouse of an active duty Marine. “Secretary Mabus’ decision to name a ship after Harvey Milk, as well as select transgender Navy veteran Paula Neira as one of its sponsors, speaks volumes about his inspiring commitment to strengthen our military and its future — a future where all service members are respected and supported for the selfless sacrifices they make each and every day.”

Paula Neira graduated with distinction from the United States Naval Academy in 1985 and served another six years before resigning her commission in order to live as her authentic self. A qualified Surface Warfare Officer, she served at sea and ashore including mine warfare combat during Operation Desert Storm. After leaving the Navy, she became a registered nurse, certified in emergency nursing and specializing in adult emergency and trauma care. She is also an attorney and member of the Maryland bar. For more than a decade, Neira has served as one of the nation’s leading experts on transgender military service. She is also the first transgender Navy veteran to have her official military service record corrected to reflect her proper name.

Senator Feinstein served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors with Milk, and discovered his body after hearing the gunshots that killed him and Mayor George Moscone. Feinstein, who succeeded Moscone as mayor, has been a strong supporter of LGBTQ rights, earning a perfect score of 100 in HRC’s latest Congressional scorecard.

 

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EQCA endorses Proposition 63, ‘Safety for All’ gun safety initiative http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/16/eqca-endorses-proposition-63-safety-for-all-gun-safety-initiative/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/16/eqca-endorses-proposition-63-safety-for-all-gun-safety-initiative/#comments Tue, 16 Aug 2016 21:43:33 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73113

LOS ANGELES– Equality California (EQCA) announced today that it has endorsed Proposition 63, the “Safety for All” ballot initiative backed by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. Following the shootings in June at an Orlando LGBT nightclub, a spike in homicides of LGBT people and an ongoing worldwide epidemic of murders of transgender women, Equality California has made enacting gun safety measures a key part of its program and advocacy work.

“Orlando was a call to action and a reminder that ending gun violence must be a top priority for the LGBT community,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “But even before Orlando, gun safety was an LGBT issue, because LGBT people suffer disproportionately from gun violence. Proposition 63 will help close remaining loopholes in California’s gun safety laws and help ensure that no community has to suffer another Orlando, San Bernardino or Newtown.”

The announcement was made via Facebook Live and can be seen HERE.

Equality California joins Lt. Gov. Newsom and dozens of other key leaders and organizations in endorsing Proposition 63. These include initiative co-author The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the California Democratic Party, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, Speaker Emeritus of the Assembly Toni Atkins, Speaker Emeritus of the Assembly John Pérez, District Attorney Jeff Rosen, District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, District Attorney George Gascon, District Attorney Joyce Dudley, San Francisco Sheriff Vicki Hennessy, the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Belvedere, Berkeley, Cupertino, East Palo Alto, Oakland, Tiburon and West Hollywood, SEIU, California Medical Association, California American College of Emergency Physicians, California American College of Physicians, California Federation of Teachers, California League of Women Voters, California Young Democrats, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, Courage Campaign, Emergency Response Doctors, Rabbis Against Gun Violence, Southern California Public Health Association, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, and Women Against Gun Violence.

“It is vital for our state to come together on this important issue, and I am so glad to have Equality California join the Proposition 63 campaign as an endorser and as a key leader in the LGBT community,” said Newsom. “More than 32,000 Americans are killed every year due to gun violence, and the LGBT community is disproportionately targeted. The result is the massacre we saw in Orlando. This is an epidemic that is preventable and with strong leaders and organizations coming together we can make our communities safe again.”

Proposition 63, representing the strongest set of gun laws that have been proposed in the state of California, will appear on the 2016 November California ballot with the following provisions:

Keeping Guns from Dangerous Criminals: Provides a clear firearms relinquishment process for those convicted of a felony or a violent misdemeanor, and clarifies the law to ensure that theft of a gun – of any value – is a felony, which prohibits the thief from owning firearms.

Reporting Lost or Stolen Guns and Ammunition: Requires firearms dealers to report lost or stolen ammunition. Requires gun owners to notify law enforcement if their firearm has been lost or stolen.  California would join the city of Sacramento and 11 other states that require lost or stolen firearm reporting.

Shares Data with Federal System on Prohibited People: Assures effective background checks by mandating that California share data with the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System(NICS).

Treating Ammunition Sales Like Gun Sales: Requires licensing of ammunition vendors and requires firearms dealers to conduct background checks on employees by January 1, 2018.  Requires point-of-sale background checks for ammunition purchases.  If a person is convicted of a felony, a violent misdemeanor, has a restraining order or has been declared dangerously mentally ill, they will no longer be able to buy ammunition in California. California would be the first state to require background checks at point of sale.

Prohibiting Possession of Large-Capacity Military-Style Magazines: Outlaws possession of large-capacity magazines of 11 rounds or more and provides for their legal disposal. California would join New York, New Jersey, Hawaii and the District of Columbia in banning possession of these military-style clips.

The initiative also allows the legislature to amend provisions within the Safety for All Act:

“This Act shall be broadly construed to accomplish its purposes. The provisions of this measure may be amended by a vote of 55 percent of the members of each house of the Legislature and signed by the Governor so long as such amendments are consistent with and further the intent of this Act.”

The full text of the initiative can be found at SafetyforAll.com.

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HRC responds to Trump’s ‘foreign policy’ speech http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/16/hrc-responds-to-trumps-foreign-policy-speech/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/16/hrc-responds-to-trumps-foreign-policy-speech/#respond Tue, 16 Aug 2016 19:06:43 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73105

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) today responded to Donald Trump’s foreign policy speech delivered Monday in which Trump said people should take a test before being allowed to immigrate to the United States.

“In the Cold War, we had an ideological screening test,” Trump said to a crowd in Youngstown, Ohio. “The time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today. I call it extreme vetting.”

“The same Donald Trump who today railed against ISIS hate stood shoulder-to-shoulder with anti-LGBTQ activists five days ago in Orlando, just miles from Pulse nightclub,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This is the same Donald Trump whose campaign manager is in the headlines today for allegedly taking millions from allies of one of the world’s worst anti-LGBTQ dictators, and who has campaigned on promises of more anti-LGBTQ Supreme Court justices. This is also the same Donald Trump who put Mike Pence, one of the most prominent faces of discrimination in America today, on the ticket. Meanwhile, we don’t have to guess at how Hillary Clinton will advance LGBTQ equality on a global stage — because that’s exactly what she did as Secretary of State. Long before Donald Trump struggled to read the letters ‘LGBTQ’ off a teleprompter, Secretary Clinton went before the international community to declare that “gay rights are human rights,” launched the Global Equality Fund, and pioneered the first-ever UN resolution protecting LGBTQ people.”

On the two-month anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting last week, which took the lives of 49 LGBTQ people and allies, Trump courted anti-LGBTQ activists just 10 miles from the site of the tragedy in Orlando. Among the organizations attending was Liberty Counsel, which supports and defends archaic laws criminalizing homosexuality with harsh punishments around the world, and has condemned President Obama and the U.S. government for speaking out against such laws, saying, “America should not be trying to make that country act in an immoral way.”

In 2011, Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver said that American opposition to the criminalization of homosexuality is “immoral.”  He said, “More than sixty countries have laws criminalizing homosexuality and virtually every country in the world has laws that criminalize pedophilia and child incest. Malawi was doing what it was doing in its own best interest and America should not be trying to make that country act in an immoral way.”

In 2013, Staver said that Russia was “reaffirming marriage….and rejecting this radicalized Homosexual agenda.” Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber went further in 2014, praising Russia, by saying it was trying to, “…stop this homosexual activist propaganda from corrupting children in our nation, and we need to see that right here in the United States.’”

Trump has also doubled down on his anti-LGBTQ agenda by putting Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on the ticket. Pence became a national disgrace in 2015, for his “license to discriminate” bill that could have allowed businesses to deny service to LGBTQ people — and for subsequently defending the bill after an outcry from the business community and a majority of Hoosier voters. In a now notorious interview with ABC last year, Pence refused to answer eight separate times when asked whether businesses should be able to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

In recent weeks, Trump has also campaigned alongside Tony Perkins — leader of the Family Research Council, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

 

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Long Beach AIDS Center awarded $90,000 grant http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/16/long-beach-aids-center-awarded-90000-grant/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/16/long-beach-aids-center-awarded-90000-grant/#respond Tue, 16 Aug 2016 18:40:34 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73100
St. Mary Medical Center

St. Mary Medical Center

LONG BEACH, Calif. – The C.A.R.E. (Comprehensive AIDS Resource and Education) Program at Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center has been awarded a $90,000 grant to fund a Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Center of Excellence. Tuesday, Aug. 2, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved funding for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) to expand access to biomedical prevention options for LA County residents at highest risk for HIV infection.

“LA County continues to experience the second largest HIV epidemic in the country,” said LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “No single prevention program will completely curtail the spread of HIV, but expanding the use of PrEP could significantly reduce new infections. I am very glad to see our efforts go beyond the County’s own Public Health clinics, to engage our community-based health providers who can effectively reach the populations at greatest risk, including those who lack insurance.”

Long Beach is one of the most impacted communities by HIV in Los Angeles County. According to Public Health, in 2012, Long Beach had more new infections than any other region in LA County. “As a leader in HIV prevention, C.A.R.E. is excited to expand our services to include this important treatment modality,” said Ace Robinson, Executive Director for C.A.R.E. Program.

