AVP Action Brief: #EqualityForward

The AVP Action Brief tracks actions of the Trump administration that impact our communities’ safety and rights and offers concrete steps that we can take to stand up for safety and justice.

We are here for you and we are in this together.

#EqualityForward

Today, U.S. Representative David N. Cicilline and U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley jointly introduced the Equality Act of 2017 into both chambers of Congress. The Equality Act is a bipartisan proposal that seeks to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other key federal nondiscrimination laws to provide LGBT people with comprehensive federal protections against discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and more. The Equality Act would also expand the definition of public accommodations to include transportation services, retail establishments, and health care services – places where we frequently see LGBTQ discrimination.

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs’ most recent report on Hate Violence underscores the need for the federal protections provided by the Equality Act. In 2015, 61% of survivors knew the person who committed the hate violence against them, such as landlords, coworkers, and acquaintances. Nearly half of survivors reported experiencing violence in either a private residence or a workplace. The Equality Act would be the first piece of federal legislation passed by Congress to remedy the everyday forms of bias, discrimination, and intimidation that our communities face as we navigate our lives.

 Here’s what you can do.

  • Put pressure on your representatives and tell them that you support the Equality Act.
  • Join the conversation online using the hashtag #EqualityForward
  • Read the Center for American Progress survey on LGBTQ discrimination.
  • Report violence you experience or witness to AVP and Communities Against Hate.
  • If you know someone who is an LGBTQ survivor of violence who is experiencing trauma or fear as a result of these recent government actions, encourage them to contact AVP’s confidential 24-hour English/Spanish hotline at (212) 714-1141. They will be connected with a counselor who understands the ways this political climate is affecting our communities
  • Support AVP: Give now to ensure our voices are heard.
  • Forward this email to a friend. Ask them to sign up for the AVP Action Brief to stay informed and activated, too.

 

 Further reading:

The Advocate: Dems Re-Introducing LGBT Rights Bill

Vox: “Discrimination is doing its dirty work”: a new survey looks at the effects of anti-LGBTQ hate

#CANTERASEUS; License to Discriminate

2020 could have been the year that questions about sexual orientation and gender identity were included in the US Census. Instead, it was announced this week that the 2020 Census will not include questions about sexual orientation and gender identity. AVP has been tracking violence against LGBTQ people for 20 years, and knows the vital importance of this data to our lives. In order to know how many LGBTQ people are impacted by violence we need to know how many LBGTQ people exist. These numbers are also how resources are allocated: how towns, cities, and states decide where to direct fund and who to support with resources and services. AVP will continue to track the violence that LGBTQ people experience through the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs and ensure this data is visible in a political climate where we are increasingly more vulnerable. We have also joined with 11 other organizations from impacted communities to form Communities Against Hate to map the hate violence we are experiencing and connect survivors to resources. AVP will continue to ensure our communities are counted.

License to Discriminate

On Monday, Trump quietly signed an executive order (EO) revoking EO 13673, previously signed by President Obama in 2014. EO 13673 required that federal contractors show compliance with federal laws and other EOs. This was significant as Obama signed this EO on the same day that he signed the “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” EO, which directed that federal contractors could not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and extended protections for LGBTQ workers. By rescinding the order that requires federal companies seeking federal contracts to prove they’ve complied with federal laws banning discrimination, Trump effectively rendered Obama-era protections toothless. Last year, NCAVP reported that 1 in 8 LGBTQ survivors reported experiencing violence at work, yet Trump’s latest EO will allow federal contractors to freely discriminate.
Here’s what you can do.

  • Report violence you experience or witness to AVP and Communities Against Hate.
  • If you know someone who is an LGBTQ survivor of violence who is experiencing trauma or fear as a result of these recent government actions, encourage them to contact AVP’s confidential 24-hour English/Spanish hotline at (212) 714-1141. They will be connected with a counselor who understands the ways this political climate is affecting our communities.
  • Support AVP: Give now to ensure our voices are heard.
  • Attend and share info about our free LGBTQ Legal Clinics focused on immigration, ID and document change, intimate partner violence representation, and more.
  • Forward this email to a friend. Ask them to sign up for the AVP Action Brief to stay informed and activated, too.

