Blog / Posts

Human Rights Campaign | Blog

Recent blog articles published by the Human Rights Campaign


Michael Johnson, a former Missouri college student, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for violating Missouri’s HIV transmission and exposure statute.

In 2015, 23-year-old Johnson, who is African American, was initially sentenced to 30 years, but that conviction was overturned due to prosecutorial misconduct that the court determined made his first trial “fundamentally unfair,” according to the Center for HIV Law and Policy. He was sentenced to 10 years on Thursday after taking a plea deal. He originally faced up to nearly 100 years in prison.

Johnson has already served nearly four years of his 10 year sentence after a jury found him guilty of infecting a sexual partner with HIV and exposing four others.

Medical experts and advocates denounced Johnson’s conviction, attributing it to a trial that was full of misinformation about HIV transmission and inaccurate stereotypes about men who have sex with men, as well as a justice system that tries, convicts, and sentences Black men at disproportionately higher rates than any other group. The all-white jury in Johnson’s case spent only a few hours deliberating before reaching their decision.

Last year, the Center for HIV Law and Policy, a national leader on HIV policy development, filed an amicus brief in which HRC and other organizations joined in support of Johnson. The “friend of the court” brief cited his conviction as not only a violation under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, but was also in violation of the eighth amendment due to the excessive punishment of the sentence.

Johnson’s case drew national headlines and exposed archaic HIV criminalization laws that many states adopted in the wake of the HIV & AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. Missouri’s controversial law makes it a felony for people diagnosed with HIV to have sexual contact without disclosing that they have the virus first. This kind of law has little to no basis in modern science and fails to reflect what researchers do know about preventing HIV.

HRC is working with other advocates to support legislation across the country to modernize laws criminalizing HIV exposure, nondisclosure and transmission and to continue raising awareness about the importance of opposing such laws.


Author: Brian McBride
Posted: September 25, 2017, 6:53 pm

HRC is shocked and saddened to learn about the horrific death of Ally Steinfeld, a Missouri teen who went missing in early September.

On Thursday, Andrew Vrba, Isis Schauer and Briana Calderas of Cabool, were charged with first degree murder and abandoning a corpse, according to the Houston Herald.

The Houston Herald reports that Vrba told authorities he stabbed Steinfeld, 17, with help from Schauer and Calderas and then moved the body outside and burned it. Last week, police discovered Steinfeld’s remains in a burned pile in a bag outside Calderas’ home.

Schauer and Calderas both claim Vrba bragged about the murder, according to local news affiliate KY3 in Springfield, Missouri.

Multiple news outlets have misgendered Steinfeld and according to KY3, Steinfeld “sometimes” identified as female on social media. Police believe she was killed just days before her 18th birthday.

The investigation is ongoing and so far police do not consider this incident a hate crime. Authorities are still waiting for DNA results to positively identify Steinfeld’s remains.

Steinfeld’s death marks the 21st known case of a trans person killed this year.

People have written messages of condolences on Steinfeld’s Facebook page, where she last posted in late August about dying her hair: “I feeling little bit beautiful how likes my hair i got it red.”

HRC extends its sincere condolences to Steinfeld’s family and friends during this difficult time.


Author: Brian McBride
Posted: September 25, 2017, 6:36 pm

Today, HRC reacted to Donald Trump’s xenophobic actions extending his Muslim travel ban issued earlier this year. The far-reaching travel ban expands his last executive order to apply to eight countries and is to be kept in place indefinitely.

“Donald Trump’s travel ban poses a serious threat to individuals trying to get to the United States in order to claim asylum — including LGBTQ Muslims and immigrants seeking to escape violence and persecution,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “Trump is recklessly putting lives in jeopardy by blocking them from reaching safety in the United States. HRC will continue to stand up against all forms of Islamophobia and call out the danger this travel ban creates for LGBTQ people abroad.”


Author: Stephen Peters
Posted: September 25, 2017, 4:37 pm

Today, HRC announced it had recruited 104 top businesses — employing more than 5.8 million people — as corporate cosponsors on the Equality Act. By joining HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act, these companies have stepped up to support full federal equality for LGBTQ people through the Equality Act, landmark federal legislation that would provide the same basic nondiscrimination protections to LGBTQ people as other protected groups under federal law.