C.A.R.E. will offer all services related to PrEP for persons whether they are uninsured or underinsured patients through the support of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. In addition, C.A.R.E. offers health insurance navigation to help individuals enroll in Medi-Cal and Covered California. Financial barriers to PrEP present a barrier to access; it is cost-prohibitive for uninsured persons and many individuals with insurance still face high co-payments and deductibles. Through this grant, C.A.R.E. will breakdown these barriers.

According to the Center for Disease Control, PrEP is a once-daily medication (Truvada®) taken by persons who do not live with HIV that prevents HIV infection when exposed. Despite its effectiveness and growing popularity, there remains a need to increase PrEP use nationally and in Los Angeles County in order to make significant progress in the fight against HIV.

C.A.R.E. also offers post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP, to individuals who have recently had a potential HIV exposure in the past three days. Additionally, C.A.R.E. provides assistance for behavioral/mental health needs and a risk-reduction model for those who would like to address substance abuse.

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HRC: Donald Trump and Mike Pence would fail their own immigrant ‘ideological test’ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/15/hrc-donald-trump-and-mike-pence-would-fail-their-own-immigrant-ideological-test/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/15/hrc-donald-trump-and-mike-pence-would-fail-their-own-immigrant-ideological-test/#respond Mon, 15 Aug 2016 21:22:51 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73091

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) today released the following statement in response to media reports that Donald Trump will require immigrants to pass an “ideological test” that would include interviews about their feelings about LGBTQ equality.

“What’s craziest about this ignorant, incomprehensible plan is that Donald Trump and Mike Pence would fail their own test,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Just last week, Donald Trump courted votes in Orlando from some of the nation’s most notorious anti-LGBTQ activists, including people who have worked to export anti-LGBTQ hate abroad. Trump and Pence have vowed to to roll back nationwide marriage equality, supported vile laws like North Carolina’s HB2 and pledged to appoint anti-LGBTQ Supreme Court justices. Pence is best known by most Americans for the hateful denial-of-service law he peddled in Indiana last year, and even sought to divert funding from HIV programs to promote the abusive practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy.’”

Last week, on the two-month anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting that took the lives of 49 LGBTQ people and allies, Trump courted anti-LGBTQ activists just 10 miles from the site of the tragedy in Orlando. Among the organizations attending was Liberty Counsel, which supports and defends archaic laws criminalizing homosexuality with harsh punishments around the world, and has condemned President Obama and the U.S. government for speaking out against such laws, saying, “America should not be trying to make that country act in an immoral way.”

Trump has also doubled down on his anti-LGBTQ agenda by putting Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on the ticket. Pence became a national disgrace in 2015, for his “license to discriminate” bill that could have allowed businesses to deny service to LGBTQ people — and for subsequently defending the bill after an outcry from the business community and a majority of Hoosier voters. In a now notorious interview with ABC last year, Pence refused to answer eight separate times when asked whether businesses should be able to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

In recent weeks, Trump has also campaigned alongside Tony Perkins — leader of the Family Research Council, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Here’s a snapshot of how Donald Trump and Mike Pence align in their pursuit of undermining LGBTQ equality:

On Marriage Equality

  • Trump: Vowed to roll back nationwide marriage equality by appointing justices to the Supreme Court who would reverse nationwide marriage equality.
  • Pence: Pence opposed the Supreme Court’s nationwide marriage equality ruling, saying, “Like many Hoosiers, I believe marriage is the union between one man and one woman…” After the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which barred legally married same-sex couple from having their marriages recognized by the federal government, was ruled unconstitutional, he urged amending the state of Indiana’s constitution to outlaw marriage equality.

On Non-Discrimination Protections

  • Trump: Trump has committed to signing the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act,” a bill to enable taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBTQ people in the federal government. Trump said at the Iowa Faith and Family Coalition, his priority as President would be to “preserve and protect our religious liberty.”
  • Pence: While in Congress, Pence voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. He opposed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” by saying it would turn the military into “a backdrop for social experimentation.” He voted against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, calling it a “radical social agenda.” As governor, his “right to discriminate” bill could have allowed businesses to discriminate and deny service to LGBTQ people because of who they are or whom they love.

On Transgender Equality

  • Trump: When asked about laws like North Carolina’s deeply discriminatory HB2, Trump said he supported the law, saying, “I’m going with the state. The state, they know what’s going on, they see what’s happening and generally speaking I’m with the state on things like this. I’ve spoken with your governor, I’ve spoken with a lot of people and I’m going with the state.” Trump previously told Sean Hannity that when it comes to laws like North Carolina’s HB2, Trump said he would “leave it up to the states.”
  • Pence: Opposed guidance from the Department of Education that clarifies that transgender students have a right under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to access restrooms consistent with their gender identity, saying, “The federal government has no business getting involved in issues of this nature.”

test” that would include interviews about their feelings about LGBTQ equality.

“What’s craziest about this ignorant, incomprehensible plan is that Donald Trump and Mike Pence would fail their own test,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Just last week, Donald Trump courted votes in Orlando from some of the nation’s most notorious anti-LGBTQ activists, including people who have worked to export anti-LGBTQ hate abroad. Trump and Pence have vowed to to roll back nationwide marriage equality, supported vile laws like North Carolina’s HB2 and pledged to appoint anti-LGBTQ Supreme Court justices. Pence is best known by most Americans for the hateful denial-of-service law he peddled in Indiana last year, and even sought to divert funding from HIV programs to promote the abusive practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy.’”

Last week, on the two-month anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting that took the lives of 49 LGBTQ people and allies, Trump courted anti-LGBTQ activists just 10 miles from the site of the tragedy in Orlando. Among the organizations attending was Liberty Counsel, which supports and defends archaic laws criminalizing homosexuality with harsh punishments around the world, and has condemned President Obama and the U.S. government for speaking out against such laws, saying, “America should not be trying to make that country act in an immoral way.”

Trump has also doubled down on his anti-LGBTQ agenda by putting Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on the ticket. Pence became a national disgrace in 2015, for his “license to discriminate” bill that could have allowed businesses to deny service to LGBTQ people — and for subsequently defending the bill after an outcry from the business community and a majority of Hoosier voters. In a now notorious interview with ABC last year, Pence refused to answer eight separate times when asked whether businesses should be able to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

In recent weeks, Trump has also campaigned alongside Tony Perkins — leader of the Family Research Council, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Here’s a snapshot of how Donald Trump and Mike Pence align in their pursuit of undermining LGBTQ equality:

On Marriage Equality

  • Trump: Vowed to roll back nationwide marriage equality by appointing justices to the Supreme Court who would reverse nationwide marriage equality.
  • Pence: Pence opposed the Supreme Court’s nationwide marriage equality ruling, saying, “Like many Hoosiers, I believe marriage is the union between one man and one woman…” After the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which barred legally married same-sex couple from having their marriages recognized by the federal government, was ruled unconstitutional, he urged amending the state of Indiana’s constitution to outlaw marriage equality.

On Non-Discrimination Protections

  • Trump: Trump has committed to signing the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act,” a bill to enable taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBTQ people in the federal government. Trump said at the Iowa Faith and Family Coalition, his priority as President would be to “preserve and protect our religious liberty.”
  • Pence: While in Congress, Pence voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. He opposed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” by saying it would turn the military into “a backdrop for social experimentation.” He voted against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, calling it a “radical social agenda.” As governor, his “right to discriminate” bill could have allowed businesses to discriminate and deny service to LGBTQ people because of who they are or whom they love.

On Transgender Equality

  • Trump: When asked about laws like North Carolina’s deeply discriminatory HB2, Trump said he supported the law, saying, “I’m going with the state. The state, they know what’s going on, they see what’s happening and generally speaking I’m with the state on things like this. I’ve spoken with your governor, I’ve spoken with a lot of people and I’m going with the state.” Trump previously told Sean Hannity that when it comes to laws like North Carolina’s HB2, Trump said he would “leave it up to the states.”
  • Pence: Opposed guidance from the Department of Education that clarifies that transgender students have a right under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to access restrooms consistent with their gender identity, saying, “The federal government has no business getting involved in issues of this nature.”
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Homophobe apologizes after his rant against bicyclist goes viral (VIDEO) http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/14/homophobe-apologizes-after-his-rant-against-bicyclist-goes-viral-video/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/14/homophobe-apologizes-after-his-rant-against-bicyclist-goes-viral-video/#comments Mon, 15 Aug 2016 00:30:41 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73078

A man whose homophobic rant against a bicyclist was recorded on film which subsequently racked up thousands of views on YouTube has now apologized.

Ryan Lewis of Orange County, Calif. delivered his rant in a confrontation with a bicyclist after Lewis apparently failed to share the road which was a designated Share the Road lane.

Watch Lewis’ rant below. Warning — contains strong language.

Thursday afternoon Lewis  went on the CBS local evening news to apologize for his behavior. “I’m just an old surfer, knucklehead, and I do apologize for using the words that I used,” he said.

Watch the CBS report below:

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EQCA-sponsored blood ban resolution clears California Senate http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/13/eqca-sponsored-blood-ban-resolution-clears-california-senate/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/13/eqca-sponsored-blood-ban-resolution-clears-california-senate/#respond Sun, 14 Aug 2016 00:30:20 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73068

SACRAMENTO — The California Senate Thursday day passed a bipartisan resolution by California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) calling for an end to federal blood donation policies that discriminate against men who have sex with men (MSM). Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 26 calls upon President Barack Obama to compel the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to repeal current Food and Drug Administration (FDA) blood donor policies that discriminate against LGBT people and instead direct the agency to develop science-based policies that utilize individual behavioral risk. SJR 26 is sponsored by Equality California.

