Showing posts with label HRC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HRC. Show all posts

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Human Rights Campaign Celebrates the Historic Confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson, the First Black Woman to Serve on the Supreme Court of the United States

Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released the following statement after the final Senate floor vote (53-47) to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as an associate justice to the Supreme Court of the United States. She will be the first Black woman, and former public defender, to sit on the nation’s highest court. 


Human Rights Campaign Interim President Joni Madison issued the following statement.


“Today is joyful—welcome to the Court, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Today, a brilliant, empathetic, imminently qualified woman of integrity was confirmed to a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States. After 115 prior justices have been appointed, a Black woman finally has the opportunity to serve—and it's about time.


This moment is powerful, meaningful, and long overdue. There is no question that soon-to-be Justice Jackson will be a fierce defender, champion and ally to marginalized communities, including the LGBTQ+ community, who are at-risk of having their rights watered down or stripped from them by the Court’s conservative majority. We have a long road ahead of us, and a lot of work to do, but today’s victory reminds us all why the fight is worth it.”


Last month, HRC issued a report that details Jackson’s record as a judge and past statements on a range of civil rights and constitutional issues, and how those would likely inform her work as a Supreme Court Justice. While Judge Jackson's docket has not touched directly upon issues of LGBTQ+ rights, in other public remarks, she has highlighted the historical connections between LGBTQ+ rights and civil rights for other marginalized groups and rightly framed the Obergefell decision on marriage equality alongside Supreme Court precedents about constitutional protections involving privacy and interracial marriage. For the reasons outlined, HRC proudly supports Jackson’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Jackson graduated from Harvard University and later attended Harvard Law School, where she was a supervising editor of the Harvard Law Review. She clerked for three federal judges (including Justice Breyer), worked in private practice, and served both on the United States Sentencing Commission and as a federal public defender in Washington, D.C. In 2013, the United States Senate confirmed her to serve as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia until she was again confirmed and elevated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2021. Now, she is the first Black woman to be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court, adding significant racial, gender and professional diversity to our nation’s highest court.


The decisions made by the Supreme Court have established important legal precedents that impact the daily lives of all Americans. Over the past three decades, the LGBTQ+ community has benefited from several groundbreaking decisions from the Court, including Romer v. EvansLawrence v. TexasU.S. v. WindsorObergefell v. Hodges and Bostock v. Clayton County. During that same period, the Court also handed down a number of rulings that are deeply problematic for civil rights and the public interest, for example, curtailing reproductive freedom and voting rights, in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Shelby County v. Holder, respectively. Notably, many of these rulings – both positive and negative – were decided by razor-thin margins, highlighting the importance and magnitude of the responsibility handed to each individual justice.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Human Rights Campaign Names Sherise Bright as New Senior Vice President for Communications & Marketing

Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, named Sherise Bright as the organization’s new Senior Vice President of Communications and Marketing. In this role, Bright will lead HRC’s comprehensive, multi-faceted communications and marketing efforts that highlight the ongoing work of the organization to build a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

“I could not be more thrilled to bring Sherise Bright on board as the new leader of the Human Rights Campaign’s communications and marketing work,” said Human Rights Campaign Interim President Joni Madison. “Sherise brings a wealth of experience from the worlds of LGBTQ+ advocacy, education, law, impact litigation, public policy and entertainment, and comes prepared to roll up her sleeves to join our fight. She joins a group of incredibly talented and dynamic communications and marketing professionals whose impact, under her leadership, can only grow. With the LGBTQ+ community – particularly transgender youth – facing an onslaught of attacks in states across the country, Sherise’s talents will be put to good use communicating and advocating for the most marginalized among us.”

"I am thrilled to join the Human Rights Campaign at a pivotal time in our movement,” said Human Rights Campaign incoming Senior Vice President of Communications and Marketing, Sherise Bright. “With the onslaught of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, attacks on trans youth, and the disproportionate deaths of Black trans women--there's so much work to do. I'm honored and ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work with my brilliant colleagues at HRC."

Bright is a strategic communications and marketing leader with over twenty years of experience working in the entertainment, sports, education, legal, and social justice sectors. Bright most recently served as Chief Communications Officer at Lambda Legal, where she built and led a team that rebranded the organization, redesigned its website, and significantly increased major media placements.

