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As HRC honors justice warriors throughout Black History Month, we want to highlight some of the incredible individuals within our organization that drive our work forward at the intersections of LGBTQ equality and racial justice.  

As Audre Lorde, a Black lesbian poet, said, “There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives. Malcolm knew this. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew this. Our struggles are particular, but we are not alone.”

Through her writing, Lorde eloquently captured the depth and richness of the crossways of those identities and experiences. She described herself using words like “Black, Lesbian, Mother, Warrior, Poet,” a testament to the strength of her enduring legacy.

Below, members of HRC’s staff share what it means to live and work at the intersections of Black and LGBTQ identities:

“To live and work at the intersections of a Black and queer identity means that I have a responsibility to ensure that my work is rooted in liberation and that the most marginalized communities are socially, politically and economically uplifted. In addition to considering my privilege as a cisgender man, it is my duty to continue to both create spaces for intersectional inclusion and recognize spaces where my input is not necessary.”
— Armonte Butler, HRC Foundation Health & Aging Program Coordinator
Pronouns: He, Him, His

“As a black queer woman, I live and work at the intersection of the systems of oppression defined by race, sexual orientation and gender. On my worst days, it is exhausting and feels impossible to safely navigate the world as my whole self. But on my best days, I feel like a queen; unapologetically harnessing the beauty and power that comes with all of my identities.”
— Cassandra Corey, HRC Major Gifts Officer
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

“To talk about the intersectionality of my identities feels almost utopian.  The worlds I navigate are often unsure of how to engage me in the wholeness and integration of my identities, so I often experience them as if a swinging pendulum - moving in and out of each depending on my context. It is not often that I feel seen and engaged as a Black lesbian in its fullness: that is being Black, female, and same-gender loving in the same space, at the same time.  Yet, it is who I am and I can not separate my experiences. We have a lot of work to do to create inclusive community spaces that truly engage and honor diversity, especially when it comes to Blackness.
As Black LGBTQ people, we have to continually strive to step into spaces demanding that we are honored and recognized in our fullness - not allowing elements of our identities to be extracted because they are too messy or inconvenient for others to deal with, or to be redefined in a way that is more palatable to others.  Our liberation relies on our ability to show up as, be seen as, and navigate spaces as, whole and authentic people and, above all, to define what that means for ourselves.”
— Nicole Cozier, HRC Director of Diversity & Inclusion
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

“As a Black, gay man from Trinidad and Tobago, my lenses as an immigrant influence my ability to impact the global social justice fight around social issues that disproportionately affect black people as they show up in the LGBTQ community. My responsibility here at the world's largest LGBTQ advocacy organization is to bring my unfiltered perspective to work each and every day. My duty is to honor all those who have paved the way for me to be here and the privilege I have to influence this work with ethics, intentionality and resiliency as a leader in this movement. I’m here for the Caribbean!!! #Trini2DeBone”
— Maurice Eckstein, HRC Communities and Volunteer Relations Senior Manager
Pronouns: He, Him, His

“When I’m speaking out and advocating for the LGBTQ community, I also voice issues and concerns of my queer Black family, a historically marginalized group in that space. When I’m with my family, I show that Black families are also full of rainbows. And when I’m with my friends talking about the legacy of James Baldwin, listening to Frank Ocean or watching RuPaul, we LGBTQ #BlackMenSmile knowing of the important contributions we’ve made and continue to make in all of the communities we belong to. In all of these ways and more, I get to share my gay #BlackBoyJoy everyday!”
— Jay Gilliam, HRC Senior Global Programs Officer, Co-chair of HRC’s POC+A Employee Resource Group
Pronouns: He, Him, His

“To live and work at the intersections of being Black and gay is to live in a form of double consciousness. It is to understand that you must navigate society wearing multiple oppressive and marginalized identities which you must be aware of and on alert at all times. It is exhausting. Living in this double consciousness fuels my desire to work for organizations that work to advance the civil rights of those marginalized and disenfranchised.”
— Leslie Hall, MSW, HRC Associate Director, HBCU Program
Pronouns: He, Him, His

“My queer identity cannot be separated from my real and lived experiences as a Black woman. We live in a world that constantly tries to separate us from ourselves, to divide me into groups and subgroups that only focus on one aspect of who I am. To live and work at the intersection of my experiences as a queer Black Woman is to know and trust that all the pieces of who I am show up in every space and are needed in every space - whether that’s work, the local coffee shop or the general assembly.
My showing up fully is a gift not only to myself but to all of those around, and it is one that I do not apologize for. No matter where my voice or other Black voices fall with respect to sexual orientation, gender or gender expression, our identities can’t be part and parcel for check boxes or convenience. Our contributions are great and our voices remain integral to the conversation on how we continue movement building in a way that no single part of who we are is forgotten or oppressed.”
— Hope L. Jackson, HRC Senior Regional Field Organizer
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

