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#AM_Equality Tipsheet: December 22, 2016

HB2 REPEAL FAILS, DEEPLY DISCRIMINATORY BILL CONTINUES TO TARGET LGBTQ PEOPLE ACROSS NC: Yesterday, the North Carolina General Assembly failed to repeal the state’s deeply discriminatory HB2. Full repeal of HB2 was a central part of a deal negotiated by Governor-elect Roy Cooper that included the recent repeal of Charlotte’s non-discrimination ordinance. At the last minute, GOP leadership in the General Assembly blew up the deal when they sought to keep hateful, anti-LGBTQ provisions that would have maintained, potentially indefinitely, the prohibition on cities protecting their own residents. These very same inclusive protections exist in more than 100 cities, including Minneapolis, Minn., which passed them in 1975. HB2, which continues to remains in effect, was rammed through the legislature nine months ago, causing a significant national outcry, severe economic fallout, and the defeat of the state’s Republican governor — the only incumbent governor from either party to lose on election day. “Today, the public trust has been betrayed once again. Lawmakers sent a clear message: North Carolina remains closed for business,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “It’s been 273 days since Republican state lawmakers passed the hateful HB2 law, and they have resisted fixing the mess they created every step of the way. Even after Charlotte responded to the GOP leadership’s loathsome demand to repeal common sense protections that exist in more than 100 cities, Senator Berger and Speaker Moore failed to make good on the ‘deal’ they brokered with Governor-elect Cooper to fully repeal HB2. Their shameful actions and broken promises subject LGBTQ North Carolinians to state-mandated discrimination, contribute to a heightened environment of harassment and violence, and will continue the significant harm done to the state’s reputation and economy. It’s clear today that the GOP leadership’s cruelty towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and particularly transgender North Carolinians knows no bounds. For our part, we will continue to fight to defeat all of HB2 and protect North Carolinians no matter what it takes.” More from HRC.

HATE CRIME CHARGES FOR MURDER OF TRANSGENDER WOMAN: For the first time since its passage in 2009, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act has been used to bring charges for targeting a victim because they were transgender. This Act expanded existing federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated by bias against the victim’s sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. In Mississippi, federal prosecutors charged Joshua Vallum under the act for the brutal 2015 murder of 17 year old Mercedes Williamson. Vallum pled guilt today for violating the federal Hate Crimes law on Wednesday. He faces up to a life sentence and a $250,000 fine. He pled guilty to murder charges under state law in Mississippi in July, but Mississippi is one of 15 states that does not include sexual orientation or gender identity in its hate crimes law. More from BuzzFeed.

THROWBACK THURSDAY: On December 22, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and placing it where it belongs — in the dustbin of history. For 17 years, the law prohibited qualified gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans from serving in the Armed Forces and sent a message that discrimination was acceptable. HRC was proud to play a crucial role in that fight to end the ban. This moment was a pivotal point on the path toward full LGBTQ equality in the military, allowing countless Americans to serve their country with dignity and respect every service member deserves.

VANDERBILT WILL RESEARCH EFFECTS OF LGBTQ POLICIES: Vanderbilt University has received a $400,000 grant to study public policy’s effect on the health and economic security of the LGBTQ community. The study’s lead researcher noted, “These are policies that are being actively passed, adopted, debated in state legislatures throughout the United States, and evidence on their effects — either good, bad, intended, unintended — is scant at best.” More from Nashville Public Radio.

ORLANDO’S STRUGGLE TO HEAL: Billy Manes is the editor of Orlando’s only LGBTQ newspaper, Watermark (@WatermarkOnline). NPR’s Ari Shapiro (@AriShapiro) sat down with Manes to talk about the city in the months following the horrific shooting at Pulse Nightclub, which took the lives of 49 innocent victims, particularly in light of Donald Trump’s election. In the days since the election, there has been a terrifying uptick in reports of hate-fueled crimes and harassment against people of color, as well as LGBTQ, Muslim and Jewish people across the country. Manes says, “The city itself has done an amazing job of pulling itself together — and the turnout to all of the events and there are funds that have been set up in this community. Our mayor has really taken charge. There are quilts that have been made for much of this community. And there is a lot of love and respect, but it doesn’t mean that we’re not scared anymore.” More from NPR.

FILIPINO SENATE ANTI-DISCRIMINATION BILL TO PROTECT LGBTQ COMMUNITY REACHES SENATE PLENARY: The bill will provide legal protection to the LGBTQI community from hate crimes and discrimination. The Filipino House version of the bill is still at the committee level. More from Rappler.

INDIA’S FIRST TV SHOW TO FEATURE LGBTQ CHARACTERS FILLS PRIME-TIME SPOT: The show, “All About Section 377,” draws its name from Section 377 of India’s Penal Code, which criminalizes same-sex sexual activity. The show’s creators and cast hope the show will spread awareness and bring visibility to India’s LGBTQ community. More from Rapid TV News.

READING RAINBOW

NBC interviews a transgender Latina immigrant about her fears during a Trump administration… Slate talks to Minnesota State Rep. Susan Allen about her lesbian and two-spirit identities… Bustle shares nine powerful moments for transgender people in fashion in 2016… NewNowNext reports the popular video game Overwatch now has an openly lesbian character…

Happy holidays, all! #AM_Equality will be on hiatus for the next week as we break to join loved ones to reflect on 2016 and prepare for 2017. We look forward to hitting your inboxes again in the New Year.

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!