Political, Activism and Legal

Trump DOJ/DOE transgender move: Equality Ohio responds

February 22, 2017 - In response to the Department of Justice and Department of Education's move this evening, Grant Stancliff, communications director of Equality Ohio issued the following statement: The Trump administration rescinded best-practice advice informed by parents, transgender children, and years of study on health outcomes for transgender youth.
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GLSEN Statement on Reversal of Title IX Guidance on Accommodating Transgender Students

>NEW YORK (February 22, 2017) – Tonight, the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice rescinded the guidance issued by the Obama administration on accommodating transgender and gender nonconforming students under Title IX. GLSEN's Executive Director, Dr. Eliza Byard, issued the following statement in response. "Supports for transgender students in K-12 schools change and save lives, and hurt no one. President Trump's reversal of federal guidance affirming Title IX protections in schools undermines the settled expectations and protections afforded by federal law, hurts transgender students and impedes the progress we have made creating safer and more inclusive learning environments for all.
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Transgender Youth & Families Respond to Trump's School Guidance Efforts

February 22, 2017 - Today the Trump Administration took a giant step back from their previously stated commitment to champion fairness and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. While the Administration has rescinded federal guidance to schools on protecting transgender students, it is important to know that legal protections remain in place and schools should continue to treat transgender students according to the gender they live everyday.
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ACLU Statement on Revoking of Title IX Guidance for Transgender Students & Impact on Gavin Grimm Supreme Court Case

NEW YORK - February 22, 2017 - The Trump administration today informed the Supreme Court that they are revoking guidance from the Departments of Education and Justice that clarified that transgender students are protected from sex discrimination by Title IX, the federal law that bars gender discrimination. The guidance, which was issued last May, reiterated the rights of transgender students to use restrooms and facilities consistent with their gender identity.
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Equality California: Rescinding of Federal Transgender Student Guidelines 'A Dangerous Message'

Los Angeles - February 22, 2017 - In response to an announcement expected from the Trump Adminstration that it plans to rescind Obama-era guidelines protecting the right of transgender students nationwide to use restrooms and other facilities corresponding to their gender identity, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement: "The guidelines in question protect the basic dignity and safety that transgender students not only deserve, but to which they are legally entitled. They were based on over a decade of case law and proven best practices from schools around the country. The nation's education leaders--including the leading associations of teachers, principals, pediatricians, and school counselors and psychologists--support treating all students equally and consistent with their gender identity. The Administration is sending a dangerous message to school administrators and to students themselves that the wellbeing and safety of transgender students is not worthy of protection.
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Equality California: Immigration Memos are 'Cruel and Draconian'

Washington, D.C. - February 22, 2017 -Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly issued dual memos on Tuesday detailing how his department will implement executive orders on immigration issued in the first week of Donald Trump's presidency. The memos outline an aggressive augmentation of the nation's immigration enforcement, including the hiring of 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and 5,000 Border Patrol agents to carry out deportations.
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Trump Administration set to rescind trans student guidance – will have no impact on law

February 22, 2017 - Today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will reportedly issue a joint "Dear Colleague" letter to schools across the country rescinding guidance issued by the Obama administration to help schools understand their responsibility to protect transgender students under Title IX.
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The Ninth Annual Keystone Conference: A Celebration of Gender Diversity

TransCentralPA is proud to announce that the ninth Annual Keystone Conference is scheduled for March 22 -26 2017, at the Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey, at 4650 Lindle Road, Harrisburg PA. The conference exists to provide vital information to those that identify as transgender as well as an opportunity to connect them with health care and other service providers. Added this year are two new features, a Family and Youth Program and a program in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Medical Society to train health care professionals on the methods of opening a medical practice to transgender patients.
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Equality California Condemns Backdoor Effort to Strip Planned Parenthood of Federal Funding

