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#AM_Equality Tipsheet: January 31, 2017

HRC AND OTHER CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS TO HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE ON TRUMP’S POSSIBLE ‘LICENSE TO DISCRIMINATE’ ANTI-LGBTQ EXECUTIVE ORDER: Today, HRC and other civil rights leaders will hold a press conference in Washington, D.C., to discuss a potential Trump executive order that could extend a broad license to discriminate against LGBTQ people. HRC and a wide coalition of advocates will address persisting rumors of the executive order, as well as recent Trump actions that directly impact LGBTQ women, Muslims, immigrants and other communities he has already specifically targeted. Any members of the press who are interested should contact press@hrc.org.

BACKGROUND: After media reports that Donald Trump was actively considering an anti-LGBTQ executive order, the White House sought to claim credit for opting not to overturn President Obama’s executive order protectiong LGBTQ employees from discrimination by federal contractors. Reports swirling Monday did not primarily focus on President Obama’s Executive Order. Instead, many outlets reported the White House was considering allowing an unprecedented expansion of taxpayer-funded discrimination that could have broad implications on LGBTQ people. “Claiming ally status for not overturning the progress of your predecessor is a rather low bar. LGBTQ refugees, immigrants, Muslims and women are scared today, and with good reason. Donald Trump has done nothing but undermine equality since he set foot in the White House,” said HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin). “Donald Trump has left the key question unanswered — will he commit to opposing any executive actions that allow government employees, taxpayer-funded organizations or even companies to discriminate?” More from HRC and The Washington Post.

  • Bloomberg has reported that a range of options are under consideration for an executive order that could target LGBTQ people with discrimination, including allowing contractors to discriminate in hiring, allowing taxpayer-funded workers to refuse to serve LGBTQ people or allowing Indiana-style discrimination where contractors could refuse service to LGBTQ people.
  • NBC looks at the history of President Obama’s executive order protecting LGBTQ federal contractors, and the near-certainty that President Trump will weaken or do away with it. Read the full piece here.

TUESDAY TWEET: At yesterday’s White House press briefing, Washington Blade reporter Chris Johnson (@ChrisJohnson82) asked White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer about rumors of an anti-LGBTQ executive order, referencing HRC’s statement regarding the rumor. Spicer responded that he was “not gonna get ahead” of what executive orders President Trump may issue. The Washington Post’s Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) says sources tell him that the executive order “could affect federal employee benefits and protections, and adoption agencies that receive federal funding.”

VOTE NO ON ANTI-LGBTQ JEFF SESSIONS FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yesterday, a coalition of interfaith clergy and civil rights leaders held a rally outside at the U.S. Supreme Court building urging senators to reject the nomination of anti-LGBTQ Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) for U.S. Attorney General. The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote today on Sessions’ nomination. More on his anti-LGBTQ record, including his sponsorship of the discriminatory so-called “First Amendment Defense Act” from NBC.

  • Former Acting Attorney General Sally Q. Yates ordered the Justice Department not to defend Trump’s discriminatory executive order on immigration, before being fired by President Trump for putting the U.S. Constitution first. The Washington Post writes that this discriminatory order has Session’s “fingerprints” all over it.
  • Also tomorrow in confirmation hearings and votes: Betsy DeVos, Elaine Chao, Rex Tillerson, Rick Perry, Ryan Zinke and Tom Price.
  • In advance of today’s scheduled markup of Betsy DeVos, HRC sent a letter to U.S. Senators calling for them to vote “no” on her nomination. More here.

MESSAGE TO OKLAHOMA — DON’T REPEAT NORTH CAROLINA’S MISTAKE: At least eight bills attacking LGBTQ Oklahomans and their families are already on the docket for consideration by state lawmakers. HRC and Freedom Oklahoma are warning the lawmakers to look to North Carolina as an example of how a deeply discriminatory anti-LGBTQ law can wreak havoc on a state’s people, reputation, and economy. The far-reaching discriminatory proposals in Oklahoma include a bill restricting transgender people from using school facilities consistent with their gender identity; measures attempting to undermine marriage equality; legislation targeting LGBTQ youth; and proposals aimed at authorizing individuals, businesses, and taxpayer-funded agencies to refuse goods or services to LGBTQ people under the guise of religion. More from HRC.

BOY SCOUTS FINALLY OPENS ITS DOORS TO TRANSGENDER BOYS: Last night, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced that it is finally opening its doors to transgender boys. HRC has called on the organization to adopt a policy of full LGBTQ inclusion for both employees and volunteers. The news today comes as one New Jersey family has been fighting back after their son, an 8-year-old boy, was kicked out of the Cub Scouts because he is transgender. More from HRC.

SAN ANTONIO HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SPEAKS OUT AGAINST TEXAS SB6: This weekend, the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce joined a growing number of business voices speaking out against SB6, a harmful anti-transgender bill being considered by the Texas state legislature. Already, major companies and business groups — including Apple, IBM and the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce — are telling Texas legislators  that discriminatory laws are bad for business, and should be abandoned. A study by the Keep Texas Open for Business coalition shows that the state stands to lose $8.5 billion in GDP and 185,000 jobs if the legislature moves forward on anti-LGBTQ bills. More from Rivard Report.

  • And they’re not the only ones watching: Major sports leagues who consider discriminatory legislation when deciding where to host events are already wondering what SB6 could mean for upcoming sports tournaments. More from NBC.
  • Data on those at risk: Earlier this year, the National Center for Transgender Equality surveyed 27,000 transgender Americans — including 1,490 Texans. More on this breakdown of data from Texas Monthly.

WHAT NC LEGISLATORS CAN LEARN FROM NAT GEO: The (Raleigh) News & Observer’s editorial board beautifully articulated the importance of visibility and awareness of the transgender community, and the impact stories like the ones recently shared in National Geographic’s special edition on gender can have on discriminatory measures like HB2. The issues, the board writes, “isn’t men and women sharing facilities. It’s whether transgender women have access to women’s restrooms and transgender men have access to men’s restrooms. [Senate leader Phil Berger, who supports HB2] simply doesn’t accept transgender as a genuine identity and with that rejects the rights of transgender people.” Read the full piece here.

READING RAINBOW

The Daily Beast in a heartwarming piece reports on one of the nation’s largest weekly gatherings of LGBTQ seniors … Washington Post columnist Steven Petrow (@StevenPetrow) interviews a trans woman from his alma mater about her coming out process… The New York Times offers guide for planning safe trips for LGBTQ travelers… HRC discusses the importance of inclusive school dress codes…

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