Further reading:
Huffington Post: We Count: Why Data Matters More Than Ever For LGBTQ People – by AVP’s Emily Waters
NBC Out: LGBTQ Advocates Say Trump’s New Executive Order Makes Them Vulnerable to Discrimination
Washington Blade: Trump’s U.S. Census proposes, immediately cuts LGBT survey questions

AVP Action Brief Department of Justice Signals a Step Back on Transgender Rights; #STANDWITHGAVIN; #NOBANNOWALLNORAIDS

The AVP Action Brief tracks actions of the Trump administration that impact our communities’ safety and rights and offers concrete steps that we can take to stand up for safety and justice. We are here for you and we are in this together.

Department of Justice signals a step back on transgender rights

One day after Senator Jeff Sessions was sworn in as Attorney General, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a brief signaling a step backward in their support of rights and protections for transgender students. At issue is the guidance that the DOJ and Department of Education (DOE) issued under President Obama, which interpreted sex under Title IX to include gender identity. This extended Title IX’s non-discrimination protections to include transgender and gender nonconforming students.

In August 2016, the state of Texas sued the DOJ and DOE challenging this guidance, and a Texas judge filed an injunction saying that the Obama administration’s guidance would be put on hold nationally. In November of 2016, before President Trump took office, the DOJ and DOE requested a stay of the injunction, asking that the injunction only extend to Texas and the 11 other states that joined the lawsuit, rather than to the whole nation. On Friday, the DOJ filed a brief withdrawing the request for the stay and cancelling  the scheduled oral argument in order to plan the DOJ’s next steps in this case. Whatever these next steps are, we have serious concerns that they will not be friendly toward transgender students. AVP will be closely monitoring the DOJ’s actions and we call on all of us to stand in support of our transgender and gender nonconforming community members.

#StandWithGavin

The effort to create safe and supportive education environments for transgender students still advances along a number of other channels. On March 17, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case of Gavin Grimm, a 17-year-old transgender teen from Virginia who has been locked in a long legal battle with his local school board over his right to use the bathroom that matches his gender. Last night, artist and activist Laverne Cox used the stage of the Grammy awards to draw attention to Gavin’s historic case.

#NoBanNoWallNoRaids

Over the weekend, AVP learned that ICE arrested nearly 40 people in the New York area as part of a targeted enforcement operation. ICE operations have been confirmed in five other states. AVP stands with our immigrant community members. We will not back down and we will resist with you.

In these times, accurate information is crucial to curb fears and rumors. We’re following the work of the New York Immigration Coalition to stay up to date, and we suggest you do too. Learn your rights at ACLU; if you need emergency information or an attorney, call the Legal Aid hotline at 844 955 3425.

  • Support immigrants by showing up to the New York Immigration Coalition rally tomorrow at Foley Square at 6PM.
  • Show your support for Gavin Grimm online using the #IStandWithGavin. Educate your friends and communities about this important case.
  • Call your senator at (877) 959-6082 and voice your support for federal LGBTQ protections and funding for those protections
  • AVP is OPEN on February 17th so that you can join the GENERAL STRIKE! RSVP here and join us 10 am to 2 pm that day for legal intakes, volunteer opportunities, letter writing to elected officials, and more!
  • Attend and share info about our free LGBTQ Legal Clinics focused on immigration, ID and document change and more.
  • Report LGBTQ or HIV-related violence that you experience or witness online or to AVP’s 24-hour English/Spanish hotline at (212) 714-1141.
  • Forward this email to a friend. Ask them to sign up for the AVP Action Brief to stay informed and activated, too.

