Blog / Posts

Human Rights Campaign | Blog

Recent blog articles published by the Human Rights Campaign


Trailblazing activist and athlete Billie Jean King has long been a champion for social change, spearheading the women’s movement in her sport and cementing her legacy as a lifelong advocate for LGBTQ equality.

One of the most defining moments of King’s career is now in theaters. “Battle of the Sexes,” starring Emma Stone as King, tells the story of her legendary match with Bobby Riggs. The film’s release comes on the heels of the 44th anniversary of the famous “Battle of the Sexes” tennis tournament, which captivated the nation and sparked a national conversation on gender roles in America. It solidified King’s status as a barrier-breaking tennis pro and a pioneer in the women’s movement.

King became one of the first openly lesbian major sports figures in America when she was outed in 1981. Following her professional tennis career, King became the first woman commissioner in professional sports when she co-founded World TeamTennis. The U.S. Tennis Association named the National Tennis Center, where the U.S. Open is played, the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in 2006. She is also the founder of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2009.

King is a longtime HRC supporter and received the National Equality Award at our 10th annual National Dinner. We are proud to call her a longtime member of the HRC family.


Author: Hayley Miller
Posted: October 20, 2017, 7:10 pm

Post submitted by Kimmie Fink, Welcoming Schools Consultant

In recognition of National Bullying Prevention Month, Welcoming Schools is pleased to share our top five resources to stop bullying:

  1. What Do You Say to “That’s So Gay”?: Whether it’s a first grader who doesn’t know what “gay” means or a fourth grader who does and uses it try to sound cool, this kind of language can cause an unsafe learning environment and must be addressed. Our most popular resource walks educators through the process of responding to this common, hurtful phrase: stop it, educate, be proactive, don’t ignore it, don’t excuse the behavior and don’t try to judge how upset the target is. This resource is also available in Spanish.
  2. Be Prepared for Questions and Put-downs around Gender: Many student comments and questions are predictable and practicing answering questions related to gender or interrupting hurtful teasing based on gender will help you to respond more easily when the situation arises. Practice our straightforward sample responses to comments like, “Juan plays with dolls. That’s weird.” and “Aisha looks like a boy.” This resource is also available in Spanish.
  3. Bias, Bullying & Bystanders: Our tip sheet for elementary school educators is a great place to start this October. We know that when students and adults perceive that others in their school jump in to stop bullying, they are more likely to intervene in bullying themselves. Teachers can work toward ending bullying by becoming upstanders, practicing, teaching students how to be allies, involving families and engaging students with books.
  4. Six Key Points on Bullying, Bias and Schools: Why address bias-based bullying in elementary schools? We’ve already done the research for you. Usethis quick reference tool to look at statistics that support the connection between safety and success for students. Additionally, review the many ways to be an ally and reflect on what child development experts say about noticing differences.
  5. Film: What Can We Do? Bias, Bullying and Bystanders: This 12-minute training film spotlights experienced teachers using Welcoming Schools’ lesson plans on bias, bullying and standing up for each other. Watch as educators model how to engage students in real conversations about bias-based bullying. The video is available in its entirety on our website, along with a guide for a 60-90 minute professional development session.

Bullying must be stopped in its tracks.  If we do not proactively address the underlying bias that drives it, we will never be able to truly change bullying behavior. These resources will give you the tools to not only stop bullying when it occurs, but to create the kind of inclusive, empathetic learning environment where it doesn’t happen in the first place.

If you'd like to improve your school climate, consider reaching out to us for professional development! Welcoming Schools has facilitators across the country ready to help all students at your school succeed.

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


Author: HRC staff
Posted: October 20, 2017, 4:19 pm

AT&T* and HRC selected three grand prize winners of the first-ever AT&T Live Proud on Campus scholarship contest.

Amy Kelley (University of Pittsburgh), Leyth Swidan (Columbia University), and Ryan Wells (Elon University) are our grand prize winners. Each student will receive a $10,000 scholarship, $2,500 in funding to execute their campus project, a semester-long mentorship experience with HRC to help develop their projects, and more. The winners will also be flown to Washington, D.C. to attend the HRC National Dinner on Oct. 28.