Bright has spent her career defining, elevating, promoting, and safeguarding the brand, reputation, and impact of world-leading nonprofits and global media properties. This includes building multi-use communications and marketing departments from the ground up and developing cross-functional alliances to drive innovative, high-visibility campaigns, thought leadership programs, and strategic communications. She is a graduate of California State University, Fullerton and splits her time between Northern and Southern California.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

HRC Launches Nationwide ‘Reality Flag’ Campaign to Expose Basic Freedoms Missing for LGBTQ+ People, Galvanize Public in Support of Equality Act

Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — launched the Reality Flag campaign: An ambitious, nationwide public awareness campaign to highlight the many basic freedoms missing for LGBTQ+ people in states across the country, and to galvanize public support for the Equality Act — historic federal legislation that would ensure comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people everywhere. At the heart of the campaign is the evocative Reality Flag — an altered version of the American flag with 29 of its stars removed, representing each of the 29 states lacking comprehensive protections for LGBTQ+ people, underscoring the ‘reality’ that millions of LGBTQ+ people lack a number of protections and basic freedoms.

The Reality Flag campaign aims to bring its message and powerful imagery to audiences both on and offline: As the campaign debuts at and across a number of national media platforms, an 85-foot-long banner featuring the “Reality Flag” will be unfurled and fanned out across the front of the Human Rights Campaign’s iconic headquarters in Washington, D.C., just six blocks from the White House. But the campaign’s most compelling content launches in a series of powerful video ads created by Emmy Award-winning director, producer, and creator of Amazon’s Transparent Joey Soloway, who showcases the real stories and lived experiences of LGBTQ+ people impacted by discrimination — using the video vignettes to not only underscore the urgent need for the Equality Act, but to also inspire and move audiences to take action.

“The Reality Flag campaign is designed to point out the inequalities LGBTQ+ individuals face every day – in our own voice,” said Joni Madison, Interim President at the Human Rights Campaign. “From housing and educational discrimination to denial of government and health services, LGBTQ+ people are confronted by hurdles to simply exist every day. Something is seriously wrong when state legislatures around the country are attacking LGBTQ+ rights for political purposes, forcing families to pack up their homes and move to another state so their children can have equal rights and legal protections. This needs to change. The Reality Flag not only calls out the 29 states where basic freedoms are still missing for millions of people, but stands as a symbol of hope that communities can rally behind to enact meaningful change.” 

Nearly two-thirds of LGBTQ+ people have reported experiencing discrimination in their personal lives. The Equality Act would provide consistent and explicit federal non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people across key areas of life — including housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service. Millions of LGBTQ+ people in the United States remain vulnerable to being evicted from their homes, kicked out of a business that’s open to the public, surcharged unnecessarily for goods and services, or denied health care, home loans, taxis/car-sharing, and government services in a majority of states simply because of who they love or who they are.

“When I was approached about partnering with HRC on this campaign, I jumped at the opportunity and immediately signed on — not only because of the important opportunity to help lift up stories and amplify the voices of LGBTQ+ people across the country, but because I believe this campaign has the potential to fundamentally shift the conversation around equality in a way that brings more people together than ever before to ensure we are all equally protected and represented under the law” said Emmy Award-winning creator of Transparent, Joey Soloway. “Just meeting and working with the amazing LGBTQ+ people who shared their stories of discrimination in front of the camera meant so much to so many of us behind the camera — especially since a majority in our production crew identify as LGBTQ+ and could relate to the experiences of the brave storytellers we worked with. It’s an honor to be able to do this work, and to be a part of this important campaign.”

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Human Rights Campaign President on New Gallup Poll that Reinforces the Growing Power of the LGBTQ+ Community

Today, Gallup released new polling that showed a growing percentage of adults in the U.S. are LGBTQ+ identifying. The new poll found that 7.1% of U.S. adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or some other LGBTQ+ identity, closely mirroring the findings in a Human Rights Campaign released (HRC) analysis of data in the Census Bureau’s recent Household Pulse Survey, which found roughly 8% of respondents identified themselves as LGBTQ+.

