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Recent blog articles published by the Human Rights Campaign

Today, HRC issued the following response after the federal government officially shutdown following weeks of irresponsible and reckless behavior by the Trump-Pence Administration:

“Today’s government shutdown is the result of a failure of leadership by Donald Trump and Mike Pence.  They kicked the can down the road on every deadline over the past year, from appropriations to children’s health, disaster relief to Dreamers. After weeks of racist and irresponsible rhetoric, our nation is now closed for business to those who need its support most. ,” said David Stacy, HRC’s Government Affairs Director. “It’s wrong to pit Dreamers against children’s health coverage. We can and should protect the 800,000 young people who could be forced to leave the only country they’ve ever known, and vital health care for vulnerable children. The inability of President Trump to follow through on his promise to protect Dreamers is unconscionable. A bipartisan DREAM Act is ready to go. It’s time to get it done.”

Author: Charlotte Clymer
Posted: January 20, 2018, 3:13 am

HRC acknowledged Utah Gov. Gary Herbert for convening a task force to address a troubling uptick in suicides among youth -- and especially LGBTQ youth -- in his state. Task force members, including Ronald A. Rasband, a leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Gail Miller, owner of the NBA’s Utah Jazz; and Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah; are expected to submit recommendations to the governor by February 15.

“In far too many corners of this country, LGBTQ youth are bullied and harassed to the brink of suicide at school, in their communities, and even around their own dinner tables,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The only way we will end this epidemic of teen suicide is for leaders from all sectors — public and private — to take a firm stand against homophobia, transphobia, neglect, and rejection. Every adult has an obligation to do more to protect our young people, and the actions taken by leaders in Utah are an important first step.”

“Together, we will identify how we can reduce the escalating number of young people attempting suicide,” said Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah. “We already know the protective factors that reduce the risk of suicide among teens. We know that when young people experience a deep sense of love and belonging, they thrive. When we have reliable scientific data on risk factors, we understand the scope of the problem. When the law is carefully tailored and includes all protected classes, everyone wins.”

According to HRC’s Growing Up LGBT in America, a groundbreaking survey of more than 10,000 LGBT-identified youth ages 13-17, 92 percent of LGBT youth say they hear negative messages about being LGBTQ. These negative messages can have a profound impact: a 2016 study by the Center for Disease Control found that 43 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual high school students seriously considered suicide in the 12 months prior to the study, compared to 15 percent of their non-LGBTQ peers. Additionally, UCLA’s Williams Institute and American Foundation on Suicide Prevention reported in 2014 that 41 percent of transgender and gender non-conforming adults had attempted suicide. For those who had suffered discrimination, rejection, or violence because of their gender identity, the rate was even higher -- in some cases reaching a shocking 78 percent.

Equality Utah joins HRC in its commitment to protecting the rights of our most vulnerable communities, including children. Read more about its work on behalf of LGBTQ youth in Utah here.

If you or someone you know may be at risk of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you’re a young person and need to talk to someone, call The Trevor Project’s 24-hour crisis hotline for youth at 1-866-488-7386. If you are a transgender person of any age, call the Trans Lifeline at (877) 565-8860.

Author: Nick Morrow
Posted: January 19, 2018, 9:56 pm

HRC marked the one year anniversary of the Trump-Pence Administration’s inauguration by vowing to continue turning resistance into action in 2018. Over the last year, the Trump-Pence administration has systematically targeted the LGBTQ community for discrimination through more than 40 actions, from attempting to ban qualified transgender Americans from service in the military, to backing anti-LGBTQ forces at the Supreme Court seeking a sweeping ‘license to discriminate.’ HRC responded by immediately utilizing its talented team of policy and legal experts and establishing a 10-person Trump War Room, which has worked around the clock to hold the Trump-Pence Administration accountable and fight back against their dangerous nominees and proposals. In its first year, the Trump War Room has blasted more than 100 statements and releases, launched targeted ad campaigns, defeated anti-LGBTQ nominees -- most notably Mark Green, Jeff Mateer and Scott Garrett -- and launched videos that have been viewed more than 100 million times. And when Trump attacked transgender troops, we took him to court, joining a lawsuit led by Lambda Legal and Outserve-SLDN in an effort to defeat the unconstitutional ban.

HRC has gone beyond resistance to notch wins at the ballot box. In 2017, HRC and partners chalked up significant historic wins. In Virginia, Danica Roem became the commonwealth’s first out transgender public official -- and the nation's only out transgender state representative. In Alabama, HRC-endorsed candidate Doug Jones beat Roy Moore, the bigoted anti-LGBTQ politician. HRC invested significantly in these races and others across the country, to ensure that pro-equality candidates would win on Election Day. And last summer, HRC laid the groundwork for future victories, launching the earliest, largest grassroots mobilization in its 37-year history ahead of the 2018 elections.

“For the past year and in the face of tremendous adversity, HRC members, supporters and our allies have locked arms and fought back against a dangerous agenda of hate and discrimination,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “From the Senate floor, to state legislatures, to the ballot box -- we have turned resistance into action and proven that we are stronger than hate and fear. Following defeats of some of the nation’s most anti-equality candidates from Virginia to North Carolina to Alabama, the message is clear: if you come for us, we will come for you on Election Day. In 2018, that’s exactly what we’re going to do through HRC Rising, the largest, earliest grassroots mobilization in our history.”

