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Organizing in DC for Racial & Economic Justice

May 12, 2017

peoples budget1.jpgMany people across the country believe a stereotype that the LGBTQ community is wealthy, white and male. In reality millions of LGBTQ people and their families live below the poverty line according to the Poverty and Economic Injustice research released by the National LGBTQ Task Force. That is why the Task Force is working tirelessly to advocate for racial and economic justice. Occasionally, we’re blessed with the opportunity to put this important core value into action in local communities. Such was the case last month when we participated in the “People’s Budget Forum” in Washington, D.C.’s Ward 8, a historically marginalized community with high rates of people living below the poverty line.

The forum was set up to inform community members about D.C. Mayor Bowser’s proposed budget and the areas where the budget is inadequate. City Councilmember Trayvon White attended the forum, along with staff from other councilmembers’ offices, to listen to constituents and answer questions. Leading up to the event, the Task Force partnered with Working Families, the host organization, to help with canvassing in ward’s 7 and 8 to recruit community member’s to the forum.

The organizing team canvassed throughout the two wards metro stations and grocery stores. We talked with community members about economic justice issues, like affordable housing, more good jobs with a living wage and public schools. We described what the People’s Budget Forum was about and then invited them to the event.

The purpose of the People’s Budget Forum was for community members to learn more about the fair budget priorities for fiscal year 2018: housing security, civil rights, economic justice, health, education, food access, fair taxes and public deals. These issues are all directly intersecting issues that affect the LGBTQ community. Acts of discrimination and lack of proper resources lead to LGBTQ people in housing, education and employment having negative outcomes in stability and security.


At the event, people were welcomed in and leaders started describing the injustices affecting the community and how the budget was playing into continuing the cycle of oppression. Then community members were asked to go to table’s labeled with different issue topics to learn more specifics about that issue in the budget. People were then able to ask questions that were put on flip chart paper. After a while all the tables were called back together and each table chose a representative to describe what the group talked about and listed the group’s grievances and asked question to the council member and staff.

The organizing efforts leading up to the event was truly transformational. I was inspired by the community’s engagement, by how well it was attended and received. The event was filled with passion, a sense of community, urgency, a call for justice, and the brilliance of community organizing. I am genuinely proud of our work to advance racial and economic justice for all, including LGBTQ people.

thumbnail_fileBy Camden Hargrove, Field Organizer, National LGBTQ Task Force

100 Days of Resistance Against Trump & Pence Administration

April 28, 2017

On Saturday, Donald Trump will mark his first 100 days in office. Never in our history has a president done so much damage so quickly — and we’ve had to act quickly to stop his plan to destroy lives.

In his first 100 days, he has given us: a cabinet that’s a who’s who of the extreme right who are determined to impose their views on everyone; a Supreme Court appointee who is so conservative on issues such as LGBTQ equality and reproductive rights that he makes Antonin Scalia seem moderate; a flurry of executive actions designed to among other things target trans children, people of color, people of faith, LGBTQ elders, immigrants and women. And he has even tried to erase LGBTQ people from four important federal surveys including the Census.

The National LGBTQ Task Force has been resisting the Trump & Pence Administration every step of the way. In the Administration’s first 100 days we:

  • helped to bring over 3,500 activists together at our Creating Change Conference within hours of Trump taking office to outline our vision for the future and how we would preserve, protect and advance progressive change;
  • co-sponsored and participated in the historic Women’s March the day after Trump’s inauguration;
  • joined #NoBanNow actions in DC, at airports and online to resist his Muslim ban; actions that helped lead to the ban being rejected by the federal courts
  • helped lead the way in successfully defeating Trump’s radical right pick for Labor Secretary Andrew Puzder, while continuously urging the Senate to vote no to racist Jeff Sessions #StopSessions as Attorney General, and the ultra-conservative SCOTUS pick Neil Gorsuch #StopGorsuch;
  • were victorious in the unified LGBTQ opposition to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act;
  • kept the pressure on Trump not to issue an executive order that would allow religion to be misused to discriminate against LGBTQ people and others;
  • joined partners at the White House on International Women’s Day to protest Trump’s Global Gag Rule which is a draconian ban on comprehensive reproductive health care across the world;
  • protested outside the White House about his immoral removal of vital protections for trans youth in schools;
  • trained and organized hundreds of people, including LGBTQ faith leaders, in North Carolina, a state that has been viewed as a testing ground for some of Trump’s most extreme anti-LGBTQ policies;
  • responded to the rise in bias related incidents since Trump was elected by joining the #EliminateHate campaign; and
  • challenged the forces of anti-LGBTQ, anti-reproductive justice religious right conservatives with our network of thousands of positive and affirming voices of faith to dispel the opposition’s harmful and inaccurate rhetoric.

This is by no means an exhaustive list: we have been resisting Trump in hundreds of ways every single hour in what has been for millions, 100 days of hell.

Please do not remain silent while he continues to roll back progress, dehumanizing entire communities, and continues to make our nation a more dangerous place for marginalized communities. Right now, the Trump & Pence Administration is trying to advance seriously harmful policies before the 100th Day arrives this Saturday, April 29. Here are four things to note, just from this week:

On immigration enforcement: Trump tried to get Congress to agree to pay for a multi-billion dollar border wall as part of his “fight against illegal immigration” which we know is just a thinly veiled attempt to deport and block black and brown people from the country.