In response, Human Rights Campaign Interim President Joni Madison released the following statement:

“The LGBTQ+ community is a diverse and ever-growing force in the United States as the number of American adults who identify as LGBTQ+ continues to grow each year,” said Joni Madison, Interim Human Rights Campaign President. “This growth shows the impact of a more inclusive society and, closely mirrors HRC findings. Both emphasize the need to codify legal protections against discrimination and implement LGBTQ+ inclusive data collection at federal, state, local and private levels. With more LGBTQ+ people than ever before living openly and embracing their identity, the fight for LGBTQ+ equality in America must continue to represent this ever-growing and beautiful community.”

Key Points from the poll:

  • Today, results from a 2021 Gallup poll were released that showed the estimate of LGBTQ+ identifying American adults has risen by more than a full percentage point from Gallup’s previous 2020 update, and doubled in size from the 2012 estimate, when Gallup first measured it.
    • 7.1% of U.S. adults identify as LGBTQ+. The current estimate is up from 5.6% in Gallup’s 2020 data and 4.5% in Gallup’s 2017 data.
    • One in five Gen Z adults (those aged 18-24 at the time of the survey) identifies as LGBTQ+, more than any previous generation.
    • LGBTQ+ identification has grown across all identities over the last year.
    • Bisexual identification is most common; accounting for more than 56% of all LGBTQ+ identified adults, and approximately 4% of the U.S. adult population.
    • An additional third of LGBTQ+ adults identified as gay (20.7%) and/or lesbian (13.9%), accounting for approximately 2.5% of the U.S. adult population.
    • An estimated one in ten LGBTQ+ adults identifies as transgender, accounting for 0.7% of the U.S. adult population. This includes approximately 2.1% of Gen Z adults, 1% of Millenials, 0.8% of women, and 0.6% of men.

The results are based on aggregated 2021 data, including interviews with more than 12,000 American adults. While LGBTQ+ identification has been stable amid older generations, it is consistently rising among younger generations. From 2020 to 2021, the number of Gen Z adults that identify as LGBTQ+ has increased from one in six in 2020 to one in five in 2021, an increase of four percentage points in a single year.

In December 2021, the Human Rights Campaign released an analysis of data in the Census Bureau’s recent Household Pulse Survey, which found roughly 8% of respondents identified themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, with millions more potentially identifying as terms beyond these – suggesting previous surveys may also have undercounted the population. Gallup’s recent survey results corroborate this estimate, and based on the 2021 survey, Gallup anticipates that the proportion of LGBTQ+ Americans “should exceed 10% in the near future.”

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Human Rights Campaign Foundation Releases List of LGBTQ+ Affirming Books In the Wake of Discriminatory Book Bans Across the Country

Today, in the wake of discriminatory book bans being instituted across the country, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released an LGBTQ+ affirming book list for middle school and high school students, available to those looking for reading material that features LGTBQ+ storytelling and characters.

“All students -- no matter their background, sexual orientation, or gender identity -- deserve to feel safe and welcomed in schools, libraries and bookshops alike. Banning books because they contain LGBTQ+ content is a shameful attempt to silence LGBTQ+ stories,” said Cheryl Greene, Director of Welcoming Schools Program. “The dangerous practice of banning books is not new and has always been used by those who want to stunt progress, sow fear and division, and hide important truths. The Human Rights Campaign will always fight to ensure students have access to books that broaden their perspectives, help them learn and grow, and allow them to see themselves in literature and society. The books on our Welcoming Schools booklist do exactly that.”

To provide examples of LGBTQ+ affirming books, the HRC Foundation has several book lists ranging from children’s books to new book lists for middle school and high school students. Affirming books featured on these lists includes ‘Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda,’ by Becky Albertalli which was adapted into the popular film ‘Love, Simon,’ ‘Obie is Man Enough,’ by openly transgender swimmer Schuyler Bailar and ‘The Great Big Book of Families,’ by Mary Hoffman. These lists are just one example of the resources provided by HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools Program to educate and inspire students, educators, parents and interested readers.

In 2021, the books that received the most challenges to use in libraries and schools dealt with racism, Black American history, and diversity in the United States, according to the American Library Association’s annual ranking of books that were banned or protested in schools and public libraries. The year before, eight of the 10 most challenged books were based on LGBTQ+ subjects or narratives.

