State Department Calls for Independent Investigation into LGBT Murders in Chechnya 

Washington, D.C.—Human Rights First today welcomed comments from State Department officials calling on the Russian government to independently investigate the recent murders and mass arrests of gay men in Chechnya, and calls on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to urge Russia to hold the perpetrators of the assault on the Chechen lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community accountable during his upcoming with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on April 12. The State Department spokesman made the comment in response to a&n

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Chicago, California Join Growing List of Cities and States Banning Official Travel to NC

HRC and Equality NC hailed the news that Chicago and California are maintaining their bans on taxpayer-funded travel to North Carolina. The announcements come after North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, Senate President Phil Berger, and House Speaker Tim Moore passed a law doubling down on many of the worst aspects of the state’s notorious anti-LGBTQ HB2 law.

“We thank California Governor Jerry Brown and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for their leadership — and we commend Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for taking action in the wake of fresh attacks on equality in North Carolina,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “This sham ‘deal,’ passed without a single LGBTQ person at the table, actually doubles down on discrimination against millions of North Carolinians. It’s far past time North Carolina politicians — both Republican and Democrat — stop using LGBTQ people and other communities as political pawns to target for discrimination. In order for North Carolina to move forward, lawmakers must fully repeal HB2 and pass inclusive non-discrimination protections.”

“Cities across the country are seeing HB142 for what it really is — a fake repeal of HB2,” said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro. “The new law continues to make North Carolina the only state in the nation to reserve for itself the exclusive ability to regulate bathroom access and one of only three states to ban cities from passing crucial non-discrimination protections. Cities like Chicago want to ensure that all of their employees are safe when traveling. It is unfortunate that HB142 continues to put LGBTQ people in harm’s way when a simple full repeal of HB2 would have resolved the issue.”

Chicago and California join an ever-growing chorus of cities and states not fooled by North Carolina’s new anti-LGBTQ law, including MinnesotaNew York CityWashington, DCSan FranciscoSeattlePortland, ORAtlantaBaltimoreBurlington, VTLos AngelesOaklandSanta FeCincinnatiSalt Lake CityPalm Springs, CAWest Palm BeachPortland, ME; and Wilton Manors, FL.

HB 142 is not an HB2 repeal, and replaces one discriminatory, anti-transgender, bathroom bill with another. It bans local LGBTQ non-discrimination protections statewide through 2020, and it substitutes the previous anti-transgender bathroom provisions with a new provision that forbids state agencies, public universities, primary and secondary schools, and cities from adopting policies ensuring transgender people have access to restrooms consistent with their gender identity.

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Administration Urged to Appoint Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism

Washington, D.C.—Human Rights First today expressed alarm over reports that the Trump Administration may not fill the U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism position and plans to eliminate the staff positions of that office. The office, when filled and fully staffed, performs critical work documenting and preventing bias-motivated violations against Jewish communities. Human Rights First calls on President Trump to immediately appoint a new special envoy and maintain the office’s support staff and funding.

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