Live Proud on Campus called on college students 18+ to submit a video pitch for an LGBTQ-supportive project they'd like to see at their schools. The public voted on 15 semi-finalist videos, narrowing the field down to 6 finalist. And HRC chose the 3 grade prize winners.

The winning projects support the LGBTQ community and focus on LGBTQ equality, visibility and/or acceptance on college campuses.

AT&T is also contributing $25,000 to HRC. The gift will support the organization and their continued efforts to uplift the LGBTQ community. HRC is the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization.

"HRC is excited to welcome the AT&T Live Proud on Campus scholarship winners to Washington, D.C. and to mentor them as they execute their projects," said Beck Bailey, deputy director of HRC's Workplace Equality Program. "With AT&T's generous support, each project will raise LGBTQ awareness and build cultural competency. HRC is eager to engage these young leaders and support them in creating meaningful impact for the LGBTQ community."

“We’re furthering our commitment to the LGBTQ community and to a more inclusive world,” said Leonardo Torréss, assistant vice president, Diversity Marketing, AT&T. “HRC shares our commitment to equal rights and respect for all. And we’re honored to work with them. Live Proud on Campus supports the next generation of LGBTQ community leaders. What the winners take away from this experience will ultimately benefit us all.”

To learn more about Live Proud on Campus and our winners, go to att.com/liveproud.  Don’t forget to join the conversation on social media using #ATTLiveProud and #LiveProudScholar.

For more on our commitment to diversity and inclusion, go to about.att.com/sites/diversity.


Author: Guest contributor
Posted: October 20, 2017, 4:01 pm

BREAKING FROM THE AP -- PROMINENT CHEFS, BAKERS JOIN HISTORIC AMICUS BRIEF, SAY BUSINESSES SHOULD BE OPEN TO ALL: Today, The Associated Press announced an innovative new "Chefs for Equality" amicus brief, led by HRC on behalf of the nation’s most prominent chefs, bakers and restaurateurs, to be submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case. The case involves a baker who in 2012 refused to provide a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Last year, the Colorado Supreme Court upheld a ruling by the Colorado Court of Appeals that bakery owner cannot cite religious beliefs or free speech in order to discriminate against same-sex couples. The case will be heard by the Supreme Court on December 5. Elizabeth Falkner (@ChefFalkner), a top chef tells The AP: "When you’re open to service to people, you can’t decide who to serve and not serve." More about the brief here. More from The Associated Press.

BREAKING: Prominent bakers, chefs & more from the culinary industry will oppose discrimination in @HRC brief. https://t.co/X7I29NigVS pic.twitter.com/zSbm7oTCIk

— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) October 20, 2017

ICYMI -- HRC RELEASES ANNUAL MUNICIPAL EQUALITY INDEX, JOINS CITY LEADERS ACROSS NATION TO CELEBRATE LOCAL EFFORTS TO ENSURE FULL EQUALITY: HRC, in partnership with the Equality Federation Institute, released its sixth annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI), the only nationwide rating system of LGBTQ inclusion in municipal law, policy and services. "This year’s MEI paints a vivid picture: cities big and small, in red and blue states alike, are continuing our progress toward full equality, regardless of the political drama unfolding in Washington, D.C., and in state legislatures across the country," said HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin). "The MEI serves as a vital tool for business leaders and municipal officials alike when it comes to economic development. The MEI is the best tool to help these businesses make crucial evaluations about the welcoming -- or unwelcoming -- nature of towns and cities across the nation." More from HRC -- and check out this awesome video and storify from yesterday’s launch.

  • In Pittsburgh, Griffin joined Mayor Bill Peduto, Dr. Rachel Levine, City Council President Bruce Kraus, leaders from PNC Bank and Equality Pennsylvania to celebrate the city’s score of 100. Peduto also announced that Pittsburgh’s employee medical benefits will now offer full gender affirmation benefits. Read more at Trib Live.
  • In Birmingham, Mayor-elect Randall Woodfin and members of the Birmingham Council and Equality Alabama joined Eva Kendrick, Alabama state director for HRC and JoDee Winterhof, HRC’s senior vice president for policy and political affairs to announce the city’s new high score of 83 on the MEI. "Birmingham has made history," Kendrick said. "I am proud of the city I call home." Read the full story from AL.com, and also make sure you check out this op-ed in PennLive by Winterhof.
  • And in Tempe, Mayor Mark Mitchell joined Xavier Persad, legislative counsel at HRC, Tempe Tourism, city business leaders and others to celebrate the city’s fourth year of a perfect score, joining Phoenix and Tucson in Arizona’s 100-point MEI club. More from The Arizona Republic.