From Virginia to Texas, some banned books include ‘Gender Queer,’ by Maia Kobabe and ‘All Boys Aren’t Blue,’ by George M. Johnson. These books are only two of the dozens of books that legislators and school districts have banned because of LGBTQ+ content. Additionally, books about the history of racism in America such as ‘Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You,’ by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi and ‘We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices,’ by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson are banned in some schools.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Human Rights Campaign and ACLU of Arizona Join Families and Advocates to Condemn Legislature’s Attacks on Transgender Youth

On Wednesday, February 16 at 1 PM MST, the Human Rights Campaign and the ACLU of Arizona will be joining families and advocates of transgender youth to underscore the dangers of anti-transgender bills moving through the Arizona legislature.

The Arizona legislature has filed more than a dozen anti-LGBTQ bills so far this year. Senate Bill 1165 (an anti-trans sports ban) passed out of the Senate last week and is awaiting a hearing on the House side. House Bill 2314 (an anti-trans school bathroom bill) will be heard in the House Education Committee this Tuesday.

This past Wednesday, the Arizona Senate Health and Human Services committee failed to advance Senate Bill 1138, an anti-trans medical care ban. The committee will hear the bill again Wednesday in the form of a striker. House Bill 2608, the House’s version of an anti-trans medical care ban, will receive a hearing in the House Judiciary this Wednesday. The bill denies age-appropriate, medically-necessary, gender-affirming care to transgender youth in Arizona.

The press conference will be held in front of the Arizona State House and follow the House Judiciary’s committee hearing, which starts at 8:30 AM MST in Room HHR 4 and will be live-streamed here.

National trans rights activist and ACLU attorney Chase Strangio will give remarks on the onslaught of bills attacking trans youth in Arizona and in state legislatures across the country.

Bans on gender-affirming care for transgender youth are cropping up in states around the country. Only one – in Arkansas – has so far passed into law, where it was immediately challenged and enjoined in court. Medical and mental health professionals oppose this legislation. The nation’s leading health organizations support gender-affirming care for transgender children, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the Pediatric Endocrinology Society, and the American Medical Association, among others.

The Human Rights Campaign has been organizing with local partners and running paid advertisements across the state highlighting how Arizona’s elected officials are endangering transgender youth.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Human Rights Campaign Hails House Passage of Global Respect Act to Help Fight for International LGBTQ+ Rights

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — praised the House of Representatives for voting today to pass the Global Respect Act, an important piece of legislation that holds individuals around the world accountable for committing human rights abuses against their LGBTQ+ populations.

“ LGBTQ+ people - wherever they may live - are entitled to live freely, enjoy full equal rights and be free from violence, discrimination and abuse,” said David Stacy, HRC’s Government Affairs Director. “Unfortunately, there are many countries where this is not currently possible. In some countries, LGBTQ+ people face violent persecution and must hide their core identity just to stay alive. By passing this legislation that would restrict people who engage in these terrible abuses from entering the U.S., we can send a message that our country stands with the LGBTQ+ people of every nation and won’t stop fighting for their freedom and equal rights.”

The Global Respect Act would block travel to the U.S. for people who have been responsible for the abuse or persecution of LGBTQ+ people abroad. While the U.S. government already has the power to withhold visas from human rights violators, this legislation would require the State Department to draw up a list of LGBTQ+ human rights abusers, which would be updated twice each year and submitted to Congress.

The primary sponsors of the bipartisan bill are Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) in the House and Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in the Senate. The legislation has 74 cosponsors in the House and 9 in the Senate.

LGBTQ+ people around the world continue to face discrimination, violence, and bigotry. Sixty-eight countries criminalize same-sex sexual relations. That means that more than one-third of United Nations Member States criminalize consenting, adult, same-sex sexual relations. In up to nine countries, same-sex sexual relations may be punishable by death, and so-called anti-LGBTQ+ “propaganda” laws inhibit LGBTQ+ advocacy in at least three countries.

