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#AM_Equality Tip Sheet: October 20, 2016

COUNTDOWN and #TurnOUT: 19 days until Election Day and the stakes for LGBTQ Americans could not be higher. With 10 million LGBTQ voters, the equality vote will make a key difference in this election. Through Nov. 8, we’ll use this space to highlight compelling numbers on the power of the LGBTQ vote. Check out the graphic below for more and HRC’s blog here.

IN FINAL DEBATE, HILLARY CLINTON’S MESSAGE OF UNITY RESONATES; TRUMP PLODS ON WITH RECKLESS, HATEFUL, DIVISIVE CAMPAIGN: True to form, last night we heard Hillary Clinton share her vision of an America that is stronger together in its unity. Meanwhile, Donald Trump delivered a fear-based vision of a divided union. While Clinton outlined her goals of maintaining a Supreme Court that will ensure equal dignity and respect under the law for LGBTQ people and common-sense gun safety measures, as well as her support for comprehensive immigration reform and crucial access to women’s health care, Trump continued to use LGBTQ people as political props to support his Islamophobic views, refused to distance himself from Vladimir Putin, and even declined to affirm he would respect the election outcome. This week, HRC released a new ad highlighting presidential candidate Donald Trump’s alarming promise to appoint judges like late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Read HRC President Chad Griffin’s (@ChadHGriffin) recent op-ed for NBC News on the dangers of giving Trump the power to appoint judges.

ON EVE OF EARLY VOTING IN NORTH CAROLINA, VP NOMINEE TIM KAINE JOINS HRC AND ENC DEBATE WATCH PARTY: With early voting kicking off today in North Carolina, a special surprise guest dropped by the HRC and Equality North Carolina (ENC) Debate Watch Party in Charlotte last night — none other than Vice Presidential Nominee Senator Tim Kaine.  “If we win in North Carolina, it’s over!” said Kaine, addressing a packed crowd fired up for the debate. With 255,000 highly motivated LGBTQ voters in North Carolina (remember HB2 anyone?), the event was one in a series of GOTV activities from #TurnOUT NC — a project of the HRC and ENC Action Fund PAC to elect pro-equality candidates up and down the ticket. Early vote rallies, phonebanking and canvassing are planned throughout the week around today’s early voting start in the crucial swing state.

ICYMI, SCOTUS IS VITAL: Yesterday afternoon, marriage equality plaintiff Jim Obergefell (@JimObergefell) took over HRC’s Twitter account to talk about the importance of the U.S. Supreme Court in advancing LGBTQ equal rights, and the danger a Trump presidency would pose to historic progress in the fight for equality. He shared his personal journey, marrying his husband John just before he died of ALS — then fighting to be recognized as his surviving spouse after John passed. His story of love and tireless advocacy helped bring marriage equality to the United States, and now he is working just as hard to protect those hard-won victories by advocating for Hillary Clinton. More here.

FEDERAL JUDGE IN TEXAS DOUBLES DOWN ON TRANSGENDER DISCRIMINATION: In Texas v. United States, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor recently blocked the Department of Justice from enforcing the guidance that clarifies transgender students have a right to be free from discrimination in schools, including using restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity. In a decision late Tuesday, Judge O’Connor denied a request to limit his injunction to the 13 states that brought suit against the administration. 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). More from HRC.

THROWBACK THURSDAY: This week marks the seventh anniversary of the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate crimes Prevention Act. The act, approved by Congress on October 22, 2009,  expands federal hate crime law to include gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. While the bill had bipartisan support, there was one notable dissenter — current vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, who called the act a “radical social agenda.” The law was signed by President Barack Obama on October 28, 2009.

AT LEAST EIGHT ALABAMA COUNTIES STILL REFUSING TO MARRY SAME-SEX COUPLES: Marriage equality has been the law of the land since June 2015, but eight Alabama counties are still refusing to issue marriage licenses to any couples, reports AL.com. Connor Sheets (@ConnorASheets) writes probate judges in the following counties are not been granting any marriage licenses: Autauga, Choctaw, Clarke, Cleburne, Covington, Elmore, Pike and Washington. #Shameful #DoYourJob

I DEFINITELY THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO HELL:” Coming out as LGBTQ while in school can be difficult — especially if your school lacks a welcoming climate or inclusive policies. In a piece for The Atlantic, Marissa Higgins (@marissahiggins_) relates the heartbreaking experiences of Salem, a nonbinary student, who told the reporter that because of bullying and abuse in school, “I actually thought I was inhuman. I definitely thought I was going to hell.” Salem’s experiences reflect those raised up in a new GLSEN report, “Teasing to Torment: School Climate Revisited,” highlighting the struggles LGBTQ students have succeeding in school when they are targeted for discrimination and bullying. More from The Atlantic.

MAN CONTRACTS RARE STRAIN OF HIV WHILE ON PrEP: This week, researchers at the 2016 HIV Research for Prevention (HIVR4P) Conference announced that a man in the U.S. has acquired HIV despite regularly using Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). In an interview with TheBody.com, Dr. Howard Grossman says the man had acquired a rare strain of HIV that is resistant to both of the drugs found in Truvada, the only medication that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for PrEP. This is only the second documented case of someone contracting HIV while consistently using PrEP. More from HRC.

NEW GLOBAL SURVEY FINDS ONE IN THREE PEOPLE SUPPORT MARRIAGE EQUALITY: A new survey by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, in partnership with Logo, has found that nearly one in three adults support marriage equality. Two thirds of respondents believe that “human rights should be applied to everyone regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.” More from On Top Magazine.

  • Marriage Momentum in Mexico: Polling out of Mexico shows that support for marriage equality more than doubled between 2010 to 2015, highlighting momentum for marriage equality in the largely Catholic country. More from The Huffington Post.

READING RAINBOW

KERA News shares a letter gone viral from a church revoking the membership of an openly gay member… RadioFreeEurope / RadioLiberty reports on a Ukrainian LGBTQ Film Event disrupted by nationalists… The Guardian discusses the ways LGBTQ people face discrimination when reporting domestic violence… Vox’s Matthew Yglesias (@MattYglesias) writes that the  loudest voices this year aren’t speaking for the majority — it’s a new “silent majority” that will propel Hillary Clinton to the White House in November…

Have news? Send us your news and tips at AMEquality@hrc.orgClick here to subscribe to A.M. Equality and follow @HRC for all the latest news. Thanks for reading!