“To live at the intersection of Black and queer identities is like walking two tightropes at once. One community faces unique and very visible challenges and has since before the U.S. was formed; while the other has had to announce its presence, to come out, only to be ostracized by broader society. While the burdens of being Black have stolen from, jailed and separated our people, we have created amazing music, dance, food, art and scholarship. And while the burdens of queerness have left folks ostracized, homeless, humiliated and suicidal -- out of that pain has sprung a vibrant, beautiful culture that celebrates its pride every day. While the doubling of those burdens can be crushing, the beauty that they have wrought is our Black LGBTQ community. Our boldness, artistry, industry and intelligence are truly a sight to behold. From ballroom culture, to Stonewall, to the March On Washington, and from the top of the charts to the halls of the most elite portrait galleries and boardrooms in this country we have made an indelible mark on this nation. Indeed, ‘there is more music singing in us than crimes against our souls.’”
— Paul Lisbon, HRC Political Research Coordinator
Pronouns: He, Him, His


Author: HRC staff
Posted: February 20, 2018, 8:25 pm

TRUMP NOMINATES (YET ANOTHER!) ANTI-LGBTQ EXTREMIST JUDGE: Gordon Giampietro, nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, has made anti-LGBTQ remarks during multiple radio interviews. Said HRC’s Wisconsin State Manager Wendy Strout: “Sadly, Gordon Giampietro manages to stand out among a number of unfit, anti-LGBTQ judicial nominees put forward by the Trump-Pence Administration. Giampietro’s extreme anti-LGBTQ rhetoric is deeply disturbing and should not be rewarded with a lifetime judicial appointment representing Wisconsin on the federal court. If confirmed, Wisconsinites could not count on Giampietro to uphold their civil rights.” More from BuzzFeed.

WASHINGTON STATE HOUSE COMMITTEE ADVANCES LEGISLATION PROTECTING YOUTH FROM SO-CALLED “CONVERSION THERAPY”: Said HRC Legislative Counsel Xavier Persad. “This ​abusive and ​inhumane practice has no basis in science and is ​uniformly rejected by every major mental health ​organization in the country. We call on the House of Representatives to swiftly pass this bill and send it to Governor Inslee’s desk to be signed into law.” More from HRC.

TIME TO THRIVE TUESDAY: This weekend, HRC hosted its fifth annual Time to THRIVE Conference on February 16-18 at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek in Orlando. During the conference, HRC honored extraordinary advocates including LGBTQ ally Betty DeGeneres, transgender trailblazer Gavin Grimm and groundbreaking health care provider Dr. Ximena Lopez. Other speakers included Rep.Val Demings (D-Fla.); transgender athlete Chris Mosier; transgender author and reality show star Jazz Jennings; singer Johnny Manuel; Dreamer and sexual assault survivor Yuridia Ramirez; Christine Leinonen, whose son was killed in the Pulse nightclub attack; Pulse survivor Brandon Wolf; Judy and Dennis Shepard of the Matthew Shepard Foundation; and Adrian Stevens and Sean Snyder, a two-spirit couple. Check out the coverage on HRC’s blog.

"We as two-spirit people don’t have representation, our role models are not always given the same platform....If you know any young, Native two-spirit kids, tell them we said, 'Be true. Be proud. And keep dancing.'" - Adrian Stevens (@AdMattStevens) & Sean Snyder #TimeToTHRIVE pic.twitter.com/LhEn6cIws4

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 17, 2018

AN OLYMPIC (QUALIFYING) ROUND...UP:

  • Gus Kenworthy on LGBTQ visibility at the Olympics: “It presents an amazing opportunity and I think that it kind of gives us a chance to shed people's misconceptions and just kind of like break down barriers, “Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) told CBS’ Don Dahler (@DonDahlerCBS). More from CBS.
  • And check out this video on Kenworthy from NBC.

.@guskenworthy is out and proud at the 2018 #WinterOlympics, but that wasn't the case in Sochi. He tells his story. #BestOfUS pic.twitter.com/KjzGc2xdcg

— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 17, 2018
  • HRC Senior Vice President of Policy and Public Affairs JoDee Winterhof on Mike Pence’s comments on Adam Rippon: “Mike Pence has spent his entire career figuring out ways to discriminate against our community. And if Mike Pence and his folks are asking the LGBTQ community and our allies to trust that he didn’t want to figure out another way to discriminate against us, our response to that is: ‘Hell no.’” More from Indy Star.
  • Glenn D. Magpantay, executive director of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, writes about LGBTQ Asian athletes for Advocate.

NEW STUDY FINDS LGBQ GIRLS MORE LIKELY TO BE PUNISHED IN SCHOOL THAN STRAIGHT PEERS: More from Broadly.

TRANSGENDER ACTRESS DANIELA VEGA (@DaniVega) WILL BE AN OFFICIAL PRESENTER AT THE OSCARS: More from The Hollywood Reporter.