“The more than 100 businesses that have joined HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act are sending a loud and clear message that the time has come for full federal equality,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This is a milestone in corporate support for the Equality Act, and we urge Congress to listen to this growing chorus of American businesses and protect all LGBTQ people from discrimination.”

“At Cargill, one of our guiding principles is that we treat people with dignity and respect.  Everyday around the world our employees go to work to deliver on our noble purpose of being the  leader in nourishing the world in a safe, responsible, and sustainable way,” said Cargill Chief Diversity Officer Willard McCloud. “To do so, we believe it’s critically important that those very same employees and their families feel safe and affirmed, not only at work, but in the communities in which they live, shop, and send their children to school.  Cargill’s support of the Equality Act is fundamental to ensuring that all of our employees feel as safe in their communities as they do in our offices, and are not discriminated against in housing, access to credit, employment or other opportunities.”

“As the first company to publicly support passage of the federal Equality Act in the United States, we recognize the fight for equality is far from over,” said Cory Valente Global Leader for the LGBTQ and allies Employee Resource Group at Dow Chemical. “No one should be fired, evicted from their home, or denied services because of who they are. Supporting inclusion and equality is the right thing to do – for business and for society.”

Launched in March 2016, HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act includes companies with operations in all 50 states, headquarters spanning 23 states, and a collective revenue of $2.6 trillion. In total, these companies employ more than 5.8 million people across the United States.

The Equality Act creates clear, consistent protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment ensuring that LGBTQ employees are hired, fired, and promoted based solely on their performance. In addition, the bill provides protections from discrimination for LGBTQ people in housing, education, credit and jury service. It would also prohibit discrimination in public accommodations and federal funding on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity. Today, in 31 states, LGBTQ people remain at risk of being fired, evicted or denied services because of who they are.

First introduced in 2015 by Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) and by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), the Equality Act is currently co-sponsored by 241 members of Congress.

The overwhelming majority of Americans across the political spectrum support full federal equality for LGBTQ people. Polling released last year by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) found that support for a bill like the Equality Act topped 70 percent nationally, including a majority of Democrats, Republicans and Independents. PRRI’s groundbreaking survey included 42,000 interviews in 50 states and found majority support for the Equality Act in all 50 states.

Major corporations in the HRC Business Coalition for the Equality Act include Abercrombie & Fitch Co.; Accenture; Adobe Systems Inc.; Advanced Micro Devices Inc.; Airbnb Inc.; Alcoa Inc.; Amazon.com Inc.; American Airlines; American Eagle Outfitters; American Express Global Business Travel; Apple Inc.; Arconic; Ascena Retail Group Inc.; Automatic Data Processing Inc.; Bain & Co. Inc.; Bank of America; Best Buy Co. Inc.; Biogen; Boehringer Ingelheim USA Corp.; Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.; Boston Scientific Corp.; Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc.; Brown-Forman Corp.; CA Technologies Inc.; Caesars Entertainment Corp.; Capital One Financial Corp.; Cardinal Health Inc.; Cargill Inc.; Chevron Corp.; Choice Hotels International Inc.; Cisco Systems Inc.; The Coca-Cola Co.; Corning Inc.; Cox Enterprises Inc.; CVS Health Corp.; Darden Restaurants Inc.; Delhaize America Inc.; Diageo North America; The Dow Chemical Co.; Dropbox Inc.; E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (DuPont); eBay Inc.; EMC Corp.; Facebook Inc.; Gap Inc.; General Electric Co.; General Mills Inc.; Google Inc.; HERE North America LLC; The Hershey Company; Hewlett Packard Enterprises; Hilton Inc.; HP Inc.; HSN Inc.; Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP; Hyatt Hotels Corp.; IBM Corp.; Intel Corp.; InterContinental Hotels Group Americas; Johnson & Johnson; JP Morgan Chase & Co.; Kaiser Permanente; Kellogg Co.; Kenneth Cole Productions; Levi Strauss & Co.; Macy's Inc.; Marriott International Inc.; MasterCard Inc.; Microsoft Corp.; Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams; Monsanto Co.; Moody's Corp.; Nationwide; Navigant Consulting Inc.; Nike Inc.; Northrop Grumman Corp.; Office Depot Inc.; Oracle Corp.; Orbitz Worldwide Inc.; Paul Hastings LLP; PepsiCo Inc.; Procter & Gamble Co.; Pure Storage Inc.; Qualcomm Inc.; Replacements Ltd.; S&P Global Inc.; Salesforce; SAP America Inc.; Sodexo Inc.; Symantec Corp.; Synchrony Financial; T-Mobile USA Inc.; Target Corp.; Tech Data Corp.; TIAA; Twitter Inc.; Uber Technologies Inc; Under Armour Inc; Unilever; Warby Parker; WeddingWire Inc.; Whirlpool Corporation; Williams-Sonoma Inc.; and Xerox Corp.


