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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Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin stepping down

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Equality activist Chad Griffin – president of the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) – announced Nov. 15 that he will vacate the position in 2019 after seven years.

“Under Griffin’s leadership, HRC has become a leader in the resistance to the Trump-Pence administration, and one of the most politically powerful organizations in the country,” the organization shared.

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56 major companies denounce Trump admin anti-trans plan

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Fifty-six major companies came out Nov. 1 against a reported Trump administration plan to eliminate transgender protections under federal law, asserting transgender people must “be treated with the respect and dignity everyone deserves.”

“We oppose any administrative and legislative efforts to erase transgender protections through reinterpretation of existing laws and regulations,” the companies said in a statement. “We also fundamentally oppose any policy or regulation that violates the privacy rights of those that identify as transgender, gender non-binary or intersex.”

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Equality-focused organizations, candidates and voters hope to turn the tide Nov. 6

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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The LGBTQ vote matters. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)—the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization—it made up five percent of the electorate in 2016’s general election.

The organization stresses that LGBTQ voters were one of the few voting blocs to increase its turnout following 2012’s cycle, noting one critical element. “Here’s the key thing to remember,” HRC President Chad Griffin tells Watermark. “Because we are intentionally excluded from the census—the Trump-Pence administration eliminated what would have been a census that included us—we know that number by independent exit polling data.

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Taiwan marriage activists receive support from Evan Wolfson, HRC

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The founder of Freedom to Marry and two of his former colleagues are working with same-sex marriage activists in Taiwan ahead of next month’s referendum on the issue.

Evan Wolfson, Cameron Tolle and Thalia Zepatos are working with the Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan, an organization that is campaigning in support of marriage rights for same-sex couples on the island.

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Outrage over report of sweeping Trump administration anti-trans plan

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Transgender advocates were vocal in their indignation Oct. 21 over a report in the New York Times about a sweeping anti-transgender plan within the Trump administration to limit the definition of “sex” in U.S. government policies to biological gender.

According to the New York Times, the Department of Health & Human Services is set to spearhead the initiative with the proposed rule that has been drafted and circulating since last spring and will be presented to the Justice Department by the end of the year. In the words of the New York Times, the proposal would amount to “defining transgender out of existence.”

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