SJR 26 urges the President to endorse blood donation eligibility policies based on modern understanding of HIV and that assess behavioral risk rather than using blanket discrimination based on sexual orientation and outdated assumptions and fears. It requests that President Obama direct the FDA to develop policies in alignment with that approach.

Despite modern technology that makes HIV detection easily achievable and extremely accurate, the FDA currently prohibits a man from donating blood if he has had sex with another man anytime in the last 12 months. The American Public Health Association has stated that the FDA has provided no scientific rationale to justify the 12-month deferral policy. Currently medical technology can identify within seven to 10 days with 99.9 percent accuracy whether or not a blood sample is HIV-positive. The chance of a blood test being inaccurate within the 10-day window is approximately one in 2,000,000.

“When so many otherwise eligible gay and bisexual men who wanted to donate blood after the recent tragedy in Orlando were turned away, the need to reform the FDA’s outdated policy on blood donation once again became painfully clear,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “A gay man in a monogamous relationship who has repeatedly tested negative for HIV is prohibited from giving blood, while non-LGBT men who engage in high risk behaviors are allowed to donate. We urge the FDA to develop risk-based blood donation policies based on modern science and individual behavior instead of stereotypes, stigma, and fear.”

In 2014, Equality California launched its “Every Drop Counts” initiative which aims to bring an end to the FDA’s discriminatory ban. As part of the initiative, Equality California submitted comments to the FDA about how current policies are not necessary to protect public health and stigmatize LGBT people. Equality California also has retained a lobbying team which is advocating with federal lawmakers and FDA officials to revise the arbitrary and outdated policies that discriminate against LGBT people.

“The basis of our current standards for determining blood-donor suitability was developed decades ago at a time when our knowledge of HIV and our detection methods were limited,” said Senator De León. “Since then, time and science have marched on and so must our policies.”

“America is facing a critical blood supply shortage. Many healthy men want to donate blood, yet are being denied due to an outdated, discriminatory policy. This is wrong,” said Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes. “No healthy person should be turned away when they want to help save people’s lives. Republicans and Democrats stand together in urging Washington to develop new blood donation policies that are based on sound science, not fear.”

In December, 2015, the FDA revised its regulations to allow a man who has had sex with another man to donate blood only if he has not been sexually active for the past 12 months. Despite this policy change from the even more draconian lifetime ban, the policy discriminates against essentially sexually active gay and bisexual men who pose no risk to the blood supply. Other countries, including Italy, have implemented individual risk assessment criteria and research shows no increase in HIV infection. The FDA is in the process of again reevaluating and considering updating its blood donor deferral policies from the existing one year time-based deferrals to alternate deferral options, such as the use of individual risk assessments.

According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, lifting the federal lifetime deferral policy on blood donation by gay and bisexual men could generate some 615,000 additional pints of blood annually nationwide, and an additional 75,000 donated pints in California.

Other resolution supporters include APLA Health, Project Inform and Access Support Network of San Luis Obispo and Monterey Counties. The resolution will be heard in the Assembly prior to the conclusion of legislative session in August.

 

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HRC: Marco Rubio still unwilling to stand up for LGBTQ Floridians http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/13/hrc-marco-rubio-still-unwilling-to-stand-up-for-lgbtq-floridians/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/13/hrc-marco-rubio-still-unwilling-to-stand-up-for-lgbtq-floridians/#comments Sat, 13 Aug 2016 14:00:42 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73059
Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio

WASHINGTON — Friday, on the two-month anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting that took the lives of 49 LGBTQ people and allies, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) courted anti-LGBTQ activists just 10 miles from the site of the tragedy in Orlando. Rubio, who has a long track record of opposing LGBTQ protections and basic gun safety measures, railed against marriage equality and criticized LGBTQ advocates for fighting against taxpayer-funded discrimination. Despite his own record of opposing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and President Obama’s executive order protecting LGBTQ workers — not to mention basic gun safety measures to keep military-style weapons out of the hands of terrorists and criminals — Rubio attempted to gloss over his dismal record of failing to stand up for LGBTQ Americans.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) called out Rubio and his rhetoric.

“Unfortunately, Marco Rubio has a long, documented history of opposing LGBTQ equality,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “Speaking out of both sides of his mouth, Rubio suggested he believes employment discrimination against LGBTQ people is wrong, but yet he has consistently opposed even modest steps to provide non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. On a day when he should be honoring the victims of the horrific massacre in Orlando and advocating for commonsense gun safety measures, Marco Rubio is shamefully courting the votes of anti-LGBTQ activists and showcasing his opposition to the fundamental civil rights of LGBTQ people.”

Rubio has been an advocate for legislation enabling Kim Davis-style discrimination, including the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act” (FADA). FADA would allow non-profit organizations and businesses contracting with the federal government to circumvent critical federal protections designed to protect LGBTQ people and their families from harmful discrimination. And, he opposed repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump addressed the notoriously anti-LGBTQ activists yesterday at the same event, and when it comes to opposing LGBTQ equality, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio are two dangerous peas in a pod.

Polling released by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute found that both Rubio and Trump are massively out of step with Floridians on LGBTQ issues. A 53 percent majority of Floridians support marriage equality, while a 70 percent majority support LGBTQ non-discrimination protections, which Florida lacks.

Opposed to Marriage Equality: Donald Trump and Marco Rubio both oppose marriage equality and have specifically vowed to nominate Supreme Court Justices who would vote to overturn last year’s landmark marriage equality ruling. Rubio vowed he would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Obergefell and in late January, Trump told Fox News Sunday he would appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would reverse marriage equality. When asked to clarify by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos a week later, Trump again doubled down. During the presidential campaign, Rubio even promised that he would “never change” when it comes to opposing marriage equality

Opposed to Transgender Equality: Rubio and Trump both oppose allowing transgender students to use facilities that correspond to their gender identity. Trump told The Washington Post he would reverse the administration’s guidance ensuring that transgender students are treated with respect, and can use restrooms that correspond with their gender identity. Trump has also endorsed North Carolina’s dangerous HB2 law, and has said he would let anti-LGBTQ governors write discrimination into state law.

Support Kim Davis-Style, Taxpayer-Funded Discrimination: Donald Trump and Marco Rubio both support and have said they would sign the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act,” (FADA) a bill to allow Kim Davis style discrimination in the federal government.

Revoking President Obama’s Executive Orders: Both Trump and Rubio have vowed to revoke President Obama’s executive orders on their first day in office — jeopardizing the President’s executive order protecting LGBTQ employees working for federal contractors. The loss of these protections is not just a hypothetical danger. Recently the House Armed Services Committee added an amendment to the defense authorization that would undermine President Obama’s executive order banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity for federal contractors — an executive order that covers 20 percent of the workforce. And Trump has made clear he’s not going to fight these types of efforts.

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Gonzalez bills designed to reduce poverty, improve working conditions and improve public safety head to Senate floor http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/12/gonzalez-bills-designed-to-reduce-poverty-improve-working-conditions-and-improve-public-safety-head-to-senate-floor/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/12/gonzalez-bills-designed-to-reduce-poverty-improve-working-conditions-and-improve-public-safety-head-to-senate-floor/#respond Fri, 12 Aug 2016 17:46:34 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73056
Lorena Gonzalez

Lorena Gonzalez

SACRAMENTO – The Senate Committee Appropriations forwarded 10 bills authored by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to the full State Senate, advancing her efforts to bolster the earning power of working families and protect their public safety, regardless of immigration status.

The Senate’s committee on fiscal issues released from its suspense file bills that would make diapers more affordable for young families, provide California’s 400,000 farmworkers overtime after an 8-hour workday, require restaurant servers and bartenders undergo drunk driving prevention trainings, crack down on human trafficking by increasing penalties for purchasers of sex, eliminate gender bias in the state’s workers’ compensation system, improve workplace conditions through labor law education in nail salons, better protect janitors against sexual assault in workplace, notify parents about the identification of their children as English language learners, and prevent immigration deportations caused neglectful legal advice.

Under Assembly Bill 1708, California would, for the first time, treat the purchasing and selling of sex as different crimes, allowing for different penalties. This fundamental change allows a wide range of changes to be made which both improve protections for trafficking victims and create stronger deterrents for purchasers who sustain the market for sex trafficking. AB 1708 would also increase penalties for purchasers of sex who drive demand for exploitation, requiring a person who sought to procure or did procure sexual services to spend at least 72 hours in jail with flexible sentencing implementation, in addition to paying a minimum fine to fund victim services of $250 for purchasing sex with an adult to $1,000 for purchasing sex with a minor.

Beginning in 2019, AB 1066 would gradually phase in standards for farmworker overtime lowering the current 10-hour day level to the standard 8-hour day, and establishing for the first time a 40-hour standard workweek, over a four-year period. Beginning in 2019, the phase-in would be by annual half-hour-per-day increments until reaching eight hours, and annual five-hour-per-week increments until reaching 40 hours. Both final standards would be achieved in 2022. AB 1066 additionally authorizes the Governor to temporarily suspend a scheduled phase-in of overtime at any time until full implementation of phase-in overtime requirements or January 1, 2022, whichever comes first, if the Governor suspends minimum wage increases based on economic conditions.