Author: Ianthe Metzger
Posted: September 25, 2017, 2:50 pm

SECRETARY OF EDUCATION DEVOS RESCINDS CRITICAL SEXUAL ASSAULT GUIDANCE: HRC responded to Trump-Pence administration’s announcement that they will be rescinding Title IX guidance related to schools' obligations to address sexual harassment, including sexual violence. “With today’s announcement, Betsy DeVos and the Trump administration have clearly drawn a line in the sand, stating that they prefer it be more difficult for survivors of sexual assault to receive justice,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “LGBTQ Americans face disproportionate levels of sexual assault and violence. This unconscionable decision -- coupled with the decision to rescind guidance aimed at protecting transgender students -- sadly indicates that the Department of Education is no longer in the business of protecting students from harm.” LGBTQ people are disproportionately affected by sexual assault and harassment, and the stigma that many LGBTQ people face can make it more difficult for survivors to report. More from HRC, San Diego LGBT Weekly and Metro Weekly.

  • Sexual assault survivor Jordan Dashow relied on the Title IX guidance to seek justice and protection. Its repeal is cruel and dangerous. Hear his story here.

Sexual assault survivor Jordan Dashow relied on the #TitleIX guidance to seek justice and protection. Its repeal is cruel and dangerous. pic.twitter.com/Z4OKD6xXRS

— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) September 22, 2017

HRC CALLS ON TRUMP TO WITHDRAW ANTI-LGBTQ NOMINEE JEFF MATEER: HRC called on the Trump-Pence administration to withdraw the nomination of Jeff Mateer, an anti-LGBTQ extremist recently put forward for a district judge appointment in Texas. HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) said, “The Trump-Pence administration either failed to vet Jeff Mateer or they knew his hateful, extremist views and nominated him anyway. In either case, they must withdraw the nomination of someone who viciously attacks transgender children, openly embraced Mike Pence’s license-to-discriminate law in Indiana, and has repeatedly opposed anti-discrimination protections throughout his career. If the White House won’t withdraw this nomination, it is incumbent on the Senate Judiciary Committee to block this attack on LGBTQ people and the civil rights of all Americans.” In a 2015 speech titled “The Church and Homosexuality,” Mateer objected to a transgender student using the bathroom consistent with her gender identity, saying “I mean it just really shows you how Satan's plan is working and the destruction that's going on.” More from HRC.

#TakeAKnee -- HRC SUPPORTS ATHLETES STANDING AGAINST RACIAL INJUSTICE AND FOR FREE SPEECH: In a dangerous move over the weekend, President Trump used the power of his office to advocate for the suppression of voices of those fighting systemic injustice and equality by tweeting out that the National Football League (NFL) should fire or suspend those who choose to take a knee during the national anthem in protest. Make no mistake, these athletes are patriots. Trump’s actions are attempts to suppress, intimidate and silence free speech.