Los Angeles - February 17, 2017 -In response to yesterday's vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to overturn an Obama-era rule prohibiting states from denying federal family planning funding to Planned Parenthood or other organizations because they also offer abortion care, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement: "While the House did not vote outright to end federal funding of Planned Parenthood, yesterday's vote is still an assault on vital health services for women and for hundreds of thousands of LGBT people across the country. Federal rules already prohibit federal funds from supporting abortion services. If also approved by the Senate, the vote would allow states to remove federal funding for basic healthcare services provided by Planned Parenthood if they choose to do so.
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NCLR Condemns ICE Arrest of Survivor of Domestic Violence

(San Francisco, CA, February 16, 2017)- Last week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested an undocumented survivor of abuse at a courthouse in El Paso, Texas. The woman was in court to attend a hearing on a restraining order she was seeking against her abuser. An El Paso County Attorney said that most likely ICE was acting on a tip from the abuser himself, who would have been the only other person who knew the time and location of the hearing.
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Advocates demand immediate release of undocumented transgender woman and survivor of domestic violence

NATIONAL - The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs and Transgender Law Center denounce the arrest by immigration authorities of an undocumented transgender woman who is a survivor of domestic violence, and call for her immediate release. She was detained last week in an El Paso, Texas courthouse immediately after she was granted a protective order against her abusive partner.
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Washington State Supreme Court Rules Florist Discriminated Against Same-Sex Couple by Refusing Wedding-Related Service

OLYMPIA, Wash - February 16, 2017 - The Washington Supreme Court today ruled that a florist in Richland violated the state's anti-discrimination law when she denied service to a same-sex couple for their wedding.
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GLSEN to DeVos: Protect Crucial LGBTQ Youth Protections from Department of Education Cuts

NEW YORK (February 16, 2017) - In a recent interview with a Michigan radio program, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos telegraphed her intentions to cut what she deems "unnecessary" Department of Education programs, saying "I can't tell you today what is being done [at the Department of Education] that's unnecessary. But I can guarantee that there are things that the department has been doing that are probably not necessary or important for a federal agency to do. We'll be looking at that."
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Victory! Puzder Withdrew Nomination for Labor Secretary

February 15, 2017 - Equality Federation is pleased that following weeks of pressure, Andrew Puzder withdrew from consideration for Labor Secretary today. Equality Federation, alongside labor groups, women's groups, and others, has been raising concerns about Puzder's deeply troubling record of undermining the dignity of his employees and his refusal to answer questions about his commitment to nondiscrimination protections.
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SPLC: Hate Groups Increase for Second Consecutive Year as Trump Electrifies Radical Right

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - February 15, 2017 – The number of hate groups in the United States rose for a second year in a row in 2016 as the radical right was energized by the candidacy of Donald Trump, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) annual census of hate groups and other extremist organizations, released today.
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NCLR, Ropes & Gray Challenge AR Decision Denying Rights of Same-Sex Couples to Both Be Listed on Children's Birth Certif

NCAVP mourns the homicide of JoJo Striker, a Black transgender woman killed in Toledo, OH

February 14, 2017 - The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) has learned of the homicide of JoJo Striker, a Black transgender woman, killed in Toledo, OH on February 8th, 2017; the 3rd reported killing of a transgender/gender nonconforming person NCAVP has responded to in 2017. All three homicide victims have been transgender women of color. Initial reports misgendered JoJo, but recent reports have used her correct pronouns, and though little information is available at the time, JoJo's mother believes the shooting was a hate crime. Many transgender activists and allies have spoken out in support of JoJo as the news of her death has emerged.
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EQCA Statement on DOJ Failure to Defend Transgender Student Guidelines

Los Angeles February 12, 2017 –In response to a Justice Department announcement that it is withdrawing its request for a stay of an injunction on enforcement of Obama-era guidelines protecting transgender students, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement: "Two weeks after pulling back on an on-again, off-again executive order that would have allowed sweeping religious exemptions to requirements protecting LGBT people from discrimination, the Trump Administration has reminded us that rollbacks of LGBT civil rights do not have to be thunderous or accompanied by great fanfare. They can happen quietly, incrementally, while the nation is otherwise distracted.
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CA court issues nonbinary gender change to Transgender Law Center client