HRC efforts to turn out voters and pull the emergency brake on this administration and its dangerous agenda by winning a pro-equality majority in Congress this fall are already underway. HRC Rising is a campaign to accelerate progress in states from coast-to-coast, resist the politics of hate, fight anti-LGBTQ legislation, and fuel pro-equality candidates and initiatives. HRC has thus far announced six priority states, which include Wisconsin, Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Ohio, with staff already on the ground in several states.

Since the inauguration, civil rights and justice organizations have coordinated to link arms and fight against the administration’s onslaught of attacks. HRC has been proud to work with partners to protect DREAMers and immigrants, and to stand with racial equity and justice organizations opposing white supremacy and supporting voting rights. As the Trump-Pence administration attempted to reduce access to health care, HRC partnered with Planned Parenthood and others in fighting to save the Affordable Care Act, to protect women’s health care, and secure better care for those living with HIV and AIDS.

In the months and years ahead, HRC will continue to fight the Trump-Pence agenda to ensure that LGBTQ Americans are treated equally everywhere.

Author: Nick Morrow
Posted: January 19, 2018, 9:00 pm

Today, HRC praised the Washington State Senate for passing Senate Bill (SB) 5722 — legislation to protect LGBTQ youth in the state from the dangerous and discredited practice of so-called “conversion therapy.”

“No child should ever be subjected to the dangerous and barbaric practice of conversion therapy. It amounts to nothing more than child abuse,” said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse. “We applaud the Washington State Senate for voting to protect the Evergreen State’s LGBTQ youth. It is crucial that the Washington House of Representatives quickly pass the measure.”

“Conversion therapy,” sometimes referred to as “sexual orientation change efforts” or “reparative therapy,” encompasses a range of harmful practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. These practices are based on the false premise that being LGBTQ is a mental illness that needs to be cured — an idea that has been rejected by every major medical and mental health organization.

There is no credible evidence that conversion therapy can change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. To the contrary, research has clearly shown that these practices pose devastating health risks for LGBTQ young people such as depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and even suicidal behavior. The dangerous practice is condemned by every major medical and mental health organization, including the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and American Medical Association.

Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, and Rhode Island all have laws or regulations protecting youth from this abusive practice. A growing number of municipalities have also enacted similar protections, including cities and counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, Florida, New York, and Arizona.

HRC has partnered with the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and state equality groups across the nation to pass state legislation ending conversion therapy. More information on the lies and dangers of efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity can be found here.

Author: Stephen Peters
Posted: January 19, 2018, 8:47 pm

TRUMP-PENCE LAUNCHES UNNECESSARY “CONSCIENCE” DIVISION AT HHS: The so-called “Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom” could enable discrimination against LGBTQ people, women, and others. “LGBTQ people need the Department of Health and Human Services to enforce non-discrimination protections in federal health programs. The creation of an unnecessary new division that is likely to promote a license to discriminate diverts needed enforcement resources and encourages discrimination against LGBTQ people,” said Sarah Warbelow, HRC Legal Director. “Every American deserves access to quality health care, and that should not be determined by the personal opinions of individual medical providers or administrative staff.” More from HRC and The Washington Post.

  • Also, yesterday HHS released more than 12,000 comments on another Trump-Pence license to discriminate rule, released in October, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by BuzzFeed.

ANTI-LGBTQ TRUMP APPOINTEE RESIGNS AFTER CNN REVEALS BIGOTED COMMENTS: CNN’s KFile reported that during a radio interview, Carl Higbie, chief of external affairs for the federal government's volunteer service organization, made “racist, sexist, anti-Muslim and anti-LGBTQ comments.” See the report at CNN.

Good riddance to @CarlHigbie - but unfortunately, many more anti-LGBTQ appointees remain in the Trump-Pence administration.

— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) January 19, 2018

SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE ADVANCES TRUMP-PENCE ANTI-LGBTQ NOMINEES: “These nominees pose a threat to the rights and safety of LGBTQ people across the nation and should not be entrusted with these important positions,” said David Stacy, HRC Government Affairs Director Director. “The Senate should reject them.”

  • Eric Dreiband to head civil rights division of the Justice Department: Volunteered for  legal team defending the University of North Carolina from the DOJ’s  suit holding the university and other state entities accountable for the federally-prohibited discrimination mandated by HB2.
  • Kyle Duncan nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit: Represented the Gloucester (Va.) County School Board in its case against Gavin Grimm; fought against marriage equality and same-sex adoption.
  • Matthew Kacsmaryk nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas: Wrote op-eds and public comments that oppose same-sex marriage, legal class protections for gender identity and sexual orientation, and rights of transgender citizens.
  • Mark Norris to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee: Opposed the Obergefell marriage equality case; supported Tennessee’s lawsuit against the Obama era guidance extending Title IX rights to transgender students.

The committee voted to advance all four nominations. More from HRC.