Thrilled to join Pittsburgh Mayor @billpeduto, @PhysGenLevine, city officials, advocates and businesses to launch #MEI2017. pic.twitter.com/gi5m1e2rxB

— Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) October 19, 2017

TOP HEADLINES FROM ACROSS THE NATION: Can being gay-friendly help Birmingham land Amazon? at AL.com; Is North Texas LGBT-friendly? It depends if you live in Dallas or Denton at The Dallas Morning News; The city of Las Vegas received a perfect 100 score in the Human Rights Campaign’s 2017 Municipal Equality Index at the Las Vegas Sun; These are the most LGBTQ-friendly cities in Michigan at Michigan Live; HRC gives Cincinnati perfect score for LGBTQ policies and practices at Fox 19; Pittsburgh improves LGBTQIA Equality Index scores, expands medical coverage for trans employees at WESA;

WEEKEND MUST-WATCH -- NEW DOCUMENTARY SHORT, "SALTWATER BAPTISM": Filmmakers Jared Callahan (@jared_cal) and Russell Sheaffer (@RSheaffer) have created a piece for the New York Times that focuses on Santiago Gonzalez IV, a young gay man and recent college graduate who is navigating a same-sex relationship as a dedicated Christian. Read more at the New York Times, and watch the documentary here.

CBS REPORTS -- "A WORKPLACE EPIDEMIC OF BULLYING LGBT EMPLOYEES": A new survey finds that about four in 10 LGBTQ workers report feeling bullied at work - 11 percentage points higher than the national average of all workers, Aimee Picchi (@aimeepicchi) of CBS’s Moneywatch reports. And such incidents have increased since Trump and Pence were elected and began implementing their anti-LGBTQ agenda, experts say, including banning transgender people from serving in the military, and carrying out a sweeping "license to discriminate" that puts millions of LGBTQ Amerians at risk of discrimination. Read more at CBS News.

BACKLASH CONTINUES OVER CLEVELAND STATE UNIV. PRESIDENT’S RESPONSE TO ANTI-LGBTQ FLIERS: The Chronicle for Higher Education’s Jeremy Bauer-Wolf (@jbeowulf) reports that Ronald Berkman is facing continued criticism over his tepid initial response to the posting of horrifying anti-LGBTQ fliers on the university’s campus. Here’s what HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow told Bauer-Wolf: "It’s disappointing that CSU President Ronald Berkman failed to initially grasp the seriousness of the despicable anti-LGBTQ flyers that appeared on his campus... Universities have an obligation to ensure that students aren’t being harassed and discriminated against." Read more from Inside Higher Ed.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN ENDORSES DANICA ROEM: Vice President Joe Biden is supporting HRC-endorsed candidate Danica Roem in her bid to represent Virginia District 13. If elected, Roem will make history as the first out transgender person seated in a state legislature. Read more via the Washington Blade.

PHILLY’S NEW DIRECTOR OF LGBTQ AFFAIRS AIMS TO UNITE CITY’S COMMUNITY: Amber Hikes (@AmberHikes) says she wants to bring LGBTQ residents of the city together and renew Philadelphia’s advocacy for the LGBTQ community. Read more from The Daily Pennsylvanian.

EARLY VOTING BEGINS IN CHARLOTTE: Yesterday, HRC helped kick off early voting in Charlotte, NC. Early voting continues until October 29.

This AM, @HRC members & supporters kicked off early voting in Charlotte, NC. Earlier this month,HRC endorsed Vi Lyles for mayor of Charlotte pic.twitter.com/9l1X1IBAMK

— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) October 19, 2017

"THERE’S A RISING GLOBAL TIDE OF CRACKDOWNS ON LGBT COMMUNITIES": In an alarming piece for The Washington Post, Max Bearak reports on authorities in Tajikistan creating a registry of LGBTQ people, part of an operation by federal prosecutors and the Interior Ministry called "Morality" and "Purge." But, Bearak reports, the troubling development is not isolated. "...the phenomenon would not be unique to Tajikistan: Over the past few months, police in Egypt, Azerbaijan, Tanzania, Indonesia and the Russian republic of Chechnya have rounded up people suspected of being gay — and in many cases tortured or publicly humiliated them," he writes, noting that the crackdowns look like "copycats." The targeting of LGBTQ people has worsened over the past year, human rights lawyers and advocates warn. Read more at The Washington Post and at RadioFreeEurope.