(San Diego, CA - February 10, 2017)-Today, a court granted a name and gender change to Transgender Law Center client a.t. furuya, making a.t. the second person in California and the third in the country to obtain "nonbinary" as their legally designated gender. 
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Equality Federation Statement on Jeff Sessions Confirmation as Attorney General

February 8, 2017 - Equality Federation stood in solidarity with the broad, diverse opposition to Senator Sessions for Attorney General due to his history of opposing fairness, freedom, and justice for all. He has a record of opposing LGBTQ equality, making racist statements, and acting as a barrier to progress for people of color, women, immigrants and other communities. We hope Mr. Sessions meets with the communities the Department of Justice is meant to protect so that he can hear how any rollback of civil rights or nondiscrimination protections will harm our families.
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Equality Federation Statement on Jeff Sessions Confirmation as Attorney General

February 8, 2017 - Equality Federation stood in solidarity with the broad, diverse opposition to Senator Sessions for Attorney General due to his history of opposing fairness, freedom, and justice for all. He has a record of opposing LGBTQ equality, making racist statements, and acting as a barrier to progress for people of color, women, immigrants and other communities. We hope Mr. Sessions meets with the communities the Department of Justice is meant to protect so that he can hear how any rollback of civil rights or nondiscrimination protections will harm our families.
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Equal Justice for All Americans Endangered by Confirmation of Sessions as Attorney General

February 8, 2017 - Statement by Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn: The principle of equal justice under the law is now undermined by the confirmation of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. It is deeply troubling that the people's lawyer is now a person who has such a long history of fighting against the civil rights and voting rights of so many Americans whose skin color or sexual orientation are different than his own. This is 2017, and we need leaders in government who are committed to all people in our country.
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'Pastor Protection Act' Rushes Through Ohio Legislature

COLUMBUS - February 8, 2017 ––A day after legislators formally introduced the "Pastors Protection Act," it is already receiving sponsor and proponent hearings in the House Community and Family Advancement Committee, indicating it may be on the fast track. HB 36 is a solution in search for a problem. It claims to stop lawsuits from same-sex couples against clergy who wish to decline marrying the couples because it is against their faith.
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GLSEN Statement on Confirmation of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education

NEW YORK (February 8, 2017) – Yesterday, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Betsy DeVos' nomination for Secretary of Education, despite hundreds of thousands of calls, emails and letters from parents, students and advocates for inclusive public education asking Senators to vote no. GLSEN's Executive Director, Dr. Eliza Byard, issued the following statement in response.
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Outserve-SLDN dismayed that White House VA listening session did not include veteran's advocates

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) February 2, 2017 – OutServe-SLDN issued the following statement today in response to the news, first reported by the MilitaryTimes, that President Trump held a listening session on the VA but did not include veteran's advocates. The statement may be attributed to OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Matt Thorn. "Outserve-SLDN was not aware of this meeting until it was mentioned in the press. We are, dismayed, concerned and perplexed that the administration would not invite a broad spectrum of veteran's advocates like OutServe-SLDN or the American Legion or Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, who work day in and day out with veterans, to discuss the concerns and issues with and related to the Veteran's Affairs Department. In order to fix the complicated system, that is the Veteran's Affairs Department, it is critical to have the experts and advocates who work in the space at the table. We will only be successful in caring for and providing vital services to the millions of veterans in this country if we work collaboratively and in tandem. It is also perplexing that this meeting would be held without the confirmed Secretary of Veteran's Affairs Dr. Richard Shulkin who will be tasked with managing and executing any reforms and implementations moving forward. We hope that future meetings are more inclusive and present a diversity of advocates who work with our nation's veterans each and every day."
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Senator Wiener and Assemblymember Gloria Announce Bill to Modernize Discriminatory HIV Criminalization Laws

