NO, SEAN SPICER, DONALD TRUMP DOES NOT CARE ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS: Just hours after The Washington Post reported that Trump plans to disband a Labor Department division that addresses and prevents discrimination, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made the blatantly false claim that the president is devoted to furthering human rights at home and abroad — saying “Human rights is something that’s very strong to him.” This mind-boggling assertion comes as the administration continues its efforts to diminish the federal government’s role in fighting discrimination — including revoking the Obama Administration’s guidance detailing school school’s obligations to transgender students under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
7th CIRCUIT COURT UPHOLDS RIGHT OF TRANSGENDER STUDENT TO USE FACILITIES CONSISTENT WITH HIS GENDER IDENTITY: Yesterday, the Seventh Circuit Court upheld an injunction allowing Ash Whitaker, a transgender high school student in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to use school facilities consistent with his gender identity. Wrote Judge Ann Claire Williams: “The School District argues that the district court erred in finding that the harms to Ash outweighed the harms to the student population and their privacy interests. We disagree… The harms identified by the School District are all speculative and based upon conjecture, whereas the harms to Ash are well-documented and supported by the record.” Denying Ash access to the correct facilities violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the 14th Amendment. More from HRC and The Associated Press.
REP SCOTT TAYLOR (R-VA) ENDORSES EQUALITY ACT: GOP Rep. Scott Taylor (VA) will co-sponsor the Equality Act — legislation that would finally guarantee explicit protections for LGBTQ people under our nation’s existing civil rights laws. 242 members of Congress and more than 90 corporations now back the bipartisan legislation. “The growing support for the Equality Act by Republicans, Democrats, and Independents proves that LGBTQ equality is not a partisan issue,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “All Americans should have a fair chance to earn a living, provide for their families, and live their lives without fear of discrimination. We are grateful for Rep. Scott Taylor’s leadership and support for this crucially important legislation that will finally ensure LGBTQ people are protected from unjust discrimination.” More from HRC.
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING WEDNESDAY: Mary Lambert (@MaryLambertSing), a lesbian singer and LGBTQ equality advocate, has released a new music video featuring Sara Ramirez (@SaraRamirez), the bisexual Grey’s Anatomy actress, and other LGBTQ actors in an arcade battle. Seriously, how have you not clicked on this link yet??? More from NewNowNext.
SHAME — HEAD OF RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH COMPARES MARRIAGE EQUALITY TO NAZI-ERA LAWS: Patriarch Kirill, a close ally of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, told a crowd in Kyrgyzstan that same-sex marriages threaten family values and that laws granting marriage equality are as immoral as laws passed by the Nazis. On Monday, Putin visited a new Russian Orthodox Church in Paris, just hours after French president Emmanuel Macron revealed that he and Putin discussed the anti-LGBTQ attacks by Chechen authorities on their own people. In the Russian republic, gay and bisexual men are being rounded up, locked in secret prisons, tortured and even murdered by their own government. HRC has called on the U.S. government to condemn these heinous crimes and grant victims asylum in the U.S.. More from Newsweek.
NEW REPORT DETAILS RATES OF BULLYING FOR LGBTQ STUDENTS: The report from the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics revealed the additional barriers LGBTQ students face when compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers. Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2016 aims to establish, update, and monitor “reliable indicators of the current state of school crime and safety across the nation.” More from HRC.
DOCTORS — ASK YOUR PATIENTS ABOUT THEIR SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY: A growing number of federal agencies are encouraging medical practitioners to ask their patients about their sexual orientation and gender identity, and studies show this can improve health outcomes across the LGBTQ community. More from The New York Times.
● A new report on health disparities in the transgender community shows that 29 percent of transgender adults rated their health as fair or poor, compared with 17 percent of cisgender adults. More from Los Angeles Times.
IN ASIA — LGBTQ RIGHTS TAKE TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK: Despite the historic ruling bringing marriage equality to Taiwan, LGBTQ people in many Asian countries still face persecution and arrest for being who they are. More from The Associated Press.
● The United Nations’ human rights office called out Indonesia for its recent arrests of men for same-sex sexual activity. At least two men were publicly caned as a result. More from The Associated Press.
BILLY EICHNER WRITES ABOUT THE NEED FOR FULLER, MORE DIVERSE LGBTQ STORIES: In an oped for Variety, the openly gay actor and comedian (@BillyEichner) also highlights the success and impact of films like Moonlight, the coming-of-age story of a Black, gay man. Read the full piece from Variety.
JOE BIDEN OFFICIATES SAME-SEX WEDDING: Over the holiday weekend, former Vice President Joe Biden officiated the wedding of Henry Munoz and Kyle Ferrari. More from People.
Nico Lang (@Nico_Lang), writing for the Columbia Journalism Review, calls on reporters to stop misgendering transgender people who have been murdered; PopSugar looks at the place of asexuality in the LGBTQ community; The Daily Dot talks to students about LGBTQ-inclusive sex education; The Huffington Post shares Logo’s list of 25 LGBTQ-friendly companies;