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This year for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, HRC Foundation is launching an online campaign to tell the stories of LGBTQ Muslims and their allies. Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar when God revealed the Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad.

During this time, Muslims, including LGBTQ Muslims, fast from dawn until dusk and are encouraged to pray, read the Qur’an and give to charity.

“By acknowledging our differences and fully accepting our humanity, we can create the opportunity to support each other in defending our human and civil rights protected under U.S. law,” said Imam Dayiee Abdullah, member of HRC’s Religion Council and Executive Director of MECCA Institute. “May our prayers for greater inner peace and help for our neighbors manifest in our world today.”

We hope the reflections offered every week starting May 27 until Ramadan culminates in Eid al-Fitr on June 25, will bless souls, revive spirits, renew minds and strengthen bodies. These stories will be hosted on the HRC website and on Twitter and Facebook.

Our first post comes from Imam Daayiee Abdullah, Executive Director of MECCA Institute, an inclusive and progressive online Islamic seminary, and a member of HRC Foundation’s Religion Council. He is the first - and only - openly gay imam in the Americas.

The Ramadan Reflections is a faith-filled resource that compiles reflections written by LGBTQ Muslims and allies from across the United States.

RAMADAN MUBARAK

As-salaamu Alaykum (Peace be upon you) and Ramadan Mubarak (Success in your Ramadan celebration).  I am sure I speak for the ever-growing number of LGBTQ Muslim imams worldwide when I say well wishes to one and all – LGBTQ members and our allies of the Abrahamic and other faiths.

Ramadan is a very special time of year for Muslims, as it is a religious celebration similar in ways to the fasting of Lent and the family get-togethers associated with the feasting that occurs between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is our festival to promote charity and harmony within the Muslim world.  Ramadan also calls for Muslims – whether conservative on one end, moderate to progressive in the middle, or secular and nonreligious– to reflect upon the past year and be thankful for our personal and community-wide blessings, as well as offer prayers and statements of forgiveness to the wider, non-Muslim communities worldwide.

As a person with more than 45 years of LGBTQ advocacy and a progressive Muslim, the struggle for recognition in both communities has not been an easy one. I can say with confidence that the LGBTQ community has made strides in fighting against Islamophobia, and acknowledge that progressive Muslims continue to build inclusion and confront the homophobia within Muslim communities.  

Seeing LGBTQ Muslims and their allies continue the sometimes-arduous work to eliminate Islamophobia within the queer communities, there is a reciprocal recognition by LGBTQ people and Muslims alike that anti-LGBTQ bigotry and anti-Muslim bigotry are two sides of the same coin – both promote unwarranted discrimination against integral parts of their humanness.  By acknowledging our differences and fully accepting our humanity, we can create the opportunity to support each other in defending our human and civil rights protected under U.S. law.

After the atrocity in Orlando last year, I saw the LGBTQ community and Muslim community come together in peace and harmony to assist the victims and the survivors. I am proud, both as a Muslim and an LGBTQ person, to have participated on a national and local level to highlight the importance of working together to ease the tensions between Islamophobia and homophobia, biphobia and transphobia within LGBTQ and Muslim communities.

I encourage those who are reading this article to consider learning more about MECCA Institute and furthering our quest and mission to educate a new generation of diverse Muslim clerics in a progressive Islamic theology that will have a significant impact on our contemporary society.  It is through reeducation that the building of progressive Islamic communities for contemporary Muslims can become a reality today and into the future.

May our prayers for greater inner peace and help for our neighbors manifest in our world today.


Author: Michael Toumayan
Posted: May 25, 2017, 9:52 pm

HRC submitted testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in response to the committee’s hearing entitled “Assessing the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR).”

HRC strongly supports the work of the UNHRC because, as HRC’s Government Affairs Director David Stacy explained in his testimony, “the Council has taken historic steps to protect and promote the human rights and dignity of LGBTQ people.”

Stacy wrote about the UNHRC’s first-ever resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), which passed in 2011. With help from the U.S., the Council passed a South African-proposed resolution that directed the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to report on "discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity."