San Francisco - February 6, 2017 –  Today, Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) introduced a bill to modernize laws that criminalize and stigmatize people living with HIV. Assemblymember David Chiu is also a co-author of the bill. SB 239 would amend California's HIV criminalization laws, enacted in the 1980s and '90s at a time of fear and ignorance about HIV and its transmission, to make them consistent with laws involving other serious communicable diseases. The bill is cosponsored by the ACLU of California, APLA Health, Black AIDS Institute, Equality California, Lambda Legal and Positive Women's Network - USA. The organizations are part of Californians for HIV Criminalization Reform (CHCR), a broad coalition of people living with HIV, HIV and health service providers, civil rights organizations and public health professionals dedicated to ending the criminalization of HIV in California. San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy also attended the announcement.
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Report: Hostile Laws & Lack of LGBT Protections Leave Trans People at Risk

Denver, CO, February 2, 2017 - The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has seen both significant progress and painful setbacks recently. The 2015 Supreme Court ruling in favor of the freedom to marry was a major step toward legal equality, and there have been many successes since then at the federal, state, and local levels, including increased protections for transgender and gender non-conforming people. However, since the ruling, there have also been more than 200 anti-LGBT bills introduced in 20 states-and a recently leaked executive order draft suggests that the current administration intends to undermine established non-discrimination protections and open the door to a wide range of harms to the LGBT population.
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SAGE Stands Firmly Against Possible Executive Order Promoting Anti-LGBT Discrimination

[New York, NY - February 2, 2017] SAGE and our LGBT elder constituents are deeply troubled by detailed media reports indicating that the President intends to sign an unprecedented, sweeping order that would allow religious-based discrimination in federally-supported services and programs.  As reported, the Executive Order would subject many millions of Americans – including LGBT people and women in need of health care – to pernicious bias and mistreatment.
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Senator Wiener Introduces EQCA-Sponsored LGBT Seniors Long-Term Care Bill of Rights

Sacramento - February 2, 2017 –  Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) today announced the introduction of SB 219, the California LGBT Seniors Long-Term Care Bill of Rights, which will strengthen protections for LGBT seniors living in long-term care facilities against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or HIV status. The bill would protect all seniors living in skilled nursing facilities, immediate care facilities, and residential care facilities. The bill is co-authored by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by Equality California. It is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.
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Pride at Work Reacts to Leaked Religious Exemptions Executive Order Draft

Washington - February 2, 2017 - Last night, a draft leaked of a potential executive order that would extend broad religious exemptions that amount to a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people. Pride at Work executive director, Jerame Davis, issued the following statement in response to the potential of such an order: "If enacted, this order could have devastating consequences for LGBTQ Americans, particularly our working brothers and sisters in the federal government. It is chilling that any administration would suggest such an expansive policy designed to curtail rights and protections, some of which have been in place for more than half a century.
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GLSEN Statement on Religious Exemptions Executive Order

NEW YORK (February 2, 2017) – GLSEN's Executive Director, Dr. Eliza Byard, released the following statement in response to the public release of a sweeping executive order on religious exemptions that would allow discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) people "This executive order does not increase freedom of religion; rather, it creates a license to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans, women and other groups.
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Equality Federation Statement on Leaked Trump Possible Religious Exemption Executive Order

February 1, 2017 - In response to the leaked text of a proposed religious exemptions executive order that would give license to discriminate order Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director of Equality Federation, said: "Donald Trump claimed on Monday to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights. If he signs this leaked executive order it will be clear that he is anything but respectful and supportive. Freedom of religion is a core American value that we all share, and that's why it is already firmly protected by our constitution. This staggeringly broad executive order would single out LGBTQ people and give a license to discriminate. It is unfair and out of step with the belief a majority of Americans share, that all of us should have a fair opportunity to provide for ourselves and our families without fear of discrimination."
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OutRight Reacts to Confirmation of Rex Tillerson as US Secretary of State

