HRC Sends Expanded FOIA Request to ICE & CBP for Records of Treatment of Trans Detainees

HRC sent expanded Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the U.S.  Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) for the release of any and all records, including but not limited to letters, memos, emails, text messages, phone records, health reports, and other documents regarding any transgender detainees in ICE custody between January 21, 2017 and the present, as well as policies and procedures that guide treatment of transgender people in ICE custody.  

This is a follow-up to an earlier FOIA request by HRC in July for all records related to the death of Roxana Hernández, a transgender woman, while in the custody of ICE and CBP.

Hernández reached the United States border on May 9, 2018, seeking asylum after fleeing Honduras due to the violence and discrimination she experienced based on her gender identity. She was held for five days by CBP before being processed into the United States and put into ICE custody in San Diego. She was transferred again to another facility three days later on May 16 before her admission to a nearby hospital on May 17. She passed away on May 25. On May 31, HRC called on ICE to conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances of Hernandez’s death.

“The new information released regarding Roxana Hernández’s death is both tragic and deeply disturbing,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “According to both eyewitness accounts and the forensic examiner, Hernández was denied medical treatment for several days, all while suffering severe symptoms that evidently contributed to her worsening condition. Moreover, we are horrified to learn that Hernández’s body showed signs of physical abuse, including beating or kicking across her torso and being tightly handcuffed for an extensive length of time. Despite these shocking revelations, ICE officials have yet to comment on the specifics of the autopsy and refuse to provide further details regarding her death and detainment. HRC joins advocates, including efforts led by the Transgender Law Center, in calling for the full release in all records related to this tragedy to ensure those responsible for these cruel and fatal acts are brought to justice.”

A report released in 2016 by Human Rights Watch detailed the experiences of 28 transgender women who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border between 2011 and 2015, more than of whom were held in men’s facilities at some point in their detention. Others reported being held in solitary confinement, allegedly for their own protection, while many reported experiencing sexual assault and other forms of violence while in detention.

According to information provided by the Department in response to a request by Rep. Kathleen Rice, LGBTQ immigrants are detained twice as long as other immigrants and also face lengthy stays in solitary confinement despite ICE regulations that stipulate its use as a last resort. ICE also reported to Representative Rice that LGBTQ people accounted for only .14 percent of the people detained by ICE in 2017, but made up 12 percent of reported sexual assault and abuse cases.

The Human Rights Campaign stands with coalition partners in demanding the humane treatment of all undocumented immigrants and will not rest while LGBTQ migrants are subjected to horrific treatment based on their sexuality and gender identity.

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Bermuda’s Government Must Recognize That Marriage Equality is Settled, Advocates Say

Bermuda’s LGBTQ community won a crucial victory for marriage equality in November, when the island’s highest court dismissed the government’s latest appeal to strike down same-sex marriage.

Despite the high court ruling, the government of Bermuda is weighing whether to appeal this ruling to the Privy Council in the U.K. — a desperate attempt to block the path to equality for Bermuda. The deadline for the appeal is December 14.

HRC asked OUTBermuda’s directors, Chen Foley and Zakiya Johnson Lord, what this means for the LGBTQ community.

Is the court’s November 23 decision the final word for LGBTQ Bermudians, and is marriage equality the law of the land?

We hope so. However, the government again is leaving Bermuda and the world in suspense until December 14. We strenuously believe that this is a both a waste of time and an absurd taxpayer expense. The Bermuda courts consistently embrace justice and marriage equality.

If this decision is appealed, what are your chances in the Privy Council?

While we can’t predict the outcome, our attorneys believe this is likely to be our most favorable venue, with a remarkable potential for impacting the work of marriage equality advocates throughout Commonwealth nations, including the Caribbean. If that occurs, the ripples of equality might be quite powerful beyond the borders of Bermuda.

To be clear, can Bermudian same-sex couples marry today?

Yes. The Supreme Court ruled back in 2017 that Bermudians can secure marriage licenses and have their marriages recognized. We are still fighting to make that basic right permanent and lasting for all. Furthermore, two subsequent court decisions have upheld that ruling.

What message do you wish to send to your global allies and advocates?

First, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for standing by Bermudian’s LGBTQ community. We are indebted for the financial, emotional and spiritual support throughout this costly and demanding court process.  We are so close now!

All Bermudians look forward to the day that we reconcile our differences, we redeem our blessings and we reward each other with full equality under the law and within our own loving marriages.

