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Bill Clinton Praises LGBT Progress, Highlights the Movement's Next Steps at HRC Dinner: VIDEO

Clinton

At the HRC's National Dinner last night, former president Bill Clinton gave a impassioned speech about the importance of the many victories the LGBT community has won since he last addressed the HRC back in 1997. Clinton also pointed out the work that still needs to be done in the South and abroad to bring about full LGBT equality. 

The speech is about 30 minutes long, but is well worth a watch AFTER THE JUMP...

Some memorable lines from the speech, if you don't have the time for the full address:

>"I remember so well when I came here in 1997 and I ask everybody to stand up who was involved in our government and a lot of people stood up. As an example of how far we have come, believe it or not 17 years ago that was a big deal because everybody could remember a time when no one who was LGBT who was working in the government in a prominent position could stand up in public and say so. That's how far we've come. Everybody was cheering that night because it was such a unusual feeling. Now it would be unusual if anybody noticed. And that's a good thing." 

>"I love HRC, the initials are great, the other person with those initials once famously said as Secretary of State that gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights."

>"This campaign that the HRC is going to undertake in Arkansa, Mississippi, and Alabama - if you had asked me ten years ago if this was a good idea I would have offered to personally pay for Chad's psychiatric treatment. But one thing we have learned is that no human heart is immune to an honest outreach. No one can forever ignore their personal experience. If you asked somebody who the most conservative member of President George W. Bush's Administration was, most people would say Dick Cheney. But Dick Cheney was for gay marriage and gay rights because of his daughter, because of his personal, human experience."

>"I also want to say that i think the effort to take the HRC international is profoundly important. There are people who lost their battle to hold you back in the United States who think you can take the show on the road and win somewhere else. And there are about 80 countries now that have very serious restrictions on LGBT rights."

>"You should be happy and proud tonight, I've never seen a civil rights movement, at least in our country, move as far, as fast as your movement ever. But don't kid yourself, there's a lot of people who are left out and left behind. There's still some barriers that need to be brought down. And all over the world, there are young people who still have to cower in fear of their governments, their leaders, and sometimes their families. They need the poetry of your campaign."

There was conspicuously no mention of Don't Ask, Don't Tell or the Defense of Marriage Act, both of which were signed by Clinton while in office. 

Continue reading "Bill Clinton Praises LGBT Progress, Highlights the Movement's Next Steps at HRC Dinner: VIDEO" »


Judy Shepard And Hundreds Of Activists Set To Attend LGBT Rights Conference In Mexico City Next Week

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) is set to hold it's 27th world conference in Mexico City next week. 

LOGO-WEB-298x300According to an article in the Washington Blade, Judy and Dennis Shepard, parents of Matthew Shepard, will be speaking to members of the group, which is an umbrella organization of more than 1,000 local and national groups devoted to advancing LGBT rights worldwide and monitoring laws that protect or persecute LGBT people. The group is also known for its maps of the world which highlight LGBT rights in different regions, like Europe.

“Dennis and I are excited to be able to meet so many amazing activists from ILGA next week,” Judy Shepard told the Blade. “We’re very much looking forward to learning from the other participants.” 

ILGA expects more than 400 activists from over a dozen countries to be there for five days of panels, meetings and discussions. The conference runs from October 27th through the 31st, with other U.S. attendees including Ty Cobb of the Human Rights Campaign and Shawn Gaylord of Human Rights First. The location of the event is notable as Mexico is currently experiencing some growing pains over LGBT rights, with massive protests against marriage equality after it was voted in for the Coahuila province earlier this year.


HRC Endorses PrEP, Truvada: READ

On Saturday, the Human Rights Campaign endorsed Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) - an HIV prevention strategy that reduces the risk of infection by the use of antiretroviral drugs. The group also endorsed the use of Truvada, the pharmaceutical produced by Gilead, while making it clear that PrEP is more than just about taking a pill.

HRC writes:

Truvada pillHRC believes that everyone should have the opportunity to make an informed choice about their sexual health and about PrEP with an informed healthcare provider. PrEP should only be utilized in combination with other safer sex practices – including continued condom use – and patients need to stay on their medications. HRC believes that all PrEP users should be educated about their medications and the potential side effects, establish dosing routines that work for them, and work around financial or health needs that may impede adherence, as well as seek out social support.

The group is also calling on "insurers, regulators, and drug manufacturers to make PrEP available to all medically-qualified individuals, regardless of socioeconomic barriers."

Read the policy paper outlining HRC's new endorsement, AFTER THE JUMP...

The Associated Press adds:

Some doctors have been reluctant to prescribe the drug, Truvada, on the premise that it might encourage high-risk, unprotected sexual behavior. However, its preventive use has been endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and many HIV/AIDS advocacy groups. [...]

The CDC says studies have shown that Truvada, when taken diligently, can reduce the risk of getting HIV by 90 percent or more. Research discussed at the International AIDS Conference in July found that use of the drug does not encourage risky sex and is effective even if people skip some doses.

Others, such as AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weistein have labeled Truvada a "party drug" and maintain it will erode condom culture. 