Trump is using the power of his office to suppress the voices of those fighting systemic injustice & inequality. That’s dangerous. https://t.co/AkdNn2c6Z0

— Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) September 24, 2017

#DoNoHarm -- GRAHAM-CASSIDY REVISE ‘HEALTH CARE’ BILL TO APPEAL TO HOLDOUTS, WILL STILL HARM COUNTLESS: The initial proposal, concocted behind closed doors without any public input, is yet another effort by President Trump and some Senate Republicans to take away health care from millions of Americans. It has yet to have a hearing or receive a score from the Congressional Budget Office, and would allow states to charge higher premiums for people with preexisting conditions, gut the essential health benefits guaranteed by the ACA and cut billions of dollars in funding for Medicaid -- leaving states to make up huge budget shortfalls. More from Politico.

  • A coalition of 115 groups including HRC sent a letter to the Senate Finance Committee opposing this bill. Read the full letter here.
  • In a statement to the Senate Finance Committee, HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy said of the bill: “By drastically restructuring the Medicaid program, and repealing the ACA’s expansion of that program, Graham-Cassidy would have a swift, stark, and devastating impact on vulnerable Americans, including LGBTQ individuals or persons living with HIV.” Read Stacy’s full statement here.

MUST WATCH MONDAY: Logan and Laila Ireland are a transgender military couple struggling with Donald Trump’s unconscionable ban on transgender service members. They, along with Logan’s mom, joined Ellen DeGeneres on The Ellen Show to share their story and hopes for the future. Ellen surprised the couple with a check for $25,000 to help the couple as they grapple with Logan potentially losing his job and to help them adopt the child they’ve always wanted. Watch here.

WILL & GRACE RETURNS THIS THURSDAY: It’s finally time to celebrate the long anticipated return of NBC’s Will & Grace this Thursday. We’re especially excited because we all know that the show has not only been a staple of LGBTQ culture -- it’s also helped change American culture since it first aired in the fall of 1998. Will and Grace -- and Jack and Karen too! -- spent eight seasons bringing LGBTQ characters into living rooms all across America. More from HRC.

TRANSPARENT STAR JEFFREY TAMBOR WANTS TRANS REPRESENTATION TO HAPPEN FASTER: The fourth season of the groundbreaking show Transparent returned to Amazon Prime last week. The show revolves around a Los Angeles family grappling with the transition of their transgender parent. Jeffrey Tambor, who plays the transgender lead, Maura, told USA Today that transgender representation -- both in front of and behind the cameras -- needs to “happen faster.” Read the full interview from USA Today.

All-WOMEN’S COLLEGE ACCEPTING TRANSGENDER STUDENTS: Spelman College, an all-women’s historically black college and university (HBCU) in Atlanta, recently announced that it would update its admission process to include transgender women -- joining more than a dozen other women’s colleges with inclusive policies for trans women. More on this welcoming trend from Vox.

HRC CELEBRATES OPENING OF PHOENIX LGBTQ YOUTH CENTER: HRC was on the ground in Phoenix to celebrate the ribbon cutting for the new home of one•n•ten, an LGBTQ youth center, that was set on fire in an arson attack in July. One•n•ten enhances the lives of LGBTQ young people in Phoenix by providing empowering social and service programs that promote self‐expression, self‐acceptance, leadership development and healthy life choices. More from HRC.

SCREENING OF RAISING ZOEY IN DC: Raising Zoey is a powerful documentary of 13-year old transgender girl Zoey Luna fighting for the right to use her correct name, pronouns, and gender-segregated facilities in her school. The documentary will be screened at the Human Rights Campaign on Sept. 29. More from the Washington Blade.

AUSTRALIAN PIZZA SHOP USES A SLICE OF HUMANITY TO DISRUPT ANTI-MARRIAGE EQUALITY SIGN: The restaurant spray painted their building, which is next to the sign, to make the anti-equality billboard read “It’s OK to say no to pineapple on pizza.” Our vote for both pineapple pizza AND Australian marriage equality is a resounding ‘YES!’ More from Mashable.

The owners of a pizza shop in Launceston have painted around an anti-same sex marriage billboard on their building. @abcnewsTas pic.twitter.com/bQjSg3huZk

— Carla Howarth (@CarlaHowarth) September 21, 2017

NEWFOUNDLAND MOVES TO LEGALIZE ‘X’ GENDER OPTION ON IDENTIFICATION DOCUMENTS: Last month, Canada allowed for all Canadians to opt for an ‘X’ on their passports. More from The Globe and Mail.