HRC RELEASES HEARTBREAKING NEW VIDEO FEATURING DREAMER AND SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVOR: It was only after she received DACA that Yuridia, 22, was able to report her abuser to the police. HRC has repeatedly called on Congress to pass the DREAM Act now to protect young Dreamers like Yuridia, who identifies as queer. “It was not until I had DACA that I felt human enough to walk into a police station and report my abuser. And DACA allowed that -- for a moment -- to allow me to feel a little more deserving in this country,” she says. Watch it at NewNowNext.

MIKE PENCE HEADS TO EGYPT AMID BRUTAL ANTI-LGBTQ CRACKDOWN: In advance of Pence’s scheduled trip to meet with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi,

HRC reiterated its call for the Trump administration to forcefully condemn the Egyptian government’s escalating, brutal anti-LGBTQ crackdown. “Unless Pence uses the opportunity to forcefully speak out against these human rights abuses, the U.S. risks emboldening the Egyptian government’s assault on LGBTQ people and Pence will — once again — reaffirm his position as one of the most anti-LGBTQ politicians in the U.S.,” said Ty Cobb, director of HRC Global. “This is a moment that demands moral leadership.” Pence’s own political career has been defined by anti-LGBTQ animus. More from HRC.

HRC ANNOUNCES JAZZ JENNINGS AMONG OTHER SPECIAL GUESTS AT TIME TO THRIVE: Jennings, a HRC Youth Ambassador and author of I Am Jazz, will be a special guest along with Raikes Foundation co-founder Tricia Raikes; Rhode Island Teacher of the Year Nikos Giannopoulos; non-binary advocate Jacob Tobia; and HRC HIV 360° Fellow Daniel Downer. HRC’s annual Time to THRIVE Conference will be held February 16-18 at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek in Orlando. Said Vincent Pompei, Director of HRC's Youth Well-Being Project and Time to THRIVE conference chair: “These advocates and allies have dedicated their lives to ensuring that all young people have a safe and inclusive place to learn, and an equal chance to thrive in all aspects of their lives.” More from HRC.

BUILDING BRIDGES FOR GLOBAL WORKPLACE EQUALITY: Yesterday in Chile, HRC kicked off its groundbreaking partnership with Fundación Iguales & Pride Connection with an international launch of HRC’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI), the premier report tracking LGBT inclusion in the world’s largest companies. “These businesses and advocates are working together to create policies and benefits that will improve the lives of countless LGBTQ workers and also make their companies stronger,” writes HRC Senior Vice President for Programs, Research and Training Mary Beth Maxwell in a piece for Advocate.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: On a recent episode of VH1’s “Black Ink Crew”, Kevin bravely came out to his father, telling him “I am a gay black male.” His father responded with love and compassion, saying “My love for you is my love for you... My love for you is unconditional.” More from VH1.

HOW DO CITIES ON AMAZON’S SHORTLIST FOR HQ2 STAND ON LGBTQ EQUALITY?: The list released yesterday includes a number of cities with high scores on HRC’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI), and states making strides for equality on HRC’s State Equality Index (SEI). Top MEI cities being considered for Amazon’s second headquarters include: Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Denver; Los Angeles; New York City; Philadelphia; and Pittsburgh. More from The Washington Post.

MISSOURI BILL WOULD PROTECT YOUTH FROM DANGEROUS SO-CALLED “CONVERSION THERAPY”: The bill has been introduced by state Representative Tracy McCreery. More from Riverfront Times.

GUN DEATHS HAVE INCREASED 17 PERCENT SINCE HELLER DECISION: In 2008, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that citizens have a right to keep a handgun in their home for self-defense. A analysis by the Violence Policy Center not only reveals the spike in deaths, but also that states with higher rates of gun ownership and weaker gun violence prevention laws have higher rates of gun deaths. More from HRC.

HORRIFYING -- 44 CHILDREN IN UTAH DIED BY SUICIDE IN PAST YEAR: Governor Gary Herbert has created a task force to address the crisis; Utah’s rates of youth suicide are 141 percent higher than the national average. The task force includes representatives from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and LGBTQ advocates. More from Fox 13.

NHL SELECTS ANTI-TRANSGENDER KID ROCK TO PERFORM AT ALL-STAR GAME: HRC is disappointed in this decision, and hopes that in the future the NHL will choose an All-Star performer more in line with their commitment to LGBTQ inclusion and diversity. More from OutSports and USA Today.

TRANS TRAILBLAZERS FEATURED ON THE COVER OF TIME: Minneapolis City Councilmember Andrea Jenkins (@annapoetic) and Virginia Delegate Danica Roem (@pwcdanica) -- both openly transgender -- are just two of the history-making women featured now on the cover of TIME. Also featured is Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, Gina Ortiz Jones and Lauren Baer. More from TIME.

TIME's new cover: First they marched. Now a record number of women are running for office

— TIME (@TIME) January 18, 2018

DECORATED ARMY SERGEANT BRUTALLY ATTACKED FOR BEING GAY: Charles William Davis II was attacked and subjected to anti-gay slurs outside a bar in El Paso, Texas. Shockingly, the police report of the incident checked ‘no’ in the section to indicate if the crime was “suspect hate/bias motivated.” More from The Daily Beast.