Continue reading "HRC Endorses PrEP, Truvada: READ" »


HRC Compiles 'Hall Of Shame' List, Outs 19 Least LGBT-Friendly Members Of Congress

MicheleBachmannHRC

The Human Rights Campaign has released an inaugural "Hall of Shame" list to discredit the 19 "most anti-equality" members of congress. The criteria? Each shameful inductee had to vote affirmatively for or co-sponsor legislation that "would enshrine discrimination into our nation's body of laws and our Constitution." There were a couple of notable facts about the list: one democrat, N.C. representative Mike McIntyre, made the cut, and only one woman, Minnesota's own Michele Bachmann, found herself among the hateful cohort.

Buzzfeed reports:

“If you want to understand why LGBT equality has hit a roadblock in Congress, you don’t need to look any further than these leaders of anti-LGBT obstruction and animus,” said David Stacy, HRC’s government affairs director. “These members go out of their way to oppose any step toward equal protection under the law or to protect LGBT Americans from violence, discrimination and harassment. They proactively work to undermine existing legal protections and promote anti-LGBT discrimination.”

Why did democratic McIntyre find himself on the list?

HRC stated that McIntyre made the list because he cosponsored the Federal Marriage Amendment, which aimed to define marriage in the U.S. Constitution as a union between one man and one woman, and “if there is a pro-equality vote opportunity, McIntyre can usually be counted on to vote no.”

A real shame indeed. The HRC will release its annual scorecard for congress on the whole later this week.

For now, check out the full 19-member roster, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "HRC Compiles 'Hall Of Shame' List, Outs 19 Least LGBT-Friendly Members Of Congress" »


Brian Brown Lashes Out At HRC's 'Anti-Family Imperialism,' HRC Responds 'Sorry We're Not Sorry'

Brown

In an op-ed published in The Washington Times, National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown goes on the attack against the Human Rights Campaign's new "Export of Hate" report exposing America's anti-gay activists (including Brown) and their work promoting bigotry abroad. 

Writes Brown:

HrcAs is its custom, the Human Rights Campaign cites long-discredited and ideologically partisan sources such as the Southern Poverty Law Center to give apparent credibility to its hate-filled invective. The HRC also intentionally misrepresent facts, twisting them beyond recognition to justify the charge that somehow supporting marriage as the union of one man and one woman around the world is wrong. [...]

As the Human Rights Campaign well knows, I have consistently denounced hate and violence. It is a slur and lie to claim otherwise. It should be clear to any honest observer that the truth is not what the organization is after. Instead it simply seeks to silence and intimidate those with whom it disagrees. Hence, the self-professed purpose of the report is to name and shame those who stand for the truth of the nature of marriage.


The Human Rights Campaign, as a founding member of the Council for Global Equality and partner of the George Soros-funded International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, is a key part of a network of organizations that have spent hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide attacking traditional faith communities, states and individuals who stand for the truth about marriage and family. They are in the phalanx of a new form of cultural imperialism that seeks to overthrow the traditions, wisdom and reason of cultures and faiths around the world.

Brown goes on to say that he's "proud to have played some small role" in the "emerging pro-family movment" around the globe - likely in reference to his trip to Russia last year collaborating with lawmakers on the country's gay adoption ban

The HRC, meanwhile, is firing back in a blog post titled "Sorry We're Not Sorry, Brian Brown"

Brian Brown is one of many Americans taking the mission of anti-LGBT hate and bigotry abroad. It’s time for American extremists like Brown to be called out for their actions. It is unacceptable to fight against the freedom and liberty of LGBT people worldwide.  Sorry we’re not sorry, Brian Brown. It is time for you, and other exporters of hate, to end the spread of bigotry and lies.

Check out the full post HERE

Brown isn't the first anti-gay activist included in the report to make a fuss about it. Scott Lively has said that the report is "deliberately trying to incite murder against me" and Libery Council's Mat Staver has also voiced his displeasure with having his bigotry called out.


Pro-LGBT Republican Donors To Meet At Secret Washington Conference Today

Singer

Pro-LGBT Republican advocates are today to host the confidential and off-the-record American Unity Conference of high-dollar donors seeking to make the party more LGBT-inclusive, reports the Washington Blade.

The same advocates are behind the American Unity Fund and the American Unity PAC, related groups that seek to elect pro-LGBT Republican candidates and encourage party support for LGBT rights. Both organizations are funded by philanthropist and billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer, who backs LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)Singer - whose sone Andrew is gay - is also scheduled to deliver remarks this morning to kick off the event.

GriffinAccording to sources, Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), is due to speak at the event although his role will be limited to an introduction of Theodore Olson, a former U.S. solicitor general who was lead counsel in the federal lawsuit against California’s Proposition 8 and pending litigation challenging Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage. 

Singer and Griffin have worked together on LGBT advocacy issues in the past. In January, HRC under Griffin organized two events on international LGBT rights with Singer at the World Economic Forum.  Americans for Workplace Opportunity, which was set up by Griffin as a collaborative project with other pro-LGBT groups to pass ENDA, also reportedly received a donation of $375,000 from Singer to encourage House members to vote for the bill.

Other scheduled speakers include Ken Mehlman, the former chair of the Republican National Committee who later came out as gay and has since worked to advance marriage equality; Rep. Charlie Dent, one of four House Republicans advocating for same-sex marriage and a House Republican co-sponsor of ENDA; and Dan Innis, a gay former dean of business at the University of New Hampshire who recently lost his bid to represent the state’s 1st congressional district in the U.S. House.


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