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#AM_Equality Tipsheet: August 17, 2017

“THERE ARE NOT TWO SIDES” — CHILLING NEW HRC VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS TRUMP’S EMBRACE OF RACISTS, ANTI-SEMITES, NEO-NAZIS AND HOMOPHOBES: Donald Trump has left no question this week as to where he stands – with white supremacists, bigots, anti-Semites and homophobes, and their violent, deadly actions in Charlottesville.  Trump has been normalizing and encouraging hatred and violence for far too long. With his despicable comments in the aftermath of Charlottesville, and his embrace of advisors affiliated with the white supremacist movement — Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller — Trump is embracing and defending the worst undercurrents of our society. Watch the powerful video here.

  • This morning, Trump doubled down on his embrace of racists and white supremacists, tweeting a rant against the removal of racist statues and monuments.
  • The President’s Strategic and Policy Forum and Manufacturing Advisory Council, Trump’s business advisory groups, have disbanded over his reckless and dangerous comments in the wake of Charlottesville. More from Axios.
  • A resolution to censure Trump over his response to Charlottesville will be introduced in Congress. Only three presidents in our nation’s history have been censured. More from BuzzFeed.

PENCE STANDS WITH TRUMP AND HIS NEO-NAZI, RACIST, ANTI-SEMITIC SUPPORTERS: Mike Pence has now indisputably aligned himself with Donald Trump and his neo-Nazi, racist, anti-Semitic supporters, saying to reporters during an appearance in Chile yesterday,  “I stand with the president and I stand by those words.” Pence was responding to a question about Trump’s comments this week on the events in Charlottesville, including his unhinged assertions that there were “fine people” in the mob of white supremacists and anti-Semites who gathered there last weekend. To stand with the President is to stand with white supremacy. More from Deadline.

MOTHER OF DOMESTIC TERROR VICTIM HEATHER HEYER — “WE’RE GOING TO MAKE HER DEATH COUNT”: Yesterday, the world came together to honor Heather Heyer, murdered by a domestic terrorist in Charlottesville, as she was laid to rest. Heyer’s mother delivered a powerful eulogy, saying, “They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what? You just magnified her… I’d rather have my child, but, by golly, if I got to give her up — we’re gonna make it count.” More from ABC.

  • Standing on the right side of history: At a vigil on the University of Virginia campus last night, there was an outpouring of love and unity, in contrast to the white supremacist hate on display there just days ago. Watch here.

HRC’S GROUNDBREAKING CONFERENCE SUPPORTING LGBTQ YOUTH TO BE HELD IN ORLANDO: The HRC Foundation, in partnership with the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Counseling Association (ACA), will hold its nationally-acclaimed Time to THRIVE Conference February 16-18 at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek in Orlando. Toyota will again be a presenting sponsor. “As we approach the back to school season, counselors, teachers, social workers and other professionals know they are on the front lines of creating safe and inclusive spaces where our LGBTQ youth can live, learn and thrive,” said Vincent Pompei, Director of HRC’s Youth Well-Being Project and Time to THRIVE conference chair. More from HRC.

THROWBACK THURSDAY: TIME and the ACLU have teamed up with transgender trailblazer Laverne Cox (@LaverneCox) to create a stunning video history of the transgender movement, titled “Time Marches Forward & So Do We.” The video, which begins at the historic Stonewall Uprising, shares the message, “They remind us of our courageous history of resisting institutionalized bullying and oppression.” Watch here.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYDjdoFKIGE]

ICYMI — TEXAS LEGISLATURE ENDS SPECIAL SESSION WITHOUT PASSING ANTI-TRANS BILL: The Texas Legislature adjourned its special session on Tuesday, and, due to the outpouring of opposition from Texans from all walks of life, anti-transgender legislation is dead for this session. Yesterday, HRC and its coalition partners — Texas Freedom Network and  Transgender Education Network of Texas — joined for a rally in Austin to reaffirm that they will continue to thwart any attempts in the Texas legislature to discriminate against LGBTQ people. All while recognizing that this was a difficult session for many Texans — especially for women and immigrants — and several harmful bills did get signed into law. HRC has had more than a dozen staff on the ground in Austin, and, with scores of volunteer organizers, has been leading field organizing efforts around the state to defeat these anti-LGBTQ bills. More from HRC, Glamour and BuzzFeed.

  • Check out HRC’s graphic highlighting the thousands of voices that spoke out against TX’s anti-LGBTQ legislation here.
  • Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-TX) sent a special message to LGBTQ Texans and the countless people who spoke out against anti-transgender bills during the special session. Watch here.

