For Pose, The Category Is… Making History

If you haven’t been watching “Pose,” Ryan Murphy’s latest television series on FX, you’ve been missing out on a necessary, revolutionary look at recent LGBTQ history.

Last night, Janet Mock made history by becoming the first transgender woman of color to both write, produce and direct for a major network television show.

Pose is helmed by a cast and crew of queer and transgender trailblazers including HRC honorees Angelica Ross and Billy Porter, MJ Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson, Steven Canals — and of course, Mock.

The show is set in New York City, juxtaposing the house/ball scene against the tumultuous political and social climate of the 1980s — and it features the largest cast of transgender actors in series regular roles, as well as the largest recurring cast of LGBTQ actors ever for a scripted series.

“I want to tell stories and to create the mirrors that I didn’t have growing up,” said Mock in a column she wrote for Variety describing her journey with the show.

Here are five of our favorite moments from Mock’s directorial debut last night:

1. Costas Perez and Pray Tell’s relationship

The love between Costas Perez and Pray Tell made us laugh and made us cry throughout this season — and while we knew his time living with HIV was short, Perez’s death has left us heartbroken.

“They’ll never know that feeling — what it’s like to love without worrying that you’re going to die or worse yet that you’re going to kill somebody.” #PoseFX https://t.co/NLsMEJyixb

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) July 9, 2018

Love Live Never forget, but work on letting go. #PoseFX pic.twitter.com/pMM5QzTp7Z

— Mj Rodriguez (@MjRodriguez7) July 9, 2018

2. Sandra Bernhard

Need we say more?

Forever grateful for @angelbcuriel‘s comedic relief — especially during that scene. Whew. #posefx pic.twitter.com/NWKSzGr6Om

— them. (@them) July 9, 2018

3. Billy Porter and MJ Rodriguez’s emotional duet at the cabaret

It was a raw look through the eyes of Porter and Rodriguez’s characters into the fear and pain of both living with HIV and watching your loved ones die from the disease that, at the time, no one knew how to stop.

.@theebillyporter All. The. Feels. ������ https://t.co/ArouS9di17

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) July 9, 2018

@PoseOnFX Fun Fact: The AIDS cabaret storyline was inspired by a conversation between @theebillyporter, @MrRPMurphy, and I. Billy informed us of cabarets that would take place at AIDS wards in the late 80s and early 90s. #PoseFX

— Steven Canals (@StevenCanals) July 9, 2018

And I’ve learned
That we must look inside our hearts
To find
A world full of love
Like yours, Like mine
Like Home. #PoseFX
Thank you @theebillyporter x @MjRodriguez7 pic.twitter.com/LMDd3Jphpc

— Janet Mock (@janetmock) July 9, 2018

4. Lil Papi finally getting his perfect 10 

10s 10s 10s!!! #LilPapi did that ������ pic.twitter.com/seYHOmC6vM

— Angel Bismark Curiel (@angelbcuriel) July 9, 2018

5. “Love is the message.”

Pray Tell may have found some new music for the next ball, but as we dry our tears after watching this episode, we won’t forget that love is indeed the message.

❤️���������� is the message. #PoseFX https://t.co/0KE48ySJl2

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) July 9, 2018

I dedicate this episode to all those we have lost from AIDS. We need to remember, and never forget. Thank you Janet and the cast and crew for making me weep and yet cheer for what is possible when LOVE IS THE MESSAGE.

— Ryan Murphy (@MrRPMurphy) July 8, 2018

 POSE airs at 9 p.m. EDT Sundays on FX. Be sure to tune in!

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With our Most Fundamental Rights on the Line, the American People Should Decide at the Ballot Box

Today, HRC called on the Senate not to consider the next Supreme Court nominee until after the American people vote in the midterm elections this November. Donald Trump has signaled his intention to nominate Supreme Court justices who would undermine significant progress — from health care to LGBTQ equality to the Constitutional right to safe, legal abortion. HRC calls on Senate Leadership to allow the American people to decide at the ballot box whether they want a nominee who will undermine their fundamental rights and freedoms — or one who will protect them.

“Justice Kennedy’s retirement should serve as a wakeup call for every pro-equality voter in America,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Trump wants a Supreme Court nominee who will undermine progress we’ve made on affordable health care, LGBTQ equality, Roe and more. The American people don’t — and they should have an opportunity to say so at the ballot box in November. The 2018 midterm elections just became the most consequential election of our lifetime. We must keep organizing, mobilizing, and holding lawmakers to account every single day — and then we need turn out like never before this November.”