READING RAINBOW

NBC lists 11 LGBTQ podcasts to listen to; inUth looks at eight Bollywood films with LGBTQ themes;

Have news? Send us your news and tips at AMEquality@hrc.org. Click here to subscribe to #AM_Equality and follow @HRC for all the latest news. Thanks for reading!


Author: Allison Turner
Posted: September 25, 2017, 1:58 pm

There’s much to celebrate during Bisexual Awareness Week, also known as #BiWeek, which culminates on Saturday, September 23 with Bi Visibility Day, as a record number of public figures, including actors, athletes, musicians and other influencers, came out as members of the bisexual community. Here are nine public figures who decided to open up in hopes of inspiring others to live their truth since last year’s National Coming Out Day.

Sara Ramirez
Activist, actor and former “Grey’s Anatomy” star, Sara Ramirez came out as bisexual during a speech she gave to homeless LGBTQ youth in Los Angeles last year.

Ramirez used her platform to raise awareness on the issue, saying, “I am deeply invested in projects that allow our youth’s voices to be heard, and that support our youth in owning their own complex narratives so that we can show up for them in the ways they need us to.”

#40ToNoneSummit #SpeakingMyTruth! Will post full video of speech soon! #ThankYou @TrueColorsFund #WomanOfColor #Bisexual #Queer #Immigrant pic.twitter.com/1q8JmKih9I

— Sara Ramirez (@SaraRamirez) October 8, 2016

Cecil Brockman
North Carolina House Representative Cecil Brockman came out as bisexual following a vote by the state house to override the governor’s veto of a law that would allow judges to refuse performing same-sex marriages.

In a show of solidarity with LGBTQ community, Brockman courageously told local media, “I am one of the people you think you know so much about. I am one of the people who could face discrimination because of these laws.”  

Lauren Jauregui
Lauren Jauregui, a member of the music group Fifth Harmony, wrote an impassioned open-letter to Billboard following the 2016 presidential election on coming out and the importance of inclusion.

“I am a bisexual, Cuban-American woman, and I am so proud of it,” Jauregui wrote. “I am proud to be part of a community that only projects love and education and the support of one another.”

Nico Tortorella
Nico Tortorella, star of TV Land’s show “Younger,” proudly opened up about his bisexuality in an interview with the Vulture, where he candidly discussed his sexual orientation.

“The more I’m having these conversations, the more comfortable I am identifying as bisexual,” reflected Tortorella.

bi/pansexual. visibility. representation. respect. the future is non binary. @TheView @LGBTCenterNYC https://t.co/b6aKmuXkKD via @youtube

— Nico Tortorella (@NicoTortorella) July 25, 2017

Taylor Bennett
Chance the Rapper’s brother, Taylor Bennett, came out as bisexual in a series of tweets earlier this year. In an effort to raise awareness and uplift others, Bennett spoke openly and honestly about the obstacles many LGBTQ people face when coming out.

I do recognize myself as a bisexual male & do & have always openly supported the gay community & will keep doing so in 2017. #ThankYou ����

— Taylor Bennett (@_TaylorBennett) January 18, 2017

Anthony Bowens

Professional wrestler Anthony Bowens wrote a personal essay to OutSports about being bisexual following a video he posted with his boyfriend Michael Pavano on YouTube. For years, Bowens struggled with his own sexuality and feared telling others until he fell in love.

“Meeting Mike was a turning point in me being comfortable with myself in all settings,” he wrote.    

Eventually, Bowens announced to the world on Facebook he was bisexual.


Alia Shawkat
Actress Alia Shawkat, featured on hit shows like “Arrested Development” and “Broad City”, spoke to Out Magazine about her projects and being openly bisexual.

Shawkat addressed the importance of intersectionality and hopes to be an advocate for other marginalized communities: “I used to be less outspoken. But as a woman, an Arab-American, and a member of the LGBTQ community, I have to use whatever voice I have. There’s no more delicacy in being quiet.”

