HRC officially announces ‘six-figure’ investment in Va. General Assembly races

By : Michael K. Lavers of the washington blade, courtesy of the national lgbt media association
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ABOVE: Virginia state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas), left, speaks with a group of students at Battlefield High School in Haymarket, Va., on March 28, 2019. The Manassas Democrat is among the 27 Virginia lawmakers and candidates who the Human Rights Campaign has endorsed ahead of November’s general election. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The Human Rights Campaign on Aug. 15 officially announced plans to help Democrats regain control of the Virginia General Assembly this year.

HRC President Alphonso David at Diversity Richmond, a Richmond-based LGBT advocacy group, said his organization has endorsed 27 Democrats who are either running for re-election or seeking to unseat incumbent Republicans. HRC this week also said it will mobilize its supporters with digital ads and mailings and hire field organizers.

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Human Rights Campaign taps Alphonso David as next president

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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After a nearly seven-month search, the Human Rights Campaign announced Tuesday its next president will be Alphonso David—marking the first time a person of color will lead the nation’s largest LGBT organization.

David, a 48-year-old gay black man with an extensive career in New York as a civil rights lawyer, legal advisor and law professor, is named after the board of directors launched an extensive search to replace Chad Griffin, who announced in November he’d leave the organization. David is set to start in August.

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Gov. Polis signs trans birth certificate bill, ban on ‘ex-gay’ therapy

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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With great fanfare in a signing ceremony, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis — the first openly gay man elected governor in the United States — signed into law on Friday two pieces of pro-LGBT legislation.

One measure bans widely discredited “ex-gay” conversion therapy for youth, the other, known as Jude’s Law, streamlines the process by which transgender people can change their gender marker on their birth certificates.

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Trump administration targets transgender health care protections

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Donald Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed a new rule which would roll back health care protections for transgender patients.

In the rule, issued May 24, HHS proposes changing a section of the Affordable Care Act to remove protections for LGBTQ people in health care. It would exclude protections from discrimination based on sex stereotyping and gender identity.

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The US House of Representatives has passed the Equality Act

By : Jeremy Williams
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The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act by a vote of 236-173 on May 17.

“It’s the first time a chamber of Congress has approved a comprehensive LGBTQ civil rights bill that would finally provide clear, nationwide protections for LGBTQ people throughout daily life,” wrote the Human Rights Campaign on Twitter shortly after the measure passed.

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Disney earns perfect score on HRC workplace equality report

By : Lauren Lee
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ORLANDO | The Walt Disney Company earned a perfect score of 100 on the 2019 Corporate Equality Index (CEI). The CEI is a national survey administrated by the Human Rights Campaign that evaluates corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality.

“We are committed to creating and sustaining a welcoming environment for all our employees,” said Latondra Newton, senior vice president and chief diversity officer of The Walt Disney Company, in a post on the company’s website. “We are proud of our longstanding commitment to LGBTQ workplace equality and recognize that we thrive when all people are valued and encouraged.”

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04.04.2019 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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“Never put it in writing,” my mom always says. “You can’t put middle class values on a lower class society,” my 12th grade English teacher taught me. My former boss and mentor often advised me not to speak in absolutes. Most recently, my sponsor tells me to “do the next right thing.”

This is all fantastic advice from important people to me, and I try to obey these words of wisdom in daily life. Oh, I fail. Sometimes I fail miserably. However, the idea is progress, not perfection.

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UCF celebrates International Transgender Day of Visibility

By : Amanda Espinosa
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ABOVE: Gender nonconforming performance artist, writer and educator Alok Vaid-Menon was a special guest at UCF’s TDoV event on March 28. Photo courtesy Alok’s Facebook

ORLANDO | The University of Central Florida (UCF) celebrated the 10th Annual International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV) on its main campus March 28, creating a safe place for students and community members to come and discuss issues transgender and gender nonconforming people face.

“I think as a whole, especially after the tragedy Orlando has faced, I think it’s really important to stand together in solidarity with different people in the community, and understanding the importance of the work and the advocacy that transgender and nonconforming people do,” said Vilma Portocarrero, Pride Director for the Multicultural Student Center at UCF.

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Human Rights Campaign endorses Jane Castor for Tampa mayor

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has endorsed Tampa mayoral candidate Jane Castor ahead of the city’s runoff election April 23.

HRC, the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights advocacy organization, gathered with supporters in Ybor Square March 28 to make the announcement. They were joined by the Hillsborough County LGBTA Democratic Caucus—dedicated to electing progressive candidates—as well as Equality Florida Action PAC, the state’s largest political committee dedicated to electing pro-equality candidates. Each of the latter organizations previously endorsed Castor in the race.

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State Department disputes HRC claim US refused to sign Chechnya statement

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The State Department on March 20 disputed the Human Rights Campaign’s claim the U.S. refused to sign a U.N. statement that calls for an investigation into Chechnya’s anti-LGBTI crackdown.

Albania, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the U.K. and Uruguay signed the statement that was presented during a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 18.

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Advocacy groups mark International Human Rights Day

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Advocacy groups in the U.S. and around the world on Dec. 10 used the 70th annual International Human Rights Day to reaffirm their calls for LGBTI rights.

“Today on the 70th Human Rights Day, we celebrate the global recognition that every human being is born with basic human rights and dignity that should never be violated,” said Human Rights Campaign Global Director Ty Cobb in a statement. “Yet, as an LGBTQ community, we still have a long way to go to achieving that goal. We need look no further than the humanitarian crisis happening at the U.S.-Mexico border, where the Trump-Pence administration is shamefully rejecting those who are fleeing violence in Central America — a good number of whom are members of the LGBTQ community. From Chechnya to Egypt to Indonesia, we will not stop until every member of our community, anywhere in the world, is safe, secure, and truly free and equal.”

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For World AIDS Day, Pence praises HIV programs Trump sought to cut

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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With World AIDS Day approaching, the White House recognized the occasion on Nov. 29 with an event hosted by Vice President Mike Pence, who during his remarks praised HIV/AIDS programs Trump sought to cut during his administration.

Crediting President Trump with bringing a “renewed energy and focus” against HIV/AIDS, Pence made faith-based organizations’ work a cornerstone of his remarks, saying those efforts have made the United States “closer today than ever before to ending the AIDS crisis in our time.”

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