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#AM_Equality Tipsheet: March 13, 2017

BREAKING – HRC & MORE THAN 80 ORGS CALL ON NCAA TO REAFFIRM COMMITMENT TO INCLUSION IN TOURNAMENT EVENTS SITE SELECTION:  In a letter to NCAA President Mark Emmert and the organization’s Board of Directors, HRC and Athlete Ally are joined by more than 80 national, state, and local LGBTQ organizations in urging the NCAA to reaffirm its commitment to ensuring safe and welcoming environments for championship tournaments and events. The letter comes as the organization is deciding where to hold future championship tournaments and major events. The ACLU, the Equality Federation, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the National Black Justice Coalition and Campus Pride, are among groups signing the letter. “The NCAA has stood strongly behind their commitment to building inclusive events, and we ask that they reaffirm that promise,” said HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin). “With anti-LGBTQ bills advancing in dozens of states across this country, athletes, fans and workers must know that the NCAA will continue to have their backs and avoid locations where the safety and wellbeing of any person is put at risk.” The NCAA last fall took a stand against North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2, moving all neutral-site 2016-2017 championship events out of the state. The NCAA had previously announced that North Carolina cities no longer qualify to host events because HB2 ripped away local LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination laws and uniquely requires anti-transgender discrimination. In February, the North Carolina Sports Association warned that the NCAA will pull all of the state’s championship game bids through 2022 if HB2 is not immediately repealed.  Read more at ESPN.

SHAMEFUL — SOUTH DAKOTA FIRST STATE TO SIGN ANTI-LGBTQ BILL INTO LAW THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION: On Friday, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard signed Senate Bill (SB) 149 into law — discriminatory legislation targeting LGBTQ people and other minorities. SB 149 enshrines taxpayer-funded discrimination into state law by allowing state-funded adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ youth in their care and to reject qualified prospective LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents based on the agency’s purported religious beliefs. “Governor Daugaard’s action not only puts the best interests of the more than a thousand vulnerable children served by South Dakota’s foster care system at risk, it signals the potential of a dark new reality for the fight for LGBTQ rights,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “These children could now wait longer to be placed in a safe, loving home at the whim of a state-funded adoption or foster care agency with a vendetta against LGBTQ couples, mixed-faith couples or interracial couples — all while being taxpayer-funded.” More from HRC, Mic and The Associated Press.

MIKE PENCE’S REVISIONIST HISTORY ON HIV AND SO-CALLED “CONVERSION THERAPY”: Mike Pence’s Press Secretary, Marc Lotter, released a statement in response to a new ABC 20/20 investigation around so-called “conversion therapy” and Pence’s checkered past on the issue. The statement claimed that Pence has “a long record of supporting efforts to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, was also a strong supporter of AIDS Africa relief legislation (known as PEPFAR) and, as Governor of Indiana, provided strong and compassionate leadership to confront an HIV epidemic in Southern Indiana in 2015.” This is far from correct. “Mike Pence proposed diverting HIV prevention funding to programs supporting conversion therapy and hindered an effective response to his own state’s HIV crisis. Those are facts. Not alternative ones. Actual ones,” said Dave Duberstein, HRC’s Director of Political Research. “The White House can try to revise history, but the reporting on this is clear.” The facts: Mike Pence was asleep at the switch while an AIDS crisis grew in his state, and only took small steps in the right direction after enormous pressure and a federal intervention. More on the real story from HRC.

MUST WATCH MONDAY: At the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards this weekend, LGBTQ advocate Ellen Degeneres (@TheEllenShow) accepted the “#Squad” award, asking audience members to join in an uplifting and accepting oath: “I am good enough just as I am. I am supposed to be unique and different. I’m not supposed to be like everyone else. I promise to be kind to people. I promise to brush my teeth every day and floss.” More from Teen Vogue and watch on Nickelodeon.

HOUSE REPUBLICANS VOTE DOWN PROTECTIONS FOR LGBTQ STUDENTS AND DISABLED STUDENTS IN EDUCATION BILL: On Friday, a bill to extend the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Reauthorization Act (SOAR) was advanced through the House Oversight Committee. Republicans on the committee voted down efforts by Democrats to add amendments protecting students with disabilities and LGBTQ students. More from The Washington Post.

CASA RUBY IN DC VANDALIZED, STAFF MEMBER ASSAULTED: This weekend,  a brick was thrown through the window of Casa Ruby, an LGBTQ community center dedicaded to serving transgender, genderqueer, and gender nonconforming people in Washington, D.C., and a staff member was assaulted. The organization’s Facebook page alleged that the attacker was anti-transgender. HRC stands with Casa Ruby and the important work they do every day.

HRC JOINS HUNDREDS IN KENTUCKY PROTESTING GOP PLAN TO UNDO AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, LIFESAVING LGBTQ PROVISIONS:  This weekend, HRC and the Fairness Campaign, an advocacy organization fighting for LGBTQ Kentuckians, joined more than 700 advocates to rally against the GOP’s dangerous plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its lifesaving provisions for LGBTQ Americans. The LGBTQ community continues to suffer from stark health disparities and had some of the lowest insurance rates of any population before the ACA became law. The ACA has proven to be a critical tool in combatting these disparities.

EARTH TO TEXAS — ANTI-LGBTQ BILLS ARE BAD FOR BUSINESS: Nearly 70 businesses made public their opposition to Texas’ SB 6, an anti-transgender bill similar to North Carolina’s HB2 law. The businesses, along with several Texas Chambers of Commerce, signed a letter to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Speaker of the House Joe Straus and other lawmakers, voicing their opposition to this discriminatory proposal. The letter was organized by the Texas Association of Business, as part of its “Keep Texas Open for Business” project. More from CNN.

  • Trenton Johnson is a transgender man from from Dallas with a message to lawmakers who seek to attack the transgender community. More from The Dallas Morning News.

LENTEN DEVOTIONALS FOR LGBTQ PEOPLE OF FAITH: During the Lenten season, HRC Foundation is featuring a campaign that aims to tell the stories of LGBTQ people of faith through a series of devotionals. Read the latest here.

ITALIAN COURT RECOGNIZES PARENTAL RIGHTS OF SAME-SEX COUPLE: In a groundbreaking decision, a court in Florence recognized a same-sex couple as the fathers of two adopted children, and granted the children Italian citizenship. More from Business Standard.

READING RAINBOW

Pink News publishes a mother’s touching letter about her transgender daughter… This week HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program participated at South by Southwest (SXSW) Edu… The Daily Beast reports on the reopening of New York City’s Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art… Advocate talks to three experts on bisexual health…

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