HORRIFYING -- 10 MURDERS OF LGBTQ PEOPLE IN THE D.C. AREA REMAIN UNSOLVED: In a piece for the Washington Blade, reporter Lou Chibbaro Jr. sheds light on six murders of transgender women and four murders of gay and bisexual men that are still unsolved. Read more from the Washington Blade.


Harper’s Magazine shares the powerful story of a transgender man in Ohio medically transitioning;

Author: Allison Turner
Posted: January 19, 2018, 3:02 pm

HRC released a powerful new video featuring Yuridia, a 22-year-old queer DACA recipient and sexual violence survivor. It was only after she received DACA that she was able to report her abuser to the police. HRC has repeatedly called on Congress to pass the DREAM Act now to protect young Dreamers like Yuridia.

“It was not until I had DACA that I felt human enough to walk into a police station and report my abuser. And DACA allowed that -- for a moment -- to allow me to feel a little more deserving in this country,” Yuridia says. “With the DREAM Act, it would mean a whole different life, I think -- having lived in the shadows. No more silence on any identity.”

Yuridia is part of the immigrant youth-led United We Dream network working to change hearts and minds for the passage of a common-sense, bipartisan DREAM Act. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) was created by the Obama administration in 2012 to protect 800,000 young people who were brought to the U.S. as children, including 75,000 LGBTQ Dreamers. Among those who would be affected by DACA’s rollback are 36,000 LGBTQ recipients. With every day they delay in passing the DREAM Act, lawmakers are putting more and more people at risk of deportation and violence.

Author: Allison Turner
Posted: January 19, 2018, 3:01 pm

Today, HRC reiterated its call for the Trump administration to forcefully condemn the Egyptian government’s escalating anti-LGBTQ crackdown. On Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence — a man whose own political career has been defined by anti-LGBTQ animus — is scheduled to meet with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as the country’s LGBTQ people face brutal human rights abuses. To date, repeated calls on the White House to speak out against the atrocities have been met with silence.

“Unless Pence uses the opportunity to forcefully speak out against these human rights abuses, the U.S. risks emboldening the Egyptian government’s assault on LGBTQ people and Pence will — once again — reaffirm his position as one of the most anti-LGBTQ politicians in the U.S.,” said Ty Cobb, director of HRC Global. “The deafening silence from this White House on human rights abuses in Egypt and around the globe must end. This is a moment that demands moral leadership.”

The Egyptian government’s brutal anti-LGBTQ human rights abuses started in September when a group of concert-goers committed the “crime” of raising a rainbow flag. Since then, more than 70 Egyptian LGBTQ people and allies have been arrested, some receiving jail sentences of up to six years. The government has also instructed the media that they can only report on LGBTQ people as having “a shameful disease,” making it more difficult for this crackdown to be accurately reported in Egypt. Meanwhile, members of the Egyptian parliament have proposed legislation that would not only further criminalize LGBTQ Egyptians, but even criminalize allies who speak out on their behalf.

Under previous administrations, equality and human rights were a pillar of U.S. foreign policy, but the Trump-Pence White House has remained silent on the attacks in Egypt and elsewhere, sending deeply disturbing signals to the world’s most brutal regimes. From Russia to Indonesia to Egypt, Trump and Pence have looked the other way on LGBTQ human rights abuses.

Pence has a long history of promoting discriminatory, anti-LGBTQ public policy. For example, as governor of Indiana, he became a national disgrace in 2015 for his “license to discriminate” bill that could have allowed businesses to deny service to LGBTQ people. As vice president, he has helped lead the charge for discriminatory policies — like an executive order granting a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people, and attempting to ban transgender service members in the military. Trump reportedly even once joked that Pence wanted to “hang” all gay people.  

HRC has repeatedly called on high-level leaders in the Trump administration to condemn the human rights abuses in Egypt. Calls from HRC and partner organizations have been met with silence. Members of Congress have also called on Pence to raise these and other human rights issues during his visit. 

Author: Stephen Peters
Posted: January 19, 2018, 2:23 pm

Today, the HRC Foundation announced LGBTQ advocates and allies who will be special guests and speakers at the organization’s annual Time to THRIVE Conference on February 16-18 at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek in Orlando. They include HRC Youth Ambassador and author of "I Am Jazz" Jazz Jennings; Raikes Foundation co-founder Tricia Raikes; Rhode Island Teacher of the Year Nikos Giannopoulos; non-binary advocate Jacob Tobia; and HRC HIV 360° Fellow Daniel Downer.

The conference is co-presented by the National Education Association and the American Counseling Association. Toyota, BBVA Compass and AT&T are presenting sponsors of the event.

“These advocates and allies have dedicated their lives to ensuring that all young people have a safe and inclusive place to learn, and an equal chance to thrive in all aspects of their lives,” said Vincent Pompei, Director of HRC's Youth Well-Being Project and Time to THRIVE Conference chair. “We speak to  LGBTQ youth every day and know that creating that space can be challenging. Time to THRIVE was founded to provide cutting edge training and resources to educators and other youth-service providers across the country who are committed to the success of all young people.”