(New York City - February 1, 2017 ) --- In reaction to Rex Tillerson's confirmation as the United States Secretary of State, OutRight Action International examined his responses to questions during his Senate confirmation hearing and Questions for the Record (QFR) about protecting LGBTIQ rights internationally. When Senator Chris Coons asked Secretary of State Tillerson during the Senate confirmation hearing about whether LGBTIQ rights are human rights, he responded, "American values don't accommodate violence or discrimination against anyone." Senator Coons also asked Secretary of State Tillerson if he thought advancing LGBTIQ rights was "a piece of our human rights advocacy and agenda around the world" to which Tillerson responded, "That's part of that American values that we protect."
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Anti-LGBTQ Zealot Jerry Falwell Jr. Appointed to Education Task Force

January 31, 2017 - Equality Federation condemns President Trump for appointing one of the nation's most prominent anti-LGBTQ leaders, Jerry Falwell Jr., to the Task Force on Higher Education. "Jerry Falwell Jr. espouses an extreme anti-LGBTQ and anti-science worldview. He poses a real threat to our community, especially young people who should have a fair opportunity to learn free from discrimination and prejudice," said Mark Daniel Snyder, Director of Communications. "It is deeply troubling that Mr. Trump has surrounded himself with the 'who's who' of homophobic, racist, and xenophobic leaders. We will resist any attempt to poison our educational system with anti-LGBTQ and anti-science extremism."
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Equality California Opposes Nomination of Neil Gorsuch to U.S. Supreme Court

January 31, 2017 - In response to today's nomination by Donald Trump of 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement: "Judge Gorsuch gained national attention for his opinions in two federal cases supporting an employer's right to refuse to pay for contraception as part of employee health coverage if doing so violates the employer's religious beliefs. That bodes ill for LGBT people who are facing an onslaught of laws sanctioning discrimination in the name of religious liberty.
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Outpouring of support for transgender student Ash Whitaker in the 7th Circuit

(Kenosha, WI - January 31, 2017) – Individuals and organizations representing youth, parents, school administrators, and women filed five amicus briefs yesterday in support of Ash Whitaker, a transgender boy and student at Tremper High School. Ash's school denied him access to the boys' bathroom and illegally singled him out to require him to use a separate bathroom from all other students. Ash, represented by Transgender Law Center, the largest national transgender advocacy organization, and Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC, a Washington, D.C.-based civil rights law firm, sued his school and in September won a preliminary injunction forcing the school to halt these discriminatory policies while the case moves forward. Ash has used the boys' restrooms at school without issue since the injunction was granted.The school district has appealed that ruling to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which in November denied the school district's request to put the injunction on hold pending the appeal.
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Senator Wiener Announces EQCA-Sponsored Bill Requiring Insurance Coverage of Medical Procedures for Long-Term HIV Surviv

Sacramento January 31, 2017–  Today, Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) will introduce the HEAL (Help End Antiretroviral-related Lipodystrophy) Act, requiring insurance companies and government programs to cover medical treatment for lipodystrophy. The condition, causing changes in body fat distribution, impacts many HIV-positive people who took life-saving early, highly toxic HIV medication. Equality California is sponsoring the bill.
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NWLC Files Amicus Brief in Support of 16-year-old Male Trans Student Barred from Using Boys' Bathrooms at His Wisconsin

(Washington, D.C. - January 31, 2017) The National Women's Law Center (NWLC) and law firm Mayer Brown LLP submitted an amicus brief late afternoon yesterday in Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District that challenges the school district's decision to exclude 16-year-old transgender student Ash Whitaker from using boys' bathrooms at George Nelson Tremper High School. School administrators and teachers steadily monitored Whitaker to make sure he used the girls' restrooms and insisted on using only female pronouns and his birth name when addressing him.
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Comcast's Xfinity On Demand To Feature GLAAD Media Awards Nominees And Award Shows

PHILADELPHIA, PA – January 25, 2017 -- Comcast today announced a partnership with GLAAD, the world's leading LGBTQ media advocacy organization, to curate more than 100 titles of GLAAD Media Awards-related content on Xfinity On Demand. Starting on January 31, in conjunction with the announcement of this year's 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards nominees, newly announced nominees, as well as previous award recipients will become part of the growing list of titles within the recently created Xfinity LGBTQ Film & TV Collection.
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