“Another Appeal is Not In Bermuda’s Best Interests,” says #OUTBermuda and all fair-minded Bermudians. Read on:

— OUTBermuda (@OUTBermuda) December 4, 2018

For more information about the ongoing work to support LGBTQ equality in Bermuda, check out and share support on social media. For more about HRC’s work to support LGBTQ equality worldwide, go to

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The Crisis at the Border is an LGBTQ Issue. Here’s Why.

The Trump-Pence administration’s cruel immigration policies are harming LGBTQ and other asylum seekers who are fleeing violence in Central America by leaving them stranded on the U.S.-Mexico border.

More than 120 LGBTQ asylum seekers are currently stuck in Tijuana, with the number sure to grow in the coming weeks as the arrival of a larger group of people fleeing violence and danger draws closer, according to the San Diego LGBT Community Center and RAICES, an organization that provide vital legal support to immigrants.

“We’ve been working with partners in Tijuana to provide legal services, shelter, security, and more for dozens of LGBTQ+ asylum-seekers stuck waiting weeks for their cases to be heard,” said Jonathan Ryan, executive director of RAICES. “The Trump administration is responsible for this delay, a delay that harms all immigrants but is particularly perilous for LGBTQ+ folks, who face dangers from police and ordinary citizens in Mexico and must be allowed safe entry into the United States.”

Violence associated with gangs and drug trafficking has made Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala some of the world’s most violent countries, with few laws protecting people from violence or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Advocates have said that being LGBTQ substantially increases vulnerability to violence, and transgender individuals face the highest risk.

“People migrate (to the U.S.) because they will die and because they are hungry and because they are in need,” said Andrea Ayala, executive director of Espacio de Mujeres Lesbianas por la Diversidad, an El Salvadoran advocacy group, in a July interview with the Washington Blade. Ayala herself fled to Europe in October after facing a threat to her own life.

Today was emotional.

We accompanied a group of LGBTQ migrants taking the first step of the asylum process at the border near Tijuana. After walking for hundreds of miles seeking safety this was an important milestone.

— ������������ (@RAICESTEXAS) November 29, 2018

Earlier this month, many LGBTQ asylum seekers, who were facing discrimination and harassment on their journey, split off from the main group of asylum seekers, reaching the U.S. border in Mexico in mid-November.

“We were discriminated against, even in the caravan. People wouldn’t let us into trucks, they made us get in the back of the line for showers, they would call us ugly names,” said Erick Dubon, in a Washington Post article. Dubon is traveling with his boyfriend, Pedro Nehemias, from San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

A 2016 study by UNHCR, the U.N.’s refugee agency, found through its interviews that nearly 90 percent of LGBTQ asylum seekers and refugees reported suffering sexual and gender-based violence in their home countries in Central America. According to reports from the agency, the number of total registered asylum seekers and refugees from the region has grown exponentially — up 58 percent in 2017 from the previous year.

We helped secure safe passage for these LGBTQ+ migrants to Tijuana and are supporting their asylum claims.

Humans supporting humans.

Please watch and share, to see who’s actually in the migrant caravan.

— ������������ (@RAICESTEXAS) November 20, 2018

“The more authorities in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and the USA fail to take action to protect some of the most vulnerable people in the Americas, the more blood they will have on their hands,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, in a 2017 report documenting experiences of LGBTQ people fleeing the region.

Earlier this year, international outrage spread after the brutal death of transgender asylum seeker Roxana Hernández, who passed away while in ICE custody after fleeing violence and discrimination in Honduras. An autopsy report made public earlier this week strongly indicated Hernández was beaten in custody and denied water and critical medical treatment before her death, but ICE has refused to release a required report on the circumstances of her death for more than 180 days, in direct contravention of a Congressional requirement.

According to information provided by ICE in response to a request by Rep. Kathleen Rice, LGBTQ immigrants are detained twice as long as other immigrants and also face lengthy stays in solitary confinement despite ICE regulations that stipulate its use as a last resort. ICE also reported to Representative Rice that LGBTQ people accounted for only .14 percent of the people detained by ICE in 2017, but made up 12 percent of reported sexual assault and abuse cases.

The multitude of stories emerging from the waves of asylum seekers and refugees fleeing Central America are heartbreaking and infuriating, and the cruelty they are met with at the hands of the Trump-Pence administration is unacceptable.