READING RAINBOW

Vice goes to an LGBTQ Pride festival on the U.S.-Mexico border; HuffPost shares stories from bisexual people who have experienced sexual assault;
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: October 20, 2017, 2:46 pm

In partnership with the Equality Federation Institute, HRC released its sixth annual Municipal Equality Index, the only nationwide rating system of LGBTQ inclusion in municipal law, policy and services. The 2017 MEI reveals new heights in municipal LGBTQ equality, and in the current political reality, welcoming cities are more important than ever.


Author: HRC staff
Posted: October 19, 2017, 9:23 pm

At a time when many states have failed to pass LGBTQ-inclusive laws and policies, cities are stepping up to ensure that all citizens are treated equally, according to a report issued today by HRC.

HRC’s 2017 Municipal Equality Index (MEI) shows that around the country cities are fueling momentum for LGBTQ equality -- and often are doing so in states that still don’t have LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination laws at the state level.

In West Virginia, Huntington earned over 85 points on the 2017 MEI despite hailing from a state without LGBTQ-inclusive statewide non-discrimination laws. Across the country, 41 cities like these set a standard of LGBTQ inclusiveness with exemplary, best-practice policies such as local non-discrimination laws, providing transgender-inclusive health benefits for city employees and offering LGBTQ-inclusive city services.

Shining like a beacon of hope, Huntington earned one of HRC’s 41 MEI “All Star” designations. MEI All Stars are cities nationwide that are excelling by advancing LGBTQ equality without relying on state law. This year,  Huntington earned a 95.

The average score for cities in West Virginia is 56 out of 100 points, which falls below the national average of 57.

“This year’s MEI paints a vivid picture: cities big and small, in red and blue states alike, are continuing our progress toward full equality, regardless of the political drama unfolding in Washington, D.C., and in state legislatures across the country,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Today, the MEI serves as a vital tool for business leaders and municipal officials alike when it comes to economic development. CEOs know that in order to attract and retain the best employees, they must grow their companies in places that protect LGBTQ citizens from discrimination and actively open their doors to all communities. The MEI is the best tool to help these businesses make crucial evaluations about the welcoming -- or unwelcoming -- nature of towns and cities across the nation.”

“Our movement is stronger and more united than ever, and we stand in resistance to the unprecedented attacks on all our communities,” said Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director of the Equality Federation Institute. “This report is a proven, powerful tool for local advocates to leverage in their efforts to win full equality at the local level, and serves as a reminder that we aren’t going back, despite a most hostile federal administration and organized opposition.”

Since the MEI’s debut in 2012, the number of cities earning perfect scores has increased by more than sixfold, and today at least 24 million people live in cities that have more comprehensive, transgender-inclusive non-discrimination laws than their state.

Progress on transgender equality has been particularly noteworthy in cities across America this year, continuing a positive trend that the MEI has tracked -- and encouraged -- since 2012. Transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits are offered to employees of 111 municipalities this year -- up from 86 in 2016, 66 in 2015 and just five in 2012. The MEI’s Issue Brief on Transgender-Inclusive Health Benefits is available here.

Other key findings from the 2017 Municipal Equality Index include:

  • 86 cities from states without comprehensive nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ people scored above the overall nationwide average of 57 points. These cities averaged 84-point scores; 28 scored a perfect 100.
  • Cities continue to excel even in the absence of inclusive state laws: 41“All Star” cities in states lacking comprehensive non-discrimination laws scored above 85 points, up from 37 last year, 31 in 2016, 15 in 2014, eight in 2013, and just two in 2012.
  • The national city score average increased from 55 to 57 points. 68 cities scored 100 points; 25 percent scored over 79 points; 50 percent scored over 59 points; 25 percent scored less than 36; and 11 cities scored zero points.