The ensuing report was enormously important for advancing LGBTQ human rights, as it detailed in a comprehensive way the violence and discrimination occurring against LGBTQ people in “every region of the world.” According to Stacy, the report also “called on UN member states to repeal any laws criminalizing same-sex conduct; to investigate and report all incidents of violence against LGBTQ people and those perceived to be LGBTQ; and to take steps to counter homophobia and transphobia among the general public.”

In 2016, the U.S. and other LGBTQ-friendly nations passed a resolution at the UNHRC appointing an Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity. Prof. Vitit Muntarbhorn of Thailand is the first person to hold that position. He has already begun assessing LGBTQ human rights in various countries, meeting with LGBTQ advocates around the globe and engaging with governments and civil society to help combat violence and discrimination targeting LGBTQ people.

Unfortunately, the UNHRC has often been the subject of controversy, particular for members of Congress who believe that it unfairly targets certain countries while giving a pass to some of the world’s most egregious human rights abusers. The Trump administration is considering withdrawing the U.S. from the UNHRC, and various members of Congress have urged the Trump Administration - and past U.S. administrations - to do just that.

“Turning away from the Council will do nothing to advance U.S. foreign policy objectives or the protection of human rights,” Stacy wrote. “In fact, we have seen the Council at its worst when the U.S. is not providing leadership, which allows despotic leaders to control the agenda and push their own cynical goals.”

Stacy concluded that despite flaws, “the UN Human Rights Council has been a crucial body for supporting the human rights of LGBTQ people, and that work is greatly enhanced when the U.S. is fully engaged in its work and provides leadership.”


Author: Jeremy Kadden
Posted: May 25, 2017, 9:32 pm

The purpose of pride season has always been to join together, celebrate our progress and energize ourselves for the work that still needs to be done to achieve full equality.

And with the Trump Administration actively trying to destroy our progress … take away our rights … silence us … erase us, it’s critically important for LGBTQ Americans and allies to stand up and be visible.

That’s why this pride season will be HRC’s Summer of Action. We are kicking it off during Capital Pride — the day before the Equality March for Unity & Pride — with a 90-minute Summer of Action Grassroots Organizing training on Saturday, June 10. Can you make it?

HRC has a lot planned over Capital Pride weekend –– from turning our headquarters into an Action Center featuring a special art installation, to holding our grassroots activist training, to offering special giveaways, to gathering for the Equality March and remembering the victims and survivors of Pulse.

Whether you make it to HRC, go to the Capital Pride Parade or Festival, or attend the Equality March, we hope you get out there and take action!

Because when we unite, we are strong, we are loud and we cannot be ignored. Together, we can send a powerful message to the White House, Congress and state legislatures that our grassroots army is ready to FIGHT for our rights!

Jeremy, your participation in your pride this year couldn’t be more important. Please RSVP for HRC’s Grassroots Organizing training. It’s just blocks from the parade route — and we will teach you a heck of a lot about organizing.

Our goal is to empower YOU so that you have all the tools you need to effect real political change in your community. I hope you can make it!


Author: Marty Rouse
Posted: May 25, 2017, 8:29 pm

Post submitted by Johanna Eager, Welcoming Schools Program Director

Last week, thousands of people across the country in 23 states came together to read I Am Jazz on May 18 in a tremendous show of support for transgender and non-binary children. The readings, part of the National I Am Jazz School and Community Readings by HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools, and the National Education Association (NEA), took place in schools, libraries, and community centers across the country. They occurred anywhere and everywhere to show transgender and non-binary youth that they are seen, supported, and loved.

California Representative Jackie Speier read I Am Jazz on the floor of the U.S. House. Educators in Berkeley showed up in force thanks to an ongoing, strong Welcoming Schools partnership with Our Family Coalition, and hundreds of children in California had the chance to read the book. One teacher used the reading as an opportunity to help her students understand a non-binary teacher at their school.