LA ACTRIZ TRANSGÉNERO, DANIELA VEGA (@DaniVega), SERÁ PRESENTADORA OFICIAL EN LOS PREMIOS OSCAR: Más de CNN Chile.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS ADDS LGBTQ PRIDE NIGHT TO UPCOMING SEASON: More from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

MEET A GAY CHECHEN WHO ESCAPED STATE-SANCTIONED VIOLENCE: The atrocities against LGBTQ Chechens such as Alihan demand justice. The Trump and Pence’s ongoing silence is deafening. More from BuzzFeed.

  • Also in Russia, a government PSA encouraging voting “threatens” viewers with a future where people have LGBTQ roommates. More from NewNowNext.

LGBTQ JOURNALIST AND ADVOCATE DETAINED BY RUSSIAN POLICE GRANTED PERMISSION TO FLEE TO GERMANY: Khudoberdi Nurmatov previously faced deportation back to his native Uzbekistan. More from The Daily Beast.

READING RAINBOW - Bookmark now to read on your lunch break!

Mail & Guardian details a seven-year-long Botswana transgender equality case; Washington Blade speaks to LGBTQ journalists about media representation; BBC interviews Georgie Stone, an Australian trans teen fighting for equality; Lauren Duca (@laurenduca), for her Teen Vogue column  “Thigh-High Politics,” sits down with six feminists, including HRC’s Sarah McBride (@SarahEMcBride); HRC honors Black LGBTQ athletes paving the way for equality


Author: Allison Turner
Posted: February 20, 2018, 3:19 pm

On Sunday, HRC Foundation’s fifth-annual Time to THRIVE Conference in support of LGBTQ youth came to a close.

The annual event is held in partnership with the American Counseling Association and the National Education Association, with AT&T, BBVA Compass and Toyota as presenting sponsors. The HRC Foundation’s premier national event addresses safety, inclusion and well-being for LGBTQ and questioning youth, and brings together youth-serving professionals to discuss best practices for working with and caring for LGBTQ youth and their faimilies in schools, community centers, health care settings and beyond.

After attending their final breakout workshops and training sessions, the Time to THRIVE contingent heard from Chris Mosier, the first transgender member of Team USA, during the closing plenary. Mosier spoke to the importance of LGBTQ inclusion in sports, and affired LGBTQ youth that it is possible to be themselves and compete in the sports that they love.

HRC Foundation was honored to present transgender trailblazer Gavin Grimm with its final Upstander Award of the weekend for serving as a leader for LGBTQ youth everywhere and taking his fight for equality all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States. Star of TLC’s “I Am Jazz” and 2017 HRC Upstander Award recipient Jazz Jennings presented the award to Grimm.

Lastly, attendees were introduced to the 2018 class of HRC Youth Ambassadors as HRC’s Sarah McBride closed the program. 

.@HRC Foundation’s new cohort of Youth Ambassadors and @SarahEMcBride take the stage to close out our fifth annual #TimeToTHRIVE Conference! Learn more about these advocates at https://t.co/VdAUjT1leQ. pic.twitter.com/Sg2kp2oJEU

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 18, 2018

Time to THRIVE is the premier national convening of educators and youth-serving professionals to build awareness and cultural competency, learn current and emerging best practices and gather resources from leading experts and national organizations in the field. Time to THRIVE took place Feb. 16-18, 2018 at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek in Orlando, Florida.

Read our Time to THRIVE Day One and Day Two recaps.

.@TheChrisMosier has an inspiring message for #LGBTQ youth. #TimeToTHRIVE pic.twitter.com/oSgecdJFqB

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 18, 2018

There is something so powerful about being in a room full of LGBTQ+ people affirming our identities, experiences, & truths. #TimeToTHRIVE

— Nikos Giannopoulos (@BeaconMrG) February 18, 2018

Trailblazing athlete & Rogers Park neighbor @TheChrisMosier addressing #TimeToTHRIVE on leading the way for transgender athletes & the power of youth sports on kids’ lives

— Rep. Kelly Cassidy (@RepKellyCassidy) February 18, 2018

Spoke @HRC ‘s #TimeToTHRIVE Conference about my lived experience and had the incredible opportunity to introduce Al Smith Jr. who is the group VP and the Chief Social Innovation of @Toyota. He is an amazing person doing great work in our community and our wold. pic.twitter.com/6W3h4oYZjR

— Roddy Biggs (@RoddyBiggs) February 18, 2018

We are so proud of our Youth Council leaders who presented on a youth panel today at the Human Rights Campaign’s Time to THRIVE conference! Thank you all for sharing your inspiring stories! #TimetoTHRIVE #HRC pic.twitter.com/BMZD5V6GUD

— Zebra Coalition (@ZebraCoalition) February 18, 2018

Thank you @HRC on another fantastic #TimeToTHRIVE conference! https://t.co/vuqlZjcUb4

