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#AM_Equality Tipsheet: December 19, 2016

TRUMP ALLIES CALLS FOR INCOMING ADMINISTRATION TO PURGE STATE DEPT OF PRO-LGBTQ EMPLOYEES: On Friday, Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins — who campaigned with Trump — called on the incoming administration to have pro-LGBTQ employees “ferreted out” and “replaced by conservatives.” HRC President Chad Griffin blasted the remarks, saying, “Tony Perkins’ proposal to purge pro-LGBTQ employees from the State Department is beyond the pale. Perkins is hatefully suggesting pro-equality, career civil servants be rounded up and sent packing for doing their jobs.” Griffin called on the Trump-Pence administration to “immediately denounce” the request, making clear the vital role the State Department plays for LGBTQ people across the world and noting that in “countries with hostile anti-LGBTQ regimes — like Russia, Syria and Egypt — lives are literally at risk.” A Trump transition team spokesperson responded to concerns: “To think that discrimination of any kind will be condoned or tolerated in a Trump Administration is simply absurd.” Perkins’ organization is known for virulent rhetoric that has earned them designation as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. More from HRC.

ALARMING — HOUSE FREEDOM CAUCUS DEMANDS ROLLBACK OF LGBTQ PROTECTIONS: On Friday, the House Freedom Caucus’ unveiled efforts to end two crucially important protections for LGBTQ people at the federal level. As part of a document outlining more than 200 rules, regulations and executive orders they want revoked, the caucus targeted federal guidance on the fair and equal treatment of transgender students from the Department of Education, as well as non-discrimination protections in the Affordable Care Act. “In a ridiculous hit list of policies they want revoked, the House Freedom Caucus is shamefully demanding a rollback of protections from discrimination for LGBTQ people — protections the majority of Americans support. These guidelines ensure Americans aren’t denied health care simply because of who they are or whom they love and ensure transgender students have the same opportunities as their peers to thrive in a classroom. They are crucially important protections that absolutely must remain in place. Lives depend on them,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “Congressman Mark Meadows’ and the House Freedom Caucus’ efforts must be stopped. It’s time for folks to stand up, speak out, and demand lawmakers keep these fundamental protections for LGBTQ people in place.” More from HRC.

MUST WATCH MONDAY: Over the weekend, BuzzFeed interviewed Laura Jane Grace, the lead singer of the band “Against Me!” and a transgender advocate who famously burned her birth certificate on stage at a show in North Carolina to protest the state’s anti-LGBTQ HB2 law. The video explores how she is bringing transgender visibility to the punk music scene, and talks to her LGBTQ fans who benefit from her advocacy. More from BuzzFeed.

US V. WINDSOR LAWYER FILES  BRIEF IN MISS. HB 1523 APPEAL CASE: In July, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves blocked the implementation of Mississippi’s discriminatory and harmful HB 1523, calling it “a vehicle for state sanctioned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.” The case was litigated by Roberta Kaplan, the civil rights lawyer who argued in front of the Supreme Court of the United States in the landmark case United States v. Windsor. Now, the state is appealing that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. Kaplan has filed a brief in the case on behalf of her clients, arguing that the discriminatory law favors some religions over others, thus violating the U.S. Constitution. More from Slate.

YET ANOTHER ANTI-LGBTQ OFFICIAL IN TRUMP’S WHITE HOUSE: Over the weekend, President-Elect Donald Trump named Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) as his budget director. Mulvaney received a “zero” on HRC’s Congressional Scorecard for all three of his terms as a U.S. congressman. As a state representative, Mulvaney cosponsored legislation in the South Carolina House of Representatives to amend the state constitution to prohibit marriage for same-sex couples. Since his election, Donald Trump has been assembling a group of anti-LGBTQ officials as his top picks for his administration. All cabinet members are subject to Congressional approval, and every single appointee deserves to be thoroughly vetted. More from The New York Times.

INSPIRATIONAL VOICES OF 2016: As 2016 comes to a close, there is no doubt that this year was difficult for many in the LGBTQ and allied community. After a year of such celebration and momentous progress in 2015, 2016 was a shocking wake-up call to many about the realities that LGBTQ people face. From the rise in anti-LGBTQ legislation to the horrific shooting at Pulse, from the incidents of anti-transgender violence to the election of a presidential ticket that threatens to undermine equality and justice, we know that our job is more important now than ever before. However, through these difficult times, we witnessed countless moments of inspiration. Throughout the year, time and time again, we saw people stand up and do what was right. Whether they were celebrities, politicians, a friend or just an acquaintance, we saw people stand up for equality and inspire us all. Their stories made us cry, gave us hope and reminded us that love will conquer hate. Follow HRC’s blog for more. Below are two highlights.

  • On March 23, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed HB2 — an outrageous and unprecedented anti-LGBTQ law. While the North Carolina House and Senate rammed through  the law in one day, backlash to the discriminatory measure continued for months, leading to McCrory’s defeat on Election Day. With the legislation rammed through the legislature in a special, single day session with little opportunity for debate, transgender North Carolinians immediately took action against the hateful law.  Madeline Goss, Candis Cox and Tina Madison White spoke at rallys and events and testified against this dangerous law. More from HRC.
  • Throughout 2016, civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis used his voice to reiterate his support and dedication for full LGBTQ equality. In the wake of the horrific tragedy at Pulse nightclub in Orlando — the nation’s deadliest mass shooting — Lewis staged a sit-in on the House floor to try to force a vote on common-sense gun violence prevention policies. More from HRC.

TRANS YOUTH INVITED TO WATCH ‘ROGUE ONE’ AT WHITE HOUSE: This weekend, two families on HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council, the Briggles and the Neals, were invited to the White House by the Obama Administration for a viewing of the new Star Wars film. More on the Briggles from the Denton Record-Chronicle and more on the Neals from HRC.

SRI LANKA SIMPLIFIES PROCESS FOR LEGAL GENDER CHANGES ON OFFICIALS DOCUMENTS: Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine recently created a simplified and streamlined process for anyone seeking a legal gender change on government documents. The Zimbabwe Star interviewed those benefiting from this process. More here.

READING RAINBOW

First Coast News interviews the first openly transgender woman to finish the Jacksonville, Fla., marathon… Pink News shares a heartwarming letter a bisexual man wrote to his accepting partner… Gay News Network cover the first same-sex marriage in Gibraltar…

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