AB 492 would offer a monthly $50 supplement per child age 2 or younger to parents enrolled in CalWORKs who also qualify for the childcare benefit. The monthly supplement would only be used on diaper purchases, helping address a major barrier to parents seeking to enter and remain in the workforce by making childcare more accessible.

The financial relief from the state’s current diaper tax found in AB 717 could save California families up to $100 per child annually, roughly equivalent to the cost of a month’s worth of diapers for infants and toddlers. Despite being a critical necessity for all young children, the state’s sales tax applies to diapers while exempting food and prescription health products. The exemption would sunset January 1, 2022.

AB 1643 would ban gender bias in California’s workers compensation system by making the impairment rating for injuries resulting from work-related breast cancer equivalent to the rating for prostate cancer. The bill also prevents doctors from taking pregnancy, menopause, osteoporosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or psychiatric disability impairment caused by any of these conditions into account when making an apportionment decision for injuries.

AB 2121 would make responsible beverage training mandatory statewide for anyone serving alcoholic beverages. The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control would authorize an accreditation agency to accredit responsible beverage training providers. Educating beverage servers in bars and restaurants is a key part to reducing drunk driving fatalities. Although the ABC currently has a free and voluntary program, existing training programs in California are not mandatory at the state level.

Under AB 1978, the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) would create sexual harassment prevention training materials and require employers to post and display a notice with information regarding the laws. DIR would also create a contractor registry which will add transparency and increase accountability, similar to garment manufacturers/contractors, farm labor contractors, and the car washing and polishing industry.

AB 813 would provide California criminal courts with a vehicle to review challenges to a conviction’s legal validity after custody has expired, potentially saving undocumented Californians from being deported if conviction of a minor crime was made when a defendant’s attorney failed to advise the defendant on the immigration consequences of their guilty plea.

AB 2025 would take several steps to educate nail salon owners on existing workplace laws in California. It will strengthen the existing licensure application process for owners to ensure education about basic labor laws relevant to their establishments, with the goal of improving voluntary compliance. It will also include workers’ rights as a subject area in the curriculum for licensed nail salon workers and require that written materials for salon workers and owners be available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

AB 491 would provide parents with a notification letter explaining the identification process for English learner students with their child’s initial Home Language Survey when enrolling in school. It will also guarantee parents receive vital information relating to their child’s status as a long-term English learner or at-risk English learner in their child’s annual English learner progress notification letter. Currently there is no state or federal requirement to notify parents regarding their children who are long-term English learners or who are at risk of becoming long-term English learners.

All aforementioned bills are eligible to be taken up on the Senate floor next week.

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Equality PAC denounces Trump’s and Rubio’s appearances at anti-LGBT event in Orlando http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/12/equality-pac-denounces-trumps-and-rubios-appearances-at-anti-lgbt-event-in-orlando/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/12/equality-pac-denounces-trumps-and-rubios-appearances-at-anti-lgbt-event-in-orlando/#respond Fri, 12 Aug 2016 17:10:21 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73043

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Equality PAC, a political action committee formed by leaders of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, denounced Donald Trump and Senator Marco Rubio’s decision to appear at gathering of anti-LGBT activists in Orlando, Fla.

“It isn’t any surprise that Donald Trump and Marco Rubio have no respect for the LGBT community or its concerns, but it’s a particular slap in the face to appear at rally of anti-gay extremists in Orlando mere months after the Pulse shooting,” said Equality PAC Managing Director Roddy Flynn.  “Mr. Trump and Senator Rubio have made their priorities clear:  they would rather kowtow to far-right religious conservatives who denigrate the LGBT community than honor the 49 souls murdered in June.  Let this finally put to rest any misguided and unfounded notion that Mr. Trump is at all an ally of the LGBT community.”

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In new poll, majority of North Carolinians say HB2 is harming the state http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/11/73012/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/11/73012/#respond Thu, 11 Aug 2016 18:36:28 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73012

A new poll released by Public Policy Polling showing an overwhelming 58 percent majority of North Carolinians believe that the discriminatory HB2 law is hurting their state’s economy and reputation. The survey also revealed that voters in the Tar Heel State reject the specious argument that HB2 has “made the state safer,” with only 29 percent agreeing with that statement.

And, by a 12-point margin, voters say North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s handling of the issue makes them less likely to vote for him. McCrory signed the measure into law.

“As this new poll reveals, there is no doubt that HB2 is inflicting very real harm on the people, reputation, and economy of North Carolina,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “Instead of doubling down on discrimination and undertaking a bizarre campaign to deflect blame for the fallout, Governor McCrory and state lawmakers should take responsibility and work to fix the mess they created. HB2 must be repealed before it causes even further damage.”

The full analysis from Public Policy Polling is below.

North Carolina Races Tight Across The Board

PPP’s newest North Carolina poll continues to find close races for all the major statewide office.

In the Governor’s race Roy Cooper has a slight advantage with 43% to 42% for Pat McCrory, and 4% for Libertarian Lon Cecil. Pat McCrory continues to be under water on his approval rating, now for 37 months running. 43% of voters give him good marks to 47% who disapprove. Opinions are pretty closely split three ways when it comes to Cooper with 36% of voters rating him favorably, 34% unfavorably, and 30% having no opinion either way.

HB2 continues to spell trouble for Pat McCrory. Only 30% of voters in the state support it to 43% who are opposed. By a 12 point margin voters say the way McCrory has handled the issue makes them less likely to vote for him- 43% less likely compared to only 31% who say it makes them more likely to support him. There’s a good chance that if not for HB2 McCrory would be favored for reelection at this point.

We continue to find 2 overwhelming sentiments when it comes to HB 2:

1) Voters overwhelmingly think it’s hurting the state. 58% say it’s hurting North Carolina to only 22% who think it’s helping. Specifically on the issue of the economy 58% say it’s hurting the state to just 8% who think it’s helping. When we last polled that question in June only 49% thought it was hurting the state’s economy so the high profile cancellation of the NBA All Star game may be helping to fuel those numbers. Even Republicans by a 24 point margin grant the impact HB2 is having on the state economy is more negative than positive. Additionally 55% of voters think HB2 is hurting North Carolina’s reputation nationally, while only 19% think it’s having a positive effect on the state.

2) Voters don’t think HB2 is actually having the impact it’s supposedly intended to have. Just 29% think it’s made North Carolina safer, to 50% who say it hasn’t made the state safer. A lot of the rhetoric around HB2 has focused on its helping make women safer but only 21% of them think it’s had that effect to 54% who say it has not.

The other key races for state offices in North Carolina all remain very competitive as well. Democrat Dan Blue III has 39% for State Treasurer to 37% for Republican Dale Folwell. Democrat Josh Stein has 39% for Attorney General to 38% for Republican Buck Newton. And the Lieutenant Governor’s race is dead even with incumbent Dan Forest and challenger Linda Coleman each at 37%. It’s the same story in the key State Supreme Court contest with incumbent Bob Edmunds and challenger Mike Morgan each coming in at 21%.

North Carolina’s Senate race is close as well. Richard Burr leads with 41% to 37% for Deborah Ross, and 5% for Libertarian Sean Haugh. The overarching themes of this race remain the same. Burr is not popular, with only 28% of voters approving of the job he’s doing to 39% who disapprove. But Ross is still pretty much unknown, with only 39% of voters having an opinion about her one way or another. Burr’s weak numbers make voters open to the possibility of replacing him, but they’ll have to learn more about Ross before they decide whether they think she’s a better alternative or not.

Ross has a number of issues to work with where Burr is very much at odds with the wishes of the American people. 78% of voters in the state supporting barring those on the Terror Watch list from buying a firearm, including 81% of Republicans, 78% of Democrats, and 73% of independents. 77% support background checks on all gun purchases, including 81% of Democrats, 75% of Republicans, and 71% of independents. North Carolinians even support an assault weapons ban by a 51/39 spread.

We also find by a 60/23 spread that North Carolinians would like to see the Senate move forward with Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court by holding hearings. There’s bipartisan agreement on that issue with Democrats (74/13), independents (55/24), and Republicans (43/36) all in agreement. Finally we find 71% of North Carolinians- including 86% of Democrats, 70% of independents, and 51% of Republicans- would support increasing the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour. Burr is well out of step with public opinion on all of these things.

Full results here

 

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CDC survey shows LGBTQ youth face high rates of violence and bullying http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/11/cdc-survey-shows-lgbtq-youth-face-high-rates-of-violence-and-bullying/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/11/cdc-survey-shows-lgbtq-youth-face-high-rates-of-violence-and-bullying/#respond Thu, 11 Aug 2016 18:27:50 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73008

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today released a nationwide survey of high school students, which found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual young people are far more likely to experience violence and bullying, and attempt suicide, than their heterosexual peers.

This year marked the first time the biannual Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) asked young people about their sexual orientation. The results from this year’s survey are sobering:

  • Thirty-four percent of LGB teens reported having been bullied in school, and 18 percent said they had been been forced to have sex;
  • Twenty-three percent reported experiencing sexual violence, and 18 percent were subjected to physical violence from someone they were dating;
  • And more than 30 percent reported having attempted suicide in the past year alone.