— Tyler Clementi Fndtn (@TylerClementi) February 18, 2018

Some of Team ACA at #Timetothrive - David Kaplan, Kent Butler, Josh Stanley, Gerard Lawson, and Rich Yep. Thanks @HRC & @VinniePompei @ellenbkhan @CounselingViews pic.twitter.com/a4xbmgPswd

— Richard Yep (@Richyep) February 18, 2018

Author: Emily Simeral Roberts
Posted: February 18, 2018, 5:22 pm

The second day of HRC Foundation’s fifth annual Time to THRIVE Conference wrapped on Saturday after a day full of featured speakers, special guests, breakout panels, workshops and film screenings.

The event is held in partnership with the American Counseling Association and the National Education Association, with AT&T, BBVA Compass and Toyota as presenting sponsors. In its fifth year, HRC Foundation’s premier national event addresses safety, inclusion and well-being for LGBTQ and questioning youth, and brings together youth-serving professionals to discuss best practices for working with and caring for LGBTQ youth and their faimilies in schools, community centers, health care settings and beyond.

During the morning plenary, attendees heard from Congresswoman Val Demmings (D-FL); Cheryl Greene, Deputy Director of HRC Foundation Welcoming Schools; Rey Ocañas, Director of Corporate Responsibility and Reputation at BBVA Compass; Nikos Giannopoulos, Rhode Island Teacher of the Year; Zoey Luna, who serves as an HRC Foundation Youth Ambassador; Dr. Kathleen Ethier, Director, Division of Adolescent and School Health, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Daniel Downer, an HRC HIV 360° Fellow; and more.

Nikos Giannapolous; Rhode Island Teacher of the Year; Time to THRIVE

We must realize our differences are our #STRENGTH. God made us exactly the way God wanted us to be. It's okay to celebrate you and be your #AUTHENTIC self. It's time to thrive! @HRC pic.twitter.com/ikoAX8FEDd

— Rep. Val Demings (@RepValDemings) February 17, 2018

The Time to THRIVE contingent spent the remainder of the morning in breakout training sessions and workshops – including on the legal rights of LGBTQ youth in K-12 public schools and creating LGBTQ-inclusive schools, resisting racism in our communities and achieving an HIV-free generation.

There are not enough words in the world to express what it means to have my daughter’s Kinder teacher present at @HRC #TimeToThrive. Teachers save lives. #ThankATeacher #LGBTQ pic.twitter.com/6XpwzPAiuO

— Vanessa Ford (@VanessaFordDC) February 17, 2018

The lunch plenary featured inspiring speakers, including Rick Wilson, AT&T’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Human Resources; and Native two-spirit couple Adrian Stevens, artist and dancer, and Sean Snyder, designer and dancer.

Additionally, producer and author Jacob Tobia facilitated a panel discussion on non-binary and gender non-conforming idenities with HRC Youth Ambassadors Sean Bender-Prouty, Sameer Jha, Jonathan Leggette and Tyler Yun. The group discussed navigating the gender spectrum and what it means for each individual to identify as non-binary or gender non-conforming.

"Gender is like ice cream, there's a whole spectrum of flavors and toppings." Producer and author @JacobTobia hosts a non-binary panel discussion with @HRC Youth Ambassadors during the #TimeToTHRIVE afternoon plenary. pic.twitter.com/HpVL4YdGGH

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 17, 2018

Following an afternoon of workshops, the night concluded with screenings of the movies “Crowning Change: The Erin O’Flaherty Story” and “15: A Quinceañera Story with Zoey Luna,” followed by question-and-answer sessions with O’Flaherty and Luna, respectively.

Time to THRIVE is the premier national convening of educators and youth-serving professionals to build awareness and cultural competency, learn current and emerging best practices and gather resources from leading experts and national organizations in the field. Time to THRIVE is taking place Feb. 16-18, 2018 at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek in Orlando, Florida.

Read our Time to THRIVE Day One recap here.
 

Matthew Shepard will never know his story changed the trajectory of my life; solidified in me a knowing that I could not live in this world without working everyday to make it safe for ALL people. So honoured to meet Judy and Dennis Shepard at #TimeToTHRIVE. pic.twitter.com/ldt7WTPSFe

— JJ at the Y �� (@delctautonomist) February 17, 2018

“We’ve made diversity and inclusion a priority at @BBVACompass because it is a business imperative. That purpose of opportunity would mean nothing if we didn’t stand for equality along with the @HRC.” -@ReyOcanas #TimeToTHRIVE pic.twitter.com/fm5lDsNutU

— BBVA Compass (@BBVACompass) February 17, 2018
 

#timetothrive Orlando 2018

A post shared by Michelle Honda-Phillips (@spazolla) on

Rhode Island Teacher of the Year Nikos Giannopoulos (@beaconmrg) speaks to the importance of #LGBTQ visibility in schools at @HRC Foundation's #TimeToTHRIVE Conference. pic.twitter.com/lHMGrlA8j0