The Global Respect Act would provide a means to prevent individuals who violate the human rights of LGBTQ+ people from entry into the United States. The bill would:

  • Require the Executive Branch to biannually send Congress a list of foreign persons responsible for, complicit in, or who have incited extrajudicial killing, torture, or other gross violations of human rights based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity;
  • Deny or revoke visas to individuals placed on the list, with waivers for national security or to allow attendance at the United Nations;
  • Require the annual State Department Report on Human Rights to include a section on LGBTQ+ international human rights, as well as an annual report to Congress on the status of the law’s effectiveness; and
  • Require the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor to designate a staffer responsible for tracking violence, criminalization, and restrictions on the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms in foreign countries based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Monday, January 31, 2022

Statement from Human Rights Campaign on the Retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer, a Champion of LGBTQ+ Equality

In response to United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer announcing his retirement, Human Rights Campaign Interim President Joni Madison issued the following statement:

“With Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement, the Supreme Court is losing a brilliant legal mind and a champion of liberty and equality. Justice Breyer’s tenure on the Court established him as a defender of LGBTQ+ civil rights and his decisions delivered important progress toward our country’s founding ideal of a more perfect union that is inclusive and equitable for all. The Human Rights Campaign is deeply grateful for Justice Breyer’s impact.

“The stakes could not be higher for LGBTQ+ people, women, and Black and brown communities when it comes to the next Supreme Court Justice. President Biden’s first nominee has big shoes to fill, as they will shape the future of progress on LGBTQ+ equality and play an outsized role in defending the rights and protections that have already been won. President Biden has the opportunity to help shape a court that reflects the beautiful diversity of our country.”

Justice Breyer’s tenure on the Supreme Court coincided with remarkable progress for LGBTQ+ individuals. He often cast the fifth and decisive vote in a number of cases that have improved the lives of LGBTQ+ people in the United States. For example, his vote helped:
• Ensure that states could not criminalize intimate relationships between two consenting adults;
• Strike down Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented LGBTQ+ Americans from accessing benefits like social security, family and medical leave to care for an ailing spouse, and receiving veteran’s spouse medical benefits;
• Make marriage equality the law of the land;
• Prevented voters from foreclosing states and cities from adopting nondiscrimination laws and policies for sexual orientation; and
• Determine that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

As this process moves forward, the Human Rights Campaign will work in coalition with civil rights groups across movements to advocate for the appointment of a fair-minded Constitutionalist to the nation’s highest court. The Human Rights Campaign full criteria for judicial nominees includes:
• Demonstrate commitment to full equality under law for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans; individuals living with HIV and AIDS; women; people with disabilities; and racial, ethnic and religious minorities;
• Demonstrate commitment to the constitutional right to privacy and individual liberty, including the right of two consenting adults to enter into consensual intimate relationships;
• Respect the constitutional authority of Congress to promote equality and civil rights and provide statutory remedies for discrimination and violence;
Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of and commitment to the separation of church and state and the protection of those citizens with minority religious views;
• Respect state legislatures' attempts to address discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, race, color, national origin, religion and other factors through carefully crafted legislation that meets the requirements of the Constitution.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

More than 500 Major U.S. Corporations Join Business Coalition for the Equality Act, Registering Unprecedented Support for Federal Non-Discrimination Protections for LGBTQ+ People

Today, the Human Rights Campaign — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — announced its Business Coalition for the Equality Act has reached a new and unprecedented milestone, growing to include more than 500 major U.S. corporations now calling for the U.S. Senate to pass the Equality Act — historic federal legislation that would modernize our nation’s civil rights laws by including explicit protections for LGBTQ+ people, as well as improve protections for women, people of color, and people of all faiths. The Business Coalition, which includes more than 160 Fortune 500 companies, is the largest business coalition to ever come together in support of legal LGBTQ+ equality.

The 503 member companies of HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act represent a major swath of America’s economic engine, with member companies overseeing business operations in all 50 states, company headquarters spanning 33 states and a combined $7.2 trillion in annual revenue. The 503 members of the coalition collectively employ more than 15.3 million people in the United States. The largest previous business effort in support of legal LGBTQ+ equality was the business amicus brief for marriage equality, which included 379 businesses.

Jennifer Kingston, Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Edward Jones: “Edward Jones is a place of belonging, and our longtime support for the LGBTQ+ community is inherent in our purpose-driven culture. We’re very proud of the fact that we’ve earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index six years in a row, and we nurture a workplace where all of our associates can be their authentic selves as they pursue their personal growth and possibilities.”