As the situation continues to evolve, find out more about how to support the work of organizations providing direct assistance to the LGBTQ asylum seekers in Tijuana, including the San Diego LGBT Community Center, RAICES and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

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HRC Equidad MX Workplace Survey Doubles Number of Employers in Mexico Committing to LGBT Inclusion

Today, HRC Foundation officially launched its second annual HRC Equidad MX: Programa Global de Equidad Laboral, an assessment evaluating LGBT workplace inclusive policies and practices within major Mexican businesses and other employers.

This year, 69 Mexican employers earned the HRC Foundation’s designation of “Best Place to Work for the LGBT Community” or “Mejores Lugares para Trabajar LGBT,” more than doubling the number of Mexican businesses that explicitly support inclusion of LGBT individuals in the workplace, and reflecting the commitment of corporate leaders to advance LGBT equality and foster inclusive and safe workplace environments for their employees.

The 2019 HRC Equidad MX Report assessed major Mexican businesses and multinational companies based on three core pillars of LGBT inclusion:

  • Adoption of nondiscrimination policies;
  • Creation of employee resource groups or diversity and inclusion councils; and
  • Engagement in public activities to support LGBT inclusion.

Following last year’s successful inaugural program in which 32 major employers in Mexico — including PEMEX, the largest company in the country and one of the largest in Latin America — earned the HRC Foundation top LGBT workplace inclusion designation, Equidad MX seeks to expand the network of inclusive employers throughout Mexico.

“We are proud to witness the growth of LGBT-inclusive businesses throughout Mexico. This year’s honorees keenly understand that the economy of the future is built with the diverse talent of today, and that LGBT inclusion is key to attracting and retaining the best workforce,” said Deena Fidas, HRC Director of HRC Equidad MX and HRC Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program. “Mexican multinational companies have enormous economies and employ thousands of people. This gives them the ability to influence change on this issue in a unique way, and we are delighted to recognize them for this commitment.”

Fidas delivered remarks at the Mexico City-based HRC recognition event, supported by the Pride Connection and prominent LGBT-committed Mexican corporate partners. Fidas, who also leads HRC Equidad CL (HRC’s second in-country workplace program) and co-authors the HRC annual Corporate Equality Index (CEI), the premier national benchmarking tool on corporate LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices in the U.S.

“HRC Equidad MX 2019 is an unprecedented moment for LGBT inclusion in Mexico and the Latin American region,” said Francisco Robledo and Fernando Velázquez, HRC Equidad MX Implementing Partners. “Corporate leaders in Mexico increasingly recognize that when they stand up for LGBT people, including their own employees, customers, and consumers, they promote justice while also serving their bottom line.”

“Respect and support for diversity has been part of Uber’s DNA from day one. We know that one of our main strengths is a diverse and inclusive team that questions the status quo and drives innovation,” said Federico Ranero, CEO of Uber Mexico. “At Uber, we work every day to create a workplace where everyone is respected and included, everyone is able to be who they are, and where authenticity is celebrated as one of our strengths. We are honored to be recognized by HRC Equity MX for second consecutive year.”

“The inclusive culture of Scotiabank is a reflection of our geographical presence. It allows and obligates us to take advantage of the wide range of skills, knowledge and talent in all of our global operations,” said Thayde Olarte, Vice President of Digital Banking at Scotiabank Mexico. “Our diverse talent is both the result of a diverse society and a business strategy. Where there is diverse and inclusive workforce, there is greater productivity, commitment and customer retention.”

Earlier this year, HRC held a two-week series of business workshops, convening corporate leaders and civil society stakeholders to bolster greater LGBT inclusion in Colombia, Chile, Peru, Argentina and Mexico. Through its global workplace equality programs HRC Equidad MX and HRC Equidad CL, the HRC Foundation is leading the effort to advance LGBT workplace inclusion in workplaces across the U.S., Mexico and Chile, impacting more than 14.5 million employees worldwide.