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 17, 2018

Ever feel like there’s more on the inside that people may not see? Love the Welcoming Schools program for helping elementary kids students learn about identity and acceptance. @HRC #TimeToTHRIVE pic.twitter.com/hVNGDvdd74

— Dr. Joshua Stanley (@drjstanley) February 17, 2018

Author: Emily Simeral Roberts
Posted: February 17, 2018, 7:12 pm

As part of our observance of Black History Month, HRC celebrates some of the sports stars who have become society’s role models, exhibiting the discipline, courage and determination that motivates us in our own lives.

Their unapologetic commitment to being out and proud gives much-needed visibility to Black voices in our LGBTQ communities.

HRC is proud to honor these pioneering Black athletes fighting for equality both inside and outside the sports arena.

  • Jason Collins is a retired NBA player, who competed professionally for 13 seasons. He publicly came out as gay in 2013, becoming the first openly gay athlete to play in any of the four major U.S. pro sports leagues. Since then, Collins has been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ equality, serving as an inspiration for other LGBTQ athletes and trailblazers who have come after him. In 2013, Collins was included in the first class of inductees into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame. Collins has been a longtime partner of HRC, from speaking at HRC dinners to joining the organization for a roundtable discussion of the impact of North Carolina’s infamous HB2.   
     
  • Josh Dixon is a former U.S. National Team gymnast. Dixon has said that a main reason he publicly came out was to set an example for LGBTQ youth and help them realize that it is alright to be unapologetically yourself. Dixon has also addressed his own experiences with bullying, hoping to lead by example in sharing vulnerability. “I want to continuing using my platform for good. I must be at peace with myself and lead by example with an open mind along the way,” Dixon said in an interview with We Are the Real Deal. In 2016, HRC honored Dixon with the HRC Visibility Award at its HRC Mile High Gala in Colorado. Josh recently took over the HRC Twitter to share his story with HRC.
     
  • Fallon Fox became the first openly transgender athlete in mixed martial arts history in 2013. Despite experiencing considerable backlash when she came out, Fox persisted both with her athletic career and with her advocacy for transgender rights. Fox has also participated in numerous of LGBTQ Pride walks and expressed her gratitude for the support that the LGBTQ community has given her. In 2014, Fox was one of fifteen LGBTQ athletes inducted into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame.
     
  • Layshia Clarendon, a “biracial, black, gay, female, genderqueer and Christian” WBNA basketball player for the Atlanta Dream, has proven to be a formidable force both on and off the court. Embracing the intersections of her identity, Clarendon is a vocal proponent for LGBTQ equality and regularly uses her platform to advocate for change. In August, Clarendon co-authored a powerful op-ed condemning proposed anti-transgender legislation in Texas. Additionally, Clarendon co-founded Br{ache the Silence, an organization dedicated to advancing “LGBTQ inclusion and equality in sports through solution-oriented strategies.”
     
  • John Amaechi, who shared his coming out story in a video for HRC, is the first former NBA player to publicly come out as gay. Amaechi has been an outspoken critic of homophobia in sports, and works to promote an inclusive and open environment for LGBTQ basketball players across the U.S. Amaechi was inducted into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame in 2014, the same year as Fallon Fox. Recently, Amaechi has been in touch with Premier League footballers in the UK who are fearful of coming out, helping them feel comfortable and confident with who they are.
     
  • Kye Allums became the first openly transgender NCAA Division I college athlete in 2010. Since his incredible basketball career, Allums has become a vibrant advocate for transgender rights and is a supporter of HRC. Allums also founded Project I Am Enough, which encourages other LGBTQ individuals to come forward and talk about their life experiences. In 2015, Allums was inducted into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame.
     
  • Wade Davis II, a former NFL cornerback, came out as openly gay in 2012, nine years after his professional football career ended. Since then, he has worked to advance inclusion both within the NFL and more broadly, across all sports. He has become a staff member at the Hetrick-Martin Institute in New York, an organization that serves LGBTQ youth. He has also become a leading advocate for gender equity and inclusion on the playing field and in the workplace. Davis works with organizations such as the You Can Play Project, which is “dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation and/or gender identity.”
     
  • Seimone Augustus is well-known for her basketball career, playing for the Minnesota Lynx, as well as competing on the U.S. women’s basketball team in the past three consecutive Olympic Games. After coming out in 2012, Augustus has become a strong advocate for marriage equality and LGBTQ rights in sports. She openly shares her story of realizing her sexuality at a young age in the hopes that LGBTQ youth can feel more comfortable with their own identities.  
Photos via: Wikimedia Commons, Twitter

Author: Ashland Johnson
Posted: February 17, 2018, 3:51 pm

HRC Foundation’s fifth annual Time to THRIVE Conference in support of LGBTQ youth commenced on Friday in Orlando with an opening plenary featuring advocates, award-winners, special guest speakers and musical entertainment.