The YRBS surveys teens – 15,713 in 2015 – in high schools across the country. While this report gives insight into the plight of LGB youth, it is not a complete picture: a number of states eliminated sexual orientation questions from their surveys.  Additionally, the YRBS still does not identify teens who are transgender or gender-expansive – even though previous research suggests that transgender teens are more likely to experience violence and other serious problems. The CDC is expected to add these questions to the YRBS in the future.

Researchers believe that anti-LGBTQ stigma is a major cause of problems including depression, violence and substance abuse among LGBTQ young people. They also know that studies show support from peers, family and other important adults helps enormously. HRC’s Welcoming Schools program works to reduce stigma and bullying starting in elementary school by providing professional development training to teachers. Through the All Children – All Families project, HRC trains child welfare workers to support LGBTQ youth.  Last month, HRC partnered with the American Counseling Association to release the first of five online learning modules for counselors who work with LGBTQ young people. HRC’s annual Time to Thrive conference gives youth-serving professionals the tools they need to promote LGBTQ youth well-being.

“Anti-LGBTQ bullying and harassment have serious and heartbreaking consequences for young people and these numbers make that more clear than ever,” said Mary Beth Maxwell, HRC Foundation’s Senior Vice President for Programs, Research and Trainings. “This is a call to action to support and protect our young people. From the messages youth receive at their kitchen table, in their classroom, and on prime-time T.V., we all must do more to put an end to anti-LGBTQ stigma. Policymakers, for one, can start with the passage and implementation of local, state, and federal anti-bullying policies and nondiscrimination protections.”

“The CDC’s plan to add gender identity questions to future student surveys will enhance our understanding of obstacles faced by LGBTQ young people, and help drive our urgent efforts to end the stigma they face and ensure that all young people are safe, supported and affirmed,” Maxwell continued.

While current federal law provides some support to promote school safety, it does not comprehensively and expressly focus on bullying or harassment and in no way addresses the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ youth. That is why Congress needs to pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act–legislation that would require school districts to adopt anti-bullying and harassment policies that specifically include bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity, along with race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and religion.

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LGBTQ advocates plan rally to end hate at Trump/Rubio event in Orlando http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/10/lgbtq-advocates-plan-rally-to-end-hate-at-trumprubio-event-in-orlando/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/10/lgbtq-advocates-plan-rally-to-end-hate-at-trumprubio-event-in-orlando/#respond Wed, 10 Aug 2016 19:24:37 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=72982
Donald Trump and Marco Rubio

Donald Trump and Marco Rubio

ORLANDO, Fla. – On the eve of the two-month anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub massacre, presidential candidate Donald Trump will join U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio at a radical anti-LGBTQ event in Orlando. Equality Florida, joined by community partners and individuals directly impacted by the shooting, will gather Thursday, Aug. 11 for a peaceful rally and press conference to demand an end to the hate and violence perpetuated by Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio, and the religious extremists responsible for the event.

The rally will take place outside of the Orange County Convention Center – South Concourse, 9809 International Dr, in Orlando from 11 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.

“On the two-month anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, we are outraged that Donald Trump and Sen. Rubio have the audacity to headline an extremist anti-LGBTQ event in Orlando,” stated Equality Florida in a press release.  “In the midst of our grief, we demand an end to hatred and bigotry of all kinds, call for the passage of fully inclusive anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, and urge our elected officials to support common sense gun violence prevention measures to honor the 49 lives cut short by hatred.”

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Bill Cosby: An offender against the transgender community, too http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/10/bill-cosby-an-offender-against-the-transgender-community-too/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/10/bill-cosby-an-offender-against-the-transgender-community-too/#comments Wed, 10 Aug 2016 19:06:30 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=72976

Cos for Alarm Los Angeles (AP)

Bill Cosby, who likes to be known for his tennis as much as his comedy, was showing off his tennis form yesterday at the Los Angeles Tennis Club, but his best shots were still in the humor department.

He was asked a variety of questions on several aspects of tennis-among them the attempt of transsexual Renee Richards, the former Dr. Richard Raskind, to play in the U.S. Open.

“I don’t want to touch that particular subject,” observed Cos, adding, “And I don’t want that particular subject touching me.” August 1976.

The above quote by accused serial rapist Bill Cosby, from 40 years ago, on the difficulties of athlete and ophthalmologist Dr. Renee Richards M.D. to compete professionally in tennis is shocking in several regards. It shocks as the Associated Press reporter termed this dastardly slur as “humor.”

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby

It shocks also as the AP prominently placed Cos’ quote in the middle of a 450-word article that otherwise made a compassionate case for the pioneering effort by Dr. Richards to bring attention to the early important social movement of transgender rights.

Finally, in the immediate aftermath of Stonewall when articles on gay rights were beginning to reflect the movement as a serious civil and employment rights movement worthy of professional and unbiased news reporting, this 1976 article clearly shows transgender people were still comedy figures deemed unworthy of respect and totally worthy of marginalization and outright ridicule.

Given a steady and increasingly shocking stream of revelations of women alleging raped by Cosby, his quote on Dr. Richards is further compelling evidence of the comedian’s disrespect for women. “And I don’t want that particular subject touching me,” are nine words of hate Bill Cosby cannot escape.

Cosby, now 79, has been accused by over 60 women of rapedrug facilitated sexual assaultsexual batterychild sexual abuse, and sexual misconduct, with the earliest alleged incidents taking place in the mid-1960s. He has denied the allegations. While most of the sex assaults alleged by his accusers fall outside the statute of limitations for legal proceedings, Cosby’s words in the nation’s bicentennial year are chilling.

I know firsthand the pain hateful words convey. As a youth in Alabama during the bloody struggle for civil rights in the 1960s I heard and saw words of hate directed against African Americans. As a diplomat in Washington, D.C. I was the target of sexual hate speech by Sen. Jesse Helms who called me a “pervert” in the pages of The Congressional Record.  Cosby’s hateful words about Dr. Renee Richards are preserved forever by the AP. Jesse’s words of hate against me are preserved for eternity in The Congressional Record and on C-SPAN video archives.

Implicit in the nine horrible words Bill Cosby said about Dr. Richards is the lie that transgender people are sick, diseased, unclean and should be shunned by others and perhaps segregated by society. In lieu of the current legal filing by officials in North Carolina to justify HB 2, which would require people to use bathrooms based on their sex at birth rather than their gender identity, these words by Bill Cosby indicate the type of hideous ideas people have been led to think by bigoted entertainment figures, politicians and others in the popular media for the past 40 years. Bill Cosby has always identified politically as a Democrat yet these views and his alleged treatment of women are hypocritical for one respected for civil rights and family oriented TV programs.

If Cosby feels this way about an adult transgender woman what might this famed TV father figure to millions of viewers have thought and still think about transgender kids. Bill Cosby as an educator and socially conscious personality must be reassessed in light of this 1976 vicious and hateful statement and the multiple rape accusations.

Bill Cosby never physically raped Dr. Renee Richards but by saying “And I don’t want that particular subject touching me,” he still denied her dignity as a woman. Cosby denied her value as a human being. On a broader scale, Cosby’s words have done the same to the transgender community by spreading ugly stereotypes disguised as comedy.

Dr. Renee Richards’ life matters. The pain and suffering she experienced in the 1970s due to her decision to transition is valuable to the history of our country. The additional pain and suffering Dr. Richards experienced thanks to Cosby’s “humor” and the tremendous success the comedian earned since 1976 must also cause suffering to Dr. Richards, currently 81. Entertainers like Cosby can become rich by mocking, bullying and abusing women.

Dr. Richards needs an apology from Bill Cosby. Richards and the women, known and unknown, Cosby is alleged to have raped may never get the justice they deserve for the pain and suffering he caused. I hope this column helps enablers and supporters realize the beast Bill Cosby was to Dr. Richards and may have been to other women.

In 1976 Dr. Renee Richards was a safe female target for Bill Cosby to abuse in print for the world to read and repeat.  She had no way to fight back. She was helpless to Bill Cosby. Bill Cosby controlled Dr. Renee Richards as though he could also sexually violate her as well as abuse her in print.

If Bill Cosby was so bold and so confident that he could do as he wished with Dr. Richards that long ago day in Los Angeles, the rape and sexual abuse allegations by more than 60 women against Cosby may sound more believable today. History will not forget the pain, suffering and economic hardship the transgender community has endured and continues to endure. They deserve social and economic justice today! Cosby and his accusers deserve justice as well.

Author note: In May Pennsylvania Judge Elizabeth McHugh ruled Cosby would face trial for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. Since then Cosby’s attorney announced the comedian is nearly blind and friendless. Constand, 43, charged Cosby plans to bully her at her deposition by requesting McHugh allow his attorney be present and leaking lurid details to the press. McHugh has not ruled on Cosby’s request. The coming weeks promise more explosive charges on Cosby’s sex life.

Jim Patterson, whose late father served with the Alabama National Guard during the 1960s civil rights struggle in Alabama, writes on employment and political issues from California and Washington, D.C. He is a contributor to The Hill, LGBT Weekly and others. JEPCapitolHill@gmail.com

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Now Trump joins Rubio to speak at hate group’s event http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/09/now-trump-joins-rubio-to-speak-at-hate-groups-event/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/09/now-trump-joins-rubio-to-speak-at-hate-groups-event/#respond Tue, 09 Aug 2016 22:40:22 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=72973

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump will join  U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) to speak this week at a campaign training hosted by the Liberty Council, an extremist hate group monitored by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its anti-LGBTQ discrimination efforts. The two-day event is set to take place at the Hyatt Regency Orlando (9801 International Dr., Orlando, FL 32819) this Thursday, August 11, less than two months after 49 people, mostly LGBTQ Latinos, were killed during a shooting at the Orlando Pulse nightclub.