From the Zumba instructor in Wisconsin who began his class with a reading of the award-winning book to the librarian who opened up her backyard and invited her neighbors to pull up a lawn chair and listen, people like you across the country used their passion and creativity to support transgender and non-binary children.

Each event was unique, but they all shared a  common thread: affirming transgender and non-binary students. In a year of difficult setbacks for the transgender community, and transgender youth in particular, these readings took on even greater significance.

Interested in joining us next time? Email us at welcomingschools@hrc.org and we’ll let you know when we’re gearing up for our next reading!

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


Author: HRC staff
Posted: May 25, 2017, 8:03 pm

Earlier today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee debated and passed a bipartisan resolution, House Resolution 351, condemning the violence and persecution of LGBTQ people in Chechnya.

The resolution, which was introduced two days earlier by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and now has over fifty bipartisan cosponsors, “calls on Chechen officials to immediately cease the abduction, detention, and torture of individuals on the basis of their actual or suspected sexual orientation, and hold accountable all those involved in perpetrating such abuses.”

Since early this year, Chechen authorities have rounded up and detained over 100 men in secret prisons, under suspicion that they are gay or bisexual. British reports have suggested that Chechen officials have set a target to “eliminate” all LGBTQ people from Chechnya by the start of Ramadan, which begins at the end of May this year.

Chechen leaders have denied these accusations, going so far as to deny the very existence of LGBTQ people in Chechnya. Nonetheless, there have been numerous verified reports of torture and at least three men have been killed, and possibly as many as 20. Chechen officials have also reportedly encouraged families to murder relatives they suspect might be gay, something that at least one family seems to have taken quite seriously.

In presenting the resolution to the committee, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) called for “a serious investigation and a stop to this medieval violence," saying that the Russian government “cannot tolerate such intolerable brutality and also purport to be worthy of participating on the global stage.”

Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), one of Ros-Lehtinen’s chief co-authors of the resolution, hoped that the language in the resolution would “send a strong message to Chechen officials” and that the atrocities “must be condemned by the international community."

Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA) offered an amendment to the resolution, which was accepted by the committee. Keating’s amendment calls on the U.S. government to identify those involved in the attacks and determine if they ought to be sanctioned under two U.S. sanction laws that are named for Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian anti-corruption lawyer who died under mysterious circumstances in 2009 while in detention in a Russian prison.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) also raised the idea of the committee holding a separate hearing devoted exclusively to the Chechen atrocities, and Chairman Royce agreed.

A number of other committee members from both sides of the aisle also condemned the atrocities, calling them “brutal,” “outrageous,” “shocking,” “inhumane,” “barbaric” and “unthinkable.”

The text of the resolution, which was passed by the committee in a unanimous voice vote, can be found here. HRC calls on Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) to urgently schedule the resolution for a vote in the full House of Representatives.

HRC is continuing to take action to stop the atrocities and help the victims. Click here for HRC’s #EyesOnChechnya website, which contains background information and actions that individuals can take to help end the violence.


Author: Jeremy Kadden
Posted: May 25, 2017, 7:27 pm

HRC staff and thousands of volunteers will be deployed across the country to lead more than 250 local events in more than 45 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. for our Summer of Action pride events. The theme is simple: Unite, resist and enlist against attacks that undermine the LGBTQ community. During the weekend of June 10 and 11, which coincides with the National Equality March in Washington, D.C., and the #ResistMarch in Los Angeles, HRC will hold a Weekend of Action at events coast to coast. However, if you’re unable to attend any of these events in person, here are five things you can do to help spread the word and join the resistance.

  1. Text UNITE to 30644 to join HRC’s Mobile Action Network. By joining, you’ll be up to date on the latest LGBTQ news, actions and resources available.
  1. Join the Equality March in Washington, D.C., and the Resist March in Los Angeles on June 11. If you’re not able to attend either march, then click here to find other sister marches across the country.
  1. Be a part of the change, be engaged, get involved! Find more than a dozen ways to make a difference at hrc.org/help.
  1. Contact your member of congress by texting MY CONGRESS to 30644. Tell them to support commonsense gun safety laws and the Equality Act.
  1. Join our vast legion of supporters to help mobilize your community to change hearts and minds across the country by becoming an HRC volunteer.