Further reading:
BuzzFeed: The Justice Department Is Taking A Step Back From Efforts To Protect Transgender People Under Existing Law

Washington Blade: DOJ nixes request to halt order against trans student protections

NBC OUT: Gavin Grimm: Meet the Boy Laverne Cox Shouted Out at the Grammys

AVP Action Brief: Civil Rights, Not Sessions’ Rights; We Need Police Reform!; #HERETOSTAY

The AVP Action Brief tracks actions of the Trump administration that impact our communities’ safety and rights and offers concrete steps that we can take to stand up for safety and justice. We are here for you and we are in this together.

Civil rights, not Sessions’ rights

Yesterday, Senator Jeff Sessions was sworn in as Attorney General. Sessions has a disturbing record of opposition to laws protecting the civil rights of LGBTQ people, people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities and more.  He has voiced his support for the First Amendment Defense Act—a bill that would allow individuals or organizations to discriminate against LGBTQ people under the guise of religious freedom. Sessions also voted against the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 2013, which includes protections for LGBTQ, immigrants, and Tribal communities. These protections, which NCAVP, a program of AVP, fought for in coalition with domestic violence and sexual violence organizations nationally, are vital for survivors of violence, including LGBTQ survivors who still face extreme barriers when accessing services.

As Attorney General, Sessions is responsible for enforcing all federal laws—whether he supports them or not—and for protecting the civil rights of every one of us.  We saw this responsibility in action when Acting Attorney General Sally Yates instructed the Justice Department not to defend President Trump’s Muslim Ban, and as a consequence was fired. In the months ahead, we will continue to work to protect the rights of LGBTQ people and call on Sessions to do the same: to protect our laws and rights as is the responsibility of the Attorney General.

We need police reform!

One day after Sessions’ confirmation, President Trump issued three new executive orders prioritizing federal laws and grant-making that protect and bolster law enforcement.  With people of color, immigrants, and LGBTQ people being historically and presently criminalized, once again the Trump administration has put the rights and protections of police over the constituents they should be protecting.  LGBTQ communities, especially LGBTQ youth, LGBTQ people of color and transgender and gender non-conforming people, are often profiled by and experience violence at the hands of police. And a new study by the Williams Institute found that lesbian, gay and bisexual people are incarcerated at disproportionately high rates, and more likely to experience mistreatment, harsh punishment, and sexual victimization once incarcerated. Locally, AVP is working in coalition with Communities United for Police Reform on issues of police reform like the Right to Know Act and we will work to hold law enforcement accountable to our communities locally and nationally.

#HereToStay

Yesterday, a federal appeals court unanimously denied the government’s request to allow it to enforce Trump’s travel ban executive order. This means that the temporary restraining order protecting refugees and visa holders from the travel ban is still in place. In the court decision, the three federal judges hearing the case questioned the government’s national security justification for the ban and the constitutionality of the executive order itself, noting that the ban targets 7 Muslim majority countries and therefore a specific religious group. We will not stand for Islamophobia and we will resist alongside our allies in the judicial system: all are welcome here with us.

  • Call your senator at (877) 959-6082 and voice your support for federal LGBTQ protections and funding for those protections
  • Call your local New York City elected officials and encourage them to support the Right to Know Act
  • AVP is OPEN on February 17th so that you can join the GENERAL STRIKE! RSVP here and join us 10 am to 2 pm that day for legal intakes, volunteer opportunities, letter writing to elected officials, and more!
  • Attend and share info about our free LGBTQ Legal Clinics focused on immigration, ID and document change and more.
  • Report LGBTQ or HIV-related violence that you experience or witness online or to AVP’s 24-hour English/Spanish hotline at (212) 714-1141.
  • Forward this email to a friend. Ask them to sign up for the AVP Action Brief to stay informed and activated, too.

Further reading:
Vox: Sen. Jeff Sessions was just confirmed as the next attorney general
The Guardian: Trump vows law and order crackdown to combat ‘menace’ of crime
Vox: How “Blue Lives Matter” went from a reactive slogan to White House policy

 

AVP Action Brief: We’re Watching You, Devos

Our AVP Action Brief  tracks actions of the Trump administration that impact our communities’ safety and rights and offers concrete steps that we can take to stand up for safety and justice. We are here for you and we are in this together.