“Holding this event is an insult to the victims and families of those innocent people who were murdered barely two months ago. Decent people everywhere will be appalled. Stirring up homophobia and islamophobia is wrong at the best of times but to do so when the entire Orlando community is still grieving and recovering from the Pulse tragedy, is beyond distasteful. Donald Trump may have mentioned the LGBTQ community in his acceptance speech which some people interpreted as a positive signal to our community — despite the vehemently anti-LGBTQ views of his running mate Mike Pence and the Republican Party platform. But now Donald Trump and Marco Rubio plan to breathe the oxygen of publicity into an openly anti-LGBTQ event, joining some of the most notorious anti-LGBTQ people out there. Haven’t the people of Orlando had enough?” said Russell Roybal, Deputy Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund.

Among the speakers expected at the event include: Mat Staver, who has represented Kim Davis and Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and has denounced memorial gatherings for the victims of the Orlando massacre as “homosexual love fests;” David Barton, an anti-LGBTQ extremist who thinks HIV/AIDS is a “divine penalty;” Maine pastor Ken Graves who claims that LGBTQ people can’t raise happy families because they are “depressed;” and David Lane who believes that basic rights for LGBTQ people will lead to “utter destruction” and “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington DC, and Des Moines.”

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American Jewish World Service: We must hold the Ugandan government and police accountable for human rights violations http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/09/american-jewish-world-service-we-must-hold-the-ugandan-government-and-police-accountable-for-human-rights-violations/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/09/american-jewish-world-service-we-must-hold-the-ugandan-government-and-police-accountable-for-human-rights-violations/#respond Tue, 09 Aug 2016 20:03:33 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=72959
Robert Bank

Robert Bank

NEW YORK—Thursday, Aug. 4, police in Uganda raided a nightclub where an annual LGBTI pride celebration was taking place. In addition to brutalizing participants in the pride event, the police detained leaders of civil society organizations who are engaged in advocacy for the LGBTI community. This attack is part of an overall pattern in Uganda in which civil society organizations and political opponents of the government are finding themselves increasingly targeted by the Ugandan government and the police in violation of both Ugandan and international human rights law.

“As an international organization working in solidarity with hundreds of organizations and millions of people worldwide who believe that all societies must respect human rights and the dignity of every person, we are deeply dismayed that citizens of Uganda—especially activists and supporters of civil society organizations—have been subjected to an array of unlawful actions by the government, including police violence and arbitrary detention. These measures by the Ugandan government are part of a larger trend, including actions against news organizations and opposition political parties. We stand in solidarity with civil society organizations and activists in Uganda who are demanding that their own government follow both Ugandan law and international human rights law,” said Robert Bank, President and CEO of American Jewish World Service, the leading international Jewish development and human rights organization.

“As supporters of human rights who are especially sensitive to the rights of minority groups, we find it completely unacceptable that any government abridge the right of its citizens, including LGBTI people, to express themselves through public demonstrations and by participating in organizations of their own choosing. The police attack on a LGBTI pride gathering late last week is part of a broader pattern of abuse for which the government and the police must be held accountable under Ugandan and international law,” added Bank. “We remain gravely concerned about the safety of those who were assaulted and had their photographs taken without their consent—and we were especially alarmed to learn that people who appeared not to conform to traditional gender norms, as well as transgender people, were specifically targeted.

“We are particularly disturbed to learn from a Ugandan civil society organization that a government official said he would do anything in his authority to make sure that this year’s LGBTI pride parade did not proceed, emphasizing that if the police did not stop it, he would call on Ugandans to storm the venue and harm participants. As members of a minority group who for too long were subject to arbitrary actions by hostile governments, we deplore this incitement to violence by a top government official against a minority group in Uganda, encouraging both citizens and the police to attack a minority group,” added Bank.

“We are heartened by the actions of local organizations that are working quickly and collaboratively to respond to this attack, among them Chapter Four, Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF), DefendDefenders and Defenders Protection Initiative (DPI). Together, they have provided emergency medical support and legal counsel for those who were detained, alerted allies through social media and coordinated outreach to the media, drawing the attention of supporters of human rights worldwide.”

“We join with Chapter Four, which called on the Ugandan governments ‘to immediately and publicly condemn this raid and call on government to take swift disciplinary action against those responsible for these gross violations of rights and freedoms,’” added Bank. “And we echo the words of Nicholas Opiyo, a human rights lawyer and Executive Director of Chapter Four Uganda, who said, ‘We strongly condemn these violations of Ugandans’ rights to peaceful association and assembly…These brutal actions by police are unacceptable and must face the full force of Ugandan law.’”

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National LGBT organizations urge Big 12 Conference to skip BYU http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/09/national-lgbt-organizations-urge-big-12-conference-to-skip-byu/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/09/national-lgbt-organizations-urge-big-12-conference-to-skip-byu/#respond Tue, 09 Aug 2016 19:00:04 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=72949
BYU campus

BYU campus

NEW YORK, N.Y. –Athlete Ally, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and 20-plus national LGBT organizations submitted a letter to the Big 12 Conference and its member schools urging it not to consider Brigham Young University (BYU) as a potential new conference member because of the school’s express policy of discriminating against same-sex couples and LGBTQ students.

The Big 12 Conference is a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletic conference consisting of 10 Division I colleges and universities. Member schools are located in Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia. Recently, there has been public discussion that speculation the Big 12 is seeking to expand, with BYU as a leading candidate for inclusion.

BYU is located in Provo, Utah and, according to the Princeton Review, is the sixth worst school for LGBTQ students in the nation. Its policies requiring discrimination against LGBT students include its Honor Code, which prohibits “homosexual behavior” by students and staff. This “includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.”

Athlete Ally Executive Director and Founder Hudson Taylor believes BYU should automatically be disqualified from contention into the Big 12 Conference. “Brigham Young University’s treatment of its LGBT students and faculty show that its values are antithetical to the Big 12’s. It’s an honor and a privilege to belong to an athletic conference such as the Big 12; discrimination should not be rewarded.”

Added NCLR Sports Project Director Helen Carroll: “To maintain the solid reputation that the Big 12 promotes toward fostering a competitive and inclusive atmosphere for student athletes at every member institution, any consideration of an expansion including  Brigham Young University—a university ranked the sixth worst school in the country for whose policies expressly discriminate against LGBTQ students—would move the Big 12 far away from their core solid values of championing inclusion and fairness known to champion for all student athletes. Knowing these facts, it is imperative that the Big 12 reject any bid by the university for membership.”

The sign-on letter and a list of all organizations who support the recommendations can be found at http://www.athleteally.org/big-12-conference-letter/.

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Marco Rubio justifies headlining anti-LGBT conference in Orlando http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/08/marco-rubio-justifies-headlining-anti-lgbt-conference-in-orlando/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/08/marco-rubio-justifies-headlining-anti-lgbt-conference-in-orlando/#respond Mon, 08 Aug 2016 16:55:20 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=72928
Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio

Aug. 11, Sen. Marco Rubio will address listeners at an event in Orlando that is backed in part by the virulently anti-gay Liberty Counsel. The event, “Rediscovering God in America Renewal Project” is being held at a hotel that is less than 10 miles from the site where Omar Mateen slaughtered 49 people at a popular gay club.

In a statement activist group Faith in America called on Rubio to back out of the conference saying, “It’s incredulous a Senator of [the] United States is willing to collude with individuals who are dedicated to oppressing LGBT people. The beliefs shared by this group actively harm LGBT people. This is not the America we want. God will not be found anywhere near that event.”

However, Rubio defended his appearance in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times, saying that characterization is false.

“The event I will be speaking at in Orlando is a gathering of local pastors and faith leaders. Leave it to the media and liberal activists to label a gathering of faith leaders as an anti-LGBT event. It is nothing of the sort. It is a celebration of faith,” he said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the Liberty Counsel as an extremist hate group.

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HRC reveals #NoMoore billboard in Montgomery http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/07/hrc-reveals-nomoore-billboard-in-montgomery/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/07/hrc-reveals-nomoore-billboard-in-montgomery/#respond Mon, 08 Aug 2016 00:30:50 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=72919

#NoMoreHRC Alabama has revealed a new billboard off I-85 in Montgomery calling out disgraced, notoriously anti-LGBTQ Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, reports the HRC’s Hayley Miller. The billboard, which reads#NoMoore: Dismiss Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore” goes up as Moore, suspended from the bench in May for his consistent defiance of pro-marriage equality federal rulings in the state, is set to be questioned by judicial prosecutors during a hearing Monday on ethics charges.

In 2014, HRC launched Project One America, an initiative geared towards advancing social, institutional and legal equality in Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas. HRC Alabama continues to work to advance equality for LGBTQ Alabamians who have no state level protections in housing, workplace, or public accommodations. Through HRC Alabama, we are working toward a future of fairness every day — changing hearts, minds and laws toward achieving full equality.