  • Jazz Jennings began her activism at age six when she appeared on "20/20 with Barbara Walters." She now stars in TLC's docu-series, “I Am Jazz” and is one of America’s most well-known transgender youth. Jazz is an HRC Youth Ambassador, a program amplifying the voices of LGBTQ youth leaders. She is the co-author of the children’s book, "I Am Jazz," and released her memoir, "Being Jazz" in 2016.
  • Tricia Raikes founded the Raikes Foundation with her husband, Jeff, in 2002 to break down the barriers that hold young people back and build up the environments where they learn and grow -- with a focus on young people situated furthest from opportunity. The Raikes, who met at Microsoft in the 1980s and became the first couple to meet and marry while at the company, are focused on preventing and ending youth homelessness, which disproportionately affects LGBTQ youth.
  • Nikos Giannopoulos became a viral sensation when, during a White House reception for 2017  Teachers of the Year, he held an intricate fan while posing for a photo with President Trump. He used his national attention to raise awareness for LGBTQ and other marganalized students, telling The Boston Globe, “What is concerning to me is that a child who is fully loved and supported [in their classroom] might not be in other schools.”
  • Jacob Tobia is a non-binary advocate, writer, producer and author of the forthcoming memoir "Sissy." They have been featured on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and the OUT 100, as well as featured on MTV’s “The T Word” and “True Life.”
  • Daniel Downer is an early intervention specialist for the Hope and Help Center of Central Florida, Inc., and a HRC HIV 360° fellow. A leader in his community, he is known for his ability to inspire and mobilize others to work to erase the stigmas surrounding HIV, and also ethnic and gender identity, homelessness, mental health and substance abuse, race and sexual orientation.

At Time to THRIVE, they will join other special guests, including trans athlete Chris Mosier; Native American dancers Adrian Stevens and Sean Snyder; advocates Judy and Dennis Shepard of the Matthew Shepard Foundation; and performer Johnny Manuel. HRC previously announced that it will honor transgender advocate Gavin Grimm with an Upstander Award during the Time to THRIVE Conference. Grimm made history after suing his school district over its discriminatory policy that barred him from using the boy’s restroom, alleging that the district violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council, HRC’s Youth Ambassadors and HRC’s Welcoming Schools Program will also be featured at the conference.

The event brings together a wide range of youth-serving professionals to discuss best practices for working with and caring for LGBTQ youth and their families in schools, community centers, health care settings and beyond. To register, visit

Author: Allison Turner
Posted: January 19, 2018, 1:58 pm

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Youth Well-Being Project is pleased to announce the 2018 class of HRC Youth Ambassadors: Zimar Batista, Sean Bender-Prouty, Roddy Biggs, Javier Cifuentes Monzón, Alex Cooper, Makayla Humphrey, Adriana Ibanez, Sameer Jha, Justin Jones, Brendan Jordan, Jacob Kanter, Jonathan Leggette, Zoey Luna, Zachary Mallory, Miles Sanchez, Lucas Segal and Tyler Yun.

As Youth Ambassadors, these LGBTQ advocates will represent the HRC Foundation, adding their voices and experiences to raise awareness about the most pressing concerns facing LGBTQ youth and our programs that promote well-being for LGBTQ youth, including All Children - All Families, Welcoming Schools and Youth and Campus Engagement, as well as HRC’s annual Time to THRIVE conference in February 2018.

Seven of the cohort will begin their first year as Youth Ambassadors: Batista, Bender-Prouty, Humphrey, Jha, Kanter, Leggette and Luna. Mallory, Biggs, Yun, Segal, Ibanez, Jones, Cooper, Jordan, Monzón and Sanchez were named Youth Ambassadors in 2017.

The HRC Foundation Staff welcomes our 2018 class of Youth Ambassadors, and we look forward to working with them over the next year. We sincerely thank our Youth Ambassadors whose terms are ending, including Daniella Carter, Weston Charles-Gallo, Tyler Eilts, Jazz Jennings, Paolo Veloso and Val Weisler.

For more on HRC’s Time to THRIVE Conference, visit

Meet Our Youth Ambassadors:

HRC Youth Ambassador, Zimar Batista
Zimar Batista (he/him/his)
College Park, Maryland

Zimar Batista Reyes is originally from Coral Springs, Florida, but was raised in the Dominican Republic for more than 16 years. Zimar left everything behind for freedom and ignored his family members and his lovely mother to be who he always was. Ever since he came out, Zimar has dedicated his work since high school (and now in college) to the Full-Spectrum Organization, advocating for LGBTQ rights. He knows that it is not easy to tell people about your identity because you are afraid of how others are going to react. It takes courage and bravery to come out and share with the world who you are. This year Zimar became the first gay Student Ambassador at Marymount University and AmeriCorps member at the Latin American Youth Center.

HRC Youth Ambassador, Sean Bender-Prouty
Sean Bender-Prouty (they/them/theirs)
Arlington, Virginia

Sean Bender-Prouty is a queer 14-year-old from Arlington, Virginia. They faced bullying and struggled with mental health after coming out as transgender in 2015. Sean’s goals are to make mental health treatment LGBT-friendly after facing discrimination in the system. Sean is the first openly-LGBTQ person to attend their school and is an advocate for change. They are dissatisfied with youth representation in the media and started a magazine this year for LGBTQ teenagers. Sean has been with Gender Spectrum on their Youth Council for two years, and is hoping to share their story on a broader platform to spread the message that we all deserve love and acceptance.

