House Flips with Historic Victories for HRC-Backed, Pro-Equality Candidates Nationwide

Tonight, HRC celebrated historic victories for HRC-endorsed LGBTQ candidates and pro-equality allies in key races across the nation. Dozens of HRC-backed candidates declared victory tonight, following 18 months of unprecedented engagement and voter mobilization in more than 70 congressional races and key state-level races from governor to state legislature in 23 states from coast-to-coast.

In the summer of 2017, the Human Rights Campaign launched HRC Rising, the largest grassroots expansion in the organization’s 38-year history. Since then, HRC has endorsed more than 480 pro-equality candidates nationwide, and deployed 150 staff to organize and mobilize voters in more than 70 congressional, targeted senate and key statewide races across 23 states. HRC also backed more women and people of color than in any election cycle in its history: 45 percent of HRC’s endorsees were women — including 55 percent of non-incumbent candidates — and nearly one-third were people of color.

Tonight, a record number of LGBTQ lawmakers were elected at all levels. Notably, Senator Tammy Baldwin was re-elected to the U.S. Senate. Jared Polis became the first openly gay man to be elected governor in the United States. Oregon Governor Kate Brown, the first LGBTQ governor in history, was re-elected. Sharice Davids became the first gay Native American lawmaker in Congress. And a record number of out LGBTQ candidates were elected and re-elected to the U.S. Congress.

HRC helped register more than 32,000 voters and recruited more than 4,200 volunteers, who worked over 8,500 shifts and clocked more than 30,000 volunteer hours. In the critical final four days of the campaign, HRC staff and volunteers in get-out-the-vote efforts alone knocked on more than 80,000 doors, and held 36,400 conversations with voters at their doors and by phone on behalf of our endorsed candidates.

Since June, HRC President Chad Griffin has barnstormed the country campaigning for 50 pro-equality candidates at more than 70 events in 47 cities across 23 states.

“Tonight, millions of LGBTQ voters and allies across the nation rejected the politics of hate and fear and put Donald Trump and Mike Pence on notice,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The days of attacking LGBTQ people for political gain are over, and the American people will not stand for lawmakers who try to drum up votes by trafficking in hate. Thanks to millions of Americans who stood up and fought back, we have succeeded in restoring a sane, pro-equality majority to the House and placing a check on this administration’s hateful agenda. To the 3 million members of the Human Rights Campaign who have worked tirelessly for the last 18 months to out-organize and out-mobilize anti-LGBTQ extremists nationwide, thank you for making history tonight. Together we have sent a loud and clear message that if you come for us, then we will come for you on Election Day.”

HRC’s unprecedented grassroots mobilization represented an investment of approximately $26 million to  recruit volunteers, mobilize constituents, register voters and grow the organization’s grassroots army in an all-out effort to pull the emergency brake on the hateful anti-LGBTQ agenda of the Trump-Pence administration and elect a Congress that would hold them accountable.

HRC’s Equality Votes PAC spent $3.2 million to drive turnout through direct mail and digital ads in priority races including Senator Tammy Baldwin, Jacky Rosen, Kyrsten Sinema, Harley Rouda, Mike Levin, and Representatives-elect Sharice Davids and Angie Craig. HRC also invested in six-figure GOTV ads in Georgia and Florida. Through tested digital ads, HRC was able to reach a total of 4.6 million voters across priority races.

We also celebrate a historic victory in Massachusetts where voters upheld non-discrimination protections for transgender people in public spaces. Question 3 – which asked voters whether to maintain a 2016 law protecting transgender people from discrimination in critical public accommodations including restaurants, hotels, hospitals, stores and public transportation – was the first time gender identity non-discrimination protections were on a statewide ballot independent of protections based on sexual orientation. HRC serves as a founding executive committee member of Freedom for All Massachusetts, a coalition of national and state equal rights organizations, which led the successful Yes on 3 Campaign.

Over the last two years, the Trump-Pence administration has relentlessly attacked the LGBTQ community, from a “license-to-discriminate” executive order to revoking protections for transgender students to unconscionably attempting to ban brave transgender troops from serving openly. Within the last two weeks, the New York Times reported that the administration was secretly planning to redefine “sex” to exclude transgender people in an intentional effort to eliminate federal nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people. A list of the administration’s attacks over the last two years can be found here.

HRC has released a number of statements on major victories for top HRC-backed candidates. 

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Thousands of HRC Members Submit Public Comments With One Message—Trans Veterans Deserve Care

More than 2,000 LGBTQ people and allies from across the nation joined HRC in responding to a request for public comments regarding the Department of Veterans Affairs’ current discriminatory policy prohibiting the VA from providing gender affirming surgeries to veterans.  

Access to comprehensive transition related care is essential to promoting the health and well being of transgender people. The American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, American Academy of Family Physicians and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have issued public statements over the past decade that consistently conclude transition related care is both medically necessary and the appropriate treatment for gender dysphoria.