The MEI rated 506 cities including the 50 state capitals, the 200 largest cities in the United States, the five largest cities or municipalities in each state, the cities home to the state’s two largest public universities, municipalities that have high proportions of same-sex couples and 98 cities selected by HRC and Equality Federation state group members and supporters. It assesses each city on 44 criteria covering citywide nondiscrimination protections, policies for municipal employees, city services, law enforcement, and city leadership’s relationship with the LGBTQ community. Starting in 2018, the MEI will introduce new criteria including protecting youth from “conversion therapy” and will deduct points for religious exemptions that allow discrimination by singling out LGBTQ people.

The full report, including detailed scorecards for every city, as well as a searchable database, is available online at www.hrc.org/mei.


Author: Allison Turner
Posted: October 19, 2017, 9:15 pm

At a time when many states have failed to pass LGBTQ-inclusive laws and policies, cities are stepping up to ensure that all citizens are treated equally, according to a report issued today by HRC.

HRC’s 2017 Municipal Equality Index (MEI) shows that around the country cities are fueling momentum for LGBTQ equality -- and often are doing so in states that still don’t have LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination laws at the state level.

In Virginia, Arlington and Alexandria earned over 85 points on the 2017 MEI despite hailing from a state without LGBTQ-inclusive statewide non-discrimination laws. Across the country, 41 cities like these set a standard of LGBTQ inclusiveness with exemplary, best-practice policies such as local non-discrimination laws, providing transgender-inclusive health benefits for city employees and offering LGBTQ-inclusive city services.

Shining like beacons of hope, Arlington and Alexandria earned one of HRC’s 41 MEI “All Star” designations. MEI All Stars are cities nationwide that are excelling by advancing LGBTQ equality without relying on state law. This year, Arlington earned a 93 and Alexandria earned an 86.

The average score for cities in Virginia is 49 out of 100 points, which falls below the national average of 57.

“This year’s MEI paints a vivid picture: cities big and small, in red and blue states alike, are continuing our progress toward full equality, regardless of the political drama unfolding in Washington, D.C., and in state legislatures across the country,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Today, the MEI serves as a vital tool for business leaders and municipal officials alike when it comes to economic development. CEOs know that in order to attract and retain the best employees, they must grow their companies in places that protect LGBTQ citizens from discrimination and actively open their doors to all communities. The MEI is the best tool to help these businesses make crucial evaluations about the welcoming -- or unwelcoming -- nature of towns and cities across the nation.”

“Our movement is stronger and more united than ever, and we stand in resistance to the unprecedented attacks on all our communities,” said Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director of the Equality Federation Institute. “This report is a proven, powerful tool for local advocates to leverage in their efforts to win full equality at the local level, and serves as a reminder that we aren’t going back, despite a most hostile federal administration and organized opposition.”

Since the MEI’s debut in 2012, the number of cities earning perfect scores has increased by more than sixfold, and today at least 24 million people live in cities that have more comprehensive, transgender-inclusive non-discrimination laws than their state.

Progress on transgender equality has been particularly noteworthy in cities across America this year, continuing a positive trend that the MEI has tracked -- and encouraged -- since 2012. Transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits are offered to employees of 111 municipalities this year -- up from 86 in 2016, 66 in 2015 and just five in 2012. The MEI’s Issue Brief on Transgender-Inclusive Health Benefits is available here.

Other key findings from the 2017 Municipal Equality Index include:

  • 86 cities from states without comprehensive nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ people scored above the overall nationwide average of 57 points. These cities averaged 84-point scores; 28 scored a perfect 100.
  • Cities continue to excel even in the absence of inclusive state laws: 41“All Star” cities in states lacking comprehensive non-discrimination laws scored above 85 points, up from 37 last year, 31 in 2016, 15 in 2014, eight in 2013, and just two in 2012.
  • The national city score average increased from 55 to 57 points. 68 cities scored 100 points; 25 percent scored over 79 points; 50 percent scored over 59 points; 25 percent scored less than 36; and 11 cities scored zero points.

The MEI rated 506 cities including the 50 state capitals, the 200 largest cities in the United States, the five largest cities or municipalities in each state, the cities home to the state’s two largest public universities, municipalities that have high proportions of same-sex couples and 98 cities selected by HRC and Equality Federation state group members and supporters. It assesses each city on 44 criteria covering citywide nondiscrimination protections, policies for municipal employees, city services, law enforcement, and city leadership’s relationship with the LGBTQ community. Starting in 2018, the MEI will introduce new criteria including protecting youth from “conversion therapy” and will deduct points for religious exemptions that allow discrimination by singling out LGBTQ people.

