HRC Endorses U.S. Rep. Angie Craig for Reelection

Today, HRC announced the endorsement of U.S. Rep. Angie Craig for re-election.

Rep. Angie Craig, as one of seven openly LGBTQ members of the U.S. House and the first openly lesbian mother to be elected to Congress, has been one of the community’s most impactful and vocal supporters of the Equality Act — crucial bipartisan legislation that would finally provide clear, comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Over the next year, HRC will devote significant resources to turning out the 658,000 Equality Voters across the state of Minnesota to ensure pro-equality, LGBTQ leaders like Rep. Craig remain in, or are elected to office.

“The voters of Minnesota’s 2nd district made a wise choice in electing Angie Craig to Congress in 2018. She’s hit the ground running as a champion for civil rights, for good paying jobs, and for accessible and affordable health care,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Angie Craig’s success in Congress has helped show LGBTQ children and youth that they can aspire to any job in America regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Human Rights Campaign is proud to endorse Congresswoman Craig’s bid for reelection and we look forward to continuing to fight alongside her for full equality.”

“I’m honored to have the support of HRC. As the first LGBTQ mother in Congress, I know that having more voices represented only makes our nation stronger,” said Angie Craig, U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District. “We need all kinds of experiences and voices to be represented in order to move important policies, like the Equality Act, forward. It is my privilege to work with you to usher in a better future for the next generation.”

In the 2018 midterms, 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. 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.

 

 Paid for by Human Rights Campaign PAC (www.hrc.org) and authorized by ANGIE CRAIG FOR CONGRESS

Read more

SHAMEFUL: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee Signs Harmful Anti-LGBTQ Child Welfare Bill

Today, HRC condemned Tennessee Governor Bill Lee for signing HB 836, a bill that would allow child welfare organizations — including taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies — to turn away qualified Tennesseans seeking to care for a child in need, including LGBTQ couples, interfaith couples, single parents, married couples in which one prospective parent has previously been divorced, or other parents to whom the agency has a religious objection. 

“It’s disturbing that Governor Bill Lee signed legislation that will harm children in Tennessee,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Elected officials should protect all of their constituents, not just some. Now, Tennessee has the shameful distinction of being the first state to pass an anti-LGBTQ bill into law this year. This bill does nothing to improve the outcomes for children in care, shrinks the pool of prospective parents and is a blatant attempt to discriminate against LGBTQ Tennesseans. With many months ahead in the Tennessee legislative session, Tennesseans should make their voices heard — loudly — to ensure that the legislature and Gov. Lee do not continue to target LGBTQ Tennesseans.” 

“As this bill becomes law, Tennessee’s LGBTQ community is worried about the introduction of even more discriminatory bills,” said Chris Sanders, executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project. “The Governor and the Legislature must put a stop to this kind of demeaning public policy.”

HB 836 could have a sweeping, harmful impact in child welfare services by enabling discrimination against LGBTQ people, same-sex couples, interfaith couples, single parents, married couples in which one prospective parent has previously been divorced, or other qualified parents to whom an agency has an objection. The biggest barrier to placing children with families is a lack of qualified prospective parents; having the state give contractors and subcontractors a license to discriminate, thereby limiting the pool of prospective parents for no legitimate reason, is unconscionable and an unacceptable use of taxpayer dollars. 

HRC recently released a report, titled Disregarding the Best Interest of the Child: License to Discriminate In Child Welfare Services, detailing the harms of efforts to write anti-LGBTQ discrimination by child welfare agencies into law. Statistics suggest that an estimated two million LGBTQ adults in the U.S. are interested in adoption, but the LGBTQ community often remains an untapped resource when it comes to finding families for children and youth in foster care.

Research consistently shows that LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in the foster care system, as many have been rejected by their families of origin because of their LGBTQ status, and are especially vulnerable to discrimination and mistreatment while in foster care. HB 836 will only exacerbate these challenges faced by LGBTQ young people.

Read more

Ensuring Competent Care for Transgender and Non-Binary People

While communities around the country observe Trans Awareness Week, in one Texas city, advocates have shifted the narrative. 

The Mahogany Project and Save Our Sisters, two Houston-based organizations, have founded Black Trans Empowerment Week to “not only to memorialize those who have been tragically taken, but to charge forward into the empowered future they envision for all transgender people.”

For Houston community health advocate Donte Oxun, it’s exciting to see. 

“Even in the light of so much transphobia and racism from our government and from some parts of society, to see my community be like, ‘You know what? We’re not just remembering our dead.’ We actually have so much more work to do, and we’re going to do all of it,’” they told HRC.

Oxun has worked in HIV and public health spaces since 2009, shortly after they were diagnosed with HIV — something that propelled them into speaking out.

“Like many people who are gender diverse and of color, my life was definitely touched by HIV even before I was living with HIV,” Oxun said. “I have family members who I lost to HIV when I was pretty young.”

“I’ve always been a bit of a loudmouth and a person who understands and relates with people who struggle,” they continued. “So, the way I dealt with my HIV diagnosis was to be really public about it at first. It’s important to humanize our perspective and really show that people can live regular lives and that we deserve to have our stories told.”

In their work with Legacy Community Health in Houston, Oxun is a lead patient advocate, primarily helping patients — particularly trans and non-binary patients — living with HIV or Hepatitis C to navigate the health care system and receive the care they need. Legacy has been offering gender-affirming, LGBTQ-competent care for young people and adults for more than 30 years, Oxun said.

“Competent care is a challenge,” they said. “We shouldn’t have to negotiate between parts of our identities when seeking care is already a challenge.”

Texas has one of the highest populations of uninsured people, reminds Oxun. Obstacles to accessing care range from poverty and socioeconomic status to fear of stigma or violence — something on the minds of many as we draw closer to commemorating Transgender Day of Remembrance

Of the 22 known transgender or gender non-conforming people killed this year, four of those victims were killed in Texas. All four of the trans people killed in Texas this year were Black transgender women — something that matters when talking about how to support and provide services for the local transgender community.

“Violence affects people’s health care,” Oxun said. “When a person doesn’t feel safe to catch the bus to walk down the street, they’re going to be less likely to see a doctor. They’re going to be less likely to pick up their prescriptions. They’re going to be less likely to get access to care.”

Until those barriers are dismantled and addressed, transgender and gender non-conforming people will continue to face higher rates of discrimination, poverty, homelessness and violence not just in Texas but around the country.

“No matter who you are, if you’re working in any form of health care, you’re going to interact with somebody who’s gender diverse,” Oxun said. “You may not know it, they may not be comfortable reporting it to you, but you are. It’s about seeing them as a whole person.”

For information for LGBTQ people seeking to learn more about access to care, particularly under the Affordable Care Act, click here.

Read more