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Public School Review Diversity Report: Which states have the most diverse public schools? http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/06/public-school-review-diversity-report-which-states-have-the-most-diverse-public-schools/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/06/public-school-review-diversity-report-which-states-have-the-most-diverse-public-schools/#respond Sat, 06 Aug 2016 19:30:03 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=72903
Public Schools ReportAmerican public schools have made tremendous progress since the Supreme Court declared school segregation unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education. Schools throughout the nation are more diverse than ever before as a result of desegregation, immigration of people to this country, and emigration of citizens from one region of the nation to another. Sixty years after the Supreme Court’s decision, schools in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and other southern states where segregation was once so prominent have shown great gains in diversity.
But which states have the most diverse public school campuses? We collected data and analyzed the numbers to develop an original list illustrating how much diversity truly exists in each state’s public schools.
Diversity Scores of Public Schools
To equally compare the diversity of public schools in our country, we mined student population data and calculated diversity scores at the school, town, county and state levels.
While “diversity” commonly refers to the presence of minorities, we were interested in understanding the presence of more than one ethnic group on campus. For example, while the Los Angeles Unified School District has many schools that have 90% or more Hispanic students on campus, this would be considered a homogenous school, rather than a diverse one.
As such, our formula determines the likelihood that any two students are from different ethnic groups.  Scores closer to 1 indicate greater diversity, while scores closer to 0 indicate lesser diversity.
When examining the various levels of scoring, school-level scores are more or less indicative of the town, county and state-level scores, meaning states with a greater level of diversity also have schools with a greater level of diversity.
There are, of course, exceptions to the rule.  Our data analysis takes the average across all of the schools, but there are always outliers.
For example, 93 percent of Vermont’s public school students are White, giving it a state-level diversity score of .14. Yet, the Integrated Arts Academy at H.O. Wheeler School in Burlington has a relatively high school diversity score of .6147 because of large numbers of Asian and Black students in that particular district. Similarly, Cattell Elementary School in Des Moines, Iowa, which has large populations of Asian, Black and Hispanic students, has a diversity score of .7644, whereas Iowa’s overall diversity score is just .32.
Despite these anomalies, more diverse schools tend to be in cities and states that have had existing ethnic populations for quite some time, or have experienced an influx of ethnic minorities in the last ten to twenty years.
Most Diverse States
Based upon our data, the 10 states with the most diverse public schools are:
       1.     Florida
       2.     Nevada
       3.     Maryland
       4.     New York
       5.     Illinois
       6.     New Jersey
       7.     Alaska
       8.     California
       9.     Georgia
       10.   Hawaii
It stands to reason that states with a more diverse general population would also have greater diversity in their public schools. Indeed, Nevada, Maryland, New York, Alaska, California, and Hawaii are counted in the top 10 most diverse states in America, according to the American Community Survey conducted in 2009.
However, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, and Georgia – which appear in our top 10 most diverse public school states – are not among the top 10 most diverse states by the general population.
There are interesting trends to note when comparing the general population against that found on public school campuses. For example, New Mexico is the 6th most diverse state in the country, yet its public school population’s diversity ranks at 16th place.  Washington state ranks 20th for its diversity on public school campuses, but is 10th for its general population’s diversity.
The discrepancy between diversity in public schools and the general population has several explanations.  One is the increase in minority population growth amongst the student-aged residents of the state, as compared to the non-school aged population.

It comes as no surprise that states such as Florida and Nevada, both of which have seen explosive population growth over the last two decades, are at the top of the list in terms of public school diversity when examined at the state-level. Florida’s score of .69 is due in large part to increasing numbers of Hispanic students, who currently represent 27 percent of all Florida public school students. Florida schools have a large population of Black students as well, representing 23 percent of all students. Nevada’s Hispanic population has grown faster than most other states, and as a result, Hispanic students now represent 39 percent of Nevada’s students. Nevada’s state-level diversity score of .68 is reflective of this trend.
Another explanation for the discrepency of the general population vs. public school diversity is district lines.  For the vast number of public schools, their student population is determined by geographical district lines. While a state may have a diverse general population, it may be segregated regionally, with some ethnic groups congregating in certain school districts.
There might also be preferences in different ethnic groups for enrollment in public vs. private schools.  For exampe, while Los Angeles is one of the most racially diverse cities in America, 91% of the students enrolled in the Los Angeles Unified School District are minority students, mostly Hispanic.   However, in analyzing the general population of Los Angeles County, only 57.5% are Hispanic, while 41.3% are White and 10.7% are Asian.   A possible explanation is that a large portion of the White and Asian population attend private schools in the county.
As another example of private school enrollment impacting the diversity of public schools vs. the general population is Hawaii. Hawaii is the most diverse state in our country, but it ranks at 10th for diversity in its public schools. In this state, the private school system is prominent, enrolling nearly 38,000 students across the state, according to the Hawaii Council of Private Schools’ Enrollment Report for 2011 – 2012. To compare, according to the Hawaii State Department of Education, there are 185,000 students enrolled in the public school system for the 2013 – 2014 school year.  Thus, private school enrollment constitutes about 18% of the entire student body of Hawaii. In contrast, in California, only 8% of the state’s students are enrolled in the state, according to the California Department of Education.
When examined at the town-level, the three towns with the most diverse schools in the nation are in the San Francisco-Oakland metro area.  El Cerrito, El Sobrante and Pinole, California have diversity scores of .80, .79 and .79 respectively. In each city, schools have large populations of Asian, Black and Hispanic students. In fact, in each of these three California cities, no ethnic group represents more than 42 percent of any individual school’s overall population.
Data gathered at the district-level shows that California is also home to the most diverse school districts. Elk Grove Unified Public Schools and Natomas Unified School District, both of which serve students in the Sacramento area, and John Swett Unified School District in Contra Costa County all have diversity scores of .78. Schools in these districts have a larger percentage of minority students when compared to the California average, as well as generally fewer White students when compared to the state as a whole, which accounts for their high diversity scores.
Least Diverse States
The 10 states with the least diversity on their public school campuses are:
       1.     Vermont
       2.     West Virginia
       3.     Maine
       4.     New Hampshire
       5.     Montana
       6.     Kentucky
       7.     Iowa
       8.     Wyoming
       9.     North Dakota
       10.   Utah
With exception to Montana, Wyoming, and Utah, the other seven states in our list are also ranked as the top 10 most diverse states by general population, according to the American Community Survey from 2009.
States in regions that have shown stagnant overall population growth over the last ten years have the least amount of ethnic diversity in their schools. According to information from the U.S. Census Bureau, New England and the Midwest have the slowest overall growth of any region. New England grew by only 3.2 percent between 2000 and 2010, while the Midwest grew by just 3.9 percent. As such, statewide diversity scores for states in these areas are quite low. For example, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire have three of the four lowest state-level diversity scores, with none being higher than .19.
Benefits of Diversity in Public Schools
 
Ethnic diversity in elementary and secondary schools provides students and teachers with a rich environment in which increased social interactions allow them to learn about other peoples, cultures and traditions. This, in turn, leads to understanding and respect for others. As reported by the Association for Psychological Science, students in highly diverse schools exhibit higher self-esteem, while having reduced feelings of loneliness. Students who attend schools with more diverse student bodies also report feeling safer in school and experience less peer-to-peer harassment.
In short, the more diverse the student population, the better students seem to feel. As the nation continues to grow and regions with less diverse populations attract more people, school diversity will continue to increase and so too will acceptance of others.
This article was originally published on PublicSchoolReview.com and is reproduced by permission.

 

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Date set for Harvey Milk Navy ship naming ceremony http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/05/date-set-for-harvey-milk-navy-ship-naming-ceremony/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/05/date-set-for-harvey-milk-navy-ship-naming-ceremony/#comments Fri, 05 Aug 2016 22:38:49 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=72923
Lt. Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk

The Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus today announced that the naming ceremony for a new U.S. Navy ship in honor of Harvey Milk will take place Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 2 p.m. at Treasure Island Great Lawn in San Francisco.

An earlier notification indicated Mabus intended to name a planned Military Sealift Command fleet oiler USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO-206). The ship would be the second of the John Lewis-class oilers being built by General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego, Calif.

Milk joined the United States Navy during the Korean War. He served aboard the submarine rescue ship USS Kittiwake (ASR-13) as a diving officer. He later transferred to Naval Station, San Diego to serve as a diving instructor. In 1955, he was discharged from the Navy at the rank of lieutenant, junior grade.

Harvey Milk’s father, William Milk, also served on a submarine during World War II. His mother, Minerva Karns, was an early feminist activist who joined the Yeomanettes, a group agitating for the inclusion of women in the US Navy during World War I.

Following his service, Milk was elected to the San Francisco board of supervisors and was the first openly gay California politician to be elected to office. He was killed in office in 1978.

 

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LGBTQ Task Force calls for full investigation into the Baltimore County police fatal shooting of black woman http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/04/lgbtq-task-force-calls-for-full-investigation-into-the-baltimore-county-police-fatal-shooting-of-black-woman/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/04/lgbtq-task-force-calls-for-full-investigation-into-the-baltimore-county-police-fatal-shooting-of-black-woman/#respond Thu, 04 Aug 2016 17:48:47 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=72849

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National LGBTQ Task Force is calling for a full investigation into the Baltimore County Police killing of Korryn Gaines and the wounding of her child. Ms. Grimes is the 647th Black person to be killed by law enforcement across the nation this year.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones touched by this horrific incident. The attack on a 23-year-old black mother and son is outrageous and we call on the state and federal authorities to get to the truth behind what happened and to bring those individuals to justice. What makes this incident so despicable is the fact that a small child, while also being shot, was forced to watch their mother being killed at the hands of police. Far too often, police practices are applied unevenly—a situation involving a white person brandishing a gun is deescalated without gunfire, but if the person is Black, there is almost always, a much different and deadlier outcome. The National LGBTQ Task Force continues to advocate for systemic changes in how communities are policed in this country—from one designed to dehumanize black people to one that sincerely values black lives,” said Russell Roybal, Deputy Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force.

