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#AM_Equality Tipsheet: March 2, 2017

BREAKING — 53 MAJOR COMPANIES JOIN HRC’S AMICUS BRIEF SUPPORTING GAVIN GRIMM IN SCOTUS CASE: Today, HRC announced that 53 major U.S. companies have joined a “friend of the court” brief supporting transgender student Gavin Grimm in G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board. Grimm, a transgender boy, filed suit against the school board alleging it violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 by denying him use of the boy’s restroom. The Supreme Court’s decision in this case could have far-reaching consequences for transgender students across the nation. “These companies are sending a powerful message to transgender children and their families that America’s leading businesses have their backs,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Across the country, corporate leaders are speaking out because they know attacking transgender youth isn’t just shameful — it also puts the families of their employees and customers at risk. Transgender students like Gavin are entitled to the full protection of the law, and must be affirmed, respected and protected in the classroom and beyond.” A list of the 53 companies, representing over 1.3 million employees and $613 billion in revenue, can be found on HRC’s blog. More from International Business Times and  The New York Times.

Meanwhile, in another failure of the Trump administration to protect transgender people, the Washington Blade reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has let stand a court order against the implementation of an Obamacare regulation barring discrimination against transgender people in health care. The midnight deadline to appeal the injunction passed yesterday with no action by U.S. Department of Justice. More here.

NEARLY 70 NATIONAL BUSINESSES SEND LETTER OPPOSING TEXAS ANTI-LGBTQ BILL: Yesterday, 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. “As we have witnessed in North Carolina with HB2, businesses want nothing to do with states that promote anti-LGBTQ discrimination,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “It is heartening to see businesses stand up against harmful bills like SB 6, and hopefully lawmakers in Texas are paying attention to the increasingly frequent warnings that anti-LGBTQ laws will be detrimental to Texas’ future.” More on the letter, including full list of signers, from HRC.

Fierce parent-advocates of transgender children are calling out SB6, describing the ways the bill will harm their children and their families. One parent, Chelsea, already knows the discrimination trans kids face in schools. She had to make the the painful decision to tell her 8-year-old transgender daughter to never use the school restroom if she sees another girl there. More from Salon.

THANKFUL THURSDAY — #LOVETHYNIGHBOR VIDEO SERIES HIGHLIGHTS LGBTQ MISSISSIPPIANS AND ALLIES: Over the next few weeks, HRC will release videos encouraging Mississippians to #LoveYourNeighbor. The storytelling project focuses on sharing the experiences of LGBTQ people and allies in Tupelo, Miss. It is funded by a grant from Toyota, which has a manufacturing plant in Blue Springs, Miss., just outside of Tupelo. More from The Clarion-Ledger.

The latest #LoveYourNeighbor video features Auston, who wants to represent his city of Tupelo and his LGBTQ community in a positive light. More from HRC.

“IT MADE IT VERY CLEAR THAT THE SCHOOL SAW ME AS A LESSER PERSON”: Drew had a fairly easy time coming out to his family as transgender. His school, which is in a heavily Republican district of Florida, however, refuses to allow him to use the boys’ restroom. Drew and his mother fought back for his right to feel safe and protected in his school, filing a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The resolution, which has not been finalized, is now in jeopardy because of President Donald Trump’s disgraceful decision to roll back of the protective guidance for transgender students. More on Drew’s story and the stories of other trans kids from Rolling Stone.

JUST HOW MUCH DISCRIMINATION ARE YOU OKAY WITH?: In a powerful editorial in  The Charlotte Observer, the Editorial Board reminds the North Carolina General Assembly of the real question behind using LGBTQ equality as a bargaining chip – just how much discrimination are you willing to stomach? They write, “If you can tolerate a lot, HB2 is the bill for you. If you can stomach just a medium amount, you’ll probably like HB186, the leading repeal bill being discussed at the legislature this week. If you are OK with just a little discrimination, you’ll probably back HB186 minus its referendum provision that lets voters decide whether to discriminate against LGBT citizens.” Shortly after the piece was published, NC House Democratic Leader Darren Johnson filed a clean HB2 repeal —  a NO gimmicks, NO discrimination option for fair-minded North Carolinians. Read the full piece from The Charlotte Observer.

Last week, HRC joined EqualityNC for its annual Day of Advocacy at the General Assembly in Raleigh.

Sarah Belk Gambrell — a well-known North Carolina philanthropist whose family founded the Belk department store — will donate $1.5 million to Time Out Youth, a LGBTQ youth center in Charlotte. The donation, made in the name of her gay grandson, will help fund a soon-to-be-built shelter for LGBTQ youth. More from The Charlotte Observer.

INVEST IN AN ANTI-LGBTQ RETIRMENT FUND? BETTER TO STUFF YOUR CASH UNDER THE MATTRESS: An investment company has created two new exchange-traded funds that specifically exclude LGBTQ-friendly businesses…which means it locks out investments in 82 percent of Fortune 500 companies. Here what HRC Foundation Workplace Equality Director Deena Fidas has to say about that: “Anyone thinking of investing in a retirement fund that excludes these and myriad other LGBT-friendly companies is probably better served stuffing money under the mattress and hoping for the best.” More from Gay Star News.

HRC RECOMMENDS BOOKS FOR IMMIGRANT STUDENTS & THEIR FAMILIES: In the last few weeks, as executive orders to fund a border wall with Mexico and suspend the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program have been handed down, elementary school teachers are again in the position of not just explaining new rules and policies to students, but supporting those who are understandably worried for themselves and their families. For teachers wanting to address issues concerning immigration as they pertain to children, HRC has developed the following list: Books for Students: Children, Families, and Immigrants. More from HRC.

DISNEY AIRS FIRST SAME-SEX CARTOON KISS: The Disney show Star vs. the Forces of Evil featured the first-ever same-sex Disney cartoon kiss. More from Teen Vogue.

FINALLY! WEDDING BELLS IN FINLAND: While the Finnish parliament passed marriage equality legislation back in 2014, it finally went into effect yesterday. More from The Huffington Post.

READING RAINBOW

The New York Times reports that French Vogue’s March cover will feature transgender model Valentina Sampaio… Author Mary Robinette Kowal tells the story of her grandmother’s acceptance of her trans brother in 1913 on Twitter…

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