The annual event is held in partnership with the American Counseling Association and the National Education Association, with AT&T, BBVA Compass and Toyota as presenting sponsors. In its fifth year, HRC Foundation’s premier national event addresses safety, inclusion and well-being for LGBTQ and questioning youth, and brings together youth-serving professionals to discuss best practices for working with and caring for LGBTQ youth and their faimilies in schools, community centers, health care settings and beyond.

The evening opened with a tribute video and moment of silence to recognize the the deadly attack on Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016, which claimed the lives of 49 innocent people -- most of whom were young, LGBTQ and Latinx. We also paused to remember the lives tragically taken on Wednesday in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Rep Carlos Guillermo Smith; Christine Leinonen, mother of Pulse victim Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and advocate for gun safety; and Brandon Wolf, Vice President of the Dru Project, spoke to the need for common-sense gun safety legislation.

Honored to join Pulse Mom Christine Leinonen + survivor @bjoewolf in our call to action to end gun violence + hate! #TimeToTHRIVE #Sayfie @equalityfl https://t.co/ppcAYQTpQF

— Rep. Carlos G Smith (@CarlosGSmith) February 17, 2018

Longtime LGBTQ advocate Betty DeGeneres and pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Ximena Lopez were presented with Upstander Awards for their dedication dedication to and support of the LGBTQ community.

DeGeneres, mother to Ellen DeGeneres, has been a tireless advocate for the LGBTQ community. She was the first non-LGBTQ ally to join HRC’s National Coming Out Project and has published three books on being a part to LGBTQ children.

Dr. Lopez founded the GENder Education and Care Interdisciplinary Support (GENECIS) program at Children’s Health in Dallas, the only clinic in the Southwest specializing in health care for transgender youth. She also contributed to HRC’s “Supporting and Caring for Transgender Youth” resource and shared her expertise at HRC’s 2016 Time to THRIVE Conference, and recently gave a TEDMED talk on her inspiring work. 

.@HRC Upstander Award recipient pediatrician Dr. Ximena Lopez on anti-transgender legislation across the country. #TimeToTHRIVE pic.twitter.com/P7Rp2pRBT0

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 17, 2018

Other speakers included Patty Sheehan, City of Orlando District 4 Commissioner; Yuridia Loera Ramirez, a queer sexual assault survivor and DACA recipient; George Sheridan, NEA Executive Committee member; Richard Yep, ACA Chief Executive Officer; Albert Smith, Toyota Group Vice President, Chief Social Innovation Officer; members of the HRC Foundation’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council; and more. “America’s Got Talent” semifinalist Johnny Manuel closed the evening with performances of “Wake Me Up,” “I Have Nothing” and “Locked Out of Heaven.”

Time to THRIVE is the premier national convening of educators and youth-serving professionals to build awareness and cultural competency, learn current and emerging best practices and gather resources from leading experts and national organizations in the field. Time to THRIVE is taking place Feb. 16-18, 2018 at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek in Orlando, Florida.

@HRC Ambassador Zoey Luna & DREAMer & Survivor Yurida Ramirez fighting for those youth who are most vulnerable. #TimeToTHRIVE pic.twitter.com/RmIn52BOL3

— D.L. Garrett (@DeneenLGarrett) February 17, 2018

We are all challenged to live life like Drew. Take care of each other. ♥️#HRC #TimeToTHRIVE https://t.co/zX4K2HEEjC

— Brandon Wolf (@bjoewolf) February 17, 2018

Members of @HRC Foundation’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council take the stage at #TimeToTHRIVE to address the importance of supporting and accepting trans and non-binary youth. ���� Learn more: https://t.co/prT4c4hwNY pic.twitter.com/365Y7jUtmp

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 17, 2018

Author: Emily Simeral Roberts
Posted: February 17, 2018, 11:23 am

La quinta conferencia anual Time To THRIVE de la Fundación HRC para profesionales que trabajan con menores y jóvenes se inició hoy en Orlando. El evento inaugural incluyó la proyección de un video hablado en homenaje a las 49 personas asesinadas, en su mayoría Latinx y LGBTQ, en el terrible atentado a mano armada en la discoteca Pulse el 12 de junio de 2016.

Los oradores honraron también a las 17 personas inocentes que fallecieron esta semana a consecuencia del terrorífico atentado a mano armada en la Escuela Secundaria Marjory Stoneman Douglas en Parkland, Florida.