Today’s announcement reinforces the breadth and depth of support for the Equality Act among America’s business leaders, who are joining a majority of Americans, hundreds of members of Congress, hundreds of advocacy organizations, and more than 60 business associations — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers — in endorsing the federal legislation. Polling from Hart Research Associates has found that 70 percent of Americans (including 50 percent of Republicans) support the Equality Act.

The Business Coalition’s 500-member milestone comes just months following the Coalition’s previous milestone in April, when it surpassed 400 members, underscoring the speed with which support for federal LGBTQ+ protections is gaining widespread traction. The Coalition’s growth also mirrors the fast-growing support across the country for federal LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination protections as indicated by recent polling released by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), which revealed an unprecedented 82% of Americans support LGBTQ+ protections in jobs, public accommodations, and housing — including support from majorities of Republicans (67%), independents (85%), and Democrats (92%) favor nondiscrimination protections. The survey’s findings indicate that the number of Americans who support nondiscrimination legislation has risen more than 10 percentage points since 2015.

Cheya Dunlap, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer at Honeywell: “Inclusion and diversity are essential to Honeywell’s success as a global enterprise. We support protections for LGBTQ+ individuals under the Equality Act because we believe in the importance of creating a fair work environment built on equality, respect and achievement.”

Wilma Wallace, Chief Diversity & Social Impact Officer at REI: “Our co-op and broader society are stronger when everyone—in consideration of their race, gender identity and sexual orientation—can prosper and feel welcome to be their full selves. REI has long been an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, and we remain committed to creating a co-op and contributing to a society that is inclusive of all people. The Equality Act is an important step towards ensuring everyone can reach their full potential, and we are proud to support the communities, advocates, companies and legislators working to advance LGBTQ+ rights.”

Joni Madison, Interim President at the Human Rights Campaign: “We are delighted to announce that more than 500 major corporations are now united behind the Equality Act. In 2022, no person should ever be subjected to harassment or discrimination because of who they are. The Equality Act will take major strides toward ensuring that LGBTQ+ people are treated with equal dignity in the eyes of the law, and affirm the longstanding American value that everyone deserves to be treated equally and fairly. It’s time for the Senators of both parties to support the Equality Act and send it to President Biden’s desk for his signature.”

The Equality Act ensures everyone in America, including LGBTQ+ people, are protected from harassment and discrimination in major areas of life. Currently, even if an LGBTQ+ person works for a company that provides clear non-discrimination protections and inclusive cultures, that employee and their family members can still experience discrimination in other areas of life and have no legal recourse. In the majority of states — 29 states in total — that lack explicit nondiscrimination protections, these employees risk being denied healthcare, loans, housing, and basic goods and services because they are LGBTQ+.

More information on the Business Coalition for the Equality Act can be found on HRC’s website here. A full list of the more than 500 members of the coalition can be found here.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Colorado’s LGBTQ+ Laws Rated in Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2021 State Equality Index

Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, and the Equality Federation Institute released their 8th annual State Equality Index (SEI). The SEI is a comprehensive report that groups states into several broad categories regarding the type of advocacy that occurs there and details statewide laws and policies that affect LGBTQ+ people and their families. Colorado falls into the category, “Working Toward Innovative Equality.”

This year a record breaking 21 states and Washington, D.C. were recognized in the SEI for prioritizing innovative measures to advance LGBTQ+ equality. These states have robust LGBTQ+ non-discrimination laws covering housing, healthcare and public accommodations. Although there has been incredible progress, by only March 2021, state legislatures across the country had filed more legislation that specifically targeted the transgender community than in modern history. In contrast, 2020 had previously held the record of the most anti-transgender legislation introduced, with 79 pieces of legislation—2021 had 147.

“The 2021 State Equality Index outlines and analyzes how over a dozen states across the country led an intentional, coordinated attack on the transgender community, particularly children, that has led to villainization, blatant discrimination, and ultimately, violence,” said JoDee Winterhof, Human Rights Campaign Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs. “On the other hand, we have seen a record-breaking amount of states step-up for LGBTQ+ equality and fight to pass laws that champion inclusivity and equity in the face of sweeping discrimination. It is clear that considerable effort has been, and continues to be made, to prevent anti-LGBTQ+ legislation from becoming law, progress toward LGBTQ+ equality in the states truly cannot be stopped.”

