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#AM_Equality Tipsheet: December 13, 2016

ALERT: HRC CALLS ON SENATORS TO ENSURE THAT SECRETARY OF STATE PICK TILLERSON IS COMMITTED TO GLOBAL LGBTQ EQUALITY: On news this morning confirming President-elect Donald Trump’s pick of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) repeated his call for senators to ensure the ExxonMobil CEO is committed to LGBTQ equality, especially given his close ties to Russia. “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.”

LEADING ANTI-LGBTQ ACTIVIST LAUNCHES EFFORT TO EXPORT HATE ABROAD: Infamous anti-LGBTQ leader Brian Brown is now launching an international anti-equality group designed to export his losing U.S. hate campaign abroad. Brown is the new president of the World Congress of Families (WCF) and leader of the National Organizer for Marriage (NOM), both designated by The Southern Poverty Law Center as anti-LGBTQ hate groups. Since 2007, NOM’s efforts to block U.S. momentum for marriage equality have failed. Brown for years has been publicly supporting anti-LGBTQ movements in countries including France, Russia, Australia, Spain, Mexico, Kenya and Trinidad and Tobago. “These exporters of hate are in a desperate search to find any foothold for their message and mission of discrimination,” said Jean Freedberg, Deputy Director of HRC Global. “No new organization can turn the tide and stop the momentum towards basic dignity and human rights for LGBTQ people around the world, but this new group reinforces the need for all of us to remain vigilant in the face of emboldened hate.” More from HRC.

REMEMBERING THE PULSE NIGHTCLUB TRAGEDY SIX MONTHS LATER: Yesterday marked the six-month anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, which took the lives of 49 innocent LGBTQ people and allies, most of them from the Latinx community. For too long, a toxic combination of anti-LGBTQ hate and easy access to guns has put LGBTQ people at disproportionate risk of violence and murder. The Orlando community gathered at Pulse on Monday for a vigil honoring the lives lost. More from The Orlando Sentinel.

The Orlando Sentinel publishes a powerful account of the last day of four Pulse victims, Juan Guerrero and his boyfriend, Drew Leinonen; Shane Tomlinson; and Peter “Ommy” Gonzalez Cruz. Read the piece here.

Also yesterday, Orlando officials launched a Safe Places Initiative, a voluntary program in which participating businesses and other establishments designate themselves as places that will report anti-LGBTQ incidents, and provide safe spaces for victims of harassment or threats.  More from WMFE.

And Orlando’s LGBT Center distributed grants totaling nearly $30,000 to nearby businesses affected by the tragedy. Read about it here

TUESDAY TWEET: Raymond Braun (@RaymondBraun), recently named Financial Times’ #1 young LGBTQ leader, shared this powerful tweet honoring the 49 lives lost in the Pulse Nightclub tragedy.

SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY LATEST TO CANCEL NC EVENTS OVER STATE’S ANTI-LGBTQ LAW: Michael Cooper (@CoopNYTimes) of The New York Times reports that the San Francisco Symphony announced it has canceled a two April concerts in North Carolina to protest the state’s discrminatory HB2 law, joining a “growing list of luminaries who have shunned the state: rockers such as Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr; athletes, including the N.B.A., which moved its All ­Star Game to New Orleans; and other classical musicians, like the violinist Itzhak Perlman.” Read more here.

CHEROKEE NATION RECOGNIZES MARRIAGE EQUALITY: On Friday, Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree issued an opinion that found unconstitutional the tribe’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. Hembree wrote, “The Constitution affords these rights to all Cherokee citizens, regardless of sexual orientation and the Cherokee Nation, or any subdivision, must recognize validly issued civil unions, same-sex marriages, and same-sex domestic partnerships from other jurisdictions.” More from CNN.

TEXAS REP. PRE-FILES BILL TO BAN SO-CALLED “CONVERSION THERAPY”: The measure, filed yesterday by Texas State Representative Celia Israel in advance of the 2017 legislative session, would ban the dangerous practice of so-called “conversion therapy” for minors. Israel recently sat down with The Huffington Post to talk about her efforts to protect Texas’ LGBTQ youth. Read the full text of the bill here.

TRANSGENDER ATHLETE GRANTED REFUGEE STATUS: When Adebayo Katiiti traveled to Canada from Uganda to swim in the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Championships, he had no idea it would become permanent. Read his powerful story in The Edmonton Journal.

NEW ZEALAND’S PRIME MINISTER NOW SUPPORTS MARRIAGE EQUALITY: New Zealand’s newly-elected Prime Minister Bill English, who as a Member of Parliament twice voted against marriage equality bills, says he now supports them.  More from Pink News.

READING RAINBOW

BuzzFeed shares 20 powerful moments in 2016 for the transgender community, including HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride’s (@SarahEMcBride) history-making speech at the DNC… HRC reports on the Morehouse School of Medicine’s efforts to teach their students about transgender patient needs… Pink News updates about the Israeli citizenship process for same-sex couples… The Washington Blade shares a beautiful same-sex engagement at at Chicago Bulls basketball game…

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