HRC is ramping up our historic efforts to resist the Trump administration’s rollback of LGBTQ equality and the consistent onslaught of anti-LGBTQ state legislation across the nation. This year alone, HRC and major state partners have battled more than 130 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in 30 states. To date, seven of those bills have been signed into law. The Summer of Action will also help lay groundwork for us to go on the offense in key states ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Your efforts will help us send a clear message to President Trump and lawmakers everywhere that we will not let our basic human rights be trampled on or rolled back.   


Author: Brian McBride
Posted: May 25, 2017, 5:41 pm

Post submitted by HRC Faith Organizer Daniel Ball

Recently, HRC Mississippi joined the city of Oxford, the University of Mississippi, and the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies to celebrate the second annual Oxford Pride. 

The weekend celebration consisted of several activities intended for fellowship and to bring awareness and engagement around issues facing the LGBTQ community in Mississippi. The weekend culminated in a pride parade, which attracted more than 500 people from around north Mississippi.

The Friday activities included the University of Mississippi’s Lavender Graduation, which is a celebration to acknowledge the hard work and accomplishments of its LGBTQ students and allies who are working to create a safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTQ students on campus. HRC Mississippi Faith and Outreach Organizer, Daniel Ball, an alumnus of the university, was the featured speaker at the event.

Ball spoke about the importance of staying engaged after graduation and how advocacy on and off campus can help the most vulnerable communities in Mississippi. The Dean of the University, the Vice Chancellor of Diversity Affairs, and the Vice Chancellor of Racial Reconciliation also spoke. All speakers had a common message aimed at promoting unity and encouraging action: “Collective power provides collective solutions”.

Interested in volunteering with HRC at your local pride event? Sign up hrc.org/pride today. Learn more about HRC's work in Mississippi at hrc.org/Mississippi


Author: HRC staff
Posted: May 25, 2017, 5:11 pm

Today, HRC released a letter from the nation’s leading civil rights organizations calling on President Donald Trump and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John F. Kelly not to appoint controversial Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke as an Assistant Secretary in the Office of Partnership and Engagement at the DHS.

The letter is signed by executives from the Anti-Defamation League, Human Rights Campaign, The Leadership Conference, Muslim Advocates, National Council of La Raza, and National Urban League, who make clear that "Clarke’s record as Milwaukee County Sheriff and his history of incendiary and hateful statements make him unfit to serve in this role, as does his connection with antigovernment extremist groups."

Clarke has a long and expansive anti-LGBTQ record. He said that the Supreme Court’s ruling to legalize marriage equality nationwide would result in a conservative revolt against President Obama’s “socialist agenda.” He condemned Democrats and advocates for calling on sensible gun safety measures; following the tragic shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub that took lives of 49 people. He said on his right-wing podcast that transgender people “suffer from mental disorders” and “live freakish lifestyles”  and said a supportive mother of a transgender elementary school student was guilty of "child abuse."

See the full letter and list of signatures here.

 


Author: HRC staff
Posted: May 25, 2017, 2:33 pm

HRC LAUNCHES SUMMER OF ACTION TO SPUR MILLIONS OF SUPPORTERS TO ‘UNITE. RESIST. ENLIST.’ Today, HRC launched a nationwide summer of action anchored by more than 250 grassroots events from coast to coast. The theme of these events -- “Unite. Resist. Enlist.” -- reflects the goal of HRC’s summer of action: to empower and mobilize millions of equality voters to fight back against attacks that undermine the LGBTQ community. As part of the summer of action, HRC staff and thousands of volunteers will be fanning out to lead more than 250 local events in more than 45 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. They will register thousands of new voters, host grassroots advocacy trainings, and step up visibility and outreach at LGBTQ Pride parades, equality marches, festivals and other events. More from HRC.