The full report, including detailed scorecards for every city, as well as a searchable database, is available online at www.hrc.org/mei.


Author: Allison Turner
Posted: October 19, 2017, 9:00 pm

At a time when many states have failed to pass LGBTQ-inclusive laws and policies, cities are stepping up to ensure that all citizens are treated equally, according to a report issued today by HRC.

HRC’s 2017 Municipal Equality Index (MEI) shows that around the country cities are fueling momentum for LGBTQ equality -- and often are doing so in states that still don’t have LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination laws at the state level.

In Texas, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio earned over 85 points on the 2017 MEI despite hailing from a state without LGBTQ-inclusive statewide non-discrimination laws. Across the country, 41 cities like these set a standard of LGBTQ inclusiveness with exemplary, best-practice policies such as local non-discrimination laws, providing transgender-inclusive health benefits for city employees and offering LGBTQ-inclusive city services.

Shining like beacons of hope, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio earned one of HRC’s 41 MEI “All Star” designations. MEI All Stars are cities nationwide that are excelling by advancing LGBTQ equality without relying on state law. This year, Austin earned a 100, Dallas earned a 100, Fort Worth earned a 100 and San Antonio earned a 95.

The average score for cities in Texas is 41 out of 100 points, which falls below the national average of 57.

“This year’s MEI paints a vivid picture: cities big and small, in red and blue states alike, are continuing our progress toward full equality, regardless of the political drama unfolding in Washington, D.C., and in state legislatures across the country,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Today, the MEI serves as a vital tool for business leaders and municipal officials alike when it comes to economic development. CEOs know that in order to attract and retain the best employees, they must grow their companies in places that protect LGBTQ citizens from discrimination and actively open their doors to all communities. The MEI is the best tool to help these businesses make crucial evaluations about the welcoming -- or unwelcoming -- nature of towns and cities across the nation.”

“The Municipal Equality Index (MEI) is a snapshot of where we are in this fight and where we as a unified community need to focus our energy and efforts in order to continue to expand fairness and equality for all Texans. It is unfortunate that the 85th Legislature did not make it a priority to expand statewide protections for LGBTQ Texans in housing, employment and public accommodation. Equality Texas applauds the municipalities that have been dedicated in their efforts to create safe and welcoming communities where all of their residents are protected from discrimination,” said Equality Texas Chief Executive Officer Chuck Smith. “We look forward to building on these successes by continuing to work with local leaders in municipalities across Texas to further expand these vital protections. We have a long way to go toward full equality in our state, but together we have built an unprecedented movement of grassroots supporters dedicated to inclusion and equality.”

Since the MEI’s debut in 2012, the number of cities earning perfect scores has increased by more than sixfold, and today at least 24 million people live in cities that have more comprehensive, transgender-inclusive non-discrimination laws than their state.

Progress on transgender equality has been particularly noteworthy in cities across America this year, continuing a positive trend that the MEI has tracked -- and encouraged -- since 2012. Transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits are offered to employees of 111 municipalities this year -- up from 86 in 2016, 66 in 2015 and just five in 2012. The MEI’s Issue Brief on Transgender-Inclusive Health Benefits is available here.

Other key findings from the 2017 Municipal Equality Index include:

  • 86 cities from states without comprehensive nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ people scored above the overall nationwide average of 57 points. These cities averaged 84-point scores; 28 scored a perfect 100.
  • Cities continue to excel even in the absence of inclusive state laws: 41“All Star” cities in states lacking comprehensive non-discrimination laws scored above 85 points, up from 37 last year, 31 in 2016, 15 in 2014, eight in 2013, and just two in 2012.
  • The national city score average increased from 55 to 57 points. 68 cities scored 100 points; 25 percent scored over 79 points; 50 percent scored over 59 points; 25 percent scored less than 36; and 11 cities scored zero points.