HRC is proud to join with Lexmark México, DELL EMC, Citibanamex, Philip Morris México, Bain & Company, INE, Unilever, SAP México, TE Connectivity, Access Quality, Uber, CompuCom, EY México, Pepsico México, Sony Music Entertainment, Herman Miller, AT&T, México, Coca-Cola FEMSA, J.P. Morgan, Baker McKenzie, Oliver Wyman, Aeroméxico, HSBC México, SONOVA México, Grupo Modelo, Scotiabank México, Lubrizol, Google, Accenture, BASF, Kellogg Company Mexico, Los Cabos International Film Festival, 3M, Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), Grupo Gayosso, Pfizer México, Procter & Gamble, Cisco Systems, Nielsen México, The Boston Consulting Group, Edelman, IBM México, MetLife México, General Motors de México, McKinsey & Company México, Creel, García – Cuéllar, Aiza y Enríquez, Cinépolis, American Airlines, SEPHORA México, Thomson Reuters, Pernod Ricard México, Ford Motor Company, Museo Memoria y Tolerancia, Nike México, Mundo Joven Travel Shop, American Express México, PayPal México, Porter Novelli, Sodexo México On Site Services, Walmart de México y Centroamérica, Softtek, Media Marketing Knowledge Group, Volteo, Microsoft, Facebook México, Diageo, Mastercard, DOW and General Electric to celebrate LGBTQ-inclusion in the workplace.

Here is a list in alphabetical order:



Access Quality


American Airlines

American Express México


Bain & Company

Baker McKenzie


The Boston Consulting Group


Cisco Systems


Coca-Cola FEMSA


Creel, García – Cuéllar, Aiza y Enríquez





EY México

Facebook México

Ford Motor Company

General Electric

General Motors de México


Grupo Gayosso

Grupo Modelo

Herman Miller

HSBC México

IBM México


J.P. Morgan

Kellogg Company Mexico

Lexmark México

Los Cabos International Film Festival



McKinsey & Company México

Media Marketing Knowledge Group

MetLife México


Mundo Joven Travel Shop

Museo Memoria y Tolerancia

Nielsen México

Nike México,

Oliver Wyman,

PayPal México

Pepsico México

Pernod Ricard México

Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX)

Pfizer México

Philip Morris México

Porter Novelli

Procter & Gamble

SAP México

Scotiabank México,


Sodexo México On Site Services


SONOVA México,

Sony Music Entertainment

TE Connectivity

Thomson Reuters




Walmart de México y Centroamérica

For more information on the HRC Equidad MX program, visit or email to learn more about participating in the HRC Foundation’s Equidad MX survey.

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Nearly 180 Companies Oppose Alarming Effort to Erase Transgender People From Legal Protections

Responding to a rising tide of legislative and administrative attempts to further marginalize transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex people – detailed in a recent report by the New York Times on administrative efforts to erase transgender non-discrimination protections through reinterpretation of existing law – 121 additional companies, including 49 enterprise businesses and 73 small and mid-size companies, have joined the Business Statement for Transgender Equality since it was first published on November 1.

178 companies in total have now signed the statement, which asserts that diversity and inclusion are good for business, observes that discrimination significantly harms transgender people and imposes enormous productivity costs, and calls for full equality for transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex people under the law. The full text of the statement is included below.

The companies that have signed the statement represent more than 7 million employees, have a collective annual revenue of more than $3.2 trillion, and are drawn from a broad range of industries including financial services, consumer products, and technology.

Sixteen LGBTQ+ community organizations, led by Out Leadership and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), have organized the effort to secure corporate signatories. The coalition also includes: Athlete Ally, Freedom for All Americans, GLAAD, GLSEN, Lambda Legal, The Matthew Shepard Foundation, The National Center for Transgender Equality, The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, The National LGBTQ Task Force, Out & Equal, PFLAG National, The Trevor Project, The Transgender Law Center, and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF).

“We’re deeply inspired to see so many of the world’s leading companies speaking with a united voice in support and defense of transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex people. And we’re grateful to every company that’s signed on, including the Out Leadership members who stood up immediately to call for this statement. As we continue to see in our work around the world, including at our Summits in Australia last week and Asia this week, the business community is serving as a crucial backstop for hard-earned progress on LGBT+ equality – because inclusive cultures are more innovative, more productive, and more efficient, and because it’s the right thing to do.” — Todd Sears, Founder and Principal, Out Leadership

“In one united voice, the business community is making clear they stand with the transgender community against the Trump-Pence administration’s unconscionable efforts to gut enforcement of existing civil rights protections. These businesses are speaking out at a crucially important moment as the LGBTQ community faces relentless attacks on equality. No matter how hard the Trump-Pence administration continues to try, we will not be erased.” — Jay Brown, Acting Senior Vice President for Programs, Research, and Training, Human Rights Campaign

“So often, these discriminatory policies are made in the name of Business, but companies and communities know that discrimination is – in fact – bad for business. Millions of Americans who believe in equality for all are watching – and they’re spending and investing based on this value. Transgender people are deserving of employment, equality, and respect, and the companies who have signed this statement know that, and are stronger for it.” — Erin Uritus, CEO, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates

Business statement for transgender equality

November 13, 2018

We, the undersigned businesses, stand with the millions of people in America who identify as transgender or gender non-binary, or who are intersex, and call for all such people to 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. We also fundamentally oppose any policy or regulation that violates the privacy rights of those that identify as transgender or gender non-binary, or who are intersex.