We’re watching you, DeVos

This afternoon, Betsy DeVos was confirmed for Secretary of Education after a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence. DeVos, whose family foundation has donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBTQ organizations that support conversion therapy, is dangerously unqualified for the position of Secretary of Education. During her confirmation hearing, she didn’t understand that students with disabilities are protected by federal law; when asked about Title IX, a federal law that prohibits discrimination in schools based on sex and gender identity, she said it would be “premature” to uphold a 2011 rule that requires colleges to take an active role in preventing sexual assault.

In Trump’s cabinet, DeVos is responsible for ensuring that LGBTQ students are safe and free from harassment. She now has the ability to overturn the protections for transgender students enacted during the Obama administration. We must hold DeVos and all who voted for her accountable at every step to protect public schools, LGBTQ students, students with disabilities, and student survivors of violence. In the coming months, we will be watching the policy that comes out of the Department of Education, and we will be prepared to take action against any rollbacks of protections for our nation’s LGBTQ and other vulnerable youth.

Here’s what you can do.

  • AVP offers free trainings to schools, educators and community groups around LGBTQ competence and anti-violence issues. Request a training here, and share this information with any educators you know!
  • Engage on a local level with your community’s schools to defend education for all. There are leadership opportunities for parents, including joining the school board, and you can call or write to your local superintendent to show your support—here’s where you can find the contact information for NYC superintendents at elementary, middle, and high schools.
  • Attend and share info about our free LGBTQ Legal Clinics focused on immigration, ID and document change and more.
  • Sign up for AVP’s Speaker’s Bureau and add your story to the resistance!
  • Call your senator at (877) 959-6082 and continue to tell them not to confirm Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Tweet at your senator using the hashtag #StopSessions.
  • Report LGBTQ or HIV-related violence that you experience or witness online or to AVP’s 24-hour English/Spanish hotline at (212) 714-1141.
  • Forward this email to a friend. Ask them to sign up for the AVP Action Brief to stay informed and activated, too.

Further reading:
Salon: Donald Trump’s Presidency is a Grave Threat to LGBT Students and Betsy DeVos is Just the Tip of the Iceberg
Washington Blade: Despite Concern Over Anti-LGBT Donations, DeVos Confirmed as Education Secretary
NPR: Betsy DeVos Confirmed as Education Secretary

AVP Action Brief: We Will Not Be Divided; Stop Religious Exemptions, Stop Sessions

President Trump has begun to carry out many of his troubling campaign promises that threaten the safety, security, and rights of LGBTQ people and many others in this country. Now, more than ever, we need to stay informed and take action. Our AVP Action Brief, tracks actions of this administration that impact our communities’ safety and rights and offers concrete steps that we can take to stand up for safety and justice. We are here for you and we are in this together.

We will not be divided

Last week, buried in the language of Trump’s executive order on immigration from Muslim countries, was this line: “[T]he United States should not admit those who […] would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.” Using the safety of LGBTQ people as a reason to enforce a Muslim ban is unethical, and we won’t stand for it. Nor will we be divided by this tactic, especially as we support our LGBTQ Muslim community members. This past weekend, AVP joined thousands of New Yorkers at a Rally and March to End Refugee and Muslim Ban. Nothing suggests that the Trump administration will be friendly to LGBTQ people, and we stand with our Muslim, immigrant and refugee friends, family, and community members.

Stop religious exemptions, Stop Sessions

Tomorrow, the senate will vote to confirm or deny Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Not only does Sessions have a decidedly anti-LGBTQ voting history, but he’s also voiced his support for the First Amendment Defense Act—a bill that would allow individuals or organizations to discriminate against LGBTQ people under the guise of religious freedom. FADA would allow employees or agencies to deny even life-saving services to LGBTQ people without any federal action. Despite laws existing in 20+ states protecting LGBTQ residents from discrimination, the administration could use FADA to overturn those protections. FADA is emblematic of legislation that both codifies and sanctions hate against LGBTQ people.  When bills like FADA pass, it sends the message that it’s okay to hate, it’s okay to discriminate, and it leaves our communities vulnerable to violence. We will fight this, along with any other hate-based legislation or executive orders. AVP joined 437 civil rights groups, including immigrant rights and LGBTQ organizations, in speaking out against Sessions’ appointment. It’s crucial that we take action to stop the Sessions confirmation.