Shannon Purser
Shannon Purser of “Stranger Things” and “Riverdale”, took the brave step to come out as bisexual in April.

Purser wrote in an emotional Twitter message saying: “I’ve only just recently come out as bisexual to my family and friends. It’s something I am still processing and trying to understand and I don’t like talking about it too much.”

Keiynan Lonsdale
This past May, Keiynan Lonsdale, who plays Wally West on The CW’s “The Flash”, opened up about being bisexual on Instagram after spending years struggling to accept himself.

 

I like to change my hair, I like to take risks with how I dress, I like girls, & I like guys (yes), I like growing, I like learning, I like who I am and I really like who I'm becoming. Spent way too many years hating myself, thinking I was less valuable because I was different.. which is just untrue. A couple years ago I was able to accept myself, & it saved my life, but now I've gotten to a new road block & I feel kind of lost. I gotta take the next step & actually embrace who I am, which is pretty exciting. Not faking shit anymore, not apologising for falling in love with people no matter their gender. I've become bored of being insecure, ashamed, scared... no one should feel like that about themselves, especially when there is so much good life to live. Ya know more & more I see so many young people being their best / truest selves, it's fucking inspiring... so what have I been waiting for!? Who knows. Everyone in their own time. I hope we can all learn to embrace who we are & not judge people who aren't exactly the same as us. The truth is we are all family, we're all one. Just love. Keiy. ❤

A post shared by ��❤️���� Keiynan Lonsdale �������� (@keiynanlonsdale) on

HRC hopes this list serves as a reminder the importance of bi visibility, and that whether it's for the first time ever or the first time today, the experience of coming out and living openly is a deeply personal and arduous journey. Visit HRC’s Coming Out Center or our bisexual resource page to learn more.


Author: Brian McBride
Posted: September 22, 2017, 7:20 pm

Post submitted by Criss Ruiz, HRC Field Organizer

Dallas Pride kicked off festivities last weekend, with a host of exciting events around the Dallas/Fort Worth area. On Friday, The Dallas Resource Center launched their very first Transgender Pride, celebrating and honoring the trans community. Dallas-area transgender rights advocate Jayla Wilkerson organized the event and speakers included Jess Herbst, the openly transgender mayor of New Hope. I had the privilege of speaking about HRC's work to defeat anti-transgender legislation in Texas this year and how the community in the Dallas/Fort Worth area could continue to be involved. Later that evening, the HRC Dallas/Fort Worth steering committee held an event to welcome new members, engage the community and discuss upcoming elections and exciting events like the Dallas Black Tie Dinner.

On Saturday, I joined HRC's Dallas/Fort Worth volunteers at the pride festival at Reverchon Park to speak with thousands of festival-goers about HRC's work and sign up new members. That night, I had the opportunity to meet with the Dallas leadership of The Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth. 

Sunday was the last day of Dallas Pride, featuring a parade. HRC Dallas/Fort Worth volunteer leaders Linda Reyes, Mary Hart and Samuel Sanchez led the strong HRC contingent. I loved handing out beads and stickers and our volunteers appreciated the cheering crowds and the individual thanks they received while marching. At the end of the parade, I noticed across the street a church with a sign saying "All Are Welcome". With each step forward, I was reminded of everything we are fighting for and the progress we are defending.

Dallas, pride, Texas, HRC

Dallas, Texas, pride, HRC

Dallas, pride, Texas, HRC  


Author: HRC staff
Posted: September 22, 2017, 6:57 pm

Today, HRC called on the Trump-Pence administration to withdraw its nomination of Jeff Mateer, an anti-LGBTQ extremist recently put forward for a district judge appointment in Texas.

“Judges are tasked with a sacred duty to enforce equal treatment for all people under our laws, which is why it is so alarming that Jeff Mateer has spent his career opposing anti-discrimination protections and attacking transgender children. Someone who publicly and unabashedly voices contempt for LGBTQ people has no place on the bench or in public office,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow.