The MEI rated 506 cities including the 50 state capitals, the 200 largest cities in the United States, the five largest cities or municipalities in each state, the cities home to the state’s two largest public universities, municipalities that have high proportions of same-sex couples and 98 cities selected by HRC and Equality Federation state group members and supporters. It assesses each city on 44 criteria covering citywide nondiscrimination protections, policies for municipal employees, city services, law enforcement, and city leadership’s relationship with the LGBTQ community. Starting in 2018, the MEI will introduce new criteria including protecting youth from “conversion therapy” and will deduct points for religious exemptions that allow discrimination by singling out LGBTQ people.

The full report, including detailed scorecards for every city, as well as a searchable database, is available online at www.hrc.org/mei.


Author: Allison Turner
Posted: October 19, 2017, 8:45 pm

At a time when many states have failed to pass LGBTQ-inclusive laws and policies, cities are stepping up to ensure that all citizens are treated equally, according to a report issued today by HRC.

HRC’s 2017 Municipal Equality Index (MEI) shows that around the country cities are fueling momentum for LGBTQ equality -- and often are doing so in states that still don’t have LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination laws at the state level.

In Pennsylvania, Allentown, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh earned over 85 points on the 2017 MEI despite hailing from a state without LGBTQ-inclusive statewide non-discrimination laws. Across the country, 41 cities like these set a standard of LGBTQ inclusiveness with exemplary, best-practice policies such as local non-discrimination laws, providing transgender-inclusive health benefits for city employees and offering LGBTQ-inclusive city services.

Shining like beacons of hope, Allentown, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh earned one of HRC’s 41 MEI “All Star” designations. MEI All Stars are cities nationwide that are excelling by advancing LGBTQ equality without relying on state law. This year, Allentown, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh all earned a 100.

The average score for cities in Pennsylvania is 75 out of 100 points, which falls above the national average of 57.

“This year’s MEI paints a vivid picture: cities big and small, in red and blue states alike, are continuing our progress toward full equality, regardless of the political drama unfolding in Washington, D.C., and in state legislatures across the country,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Today, the MEI serves as a vital tool for business leaders and municipal officials alike when it comes to economic development. CEOs know that in order to attract and retain the best employees, they must grow their companies in places that protect LGBTQ citizens from discrimination and actively open their doors to all communities. The MEI is the best tool to help these businesses make crucial evaluations about the welcoming -- or unwelcoming -- nature of towns and cities across the nation.”

“Pennsylvania is making great strides in becoming a more equal state. Unfortunately, this is happening one municipality at a time. Obstructionist ultraconservatives in the Pennsylvania legislature have blocked fourteen years of passing a statewide nondiscrimination ban. This hold was solidified with the 2016 General Election, in which numerous stalwart supporters were ousted from their Pennsylvania House and Senate seats,” said Equality Pennsylvania Interim Executive Director John Dawe. “This year, Pittsburgh and Allentown will receive a 100 point score for the first time. They join Philadelphia, a 100 point city in the MEI since the inaugural report in 2012. Pittsburgh was the first city to pass a local conversion therapy ban in the state, followed by Philadelphia and Allentown.”

Dawe continued, “Ambler Borough, Dickson City, Wilkes-Barre City, Carlisle, Kennett Square, Phoenixville, Royersford, Camp Hill, Stroudsburg, and Upper Dublin Township each passed nondiscrimination ordinances, taking the state total to 44.”

Earlier this year, HRC opened a new frontier in the fight against the Pence-Trump agenda and advancing equality by launching HRC Rising, the largest grassroots expansion in the organization's 37-year history. The campaign is focused on mobilizing voters in six key states, including Pennsylvania. While three cities in Pennsylvania have scored 100 on this year's MEI, HRC Rising aims to accelerate progress statewide by resisting the politics of hate, fighting anti-LGBTQ legislation, and fueling pro-equality candidates and initiatives in Pennsylvania, to ensure that the rights of LGBTQ Americans do not depend on where they live. Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, HRC has identified more than 2,005,000 Pennsylvanians as likely Equality Voters -- those who are strong supporters of policies that advance LGBTQ equality, including marriage equality and other measures prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Since the MEI’s debut in 2012, the number of cities earning perfect scores has increased by more than sixfold, and today at least 24 million people live in cities that have more comprehensive, transgender-inclusive non-discrimination laws than their state.