Here’s what you can do.

  • Call your senator at (877) 959-6082 and tell them not to confirm Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Tweet at your senator using the hashtag #StopSessions.
  • Join the LGBT Solidarity Rally in support of Muslims, immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers
  • Attend AVP’s Brooklyn Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Forum on Friday to address the needs of TGNC New Yorkers focused on immigration, employment, policing and more.
  • Attend and share info about our free LGBTQ Legal Clinics focused on immigration, ID and document change and more.
  • Forward this email to a friend. Ask them to sign up for the AVP Action Brief to stay informed and activated, too.
  • Report LGBTQ or HIV-related violence that you experience or witness online or to AVP’s 24-hour English/Spanish hotline at (212) 714-1141.

Further reading:
NBC OUT: First Amendment Defense Act Looms Over Sessions’ Confirmation Vote
Washington Post: Trump’s hard-line actions have an intellectual godfather: Jeff Sessions
NBC News: Trump’s Immigration Restrictions Could Be LGBTQ ‘Death Sentence’

AVP Action Brief: No Ban No Wall; Stop Sessions

President Trump has begun to carry out many of his troubling campaign promises that threaten the safety, security, and rights of LGBTQ people and many others in this country. Now, more than ever, we need to stay informed and take action. AVP is launching the AVP Action Brief, which will track actions of this administration that impact our communities’ safety and rights and offer concrete steps that we can take to stand up for safety and justice. We are here for you and we are in this together.

No Ban No Wall

Yesterday, President Trump signed two anti-immigrant executive orders. The orders call for the building of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and to cut federal funding to “sanctuary” cities, which are cities, like New York, where police cooperation with federal immigration agents has been intentionally reduced. Today, Trump is expected to sign executive orders to block visas for people entering the U.S. from Syria, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. A travel ban like the one suggested by this executive order will only serve to foster Islamophobia and contribute to hate violence. Many LGBTQ refugees seek asylum in the U.S., and Trump’s attack on sanctuary cities directly threatens our immigrant communities, particularly our LGBTQ Latinx and Muslim community members. AVP’s counselors and legal team often work with immigrants, and are here to support those seeking help.

Stop Sessions

Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has a track record of taking actions that would roll back protections for or even endanger LGBTQ people. The Attorney General is responsible for upholding civil rights laws and protecting the most vulnerable in our nation, and we can’t trust Sessions to do this job. AVP joined 437 civil rights groups, including immigrant rights and LGBTQ organizations, have already spoken out against Sessions’ appointment. Earlier this week, the Senate decided to delay the Sessions confirmation vote, postponing it until next Tuesday: Now we have the opportunity to prevent his confirmation.

Here’s what you can do.

  • Report LGBTQ or HIV-related violence that you experience or witness online or to AVP’s 24-hour English/Spanish hotline at (212) 714-1141.
  • Call your senator at (877) 959-6082 and tell them not to confirm Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Tweet at your senator using the hashtag #StopSessions.
  • Attend and share info about our free LGBTQ Legal Clinics focused on immigration, ID and document change and more.
  • Attend AVP’s Brooklyn Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Forum to address the needs of TGNC New Yorkers focused on immigration, employment, policing and more.
  • Forward this email to a friend. Ask them to sign up for the AVP Action Brief to stay informed and activated, too.

Further reading:
The Hill: Trump signs orders on border wall, immigration enforcement
Reuters: Trump expected to order temporary ban on refugees
New York Times: Trump to Order Mexican Border Wall and Curtail Immigration
Politico: De Blasio threatens suit over Trump’s sanctuary cities order