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#AM_Equality Tipsheet: December 12, 2016

SENATE MUST ENSURE REX TILLERSON IS COMMITTED TO GLOBAL LGBTQ EQUALITY: Following media reports that President-elect Donald Trump is expected to nominate ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) called on senators from both parties to ensure that the nominee is committed to LGBTQ equality. “ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson’s nomination raises critical questions as to how a Trump administration plans to protect LGBTQ employees and contractors affiliated with the State Department, and ultimately whether it will continue American efforts to advance equality through U.S. foreign policy,” Griffin said. “Will Trump and Tillerson take on brutal dictators like Putin who have inspired attacks against LGBTQ people? Will they assist LGBTQ Muslim refugees fleeing death from ISIS? For millions of people around the globe, their position on these and other issues are a matter of life and death. These are among the questions that Senators — Democrats and Republicans alike — must ask.” It wasn’t until 2015, after President Obama’s July 2014 executive order requiring federal contractors to protect LGBTQ workers from discrimination, that ExxonMobil finally added sexual orientation and gender identity to its non-discrimination policy for workers in the United States. More from HRC.

CONGRESS EXPANDS AUTHORITY TO DENY VISAS AND FREEZE ASSETS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATORS: Last week, Congress passed the Global Magnitsky Act as part of the 2017  National Defense Authorization Act. The Act, named for the late anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, gives the U.S. government expanded authority to deny U.S. visas and freeze the U.S. assets of anyone who has committed “gross violations of human rights” against anti-corruption activists or human rights defenders around the world. HRC has long advocated for the bill, which now awaits President Obama’s signature. The action sends a clear message abroad that the U.S. will not tolerate human rights abuses against LGBTQ people. “Passing this bill is a very positive step,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “The more tools the U.S. has available to combat human rights abuses abroad, the more the U.S. can do to help to protect LGBTQ people and other vulnerable groups.”

MONDAY MUST WATCH: In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper (@JakeTapper), equality champion Vice President Joe Biden reflects on his eight years in the White House, saying,  “I’m proud of my work on civil rights and civil liberties and the LGBT community. Like I said, everyone’s entitled to be treated with dignity, and that’s what I’ve tried to do my whole life.” Watch the full interview here (His comments on the LGBTQ community start at 5:42).

UNITED AGAINST HATE IN MISSISSIPPI: On Sunday, HRC, GLAAD, and songwriter and producer Tena Clark joined for a United Against Hate rally against discriminatory laws like Mississippi’s HB 1523, currently under legal review at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The march and rally focused on the risk of new, anti-LGBTQ bills, as Mississippi’s legislature prepares to gavel in the 2017 legislative session in January. After the march, a mass choir of singers from all over the state performed “My, My Mississippi,” a song written by Mississippi native Clark to express her sorrow over her state’s history of discrimination. HRC featured the rally on its Snapchat. More on “My, My Mississippi” from The Clarion-Ledger.

KENTUCKY’S REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR MATT BEVIN SLAMS ANTI-TRANSGENDER LAWS: At a news conference on Friday, he called HB2-like legislation that restricts transgender people’s access to public accommodations that match their gender identity “unnecessary and silly.” When asked if such a bill should be considered in the state’s upcoming legislative session, Bevin said: “Why? Why would we? Why would anybody need it? Is it an issue?” More from The Lexington Herald Leader.

LGBTQ WORKPLACE EQUALITY MOMENTUM CONTINUES — AN ENCOURAGING SIGN DURING A DIFFICULT TIME: In a piece for The Huffington Post on the release of HRC’s 2017 Corporate Equality Index , HRC Senior Vice President for Programs, Research and Training Mary Beth Maxwell noted the strong, continuing progress on LGBTQ workplace inclusion across the country. “We are in for some of the most historic fights to defend and expand equality for LGBTQ people that the community has ever faced. But we can draw on our own history to remember we have faced very hard times before and that LGBTQ equality will continue to move forward. Over the last 15 years the Human Rights Campaign Foundation has worked to transform the institutions of daily lives: fostering schools that welcome our kids, ensuring respectful and affordable healthcare, building inclusive communities whether in sports or places of worship or workplaces across the country… This is momentum that no election can undo or stymie.” Read the full piece at The Huffington Post.

LGBTQ AND ALLIED ACTORS SHINE THROUGH GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINATIONS: The nominees for the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards were announced this morning, featuring several openly LGBTQ actors, allies and artists. Nominees include Evan Rachel Wood, Bryan Cranston, Jeffrey Tambor, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kerry Washington, Mandy Moore and Sarah Paulson. Moonlight, which tells the story of a black gay man, received six nominations, including best picture. Ryan Murphy’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story received five nominations. See the full list of nominations from Variety.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY MARCH IN TAIWAN: In honor of International Human Rights Day, an estimated 250,000 LGBTQ advocates in Taiwan marched to support bringing marriage equality to the country. More from OUT Magazine.

READING RAINBOW

Salon looks at SNL star Kate McKinnon’s first leading movie role, and whether it may signal a growing acceptance of LGBTQ actors “front and center”… BuzzFeed discusses the journey of coming out multiple times as people learn to better understand their sexual orientation and gender identity… NBC looks into how the LGBTQ community bands together to form chosen families… The Daily Dot reports on an openly gay Mike Pence lookalike raising money for Planned Parenthood and LGBTQ causes…

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