HRC Youth Ambassador, Roddy Biggs
Roddy Biggs (he/him/his and they/them/theirs)
Knoxville, Tennessee

Roddy Biggs is a proud LGBTQ advocate working to end bullying and suicide. When he came out as gay at age 12, he experienced bullying and a lack of support. That did not cause Roddy to give up. He went on to lead his high school and college GSA, and worked with local organizations to facilitate numerous trainings on diversity and inclusion. Roddy now works to promote the message that life gets better, and it is important to never give up.

HRC Youth Ambassador, Alex Cooper
Alex Cooper (she/her/hers)
Portland, Oregon

When she was only 15, Alex Cooper’s life changed when she came out to her Mormon family as a lesbian. Her parents took her to Utah where, for eight months, she was subjected to dangerous “conversion therapy” practices. That was seven years ago. Now, in her new book, Saving Alex, she writes: “My story is an easy one to tell. No one should be beaten, or be told that God doesn’t want them, or be sent to dangerous so-called ‘conversion therapy’ because they are gay. No family should feel they have to choose between their faith and their child.” Today, Alex uses her voice to speak out against the dangerous practice of so-called “conversion therapy.” Alex lives with her girlfriend in Portland, Oregon, and works on behalf of a children’s charity.

HRC Youth Ambassador, Makayla Humphrey
Makayla Humphrey (she/her/hers)
Lancaster, Texas

Makayla, 17, came out to her parents at the early age of 10 years old. She has faced very little adversity with her sexuality, primarily because of the support of her mother. Makayla wants to encourage people to talk about their sexual orientation and has helped many of her friends come out to their families. She has played basketball since the age of 10. Playing high school basketball as a lesbian athlete caused problems with both the team and the coaches, who treated her differently based on her sexual orientation. Makayla is currently the president of the JAG (Jobs for America’s Graduates) Program at school, a program which ensures that children with special needs don’t feel different than other high school kids. She organizes the Special Olympics events every year at her high school. Makayla is also involved in Sister 2 Sister and Kolorblok, two non-profit organizations to help inner city youth and the less fortunate.

HRC Youth Ambassador, Adriana Ilbanez
Adriana Ibanez (she/her/hers)
Chula Vista, California

Adriana Ibanez is a Filipino-American transgender woman who began public speaking at the start of her high school career. She focuses on raising the consciousness of the people around her on what it means to be transgender, advancing intersectionality by incorporating a “we are all people” theme in her speeches. Adriana works with human rights and educational groups that encourage the understanding of the experiences of LGBTQ people and plans to continue doing so. Her ultimate aim is to ensure the acceptance of LGBTQ people in society — not just mere tolerance.

HRC Youth Ambassador, Sameer Jha
Sameer Jha (he/him/his and they/them/theirs)
Fremont, California

Sameer is a half-Indian, half-Pakistani LGBTQ+ activist working to make schools safer for trans and queer students across the U.S. Sameer was the first person to come out in his local South Asian community, and has been working to change the negative view of LGBTQ+ people that many immigrant communities hold. He faced bullying at the hands of his peers, fellow children of immigrants, and started a nonprofit called The Empathy Alliance to ensure other queer youth would not have the same experiences he did. Sameer is a Congressional Award Recipient, Tyler Clementi Foundation Youth Ambassador and GSA Network’s NorCal Youth Council Member. He has been named one of the top ten trans activists of color, featured in MTV News, and covered by America’s largest South Asian radio station. Sameer was also honored to serve as Grand Marshal at the 2017 Oakland Pride, the nation’s most diverse pride event.

HRC Youth Ambassador, Justin Jones
Justin Jones (he/him/his or they/them/theirs)
Phoenix, Arizona

Justin Jones is a Detroit native who experienced tragedy early in life when his mother passed away. At 16, Justin moved to Arizona to live with his aunt and cousin, where he came out as gay. After experiencing homelessness because of his own financial hardships, Justin was able to live independently with the aid of a transitional housing program through one n ten, an LGBTQ youth program. Now, Justin is a proud youth leader and volunteer with one n ten, where he advocates for the LGBTQ community. Recently, Justin earned an AmeriCorps certificate in National Service for completing 1,700 hours of community service and learning.

HRC Youth Ambassador, Brendan Jordan
Brendan Jordan (he/him/his or she/her/hers)
Las Vegas, Nevada

Brendan Jordan is a 16-year-old social media sensation whose stardom began with a viral video of him dancing behind local reporters during a live news report. Jordan’s coming out video went viral in 2014 and has inspired LGBTQ youth around the world. He has advocated against drug use through SoCrush, appeared in advertisements for American Apparel and participated in Miley Cyrus’s #InstaPride campaign. At HRC’s third annual Time to THRIVE Conference for LGBTQ youth in February 2016, Brendan came out as identifying as both male and female, and using both pronouns “he” and “she.” “I’m still figuring it out. I’m starting to identify as one or as part of the trans community,” Jordan said to the crowd. While Jordan admitted that being a teenager and dealing with bullying can be tough, he shared this advice to young people: “Be true to yourself and don’t care about anything anyone else says about you.”