Progress on transgender equality has been particularly noteworthy in cities across America this year, continuing a positive trend that the MEI has tracked -- and encouraged -- since 2012. Transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits are offered to employees of 111 municipalities this year -- up from 86 in 2016, 66 in 2015 and just five in 2012. The MEI’s Issue Brief on Transgender-Inclusive Health Benefits is available here.

Other key findings from the 2017 Municipal Equality Index include:

  • 86 cities from states without comprehensive nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ people scored above the overall nationwide average of 57 points. These cities averaged 84-point scores; 28 scored a perfect 100.
  • Cities continue to excel even in the absence of inclusive state laws: 41“All Star” cities in states lacking comprehensive non-discrimination laws scored above 85 points, up from 37 last year, 31 in 2016, 15 in 2014, eight in 2013, and just two in 2012.
  • The national city score average increased from 55 to 57 points. 68 cities scored 100 points; 25 percent scored over 79 points; 50 percent scored over 59 points; 25 percent scored less than 36; and 11 cities scored zero points.

The MEI rated 506 cities including the 50 state capitals, the 200 largest cities in the United States, the five largest cities or municipalities in each state, the cities home to the state’s two largest public universities, municipalities that have high proportions of same-sex couples and 98 cities selected by HRC and Equality Federation state group members and supporters. It assesses each city on 44 criteria covering citywide nondiscrimination protections, policies for municipal employees, city services, law enforcement, and city leadership’s relationship with the LGBTQ community. Starting in 2018, the MEI will introduce new criteria including protecting youth from “conversion therapy” and will deduct points for religious exemptions that allow discrimination by singling out LGBTQ people.

The full report, including detailed scorecards for every city, as well as a searchable database, is available online at www.hrc.org/mei.


Author: Allison Turner
Posted: October 19, 2017, 8:30 pm

Today, HRC strongly condemned the Trump-Pence administration’s decision to carry out a sweeping “license to discriminate” that puts millions of LGBTQ Americans at risk of discrimination, as well as release a new regulation that could deny millions of Americans access to critical contraceptive care previously guaranteed under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“Today the Trump-Pence administration launched an all-out assault on LGBTQ people, women, and other minority communities by unleashing a sweeping license to discriminate,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This blatant attempt to further Donald Trump's cynical and hateful agenda will enable systematic, government-wide discrimination that will have a devastating impact on LGBTQ people and their families. Donald Trump and Mike Pence have proven they will stop at nothing to target the LGBTQ community and drag our nation backwards. We will fight them every step of the way.”

“It’s unconscionable that the Trump-Pence administration also today encouraged employers to exert control over the essential health care decisions of their employees,” continued Griffin. “The rule change on contraception will undoubtedly limit access to vitally important care that women and so many in the LGBTQ community rely on every day. We each deserve to have the freedom to live and plan our lives with dignity, and this administration’s reckless efforts to undermine the health care of millions of Americans must be stopped.”

In May, Donald Trump signed an order that threatened to exacerbate anti-LGBTQ discrimination by laying the groundwork for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to implement the license to discriminate announced today. Already, more than 50 percent of Americans live in an area of the U.S. where LGBTQ people are at risk being fired, evicted, or denied services because of who they are — and two-thirds of LGBTQ people report having faced such discrimination in their lives.

A preliminary analysis of the Trump-Pence administration’s license to discriminate indicates that LGBTQ people and women will be at risk in some of the following ways:

  • A Social Security Administration employee could refuse to accept or process spousal or survivor benefits paperwork for a surviving same-sex spouse
  • A federal contractor could refuse to provide services to LGBTQ people, including in emergencies, without risk of losing federal contracts
  • Organizations that had previously been prohibited from requiring all of their employees from following the tenets of the organization’s faith could now possibly discriminate against LGBTQ people in the provision of benefits and overall employment status
  • Agencies receiving federal funding, and even their individual staff members, could refuse to provide services to LGBTQ children in crisis, or to place adoptive or foster children with a same-sex couple or transgender couple simply because of who they are

The guidance instructs federal government attorneys on how to handle matters before them and instructs federal agencies to reconsider current and future regulations in light of this license to discriminate. It’s important to note this Department of Justice interpretation of existing federal law is not consistent in the way that federal courts have interpreted these issues and are subject to legal challenges.


Author: Stephen Peters
Posted: October 6, 2017, 4:04 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