LOUISIANA GOVERNOR APPEALS RULING BANNING LGBTQ-INCLUSIVE EXECUTIVE ORDER: Governor John Bel Edwards is appealing a ruling by Judge Todd Hernandez of the 19th Judicial District Court striking down an executive order protecting LGBTQ state workers and contractors from discrimination. More from The Associated Press.

MAN ARRAIGNED ON HATE CRIME CHARGES FOLLOWING HORRIFYING THREATS: Daniel Silvera threatened to sexually assault New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, murder her family and murder the city’s LGBTQ police officers. More from The Associated Press.

UGANDA PRIDE CANCELED FOLLOWING POLICE THREATS: The organizers released a statement saying, “Sadly, even all the courage and determination that we carry in our hearts is not enough to put the lives of so many innocent people at risk. This morning, we woke up to a tirade of police surrounding the venue of the opening gala and later in the day even as talks with Police and other relevant authorities were ongoing, more deployment was made to the venues of the events that were to follow.” Read the full statement here.


NIGERIAN LGBTQ ADVOCATE GRANTED ASYLUM IN UNITED KINGDOM: Aderonke Apata had been seeking asylum in the country for 13 years, but was thwarted several times by a judge who asserted Apata was “faking” her sexual orientation. More from Reuters.

LIBYAN LGBTQ ADVOCATE GRANTED ASYLUM IN GERMANY: The advocate, who asked that his name not to be published, was quickly granted asylum. He left Libya — one of the countries included in Trump’s Muslim travel ban — after being targeted by ISIS. More from Washington Blade.


HRC Welcoming Schools shares resources for teachers and school administrators on creating LGBTQ-inclusive environments; Advocate lists the 50 most influential LGBTQ people in media

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Madison Schools Completes Welcoming Schools District-Wide Facilitator Training

Post submitted by Cheryl Greene, Deputy Director of Welcoming Schools

Welcoming Schools is proud to announce the completion of another District-Wide Facilitator Training, this time with the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) in Wisconsin. MMSD is the latest district to make a system-wide commitment to implementing the Welcoming Schools approach.

On August 7-10, I joined Program Director Johanna Eager and Expert Trainers Michele Hatchell and Toni Smith in Madison. We worked intensively with a select group of 19 individuals within the district, training them in the Welcoming Schools approach and preparing them to deliver our professional development modules to their district colleagues.

With 19 Welcoming Schools Facilitators, MMSD will be able to train elementary school teachers throughout the district. Possessing the necessary skills and knowledge to make learning environments more inclusive, teachers will translate what they learn to their classrooms, benefitting all the students in their care. We know that when students feel a sense of belonging at school, they are more highly motivated and engaged in learning. 

After four invigorating days of training, I was humbled by the overwhelmingly positive and validating feedback from the MMSD participants:

  • “I am so excited about this training because I get to infuse this amazing information into my body and give that knowledge to others, and that is totally energizing.”
  • “It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so inspired by the work we are doing for children. This feels amazing!”
  • “I have been teaching for 23 years, and Welcoming Schools is by far the best, most important program I have seen. I am so grateful this came into my life!”
  • “You have made me better. You have planted a seed and I will grow this work. Promise!”

We’re so pleased to bring MMSD into the fold. They’ve demonstrated their commitment to providing safe and welcoming schools for all students through their outstanding work during the Facilitator Training. The district even funded a “Welcoming Schools Coordinator” position to support the district’s efforts.

The District-Wide Facilitator Training is open to any district that would like to increase their internal capacity to provide Welcoming Schools training to their staff. If you would like to bring the Facilitator Training to your district, please contact us.

HRC’s Welcoming Schools is the nation’s premier program dedicated to creating respectful and supportive elementary schools by embracing family diversity, creating LGBTQ- and gender-inclusive schools, preventing bias-based bullying, a supporting transgender and non-binary students.

A Weekend with the Young Democrats of America

Last weekend, Western Regional Field Organizer Christopher Cooke was in Dallas representing HRC at the Young Democrats of America’s 2017 National Convention. HRC’s continued partnership and sponsorship of the conference reflects our commitment to providing young leaders and LGBTQ advocates with training and tools essential to working to advance equality, and stop anti- LGBTQ legislation and other efforts to that seek to marginalize our community.

Cooke trained young leaders on “Building the Resistance,” and also on the importance of allyship and coalition building. In addition to his work at HRC, Cooke has been a part of the Young Democrats of America for 11 years and currently serves at its Southwest Region Director. HRC served on the convention planning committee and assisted with programming for the 2017 convention.

Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims was featured at one of the sessions sponsored by HRC, along with HRC Volunteers MJ Shuman and Amy Tate. Shuman and Tate spoke about the harmful legislation being proposed and the harmful real life hurtful impacts. HRC training on lobbying and an open discussion on organizing in local communities was also offered.

During the conference, news broke about the violence in Charlottesville. In typical fashion, Young Democrats organized members to unanimously adopt a resolution condemning the attack and pledged the organization to its continued stand against racism. 

HRC Mourns the Loss of Gwynevere River Song, a Trans Person Killed in Dallas

HRC was saddened to learn that Gwynevere River Song was shot and killed in Dallas over the weekend, marking the 17th known homicide of a transgender person this year.

Song, 26, died in their home after an argument escalated into a violent altercation, according to the Advocate, which cites reporting from a local paper that misgendered and misnamed Song.

According to local media, police responded to a report of a shooting at Song’s home Saturday afternoon and discovered Song’s body as well as an injured adult male, whose name has not yet been released.

No arrests have been made and the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate.

Song was a 2015 graduate of the University of Texas in Austin and identified as “femandrogyne” and a member of the bisexual community, according to their Facebook profile.

According to the Trans Pride Initiative, Song’s mother will hold a memorial service for them on August 21 at the Wayne Boze Funeral home.

HRC extends sincere condolences to Song’s family, friends and community during this difficult time.

HRC Utah Joins Solidarity Rally After Violence in Charlottesville

On Monday, HRC Utah Community Engagement Chair Lucas Horns and Western Regional Field Organizer Christopher Cooke gathered at the Salt Lake City and County Building for Utah League of America Native American Voters’ Solidarity Rally. The rally was in response to the attack in Charlottesville that resulted in the death of community activist Heather Heyer.

Utah State Rep. Angela Romero and State Rep.Sandra Hollins were among those condemning the senseless violence that took place, and speaking out against Nazis, racism, systematic oppression, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and violence. 

After his remarks on Tuesday, Donald Trump has left no question as to where he stands – with white supremacists, bigots, anti-Semites and homophobes, and their violent, deadly actions in Charlottesville. Trump has been normalizing and encouraging hatred and violence for far too long. With his despicable comments in the aftermath of Charlottesville, and his embrace of advisors affiliated with the white supremacist movement — Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller — Trump is embracing and defending the worst undercurrents of our society.

HRC is proud to stand united against hate with our allies across the U.S.

Chorus of Opposition Helps Prevent Anti-Transgender Bill from Becoming Law in Texas

Today, HRC released a new graphic highlighting the many voices that joined together to successfully stop anti-transgender legislation that was considered in the Texas legislature. It can be viewed here.

Due to the outpouring of opposition from Texans from all walks of life, anti-transgender legislation is dead for this session. HRC is proud to have worked throughout the regular session and special session with a coalition of organizations, including Equality Texas, the ACLU of Texas, the Texas Freedom Network and the Transgender Education Network of Texas.

A summary of the range and diversity of opposition to these discriminatory efforts can be found on the graphic. Those who helped stop these anti-transgender measures include:

  • Ordinary Texans, including transgender people and their families
  • Faith leaders
  • Educators
  • Advocacy groups
  • Child welfare groups
  • Law enforcement
  • Business leaders and companies
  • Financial investors
  • Economic development
  • Travel and tourism
  • Arts and entertainment
  • Sports

“It’s official: Texas legislators have adjourned without passing a new anti-transgender bill this special session,” said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president of policy and political affairs. “First and foremost, these bills were defeated because of the many voices that came out in opposition, raising their voices in one chorus to say, ‘don’t discriminate in the Lone Star State.’ To be sure, these same voices that opposed discrimination this session will make the same level of noise in the future if lawmakers attempt to discriminate against any members of our communities again.”

During the regular legislative session and the special session thousands of Texans have spoken out against proposed anti-LGBTQ legislation, including 27 Fortune 500 companies, nearly 500 faith leaders and 50,124 people who took action by signing petitions or testifying against these harmful bills.

HRC has had more than a dozen staff on the ground in Austin, and, working with scores of volunteer organizers, has been leading field organizing efforts around the state to defeat these anti-LGBTQ bills. HRC has worked alongside Equality Texas, ACLU of Texas, Texas Freedom Network, the Transgender Education Network of Texas and others to defeat dangerous or harmful bills that seek to undermine the rights and dignity of LGBTQ Texans.
Texas; SB3; Texas Legislature; anti-transgender legialstion