HRC Youth Ambassador, Jacob Kanter
Jacob Kanter (he/him/his)
Chesterfield, Missouri

Jacob grew up in St. Louis, Missouri being taught that being a bit different is what makes you shine. That belief changed when he was bullied and eventually assaulted for being exactly that. After years of living with fear, shame and self-hatred for his LGBTQ identity, he now hopes that one day he can be someone who can help similar situated kids with their problems, and help eradicate bullying, while raising awareness of the importance of mental health and self-care in LGBTQ youth. Fresh off a summer of serving as the Field intern for HRC, Jacob is currently finishing his senior year at Emory University, where he serves openly as the President of Club Tennis, one of the largest student organizations on campus. He will be pursuing a J.D. / M.S.W. after his graduation.

HRC Youth Ambassador, Jonathan Leggette
Jonathan Leggette (he/him/his and they/them/theirs)
Olympia, Washington

Jonathan Leggette is an enthusiastic, unapologetic, non-binary, queer, intersex person of color. He is an undergraduate student at The Evergreen State College, studying Marine Biology and Anthropology. Outside of academics, Jonathan works as a Peer Advisor in the Trans and Queer Center on campus, and off campus is a drive and innovative, intersectional, intersex activist who has traveled across the U.S. raising intersex awareness on college campuses and at conferences ranging from Creating Change in Philadelphia to Rutgers University. He works with interACT Youth to advocate for intersex youth and fight against medically unnecessary surgeries that are performed on babies and children. Jonathan makes sure to keep intersectionality and equity at the center of all of his work inside and outside of the classroom.

HRC Youth Ambassador, Zoey Luna
Zoey Luna (she/her/hers)
Downey, California

Zoey was born in Lynwood, California, where she was picked on during elementary school by both peers and staff. Her mom, Ofelia, was the only person she knew who accepted her completely from the moment she came out. Now, Zoey’s life shares her authentic self through film, starring in documentaries and television shows that focus on the journey of a modern trans person, such us as “Laverne Cox Presents the T Word,” “Raising Zoey,” and “15: A Quinceañera Story.” Zoey feels that being transgender is difficult but a gift; she has the power to share her voice all over the world but also has a huge responsibility to be a voice for her community embers. She hopes her work demonstrates that she has more to deal with than her gender identity, and she aims to focus on sharing more aspects of her life and identity in her work.

HRC Youth Ambassador, Zachary Mallory
Zachary Mallory (they/them/theirs)
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Zachary Mallory is a suicide attempt survivor and is an award-winning mental health, suicide prevention and LGBTQ advocate. Zachary is a Promise Fellow with AmeriCorps and Minnesota Alliance with Youth, and a member of the Trevor Project’s Youth Ambassador Council. They also volunteer for other organizations, including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. They are currently working on a documentary that will highlight the stories of those who have lived experience in dealing with suicide and mental health. Zachary is dedicated to raising awareness about the issues surrounding our community and sharing their story in hopes of inspiring others to do the same.

HRC Youth Ambassador, Javier Cifuentes Monzón
Javier Cifuentes Monzón (he/him/his)
Washington, D.C.

Realizing that he was queer, Javier’s mother made the difficult decision to immigrate to the United States from Guatemala when he was just six years old. Inspired by his mother’s sacrifice, Javier chose to take a gap year to advocate for LGBTQ immigrants and relocated to Washington, D.C. where he served as the Global intern at the Human Rights Campaign. Following the 2016 presidential election, Javier courageously shared his story of growing up as an undocumented queer immigrant and publicly reached out to the LGBTQ immigrant community through a video produced by HRC. By working to highlight the challenges facing queer immigrants, Javier has become an outspoken advocate for the community and continues to share his story through interviews and at rallies — most recently the historic “We Are Here to Stay” rally.

HRC Youth Ambassador, Miles Sanchez
Miles Sanchez (he/him/his)
Denver, Colorado

As a transgender and queer person of color, Miles is working to challenge the stigma of being called “gay” and “queer” in schools. After experiencing bullying, Miles has chosen to live proudly and openly, rather than letting bullies define him. He knows that as a middle schooler, it is important for him to be open and visible for other students who are LGBTQ, especially if they are not comfortable living openly. He is an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ issues — working as a Youth Leader at Rainbow Alley, a youth-led LGBTQ center in Denver focusing on peer-to-peer support and education.

HRC Youth Ambassador, Lucas Segal
Lucas Segal (he/him/his)
Hot Springs, Arkansas

Lucas Segal is a senior at Lakeside High School in Arkansas, where he’s an active member of the Showband, the President of Partner’s Club and the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). In recognition for his advocacy work to allow transgender people to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity, Lucas won a trip to San Diego through the Students Taking Action with Recognition competition. “Being transgender is not something that’s easy for us to do,” Segal said in an interview in HRC’s Winter 2015 Equality Magazine. “And it’s not easy to tell people about it because you’re scared, and you don’t know what they’ll think.”