In 2021, anti-transgender legislation took several forms: 81 bills aimed to prevent transgender youth from playing school sports consistent with their gender identity, and 43 bills to prevent transgender youth from receiving gender-affirming healthcare. Additionally, two bathroom bills were passed in Tennessee and Arkansas passed the first-ever ban preventing transgender youth from accessing gender-affirming care. By the end of the 2021 legislative session, another record 13 bills attacking transgender youth passed into law.

The SEI’s assessment of statewide LGBTQ+-related legislation and policies in the areas of parenting laws and policies, religious refusal and relationship recognition laws, non-discrimination laws and policies, hate crime and criminal justice laws, youth-related laws and policies and health and safety laws and policies has placed each state in one of four distinct categories based on the type of advocacy that takes place there:

• Twenty-One states and the District of Columbia are in the highest-rated category, “Working Toward Innovative Equality”: California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; District of Columbia; Hawaii; Illinois; Iowa, Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Minnesota; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; Oregon; Rhode Island; Vermont; Virginia and Washington.

•Three states are in the category “Solidifying Equality”: Alaska; Pennsylvania; and Utah.

•Four states are in the category “Building Equality”: Florida; Kansas; North Dakota; and Wisconsin.

•Twenty-Two states are in the lowest-rated category “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality”: Alabama; Arizona; Arkansas; Georgia; Idaho; Indiana; Kentucky; Louisiana; Michigan; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; North Carolina; Ohio; Oklahoma; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; West Virginia; and Wyoming.

“This past year was one of the toughest in recent memory for our state partners and the LGBTQ+ community. Our opposition, after learning to refine their attacks by taking aim at particularly vulnerable communities like transgender youth, covered the country with anti-trans sports and medical care bans,” said Fran Hutchins, Executive Director of the Equality Federation Institute. “Thanks to the work of advocates in the states, only a small percentage of these harmful bills were enacted. Despite difficult legislative sessions in many states, I am so proud of the work being done to make the lives of LGBTQ+ people better and more accepting no matter the community they call home.”

Although the transgender community received the brunt of discriminatory legislation, anti-LGBTQ+ bills took other forms as well, and one of the most notable trends was a resurgence of laws that carve all-new religious exemptions into existing laws that allows people to refuse to serve LGBTQ+ individuals. Across the country, 44 religious refusal bills were filed including about a dozen so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) bills and a dozen more bills that would allow for religious refusals, including against LGBTQ+ patients, in medical care. South Dakota and Montana passed RFRA legislation and Ohio passed a medical care refusal bill.

While this historically bad year has been the backdrop of the 2021 legislative session, 44 new pro-equality laws were also passed. The equality bills range in topic from ensuring that utility companies allow consumers to change their names and pronouns; to streamlining adoption requirements for stepparents; to ensuring that places of public accommodation have gender-neutral bathrooms; to make it easier to update birth and death certificates with correct names and gender markers. All ensure that LGBTQ+ people are able to take one step closer to full legal and lived equality.

HRC Foundation’s full State Equality Index report, including detailed scorecards for every state, and a preview of the 2022 state legislative session is available online at

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Human Rights Campaign, Athlete Ally and Other Advocacy Groups Urge NCAA To Include Non-Discrimination Language In New Constitution

Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Athlete Ally and 16 other national advocacy organizations publicly released a letter sent yesterday to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) President Mark Emmert and NCAA governance calling on the organization to include and strengthen non-discrimination protections in the organization’s updated constitution. The letter was sent as the NCAA meets to vote on an amended constitution at their national convention, held between January 19th-22nd, and as the NCAA announced a new policy regarding transgender athletes. In November, the NCAA released a preliminary version of their amended constitution that stripped the governing document of previously existing non-discrimination language that would protect women, athletes of color, and LGBTQ+ athletes from discrimination in competition across the country.