HRC President Chad Griffin said, “The Trump-Pence administration either failed to vet Jeff Mateer or they knew his hateful, extremist views and nominated him anyway. In either case, they must withdraw the nomination of someone who viciously attacks transgender children, openly embraced Mike Pence’s license-to-discriminate law in Indiana, and has repeatedly opposed anti-discrimination protections throughout his career. If the White House won’t withdraw this nomination, it is incumbent on the Senate Judiciary Committee to block this attack on LGBTQ people and the civil rights of all Americans.”

In a 2015 speech titled “The Church and Homosexuality,” Mateer objected to a transgender student using the bathroom corresponding to her gender identity, saying “I mean it just really shows you how Satan's plan is working and the destruction that's going on.” As general counsel of the Liberty Institute -- now known as the First Liberty Institute -- he defended then-Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s ‘license-to-discriminate’ bill and objected to efforts to alter the legislation. Mateer also fought against non-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community of Plano, Texas and San Antonio, Texas. Mateer also supports the dangerous and debunked practice of so-called “conversion therapy,” and claimed that marriage equality will lead to bestiality.

With his nomination, Mateer joins the likes of fellow Trump nominee Stephen Schwartz, who has a history of supporting anti-LGBTQ -- and especially anti-transgender -- causes, including the discriminatory HB2 law in North Carolina that attacked the rights of transgender people. He also joins Mark Green, whose record includes using slurs against the transgender community, describing former President Obama’s guidance protecting transgender students an example of “tyrannical government,” saying being transgender is a “disease,” and encouraging the state of Tennessee to defy federal law and deny marriage licenses to gay couples.


Author: Allison Turner
Posted: September 22, 2017, 6:28 pm

HRC field staff was thrilled to be in Phoenix, Arizona, to celebrate the ribbon cutting for the new home of one•n•ten. One•n•ten, an LGBTQ youth center, was set on fire in an arson attack in July.

HRC was honored to support one•n•ten’s journey to their new home.  It was an honor to be in Phoenix to celebrate the grand re-opening alongside the local community including Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, one•n•ten Executive Director Linda Elliott and HRC Youth Ambassador Justin Jones.

One•n•ten enhances the lives of LGBTQ young people in Phoenix by providing empowering social and service programs that promote self‐expression, self‐acceptance, leadership development and healthy life choices. 

One•n•ten’s work is vital for the local LGBTQ community. In far too many areas across the country, LGBTQ youth lack access to food, shelter, health services that are imperative to their sexual health and well-being. 

HRC launched HRC Rising, the largest grassroots expansion in its history that will include significant investments in Arizona ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Join the movement at hrc.org/resist.

Hope Errico Wisneski, Senior Regional Field Director, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and one•n•ten Executive Director Linda Elliott

From left to right: Hope Errico Wisneski, Senior Regional Field Director, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and one•n•ten Executive Director Linda Elliott.


Author: Hope Errico Wisneski
Posted: September 22, 2017, 5:19 pm

Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN today filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Trump administration’s ban on military service by transgender individuals. The lawsuit—brought in response to President Trump’s formal issuance of directions to military authorities late Friday—was filed on behalf of two individuals who seek to join the military; one current service member who seeks appointment as an officer; the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization; and Gender Justice League, a gender and sexuality civil and human rights organization, headquartered in Seattle.

“This ban not only wrongfully prevents patriotic, talented Americans from serving, it also compromises the safety and security of our country,” Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Peter Renn said. “Thousands of current service members are transgender, and many have been serving openly, courageously and successfully in the U.S. military for more than a year—not to mention the previous decades when many were forced to serve in silence. Once again attacking a vulnerable population based on bias, political opportunism and demonstrably untrue ‘alternative facts,’ President Trump is denying brave men and women the opportunity to serve our country without any legitimate justification whatsoever.”

“We promised that we would sue if the president took this action. The law is on our side; justice is on our side," said Peter Perkowski, Legal Director for OutServe-SLDN. "And we are on the side of every single transgender service member and those who want to serve. The nation’s courts exist to protect the people whom tyrants would otherwise abuse. Trump can’t tweet his way out of this one.”

Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN filed the lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The individual plaintiffs, all of whom are transgender, include: Ryan Karnoski, a 22-year-old Seattle man who currently works as a social worker and wishes to become an officer doing social work for the military; Staff Sergeant Cathrine (“Katie”) Schmid, a 33-year-old woman and 12-year member of the U.S. Army currently serving in Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Washington, who has applied to become an Army Warrant Officer; and Drew Layne, a high-school student from Corpus Christi, Texas, who is about to turn 17 and, with parental support, wants to join the Air Force. HRC and Gender Justice League have joined the lawsuit on behalf of their transgender members who are harmed by the ban.

“Our military is stronger when any qualified American willing to defend our country is able to serve, regardless of their gender identity,” said HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride. “It is an unconscionable and unconstitutional breach of trust for the president to single out brave transgender service members and able recruits for discrimination. The harm that this administration is causing to both these courageous Americans and our national security must be stopped. We are proud to be a plaintiff on behalf of our transgender members currently serving or wishing to enlist or commission, but who find their careers and their future under attack - and we thank all of the plaintiffs, Lambda Legal and Outserve-SLDN for their leadership in challenging this dangerous directive."

“Gender Justice League has been fighting on behalf of transgender people for the dignity that all people deserve. At a time when transgender people are facing alarming rates of discrimination, violence and lack of access to housing and medical care, this blatantly discriminatory ban is a slap in the face to our members,” said Danni Askini, Executive Director of Gender Justice League. “We have made strides in Washington state to put this kind of government sanctioned discrimination behind us. This ban stands against our state’s values that all Washingtonians deserve the same rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution.”

On July 26, President Trump posted a series of tweets in the early morning hours announcing that, “The United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” The tweeted ban was swiftly and widely condemned by more than 56 retired generals and admirals and a large percentage of Republican and Democratic U.S. senators and representatives.

Despite that criticism, the White House proceeded to issue a memorandum directing the military to continue the ban on enlistment by those they learn are transgender, even though our armed forces currently are facing recruitment challenges, including in high demand positions like linguists, health care providers, social workers and aviators. The enlistment ban also bars transgender members of the military currently serving openly, such as Staff Sergeant Schmid, from obtaining appointments as officers. The memorandum further orders the return to past anti-transgender policies affecting continued service and medical care of those known to be transgender after the development of an implementation plan by the Secretary of Defense. Today’s lawsuit against President Trump, the United States of America, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and the U.S. Department of Defense is based on the Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection, due process and free speech for all.

Staff Sergeant Schmid said, “I love serving my country, which I’ve been doing for more than 12 years. Since the ban on open service by transgender men and women was lifted, I’ve been able to live and serve as my authentic self, which has allowed me to form stronger bonds with my fellow service members.”

“This ban is disrespectful and dishonorable to the thousands of transgender men and women who are boldly and bravely serving our country,” added Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Sasha Buchert, herself a transgender military veteran. “It deprives our armed forces of those wanting to serve at a time when the military is already facing threats on multiple fronts. It also is disrespectful to the leadership at the Department of Defense who worked to develop and implement the current policy allowing open service, which has been operating successfully for more than a year.”

The government-commissioned RAND study released in May 2016 determined that the cost of providing transition-related care is exceedingly small relative to U.S. Armed Forces overall health care expenditures, that there are no readiness implications that prevent transgender members from serving openly, and that numerous foreign militaries have successfully permitted open service without a negative effect on effectiveness, readiness or unit cohesion. Based on that study, the Pentagon lifted the ban on open service by transgender men and women in July 2016.

The lawsuit is Karnoski v. Trump. Read a copy of the complaint here: https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/legal-docs/karnoski_us_20170828_complaint

The Lambda Legal attorneys working on the case are: Peter Renn, Jon W. Davidson, Camilla B. Taylor, Tara Borelli, Natalie Nardecchia, Sasha Buchert, Kara Ingelhart, and Carl Charles. They are joined by co-counsel Peter Perkowski of OutServe-SLDN. Also on the legal team are pro-bono co-counsel at Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Newman Du Wors LLP.


Author: Guest contributor
Posted: August 28, 2017, 1:03 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