Vox reported that three officers were serving an arrest warrant on Gaines — over low-level charges linked to a traffic stop earlier this year — at around 9:20 am Monday morning at an apartment in Randallstown, Maryland.

Police said Gaines barricaded herself with a shotgun at an apartment. For hours, police said they tried to talk her down. But, they said, Gaines repeatedly threatened the police and aimed her gun at them. At around 3 pm, she allegedly said, “If you don’t leave, I’m going to kill you.”

An officer fired his weapon once, according to police. Gaines returned fire. Police then opened fire. By the time it was over, Gaines was dead and her 5-year-old son, Kodi, was injured.

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Supreme Court order delays justice for transgender students http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/04/supreme-court-order-delays-justice-for-transgender-students/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/04/supreme-court-order-delays-justice-for-transgender-students/#respond Thu, 04 Aug 2016 16:54:16 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=72833
Gavin Grimm

Gavin Grimm

The U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday halted a lower court’s order forbidding a Virginia school district from enforcing its discriminatory ban on transgender students using bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. The 5-3 order in Gloucester County School Board v. Grimm allows the school board’s discriminatory policy to remain in place while the Supreme Court awaits an application by the school board to have its full appeal heard by the Supreme Court.  A final decision in the case would likely occur well into the school year.

In late May, the full Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request by the Gloucester County School Board to rehear Grimm’s lawsuit. Grimm claims that the school district violated his federal civil rights under Title IX of the Education Act of 1972 by denying him access to the boy’s restroom consistent with his gender identity.

In April, a panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, in a 2-1 decision,the U.S. Department of Education’s interpretation of Title IX as protecting transgender students from discrimination, including allowing them to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity.

“Today’s Supreme Court order is deeply disappointing and subjects Gavin Grimm and students like him to unsafe and discriminatory conditions as they begin returning to school in the coming weeks,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “No young person should wake up in the morning fearful of bullying or discrimination during the school day ahead. Every day that discrimination is allowed to continue, transgender students are put at risk of harm. While we remain optimistic that this is a temporary setback in the larger effort to ensure that transgender students are treated with dignity and respect, time is of the essence and any delay infringes on these students’ right to a safe and quality education.”

Rachel B. Tiven, CEO of Lambda Legal issued the following response to the Supreme Court’s decision:

“We are disappointed by today’s order from the Supreme Court. Every day that transgender young people are being singled out and separated from their peers is a day too long. Lambda Legal and our many partners will continue to fight on every front for equal protection in Virginia and throughout the country, where states continue to discriminate against and stigmatize trans students and LGBT people.”

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Equality NC wins national grassroots fundraising competition http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/03/equality-nc-wins-national-grassroots-fundraising-competition/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/03/equality-nc-wins-national-grassroots-fundraising-competition/#respond Wed, 03 Aug 2016 19:36:21 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=72756

In a clear show of discontent with the North Carolina legislature and the passage of HB2, the most stringently anti-LGBT law in the country, the Equality North Carolina Foundation received the highest number of donations of any national mid-size LGBT organization in the United States and any LGBT organization in the entire South over the 24-hour “Give Out Day” campaign.

“We are incredibly thankful and honored for the significant donations our organization received over Give Out Day,” said Chris Sgro, Executive Director of Equality NC. “North Carolina has been the focus of national attention every single day since HB2 was first brought up. The support received is a clear sign that the LGBT community, and the country as a whole, unequivocally reject this law and understand North Carolina isn’t defined by this appalling legislation.”

With the passage of HB2, North Carolina has become the epicenter of the debate around transgender rights and LGBT non-discrimination protections. Countless shows have been cancelled in the state and numerous businesses have expressed concerns that the law will jeopardize the safety and comfort of their employees and clients. In fact, the NBA officially announced it would be pulling the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte as a result of the legislation. In an effort to prevent further damage, Equality NC has been at the forefront of the fight against HB2, working tirelessly for a singular demand: full repeal of HB2

“Initiatives like Give Out Day are extremely important for the success of our foundation,” said Sgro. “Thanks to the help of grassroots donations such as this one, Equality NC will be able to continue educating North Carolinians on LGBT news and stories, and mobilizing the community in our effort to repeal HB2 and any other anti-LGBT legislation.”

Give Out Day was launched in 2013, raising more than $2.4 million across its first three years for over 500 organizations that serve the LGBT community. Equality NC will receive $10,000 for being the top mid-size national organization and $5,000 for being the top in the South. This award was given by an anonymous donor.

Chris Sgro, the only openly gay North Carolina legislator and the Executive Director of Equality North Carolina, is available to discuss the foundation’s work and the meaning of Give Out Day.

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Hillary Clinton builds on her commitment to end the HIV and AIDS epidemic http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/03/hillary-clinton-builds-on-her-commitment-to-end-the-hiv-and-aids-epidemic/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/03/hillary-clinton-builds-on-her-commitment-to-end-the-hiv-and-aids-epidemic/#respond Wed, 03 Aug 2016 19:24:24 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=72753

Hillary Clinton announced Tuesday the plan she would embark on as president to end the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the U. S. and around the world. Her blueprint includes enhancing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, convening working groups to develop aggressive actions to combat the spread of HIV, and launching a campaign to combat stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV.

The National HIV/AIDS Strategy, first released by the Obama administration in 2010, is the nation’s first-ever comprehensive HIV and AIDS plan with clear and measurable targets.

Clinton’s proposals build on the detailed plan she released earlier in the campaign. At the time, she called for expanding access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, and capping out-of-pocket medical expenses and drug prices. Last week, Daniel Driffin, a Black gay man living with HIV, addressed the Democratic National Convention and discussed the need for increased resources and research on HIV and AIDS. It was the first time in 12 years that a person living with HIV addressed a national party convention.

“Throughout her career, Secretary Clinton has steadfastly fought to help meet the needs of people living with HIV,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “These additional steps build on the comprehensive plan put forth by Secretary Clinton to end the HIV and AIDS epidemic. We look forward to working with Hillary Clinton and her administration to implement and expand on these plans, secure necessary funding, and to set a timeline and targets to achieve an AIDS-free generation.”

 

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Seattle bans ‘gay conversion therapy’ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/02/seattle-bans-gay-conversion-therapy/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/02/seattle-bans-gay-conversion-therapy/#respond Tue, 02 Aug 2016 22:14:10 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=72749

The Seattle City Council yesterday unanimously approved an ordinance protecting youth from “gay conversion therapy.”

The Seattle ordinance provides for a fine of $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for any violation after that, The Advocate reports. There will also be misdemeanor charges for advertising conversion therapy. Seattle becomes the 10th jurisdiction to enact such a ban, joining California, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Vermont, Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., and Miami Beach, Fla.

The ordinance bars licensed health care providers from subjecting anyone under 18 to “ex-gay” therapy.

“Being gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, or transgender is not an illness,” said Councilmember Lorena González, the ordinance’s chief sponsor, when introducing it, The Advocate report continues. “Nor is it something that needs a cure.”

 

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LGBTQ Task Force: Chelsea Manning’s mistreatment is indicative of the abuse LGBTQ people face in prison http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/02/lgbtq-task-force-chelsea-mannings-mistreatment-is-indicative-of-the-abuse-lgbtq-people-face-in-prison/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2016/08/02/lgbtq-task-force-chelsea-mannings-mistreatment-is-indicative-of-the-abuse-lgbtq-people-face-in-prison/#respond Tue, 02 Aug 2016 20:13:06 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=72736

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Former Army private Chelsea Manning faces indefinite solitary confinement as a result of administrative charges brought against her, which include a suicide attempt. Manning, a transgender woman, was convicted in 2013 for leaking classified government documents to Wikileaks. The latest incident is part of the ongoing mistreatment Manning has experienced at the men’s military prison at the U.S. Army Disciplinary Barracks in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

“The continued mistreatment and emotional abuse Chelsea Manning faces is horrifying yet it’s indicative of what most LGBTQ people experience in prison or detention,” said Meghan Maury, Criminal and Economic Justice Project Director, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund. “When compared to the general prison population, LGBTQ prisoners disproportionately experience a wide range of inhumane treatment from sexual abuse by prison staff, to being denied physical and mental health services, to being forced into isolation under the guise of protecting them from the general prison population. In fact, in a recent report by Black and Pink, 85 percent of LGBTQ prisoners reported having been held in solitary confinement at some point during their sentence, despite consistent findings that anything more than 15 days of solitary confinement causes irreversible psychological effects. The cruel and inhumane treatment of LGBTQ people in prison must end, and our government must do more to ensure their fair treatment and safety.”

The National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund has met with the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Prison, and the Department of Homeland Security calling for reform in the treatment of LGBTQ people in the prison system and while in detention. Additionally, the organization has been pushing Congress to pass the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act.

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