Organizations that have signed onto this letter to the NCAA include: Human Rights Campaign, Athlete Ally, American School Health Association, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Athlete Ally, Equality Federation, GLAAD, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, GLSEN, Lambda Legal, National LGBTQ Task Force, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Education Association (NEA), National Women's Law Center, SAGE, School Social Work Association of America, The Trevor Project.

"If the NCAA is committed to ensuring an environment of competition that is safe, healthy, and free from discrimination, they cannot dodge the question of how to ensure transgender athletes can participate safely,” said Human Rights Campaign Vice President for Policy & Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof in reaction to the NCAA’s new policy on transgender inclusion released late yesterday. “That is precisely why we and a number of organizations across a wide spectrum of advocates are urging them to readopt and strengthen non-discrimination language in their constitution to ensure the Association is committed to enforcing the level playing field and inclusive policies they say their values require. Any policy language is only as effective as it is enforceable, and with states passing anti-transgender sports bans, any inclusive policy is under immediate threat. We are still reviewing the NCAA's new policy on transgender inclusion and how it will impact each and every transgender athlete."

"We are deeply committed to ensuring the health, safety and success of all college athletes, and this includes transgender and nonbinary athletes,” said Athlete Ally Director of Policy & Programs Anne Lieberman. “Including comprehensive nondiscrimination language in the Constitution is a core piece of this work; as we learn more about how the NCAA's new guidelines for transgender participation will be implemented, we will keep pushing the NCAA to center the lived experiences of college athletes."

Key Excerpts From Today’s Letter:

“...While decentralizing the NCAA and giving power to conferences and schools has its benefits, we are concerned that leaving the enforcement of non-discrimination protections to schools will create a patchwork of protections rather than a comprehensive policy that would protect all athletes, no matter where they play. This would be similar to the patchwork of non-discrimination policies in states, where marginalized groups in some states or cities are protected while others are left behind by localities that opt not to enact inclusive policies. The health, safety, and well-being of every athlete is paramount, and a particular challenge for transgender athletes who have to contend with discriminatory laws that are being enacted in states across the country.”

“The political climate that we have seen develop in certain state legislatures gives us little hope that non-discrimination and fair treatment are principles that will be consistently upheld by state laws, or that state policies are even trending in the right direction. This past year, legislatures across the country have passed legislation that undermines the rights and protections of marginalized groups, from anti-abortion laws that undermine the rights of people who can become pregnant, to voting disenfranchisement laws that target and disproportionately impact communities of color, to anti-critical race theory legislation, to anti-transgender laws that ban trans participation in youth sports outright. Repeated attempts by organizations and individuals to fight against inclusive interpretations of Title IX make clear that the NCAA must be an active partner in the fight for equality.”

Our request is simple and straightforward. The NCAA should put non-discrimination language with enumerated categories in its new constitution as it did with its previous version with the clear disaggregation of gender identity…”

“…In previous fights, the NCAA has forcefully spoken up against anti-transgender legislation, committing to holding championships only in states that are “safe, healthy, and free from discrimination” in response to the 2017 passage of HB 2, the discriminatory bill in North Carolina. Transgender young people of all ages are harmed by discriminatory anti-transgender laws, and it’s important to remember that denying transgender children and youth from playing sports today is tantamount to denying the transgender NCAA athletes of tomorrow…”

In 2021, during the worst anti-transgender state legislative session on record, the Human Rights Campaign, Athlete Ally, and others called on the NCAA to step up their leadership, as the organization has done in previous anti-equality state legislative fights. The NCAA responded by publicly expressing opposition to anti-transgender laws and reaffirmed its commitment to their principle of awarding championship host sites to locations that were “safe, healthy, and free from discrimination.” Yet, after their statement, the NCAA violated its own principle by announcing softball tournaments at schools in Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee, all states that passed anti-transgender legislation last year. Ten states have enacted anti-transgender sports bans, including legislation in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Executive Orders in South Dakota.

In 2015 the NCAA spoke out forcefully against the ratification of an anti-LGBTQ religious refusal bill in Indiana, threatening to reconsider future events and the maintenance of their corporate headquarters within the state. In 2017, the NCAA refused to award any championship host sites in North Carolina in response to the legislature’s hateful and discriminatory “bathroom bill,” lifting its prohibition upon the legislature’s repeal of the law.

The full text of the letter to the NCAA can be read here.