A continuación, compartimos fragmentos de los discursos preparados para hoy, que honran la memoria de las víctimas de Pulse y sus sobrevivientes:

“Sus voces me inspiran cuando les recuerdo a mis compañeros que ‘Nuestra fuerza es doble cuando estamos juntos’”.
- Zimar Batista, Embajador Juvenil de HRC

“Esta semana, los floridanos se están recuperando de otra tragedia en nuestro estado. Las noticias que salen de Parkland son demasiado familiares. Hace dos años, estábamos sintiendo el mismo dolor...Para una persona queer y Latinx como yo, las noches latinas de Pulse eran pura alegría. Podías mirar tu alrededor y ver a personas que se parecían a ti, que hablaban tu idioma, que vestían como tú. Era una noche en la que te sentías libre y seguro. Todo eso cambió el 12 de junio. Pero esa noche también desató mucha pasión y sed de justicia por las víctimas que perdimos y los que sobrevivieron”.
- Representante estatal Carlos Guillermo Smith, (D-Orlando)

“Mi hijo Christopher, su novio Juan y otros 47 fueron asesinados en el club nocturno Pulse. Christopher perdió su voz esa noche, pero yo no perdí la mía...Las noticias de esta semana sobre el atentado de Parkland me han resultado difíciles de procesar. Sé muy bien por lo que están pasando muchos padres, estudiantes y seres queridos. Es un tipo de dolor y angustia que ningún padre debería experimentar jamás. Y es por esa razón continuaré luchando para asegurarme de que ningún padre vuelva a pasar por esto nunca más”.
- Christine Leinonen, defensora de igualdad LGBTQ y seguridad en el uso de armas de fuego y madre de la víctima de Pulse, Christopher “Drew” Leinonen.

“Drew y Juan eran dos personas locamente enamoradas. No era ‘amor gay o amor entre personas de razas distintas’, era simplemente amor. No fue sino a través de su historia que encontré mi mensaje. La razón para levantarme de la cama, tirar las mantas y pararme en primera fila para luchar...Duelen tanto las noticias sobre Parkland esta semana. Eran NIÑOS. Ningún padre tiene miedo de enviar a sus hijos a la escuela. Ninguna persona LGBTQ debería temer disfrutar de una velada con sus amigos. Ningún amigo, compañero o padre debería llorar la pérdida de un ser querido como este”.
- Brandon Wolf, vicepresidente de Dru Project y mejor amigo de “Drew” y su novio Juan, quien también falleció en el ataque.

Ayer, Wolf fue estuvo escribiendo en vivo desde la cuenta de Twitter de HRC para recordar a los amigos que fallecieron en Pulse y pedir normas sensatas sobre el uso de armas e instar a los votantes a elegir líderes que tomen medidas contra la mortal epidemia y que no estén sujetos a los lineamientos de la Asociación Nacional del Rifle (NRA, por sus siglas en inglés). Wolf tuiteó: “La gente está muriendo, los niños están muriendo. Me gustaría saber, ¿cuántas vidas, familias y sueños destrozados necesitamos? ¿Qué se necesita para que los legisladores actúen? Las vidas están en juego.”

El año pasado, HRC develó una instalación de arte monumental en su sede de Washington D.C. para conmemorar el mes del Orgullo y honrar a las víctimas a un año de que ocurriera la masacre de Orlando. Nuestros corazones permanecen con los sobrevivientes, las familias y amigos de las 49 personas que perdieron la vida ese día.

A raíz del reciente atentado en la escuela secundaria en Parkland, Florida, HRC reiteró su llamado para obtener medidas y políticas de seguridad que frenen la epidemia de violencia del país. Time to THRIVE es una oportunidad para alzar las voces de la comunidad en contra del odio y acentuar la importancia de ambientes seguros en inclusivos para las personas y jóvenes LGBTQ en los Estados Unidos y en todo el mundo.


Author: Milagros Chirinos
Posted: February 17, 2018, 3:05 am

HRC Foundation’s fifth annual Time to THRIVE Conference for youth-serving professionals got underway today in Orlando, and the opening event included a spoken and video tribute to the memory the 49 people -- most of them LGBTQ and Latinx --  killed in the senseless act of gun violence at Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016.

Speakers also honored the 17 innocent people who died this week in the horrific gun violence at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The following are excerpts of today’s speeches, as prepared, honoring the memory of the Pulse victims and their survivors:

“Their voices still inspire me today as I remind my classmates that ‘Nuestra fuerza es doble cuando estamos juntos.’” (Our strength is double when we are together.)
- Zimar Batista, HRC Youth Ambassador

“This week, Floridians are reeling from yet another tragedy in our state. The news coming out of Parkland is all too familiar. Two years ago, we were feeling the same grief.

