June is Pride Month! LGBTQ Pride Month coincides with the anniversary of the famous Stonewall Riots that occurred in 1969 in New York City. Exactly one year later, the first pride marches took place in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles to commemorate this brave stand against injustice. Now, pride events are held annually across the world and in cities large and small. For some people, it is the only time they can be out and proud in their community. Pride festivals and parades celebrate the progress made by the LGBTQ community, but are also opportunities to acknowledge the distance we still have to go to achieve full equality.
Donald Trump’s nominee for Army Secretary, Mark Green,
announced he would remove himself from consideration. Since Trump’s
announcement of Green’s nomination, HRC <http://www.hrc.org/blog/mark-green-withdraws-as-army-secretary-nominee-following-pressure-from-hrc>
worked diligently to expose Mark Green’s shameful anti-LGBTQ record and
rhetoric, and the danger his nomination posed to LGBTQ service members and
First, the bad news. Thursday’s executive order by Trump is a tremendous danger to the LGBT community, to women’s rights and reproductive rights. It is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Although the executive order didn’t outline overt discrimination against the LGBT community, make no mistake: It did tremendous damage. The President weakened our constitutional divide between church and state. The executive order begins the process to set aside the Johnson Amendment, which kept churches and synagogues from endorsing political candidates or risk losing their non-profit status. Ultimately the Johnson Amendment has to be voted on in Congress but the Executive Order weakens the IRS from prosecuting those who violate the law.
Additionally, this order is incredibly alarming, particularly for millions of LGBTQ people and women across the nation, who are among those most frequently subjected to discrimination under the guise of religion. Trump’s order could allow government contractors to decline to work with gay and lesbian couples on adoptions and other services. It could also allow federal employees to refuse services to those whose benefits depend on marriage equality.
In more optimistic news, the Human Rights Campaign <http://www.hrc.org/blog/equality-act-reintroduced-with-unprecedented-corporate-support> joined with bipartisan lawmakers and an unprecedented number of businesses to announce the re-introduction of the Equality Act — federal legislation that would finally guarantee explicit, permanent protections for LGBTQ people under our nation’s existing civil rights laws. The bipartisan legislation would provide clear and equal protections under federal law for all Americans in vital areas of life, like employment, access to public spaces, housing, credit, education, jury service, and federally-funded programs. Today, in a majority of U.S. states (31), LGBTQ people remain at risk of being fired, evicted or denied services because of who they are.
Human Rights Campaign launched a website — HRC.org/Trump <http://hrc.org/trump?_ga=1.229216860.1537223361.1485222120> — chronicling the Trump Administration’s unprecedented attacks against the LGBTQ community. The timeline, which will continue to be updated, spotlights efforts to undermine the LGBTQ community from rescinding guidelines protecting transgender students, to appointing Jeff Sessions to the nation’s highest law enforcement post, to threatening a “license to discriminate” Executive Order and erasing LGBTQ people in federal data gathering — as well as how the community is fighting back.
TOP TEXAS HOUSE DEM CALLS ON NFL AND NBA TO “STRONGLY OPPOSE” ANTI-TRANS BILLS: Texas Rep. Chris Turner, chair of the House Democratic Caucus, sent letters to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver asking them to speak out against anti-transgender bills raised in the state legislature that would prevent people from using facilities consistent with their gender identity. Turner writes in one letter, “Laudably, the NFL has taken a strong stance over the last several years in opposing similar discriminatory measures. In keeping with this stance, it seems natural you would also strongly oppose HB 2899.” The measure would prevent local communities and schools from protecting their transgender populations and students. In this way, it is strikingly similar to SB 6, another heinous anti-LGBTQ bill being considered by Texas legislators.
WHIP HOYER CALLS ON U.S. TO ACT ON REPORTS OF MURDERS OF GAY MEN IN CHECHNYA: Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) took to Twitter to call on the United States to “not sit idly by” while police in the Russian republic of Chechnya detain and murder gay men. The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta first confirmed the anti-gay actions being taken by authorities in Chechnya, reporting that hundreds of gay men were being detained, and at least three killed, by Chechen police. HRC has called on President Trump and the U.S. State Department to help stop anti-LGBTQ atrocities in Russia. In a letter earlier this month to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last week, HRC President Chad Griffin urged him “to make clear to your Russian counterparts that such lawless detentions, arrests, torture and murders are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
More info on both stories at HRC.org.
For coverage of a rally in Atlanta protesting what is going on in Chechnya, visit the Georgia Voice.
Mark Green, the Tennessee state senator nominated for Army Secretary by President Trump, is a rabid homophobe and transphobe who publicly called trans people an “evil” who should be “crushed.”
Green is a proud opponent of LGBT rights, sponsoring bills in Tennesse that would allow businesses to turn away gay people and demand trans people use bathrooms that conflict with their gender identity. But the true level of his animus became clearer after it was revealed he said being “transender is a disease.” The politician though, went even further than that during a July radio interview. More here.
Congressman Scott Taylor (R-VA) introduced the Fair and Equal Housing Act, which would guarantee critical federal protections against housing discrimination for LGBTQ people. The bill, which was cosponsored by Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL) would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected characteristics under the Fair Housing Act, which currently includes discrimination based on race, color, national origin, disability, sex, religion, and familial status.
When there is an action to take (calling your representative to support the bill), we will update you.
Under the direction of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education today revoked the Obama Administration’s guidance detailing schools’ obligations to transgender students under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. While students are still entitled to the legal protections guaranteed by Title IX, today’s action obfuscates schools’ obligations to transgender youth — who face disproportionately high rates of bullying, harassment and discrimination — and sends a dangerous message that the current administration will not enforce inclusive policies or stand up for them at school.
Religious Freedom Restoration Act is back (aka your religion means you can discriminate.) But, Gov Deal has pledged to veto this bill if it comes to his desk.
Let’s celebrate progress when we can! State Senator Lester Jackson (D-2) introduced a comprehensive non-discrimination bill that updates Georgia’s laws to ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are protected from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.