The Human Rights Campaign believes judicial nominees should:

  • 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.

Over 30 years on the Supreme Court, Justice Kennedy cast countless tie-breaking votes on major decisions, and authored the majority opinion in the four most influential cases affecting LGBTQ people in the past three decades:

  • Romer v. Evans, finding that bare animus can not be a justification to pass measures that discriminate aginst LGBTQ people;
  • Lawrence v. Texas, finding laws that criminalize intimate relationships between same-sex couples to be unconstitutional;
  • US v. Windsor, finding that the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibited legally married same-sex couples from being recognized as married by the federal government, to be unconstitutional; and
  • Obergefell v. Hodges, finding that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry regardless of where they live in the United States.

As this process moves forward, HRC 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.

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Three Ways Betsy DeVos Has Undermined Protections for Students

It has been more than a year since the Trump-Pence administration began dismantling and withdrawing vital protections in place to support marginalized students. Since her confirmation to office, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has made clear that the Department of Education no longer prioritizes protecting all students from harm.

In case you missed it, here are three of the Trump-Pence administration’s most dangerous threats to students under DeVos’ authority:

1. Under the direction of DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, within days of taking office, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice revoked the Obama Administration’s guidance detailing schools’ obligations to transgender students under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. While students are still entitled to the legal protections guaranteed by Title IX, the action clouded schools’ understanding of their obligations to transgender youth. Reports have since surfaced that the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has dismissed cases of discrimination filed by transgender students and their families.

WATCH: Families of transgender kids traveled to the US Dept. of Education (@usedgov) to deliver a message to @BetsyDeVos. The letter, signed by more than 700 parents of trans youth, urges Sec. DeVos to recognize the “basic human and civil rights of transgender students.” pic.twitter.com/IowHTMJWez

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 8, 2018

.@BetsyDeVosED complained about being criticized for not upholding the rights of students, despite failing time and time again to protect or enforce our nation’s civil rights laws when it comes to protecting #LGBTQ students. pic.twitter.com/rv4eDGm1XD

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 21, 2018

2. In Sept. 2017, DeVos withdrew vital Title IX guidance related to schools’ obligations to address sexual harassment, including sexual violence — an action that disproportionately impacts LGBTQ people. Studies suggest that nearly half of bisexual women have been raped and half of transgender people will experience sexual violence at some point in their lifetimes. HRC’s Jordan Dashow, an LGBTQ survivor, revealed the cruelty behind this message in a powerful oped calling for strong enforcement of Title IX. 

Last year, #LGBTQ survivor Jordan Dashow (@j_dashow) revealed the cruelty behind @BetsyDeVosED’s dangerous decision to rescind #TitleIX sexual assault guidance for schools. Student survivors need to know that the government will take their complaints seriously. #EnoughIsEnough pic.twitter.com/bhWb32uS6y

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 24, 2018

It has been more than six months since the Trump-Pence administration withdrew vital #TitleIX guidance on sexual violence. @HRC continues to demand justice for these student survivors because #EnoughIsEnough. #WorkSafeLearnSafe https://t.co/WVMrN73CNf

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 24, 2018

3. Recently, reports have surfaced that DeVos is considering rescinding guidance protecting students from discrimination in the application of school discipline as part of her new Federal Commission on School Safety. Schools are explicitly prohibited from discriminating against students based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion or disability. In 2014, the Department of Education issued guidance and provided resources to help ensure schools are providing an equal opportunity for all students. The consequences of exclusionary school discipline can be devastating to young people, especially those who may already face marginalization in school, their communities and even at home.

Ignoring discrimination will not make schools safer despite @BetsyDeVosED turning her back on students with marginalized identities. #RethinkDiscipline https://t.co/83FPxuLkAr

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 20, 2018

Rescinding and weakening these and other guidance sends a clear message that the Department of Education will not do its job as a federal agency devoted to enforcing civil rights laws in educational settings. Students need to know that the government will take their complaints seriously and that they will be protected from abuse, harassment and violence.

HRC will continue to fight alongside civil rights and education advocates — both during Sexual Assault Awareness Month and throughout the rest of the year — to protect the civil rights of all students.

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