HRC Youth Ambassador, Tyler Yun
Tyler Yun (she/her/hers and they/them/theirs)
Palo Alto, California

Tyler Yun is a queer person of color of Korean and Laotian descent. Tyler’s passion for social justice started in high school when she became involved with Memphis-based organizations including Bridge Builders, Memphis Ambassadors and Youth Court. Currently, she works with Public Allies, an AmeriCorps effort focusing on developing young, diverse leaders; and volunteers with College Track, an organization devoted to giving marginalized communities access to higher education. 

Author: HRC staff
Posted: January 18, 2018, 6:45 pm

HRC responded to the Trump-Pence Administration’s creation of the Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom at the Department of Health and Human Services, which could enable discrimination against LGBTQ people, women, and others:

“LGBTQ people need the Department of Health and Human Services to enforce non-discrimination protections in federal health programs. The creation of an unnecessary new division that is likely to promote a license to discriminate diverts needed enforcement resources and encourages discrimination against LGBTQ people. ” said Sarah Warbelow, HRC Legal Director. “Every American deserves access to quality health care, and that should not be determined by the personal opinions of individual medical providers or administrative staff.”

HHS Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Roger Severino justified creation of the office based on a small number of complaints last year and over the past decade. The HHS announcement lacked any details about funding for the new division, including where existing programs will be cut to fund it.

The Human Rights Campaign has always fought for the inclusion and affirmation of LGBTQ people in health care spaces and will continue to ensure bigotry has no place where the most vulnerable in our society seek help.

Author: Charlotte Clymer
Posted: January 18, 2018, 6:21 pm

Posts – LDS Family Fellowship

Family is Everytning

Fighting The LGBT Community’s Invisibility | In many ways, the history of the LGBT community is a history of battling invisibility. Since the dawn of time, society has tried to make us invisible. We gained strength as a community only by shedding that invisibility, coming out, and proudly saying who we are. Source: Fighting The […]
Author: LDS Family Fellowship
Posted: July 8, 2016, 3:10 am
Mama Dragons Try To Prevent Suicides Among Mormon-LGBT Children Source: Mama Dragons Try To Prevent Suicides Among Mormon-LGBT Children : NPR
Author: LDS Family Fellowship
Posted: July 8, 2016, 2:45 am
Is Utah’s youth suicide rate linked to Utah’s culture surrounding LGBT? BY HEIDI HATCH WEDNESDAY, JULY 6TH 2016   Is Utah’s youth suicide rate linked to Utah’s religious culture surrounding LGBT? VIEW PHOTO GALLERY 8 photos 201 shares tweet now! (KUTV) The number one killer of Utah’s kids is suicide according to new numbers from […]
Author: LDS Family Fellowship
Posted: July 7, 2016, 2:32 am
 Is The Recent Rise In Utah Youth Suicides Really Such A Mystery? 07/05/2016 02:08 pm ET | Updated 1 day ago 390 Benjamin Knoll John Marshall Harlan Associate Professor of Politics, Centre College The Salt Lake Tribune recently reported that “Utah health officials are grappling with a rising youth suicide rate that’s nearly tripled since […]
Author: LDS Family Fellowship
Posted: July 7, 2016, 2:28 am
LGBT Pride Month Highlights Deepening Divide Between Mormon Leadership and Members Mitch Mayne | Posted 06.11.2016 | Queer Voices Read More: LGBT Mormons, LGBT Mormon Children, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Mormons, Gay Mormons, Mitch Mayne Gay Mormon, LGBT Pride Month, LGBT Pride, Lgbt Pride Parade, Mexico Marriage Equality, Proposition 8, Queer […]
Author: LDS Family Fellowship
Posted: June 22, 2016, 4:42 am
Diversity: Pride in science The sciences can be a sanctuary for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, but biases may still discourage many from coming out. Source: Diversity: Pride in science : Nature News & Comment
Author: LDS Family Fellowship
Posted: June 22, 2016, 4:14 am
Silence Is Killing Your LGBT Relatives 06/21/2016 06:32 pm ET | Updated 4 hours ago Mark O’Connell, L.C.S.W. Psychotherapist in private practice, author of Modern Brides & Modern Grooms LGBT Pride Month 2016 will always be remembered for the worst mass shooting in American history to date, one which took 49 lives at an Orlando, […]
Author: LDS Family Fellowship
Posted: June 22, 2016, 4:03 am
The Orlando Massacre: A Reminder of the Dangers LGBT People Live With Every Day There have been scores of attacks on LGBT spaces, some of which received more attention than others. 06/12/2016 10:46 am ET | Updated 5 minutes ago Michelangelo Signorile, Editor-at-Large, HuffPost Queer Voices Queer Voices Editor-at-Large, The Huffington Post STEVE NESIUS / […]
Author: LDS Family Fellowship
Posted: June 12, 2016, 8:17 pm
Deadliest Mass Shooting In U.S. History Leaves More Than 50 Dead At Gay Orlando Nightclub “We are investigating this from all points of perspective as an act of terrorism.” 06/12/2016 09:28 am ET | Updated 5 minutes ago Nina Golgowski Trends reporter, The Huffington Post Sebastian Murdock Reporter, The Huffington Post Andy Campbell Reporter, The […]
Author: LDS Family Fellowship
Posted: June 12, 2016, 8:00 pm
Read the article here.
Author: LDS Family Fellowship
Posted: July 26, 2015, 11:16 pm