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#AM_Equality Tip Sheet: December 5, 2016

BREAKING: RECORD NUMBER OF TOP US COMPANIES EMBRACING INCLUSIVE POLICIES FOR LGBT WORKERS: The nation’s major companies and law firms are advancing in record numbers vital policies and practices to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers around the world, according to the 2017 Corporate Equality Index released today by the HRC Foundation. This year, a record-breaking 517 businesses earned the CEI’s top score of 100, up from 407 last year. That’s a single-year increase of more than 25 percent — the largest jump in the 15-year history of the nation’s premiere benchmarking tool for LGBT workplace equality. Leadership demonstrated by these businesses, including speaking out against discriminatory laws like North Carolina’s HB2, reflect more than a decade of work inside these companies to expand LGBT, and particularly transgender, workplace equality.  “Even in the face of relentless attempts to undermine equality, America’s leading companies and law firms remain steadfast and committed to supporting and defending the rights and dignity of LGBTQ people,” said HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin). “The unprecedented expansion of inclusive workplaces across the country and around the globe not only reflects our progress, it helps drive it.  As we enter a new chapter in our fight for equality, support from the business community will be more critical than ever to protect our historic advancements over the last decade and to continue to push equality forward for workers, customers, and families around the world.” This year 887 companies and firms were officially rated and, in addition to the record number of companies receiving a perfect score of 100, progress continued across workplaces, including:

  • 93 percent of rated companies had adopted sexual orientation equal employment policies for U.S. and global operations and 92 percent had gender identity equal employment policies for U.S. and global operations.
  • Same-sex domestic partner or spousal benefits were provided by 98 percent of rated companies.
  • 73 percent of rated companies offer transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage, up from 60 percent from last year, the largest single year increase in trans-inclusive health benefits since the coverage was added to the CEI’s scoring criteria.
  • Bloomberg’s Jeff Green (@JeffAGreen) and Shannon Pettypiece (@spettypi) take an exclusive look at the new CEI, reporting that “companies from Apple Inc. to Xerox Corp. are pushing to protect employee rights and improve gender equality as some legislative efforts have stalled.” Deena Fidas, HRC’s Workplace Equality Project Director tells Bloomberg: “Corporate America has risen to the top in terms of being a high-impact influencer,” at the federal, state and judicial levels. Read it all here.

TRUMP PICKS BEN CARSON TO HEAD HUD, ADDING YET ANOTHER CABINET NOMINEE WITH LONG ANTI-LGBTQ RECORD: According to morning news reports, President-elect Donald Trump is expected to nominate Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and outspoken opponent of LGBTQ equality, to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Carson, whose ugly rhetoric includes equating marriage equality with bestiality, also opposes laws that protect LGBTQ Americans from discrimination and that ban the debunked practice of so-called “conversion therapy.” He has has joked that same-sex couples might have their wedding cakes poisoned by anti-equality bakers, and asserted that being LGBTQ is a “choice.” He has also suggested that transgender people be required to use separate bathrooms. Read more about Carson’s horrific, dangerous record here.

HRC JOINS EQUALITY PARTNERS IN MEXICO FOR INTERNATIONAL CEI LAUNCH: Today at Dow Química Mexicana S.A. de C.V. in Mexico City, HRC, its partners in  HRC Equidad MX: Global Workplace Equality Program, and representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico will celebrate the CEI launch and the growing international commitment to LGBT equality in the workplace. HRC Equidad MX, initiated earlier this year with equality partners on the ground in Mexico, seeks to increase the number of Mexican and Latin American businesses adopting LGBT-inclusive policies and practices. Also joining HRC Equidad MX at today’s event will be leaders from J.P. Morgan Chase, and PEMEX, the Mexican state-owned petroleum company. More from The Yucatan Times.

MONDAY MUST WATCH: North Carolina’s Durham County over the weekend recounted about half of the more than 94,000 votes cast on Election Day, with the recount expected to conclude sometime today.. So far, Cooper picked up three additional votes, and McCrory lost one. Get caught up on the latest at WRAL.

GAMBIA REJECTS ANTI-LGBTQ PRESIDENT YAHYA JAMMEH IN HISTORIC ELECTION: In a stunning turn of events, longtime Gambian president Yahya Jammeh, who repeatedly attacked LGBTQ people during his more than 22-year reign, has lost his re-election bid.  The head of the Gambian Electoral Commission reports that Jammeh has conceded defeat to Adama Barrow. “This is a truly momentous day for all Gambians,” said Ty Cobb, director of HRC Global. “This is an historic opportunity for The Gambia to turn a new page on human rights for all people, including LGBTQ people.” Jammeh has called LGBTQ people “vermin” and publicly declared he would “slit the throats” of gay men in his country. HRC and other human rights groups have called on the U.S. and other bodies to sanction Jammeh over reports of torture and violence directed at vulnerable groups and political opponents. HRC honored Jammeh’s nephew in 2015 for his bravery in publicly criticizing his uncle’s attacks on LGBTQ people. More from HRC.

CHECK OUT MAINE BASKETBALL PLAYERS PROTESTING NC’S ANTI-LGBTQ HB2 LAW BEFORE GAME WITH DUKE: According to Bleacher Report,  Maine head coach Bob Walsh said that the team’s rainbow warmups statement on Saturday “was about promoting inclusion and promoting equality and our guys understanding that they can make an impact.”

MANDY MOORE TALKS ABOUT MOTHER, TWO BROTHERS WHO ARE LGBTQ: The singer and actress recently revealed that her mother and both of her brothers are LGBTQ, and that everyone in her family is “exactly where they should be. Everyone’s so much happier, richer, and more fulfilled, being their authentic selves.” In an interview with Byrdie, the This Is Us star was asked if she ever felt pressure to lead a traditional family life. “No,” she said. More from HRC.

MISS MISSOURI’S MESSAGE TO LGBTQ YOUTH: Erin O’Flaherty made history this summer as the first openly LGBTQ contestant to compete for the title of Miss America. Her platform, suicide prevention, has been a passion of hers, and she is using her position as Miss Missouri to raise awareness about this critical issue, particularly among LGBTQ youth. Read HRC’s interview with Erin here.

FLORIDA MAN ARRESTED FOR MAKING ‘PULSE-LIKE’ THREATS AGAINST LGBTQ-FRIENDLY CHURCH: A Miami man is in custody after making threats on social media toward an LGBTQ-friendly church, saying, “Orlando will look small to what is coming to Miami Beach, specifically the Miami Beach Community Church.” More from The Washington Post.

TRANSGENDER-FRIENDLY MOSQUE IN PAKISTAN: LGBTQ advocates in Pakistan are drawing up plans for a new fully-inclusive mosque to serve the community. More from The Independent.

READING RAINBOW

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