For a young queer Latinx folks like me, Pulse’s Latin Nights were pure joy. You could look around and see people who looked like you, who spoke your language, who dressed like you. It was a night you felt free -- and safe. All of that changed on June 12. But that night also sparked in so many a passion and a drive to do justice for the victims we’d lost and those who survived.”
- Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, (D-Orlando)

“My son Christopher, his boyfriend Juan and 47 others were murdered at the Pulse nightclub. Christopher lost his voice that night, but I didn’t lose mine...The news coming out of Parkland this week have been difficult for me to process. I know too well what many parents, students, and loved ones are going through. It’s a type of pain and anguish no parent should ever have to experience. And it’s for that reason that I will continue to fight to make sure that no parent ever has to again.”
- Christine Leinonen, LGBTQ advocate for gun safety & LGBTQ equality, and mother of Pulse victim Christopher "Drew" Leinonen

“Drew and Juan were two people madly in love. Not gay love. Not biracial love. Just love. And it was in their story that I finally found my message. The reason for getting out of bed, tossing off the covers, and stepping onto the front line… It hurts so much to see the coverage out of Parkland this week. These are KIDS. No parent ever feel  afraid to send their kids to school. No LGBTQ young person should be afraid to enjoy an evening out with their friends. No friend, partner, or parent should ever mourn the loss of a loved one like this.”
- Brandon Wolf, Vice President of Dru Project and best friend of “Drew” and his boyfriend Juan, who also was killed in the Pulse attack

Yesterday, Wolf took over HRC’s Twitter to remember friends lost at Pulse, to call for sensible gun safety measures and to urge voters to elect leaders who will take action on this deadly epidemic -- and aren’t in the pocket of the NRA. He tweeted: “People are dying. Kids are dying. How many more lives lost, families broken, dreams shattered can we take? What will it take for lawmakers to act? Lives are on the line. I would know.”

Last year, HRC unveiled a monumental art installation at its Washington, D.C., headquarters to mark Pride Month and honor the victims on the one-year mark of the deadly attack in Orlando. Our hearts remain with the survivors, families and friends of the 49 people whose lives were taken that day.

In the wake of the recent high school massacre in Parkland, Florida, HRC renewed its call for common-sense gun safety measures and policies to address the epidemic of senseless violence across the country. Time to THRIVE is an opportunity to raise the voices of the community against hate and highlight the importance of safe and inclusive environments for all LGBTQ people and youth in the U.S. and around the globe.


Author: Milagros Chirinos
Posted: February 17, 2018, 3:00 am

Post submitted by Lindsey Clark, HRC Senior Regional Field Organizer

Last weekend in Chicago, HRC’s field team hosted two Equality Action Academy campaign skills trainings for members and supporters in partnership with NARAL Pro-Choice America and Equality Illinois.  Attendees were provided a primer on advocacy areas including the power of storytelling, legislative lobbying, elections, coalition-building, and online activism.

Despite a foot of snow on the ground, advocates from across the city joined together at the Co-Prosperity Space in Bridgeport to share their stories and experiences about working in their neighborhoods for progressive causes. One attendee from the neighborhood spoke about his work to support Marie Newman, an HRC-endorsed candidate for Congress, who is facing anti-LGBTQ Democratic Representative Dan Lipinski in this year’s primary on March 20.

On Sunday, a large crowd gathered at the Center on Halsted in Boystown for our second round of training. Attendees included new faces from across the city, as well as advocates from Wisconsin who made the trek to bolster their work for HRC-endorsed openly gay Senator Tammy Baldwin in her bid for re-election this November.

With so many important races this year, supporting and electing pro-equality candidates has never been more important.

For more information about our elections work or upcoming volunteer opportunities in Chicago and beyond, contact HRC’s Lindsey Clark at lindsey.clark@hrc.org.

Above: Attendees from Boystown training alongside trainers Hannah Lloyd (NARAL), Anthony Galloway (EQIL), and Lindsey Clark (HRC).

Below: Attendees from the Bridgeport training alongside trainers Hannah Lloyd (NARAL), Anthony Galloway (EQIL), and Lindsey Clark (HRC).

Paid for by Human Rights Campaign PAC and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee 

 Equality Action Academy


Author: HRC staff
Posted: February 16, 2018, 8:33 pm

Today, HRC hailed a vote by Washington state’s House Committee on Health Care & Wellness advancing SB 5722 — legislation protecting LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and debunked practice of so-called “conversion therapy.”  HRC urged the Washington House of Representatives to pass the measure, which has already been approved by the state Senate.

“We thank the state legislators who voted today to advance this crucially important legislation protecting LGBTQ youth from ​so-called 'conversion therapy,​'​” said HRC Legislative Counsel Xavier Persad. “This ​abusive and ​inhumane practice has no basis in science and is ​uniformly rejected by every major mental health ​organization in the country. We call on the House of Representatives to swiftly pass this bill and send it to Governor Inslee’s desk to be signed into law.”

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 harmful 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.

According to a recent report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, an estimated 20,000 LGBTQ minors in states without protections will be subjected to conversion therapy by a licensed healthcare professional if state lawmakers fail to act.

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: Aaron Rodriguez
Posted: February 16, 2018, 7:38 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