“Through his hateful rhetoric and dangerous policies, Donald Trump has awakened a sleeping giant. Never before have Americans been more eager to participate, to advocate and to fight back. Instead of dividing us, he has unified us. And it is our responsibility as advocates to keep that momentum alive, and keep the pressure on,” said HRC President Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin). “During this historic Summer of Action, HRC’s grassroots army will help harness the full power of our democracy to unite, enlist and resist.”

  • HRC has also joined a broad coalition of progressive organizations in Equality Florida’s #HonorThemWithAction campaign to pay tribute to the 49 people -- most of them LGBTQ and Latinx -- whose lives were taken at the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, and is supporting related community events. More from HRC.

MONTANA GOP HOUSE CANDIDATE CHARGED WITH ASSAULT ON REPORTER: On the eve of today’s tight special election in Montana, anti-LGBTQ Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte was charged with assault for allegedly attacking a reporter, and quickly lost endorsements from three state newspapers. Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs (@BenCJacobs) said Gianforte body-slammed him at the candidate’s Bozeman headquarters when questioned about the Republicans’ health care bill. A Fox News crew that witnessed the violent incident confirmed Jacobs’ account after a Gianforte spokesperson provided an inaccurate account of what happened. “It was an extraordinary development in a race that was already being closely watched for clues about the national political environment in the tumultuous first months of the Trump presidency,” reporter Jonathan Martin (@JMartNYT) writes today in The New York Times.  Vice President Mike Pence has campaigned in the state for Gianforte, who, like Pence, has a long history of opposing LGBTQ equality. He is scheduled to appear in court June 7. Read more at The Billings Gazette.

Greg Gianforte is a bully & a brute. If his attacks on LGBTQ people weren't bad enough, his physical attack on a reporter is disqualifying.

— Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) May 25, 2017

NBA RETURNS 2019 ALL-STAR GAME TO CHARLOTTE: Yesterday, HRC responded to the NBA’s decision to bring back the All-Star Game to Charlotte in 2019.  “North Carolina's discriminatory law prohibits the city of Charlotte from implementing non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ residents and visitors attending the All-Star Game. Nothing has changed that fact,” said HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof. “It's critically important that people understand the gravity of this situation, which has had the effect of extending discrimination and endangering LGBTQ people across the state of North Carolina.” The NBA had previously moved its 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte in response to HB2, the deeply discriminatory law that has since been replaced by another law -- HB142 -- that continues the same anti-LGBTQ scheme put forward by the original measure. More from HRC, ThinkProgress and Deadspin.

TRUMP’S PROPOSED BUDGET CUTS CRITICAL PROGRAMS IMPACTING LGBTQ PEOPLE: If enacted, the budget Trump released this week for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 would devastate federal safety net programs, eliminate health care for millions of Americans and undercut civil rights protections in the U.S. and human rights protections abroad. Although HRC is hopeful that Congress will reject many of these draconian cuts, this budget could trigger unimaginable cuts to safety net programs -- including programs that focus on preventing, fighting, and finding cures for diseases, and on programs that provide health services to people living with HIV, low-income women, children, the disabled and elderly. More from HRC and The New York Times.

  • In a Twitter must-read, HRC breaks down the ways Trump’s proposed budget hurts the LGBTQ community. Read the thread here.

@PPFA Funding for peacekeeping is slashed by 37%, which could lead to destabilization in places where #LGBTQ people are at risk 10/12

— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) May 24, 2017

BETSY DEVOS REFUSES TO RULE OUT GIVING FEDERAL MONEY TO ANTI-LGBTQ PRIVATE SCHOOLS: During a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing yesterday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos astoundingly refused to say whether she would deny federal funds to private schools that discriminate against LGBTQ people, racial minorities or those with special needs. After a heated back-and-forth with Devos over the issue, Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA), said, “I am shocked that you cannot come up with one example of discrimination that you would stand up for students.”  Said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy: “Taxpayer funds should never be used to discriminate against LGBTQ students, and it is shocking and disappointing that Secretary DeVos won’t make this basic commitment. Secretary DeVos has failed again to stand up for all students and ensure every child is able to receive an education free from harassment and discrimination.” More from HRC and CNN.