In the last two decades, dozens of federal courts have affirmed the rights and identities of transgender people. Cognizant of growing medical and scientific consensus, courts have recognized that policies that force people into a binary gender definition determined by birth anatomy fail to reflect the complex realities of gender identity and human biology.

Recognizing that diversity and inclusion are good for business, and that discrimination imposes enormous productivity costs (and exerts undue burdens), hundreds of companies, including the undersigned, have continued to expand inclusion for transgender people across corporate America. Currently more than 80 percent of the Fortune 500 have clear gender identity protections; two-thirds have transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage; hundreds have LGBTQ+ and Allies business resource groups and internal training efforts.

Transgender, gender non-binary, and intersex people are our beloved family members and friends, and our valued team members. What harms them harms our companies.

We call for respect and transparency in policy-making, and for equality under the law for transgender, gender non-binary, and intersex people.

Enterprise Businesses

As of November 1, 2018


Adobe Systems Inc.


Altria Group

Amalgamated Bank


American Airlines


Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP)

Bank of America

Ben & Jerry’s Homemade

BNY Mellon


Cisco Systems Inc.


Clifford Chance

The Coca-Cola Company

Corning Incorporated

Corteva Agriscience™, the Agriculture Division of DowDuPont

Deutsche Bank

The Dow Chemical Company

E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company


Fastly, Inc.


Hogan Lovells


IBM Corporation

Intel Corporation

Intuit Inc.

Iron Mountain

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Levi Strauss & Co.


Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics


Marriott International


MGM Resorts International

Microsoft Corp.

Nike, Inc.


Replacements, Ltd.

Ropes & Gray

Royal Bank of Canada

S&P Global


Sheppard Mullin

Sodexo Inc.


State Street Corporation

TiVo Corporation

Trillium Asset Management

Twitter Inc.


Warby Parker


As of November 13, 2018

Allen & Overy


American Express

Asana, Inc.


Best Buy Co. Inc.

BNP Paribas


Cardinal Health

Converse, Inc.

Couchbase, Inc.


Deloitte LLP


Dropbox Inc.

eBay Inc.


Etsy, Inc.



Gap Inc.




Hilton Worldwide Inc.

Johnson & Johnson

Kaiser Permanente







Omnicom Group



Perkins & Will

Perkins Coie LLP

Progressive Insurance


Sanofi US

Shutterstock, Inc.



Squarespace, Inc.

Swiss Re


ViiV Healthcare



Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

As of November 13, 2018

7R Media & Expeditions

AdRoll, Inc., dba AdRoll Group

America Competes


Bento Box Communications



Brain+Trust Partners

Branch Metrics

Braze, Inc. (formerly Appboy)

Callen-Lorde Community Health Center

Chef Software

Civis Analytics

Collective Health

Combs Advisory Services

Complete Marketing Systems

Cultivating Change Foundation

Dallas Voice

Dialog Group

Donatti Translation & Interpreting


EnFocus Strategies

Fernandez & Company

Five North Chocolate


Freedom QA


Grand Rounds, Inc

Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce





Lab Monkey Communications

Lansky Career Consultants


Litmus Software, Inc.

Mango Digital, LLC

MapAnything, Inc


Megawatt Analytics, LLC


Mitosis Management

Modern Columbus Realty

Momentum Psychological Services, PLLC

Nakanishi Research & Consulting LLC

New Relic

NightSHIFT Communicator’s Network


Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU)

OutSmart Magazine




Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus


Rathman Consulting & Coaching, Inc.

Rhodes Perry Consulting, LLC

Rudner Law Offices

Safe Connections

Shift Technologies, Inc.

Signal Digital, Inc.

Sprout Social


Studio 5 – Learning + Development, LLC

SweetRush Inc

Texas Competes Action

The Ally Coalition




Witeck Communications, Inc.

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