Despite these conclusive findings, the Trump-Pence administration continues to blatantly challenge surgery as a medically-validated option to treat gender dysphoria, undermining the health of transgender veterans. HRC members and supporters have made it clear that the current prohibition conflicts directly with the best practices for transgender care and is blatantly discriminatory.

1/ Hello, this is @HRC Press Secretary Charlotte Clymer (@cmclymer). As a transgender woman and veteran, I’m doing an #HRCTwitterTakeover to urge people to take action and tell @DeptVetAffairs that trans vets deserve medically necessary care. https://t.co/eMM3t5sj59 pic.twitter.com/34lf6IWAc4

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) September 6, 2018

2/ The vast majority of Americans are in total agreement: ensuring service members and their families receive care and respect.

Yet the Trump-Pence administration continues going after trans troops and now veterans. This is simply unacceptable. — @cmclymer #HRCTwitterTakeover

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) September 6, 2018

3/Few things unite the country as much as the effort to provide compassionate & competent care for veterans. As a trans vet, I’m heartbroken that for as much reverence I received, my status as a trans person seems to painfully supersede that service.-@cmclymer #HRCTwitterTakeover

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) September 6, 2018

4/ For decades, the @DeptVetAffairs excluded coverage of medically necessary surgical procedures for transgender troops suffering from stress and anxiety of trying to align their gender identity with their presentation. — @cmclymer #HRCTwitterTakeover

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) September 6, 2018

5/ This exclusion flies in the face of every major medical authority. @DeptVetAffairs acknowledged research showing that severe medical consequences can arise if transition-related surgeries and procedures are not provided. — @cmclymer #HRCTwitterTakeover https://t.co/3xdj9BaRrR

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) September 6, 2018

6/ Under Trump-Pence, the VA has maintained the exclusion policy. It’s not the first time they attacked trans people serving. After @realDonaldTrump tweeted a ban on trans troops, a bipartisan choir spoke out against the unconstitutional policy. – @cmclymer #HRCTwitterTakeover pic.twitter.com/UKfhOP4cWe

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) September 6, 2018

7/ Now, we are called to protect trans veterans, but the window is quickly closing on our ability to oppose this discriminatory and dangerous rule. Public comments are due �������� ������������. Take some time to submit one. – @cmclymer #HRCTwitterTakeover https://t.co/eMM3t5sj59

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) September 6, 2018

8/ This administration is using the same discredited excuses that they have invoked to justify their ban on open service to now target medically necessary health care for trans vets. Tell @realDonaldTrump & @mike_pence that trans vets deserve care. – @cmclymer #HRCTwitterTakeover

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) September 6, 2018

9/9 Take action with @HRC NOW. Tell the @DeptVetAffairs that ALL veterans deserve medically necessary care, regardless of who they are, from a grateful nation they so honorably served. Read more about this in my latest piece for @TheAdvocateMag. https://t.co/1i1Auj3qvF

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) September 6, 2018

Health care decisions should be left to patients and health care providers. They should be based solely on the current standards of care and not on political convenience or partisan ideology.  

HRC stands with transgender veterans and demands that the VA put our veterans — and their health — first.

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Ohio Agency Awarded All Children – All Families Seal of Recognition

On August 15, HRC awarded Northeast Ohio Adoption Services (NOAS) with the All Children – All Families Seal of Recognition as a Leader in Supporting and Serving LGBTQ Youth & Families. HRC Board of Directors Member Suzanne Hamilton (based in Cleveland) was on hand to commend the dedicated team of staff members who led NOAS’s efforts in this area. The Seal was presented at the Hilton Downtown Cleveland.

NOAS is an independent, specialized adoption and foster care agency based out of Warren, Ohio, and has been in service since 1978. Throughout that time they have led innovations on ensuring family stability for youth throughout the region. NOAS prides itself on innovation — from ensuring family stability to maintaining sibling connections, the agency is looked to as an example by peers in Ohio and throughout the country. This same drive for innovative solutions to the needs of children is behind their work toward All Children – All Families’ Seal of Recognition.

NOAS earned the Seal of Recognition by meeting All Children – All Families’ 10 key Benchmarks of LGBTQ Cultural Competency.

“NOAS is so honored to be presented with the All Children All Families LEADER certification from the Human Rights Campaign!,” NOAS posted on Facebook. “We are so happy to be specially equipped to serve the LGBTQ community!”

If you would like to learn more about Northeast Ohio Adoption Services, please visit their website.

HRC Foundation’s All Children – All Families has guided agencies across the U.S. in improving practice with LGBTQ youth and parents for more than a decade. To learn more about the program’s practice improvement model and see a full list of participating agencies, visit hrc.org/acaf. To find LGBTQ-inclusive agencies in your area, check out the list of participating agencies.

Northeast Ohio Adoption Services, All Children All Families, HRC, LGBTQ, Ohio

Above: Eric Meinhart, Plexus; Luz Pellot, HRC Cleveland; Cheryl Tarantino, NOAS; Cynthia Wallis, NOAS; Suzanne Hamilton, HRC Cleveland, BoD; Thomas Hawn, Plexus.

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