.@RepKClark to Sec. DeVos: “I am shocked that you cannot come up with one example of discrimination that you would stand up for students.” pic.twitter.com/9yns8Np6hz

— CSPAN (@cspan) May 24, 2017

THROWBACK THURSDAY -- NORTH CAROLINA WRACKED UP $700K IN LEGAL FEES FIGHTING ANTI-LGBTQ LAW: BuzzFeed’s Dominic Holden (@DominicHolden) uncovered nearly $700,000 in legal fees spent by the state to defend the anti-LGBTQ HB2. The documents did not note when the payments were made, or if any were made during current Governor Roy Cooper’s tenure. This brings the total estimated cost of North Carolina’s anti-LGBTQ legislation, HB142 and it’s predecessor HB2, to nearly one billion dollars. (Did you read that in Dr. Evil’s voice? Because you should have.) More from BuzzFeed.

CIVIL RIGHTS ORGS URGE TRUMP NOT TO APPOINT DAVID CLARKE TO KEY DHS POSITION: Yesterday, HRC joined a broad coalition in releasing a letter calling on President Donald Trump and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John F. Kelly not to appoint controversial Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke as an Assistant Secretary in the Office of Partnership and Engagement at the DHS. The letter is signed by executives from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Human Rights Campaign (HRC), The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Muslim Advocates, National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and the National Urban League (NUL). More in today’s Politico Playbook.

VP PENCE -- TRUMP’S PUPPETMASTER ATTACKING LGBTQ COMMUNITY: The Washington Blade imagines a world where Trump is impeached and Vice President Mike Pence becomes president… and it’s not good. “Vice President Pence bears full responsibility for the Trump administration’s anti-equality, anti-immigrant, and anti-science cabinet and the hateful policies they’ve begun implementing,” HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride (@SarahEMcBride) tells The Blade’s Chris Johnson (@ChrisJohnson82). “Time and time again, reports surface that Vice President Pence and his allies are continuing to push the administration to take additional steps allowing a license to discriminate against LGBTQ families. From undermining protections for transgender kids to the attempted Muslim ban that would have prevented LGBTQ refugees fleeing violence from settling in America, Mike Pence is the man behind the curtain pulling Donald Trump’s puppet strings.” More from The Washington Blade.

HRC MOURNS THE LOSS OF MARTYN HETT -- LGBTQ BLOGGER KILLED IN MANCHESTER TERROR ATTACKS: Twenty-two people were killed following a terrorist attack that took place at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, on Monday night. Among the victims is 29-year-old blogger Martyn Hett. BuzzFeed once featured Hett endearingly trying to help his mom’s flailing knitting career by advertising her work on Twitter. His persistence paid off and made his mom -- and her crochet creations -- a viral sensation. More from HRC.

Met up with me mam for the first time since her viral fame. She's stocked up on materials and has had a very busy weekend knitting ���� pic.twitter.com/fCO0fqoVnh

— Martyn (@martynhett) December 4, 2016

READING RAINBOW

The New York Times previews an upcoming ‘Transparent’-themed cabaret performance; Healthline reports that HRC was named one of the best LGBTQ parenting blogs of the year;

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: HRC staff
Posted: May 25, 2017, 1:55 pm

Yesterday, the Trump administration released its budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. It fell like a ton of bricks on the doorstep of Congress, which now has the job of deciding how much to spend on federal agencies and myriad programs to meet the needs of millions upon millions of Americans. If enacted into law, the president’s proposal would devastate federal safety net programs, eliminate health care for millions of Americans (including those living with HIV), and undercut civil rights protections in the U.S. and human rights protections abroad. Although HRC is hopeful that Congress will reject many of these draconian cuts, this budget unfortunately follows the contours of previous Republican budgets proposed by Congress.

The FY18 budget purports to save $3.6 trillion over ten years, triggering unimaginable cuts to safety net programs. On the chopping block are critical programs that focus on preventing, fighting, and finding cures for diseases, and on programs that provide health services to people living with HIV, low-income women, children, the disabled and elderly.

Health & HIV

Before delivering his detailed budget, the president endorsed the House-passed legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which included $839 billion in cuts to Medicaid. The FY18 budget takes austerity to a new low by requesting another $600 billion in cuts by placing a ceiling on federal Medicaid funding to states.

Alarmingly, the administration is also proposing a $1.2 billion reduction in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and a $186 million - or  20 percent -- cut to the agency’s prevention efforts for HIV, hepatitis, STIs and tuberculosis. While paying lip service to the need to address the HIV epidemic, the administration actually plans to reduce activities around testing, support services for persons living with HIV, and prevention services. They also proposed curtailing Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) prevention projects.

The president’s attack on the nation’s health extends to research as well. He proposed gutting research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $6 billion, with $838 million taken from the Institute focused on finding a cure for HIV.  The proposal so thoroughly defunds science that former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden tweeted that the cuts advocated by the administration  “would increase illness, death.”

As expected, the administration’s FY18 submission would block Planned Parenthood from receiving reimbursement for services under the Medicaid program. But this proposal goes even further by barring the organization from participating in any federal health programs. This would dramatically impact access to reproductive health services, as well as HIV testing and counseling to prevent sexual assault.

The president’s proposed parental leave program was something of a novelty, given other social programs faced drastic spending cuts. The administration proposed allowing new parents to take six weeks of paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child. However 75 percent of workers who take family leave each year do so for family caregiving or medical reasons unrelated to childbirth or adoption.

Severely undermining enforcement of employment protections, the budget contains a plan to eliminate the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and place responsibility for federal contract oversight with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) -- ignoring the significant differences in expertise and mission. The EEOC would not be given any additional funding to address its own backlog of complaints let alone subsume the responsibilities of OFCCP. The OFCCP is responsible for enforcement of LGBTQ non-discrimination protections for employees of federal contractors.

International

On the international front, the budget threatens to end U.S. leadership on human rights and health and humanitarian assistance abroad, which will have an enormous impact on LGBTQ people who face threats and violence around the world. With almost 30 percent of the overall funding slashed at the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development, Trump's budget would severely harm our ability to help refugees, people living with HIV & AIDS, and those fighting for human rights.

Migration and refugee assistance programs would see a jaw-dropping 83 percent cut for this year, when more refugees need our help than at any time since World War II. This would directly harm LGBTQ people who are trying to flee state-sanctioned violence in places including Chechnya, Uganda and Bangladesh.

The proposal would also eliminate the Development Assistance account, which funds democracy and human rights programs around the world and helps LGBTQ organizations to build their capacity and change hearts and minds in their communities. The budget cynically claims to fold this crucial funding tool into the Economic Support and Development Fund, but cuts that fund and decimates it even further in coming years.

Voluntary  contributions by the U.S. to the United Nations, which vaccinates nearly half the world's children and provides food to 80 million hungry people across the globe, would be completely eliminated. Funding for peacekeeping has been slashed by 37 percent, which could lead to deadly destabilization in already vulnerable parts of the world, places where LGBTQ people are especially at risk.

Even Global Health — the programs that provide vaccinations, treatments and education to nursing moms, children and people fighting diseases — faces a steep cut of nearly a quarter. Family planning programs are eliminated entirely. This will put life-saving medications and treatments out of reach for some of our world's most defenseless people, especially those living with HIV.

Perhaps even more ominous, the budget lays out Trump's projections for future funding, including even steeper cuts to international affairs in 2019 — slashing more than half of our nation's diplomacy and development budget, compared the this year’s spending. Refugee programs in particular would drop from a current spending level of $3.4 billion to less than $720 million in just two years.

Rather than address the needs of the American people, the administration’s proposal turns a blind-eye. Cuts to these critical programs would have a devastating impact on LGBTQ people in the U.S. and around the world. HRC will work to defeat this proposal and fight to preserve these essential programs.  


Author: Andrea Levario
Posted: May 24, 2017, 3:28 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
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Author: LDS Family Fellowship
Posted: July 26, 2015, 11:16 pm