On economic security: Trump revealed a tax reform proposal that benefits the rich but hurts the poor and working people. And Congress narrowly missed a federal government shutdown on Friday by delaying the vote on a spending measure. If federal lawmakers fail to come to an agreement next week and the government closes, thousands of federal workers will be placed at financial risk and people waiting on their federal income tax refunds will be forced to wait even longer to get their checks.

On health care: The White House and House leaders pushed heavily for a vote on legislation that would strip vital health care coverage from millions of people.

On employment protections: The Senate confirmed Alexander Acosta to lead the Department of Labor, a move that could undermine the progress DOL recently achieved and place vital worker protections including for LGBTQ workers in serious jeopardy.

Despite all of these attacks, we remain firm in our resolve to resist and keep the pressure on! Here are 3 things YOU can do:

March on Trump’s 100th Day in office with the People’s Climate March. And courtesy of Communications Workers of America, there is bus transportation available from a select number of cities.

Resist the attacks on immigrants with Rise Up in Washington, DC on Monday May 1st or sign up to participate in any of the 250 events that are happening in 200 cities and 39 states across the nation.

Save the Date for Advocacy Day during Creating Change 2018 January 24-28, 2018 in Washington, DC!


By Stacey Long Simmons, Director of the Advocacy and Action Department, National LGBTQ Task Force

Trump rescinds Obama-era protections for Planned Parenthood

April 14, 2017

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Yesterday, Trump signed House Joint Resolution 43 into law – a measure that undoes an Obama-era rule, which explained that states are not permitted to withhold federal family planning funding from clinics that provide abortion care. The Department of Health and Human Services under the Obama administration put the regulation in place to prevent state legislatures from using its federal funding in a discriminatory manner, specifically by refusing to fund comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare providers like Planned Parenthood.

The rescinding of this regulation does not make it legal for states to defund Planned
Parenthood clinics. Rather, it removes a clarification that Title X, the country’s only family planning program, should not be used to discriminate against providers who offer abortion care. Title X has not changed – nevertheless, this move may empower state legislatures to join the 14 states that have already taken measures to withhold funding from qualified Title X health care providers.

To undo the Obama era regulations, Republican Members of Congress used the obscure Congressional Review Act – a piece of legislation that had been used sparingly before this year. The CRA permits the rollback of regulations passed within the final 60 days of the previous administration with just a majority vote.

The measure didn’t pass easily in the Senate. In an unprecedented move on a resolution vote, Vice President Pence was called in to cast a tie-breaking vote after two Republican senators, Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, sided with Democrats to maintain the Obama-era regulation.

Ironically, Republicans claim this roll-back will give states ‘choice’ – of whether or not to fund the critical non-abortion services provided by Title X clinics, since federal funds are already prohibited for abortion care under the Hyde Amendment. Meanwhile, states that decline funding to clinics like Planned Parenthood would strip a number of choices related to health and bodily autonomy away from low-income folks, communities of color, and LGBTQ folks in their state who rely on access to affordable sexual and reproductive healthcare.

More than 4 million people rely on Title X-funded healthcare services, and Planned Parenthood delivers the majority of those services – including breast exams and cervical cancer exams, hormone therapy, contraception, testing for STIs including HIV, in-vitro fertilization and wellness checks.

These are services that LGBTQ people need. Planned Parenthood is one of the largest providers of transgender healthcare in the country. Lesbian and bisexual women, intersex and gender non-conforming people, and transgender men all need reproductive healthcare like contraception, abortion and cervical cancer screenings. And absolutely everyone needs access to sexual healthcare like HIV and other STI testing.

The fact that Planned Parenthood provides free or low-cost care through Medicaid and Title X funding is critical for the community. Because of experiences of discrimination, social isolation, and disparate health outcomes that create barriers to employment and social advancement, LGBTQ people are disproportionately low income. Poverty rates on average are higher among lesbian and bisexual women and African Americans within the community, with more than 28% of lesbian and bisexual women living in poverty. 75% of Planned Parenthood patients live below the federal poverty level, and 40% are people of color. Half of Planned Parenthood clinics are located in rural or underserved communities, where there may not be another provider available.

Politicians in Washington, D.C. have spent the past three months trading away the reproductive health, rights and justice of people in the U.S. and abroad at every turn – from an expanded and even more harmful global gag rule, to undermining maternity care in ACA repeal, to the failed attempt to “defund” Planned Parenthood, to the nomination of extremist Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, to eliminating funding for the UNFPA, an organization dedicated to maternal and child health. This is one more attempt to add to that list, and we will not stand for it. Access to sexual and reproductive healthcare is a right that all people are entitled to, no matter their income.

Reproductive health, rights and justice (or, repro*) matter for LGBTQ people. We all have the right to be ourselves, love who we love, choose if, when and how we will have children, and to do so with dignity, free from violence or coercion. As the attempts to undermine our bodily autonomy and equal dignity persist, it is critical now more than ever to fuse repro* and LGBTQ advocacy. The National LGBTQ Task Force has developed the Queering Reproductive Justice toolkit to help advocates understand the intersection and allow them to better reflect and serve the repro* needs of LGBTQ people. The Toolkit aims to support the integration of repro* and LGBTQ advocacy and inspire cross-movement action.

Access the Queering Reproductive Justice toolkit here.

_mg_6061pvBy Sabrina Rewald, If/When/How Reproductive Justice Fellow

A Faithful Response to International Trans Day of Visibility

March 31, 2017

Today, March 31, 2017, is International Transgender Day of Visibility, an annual day set aside to celebrate the power and resilience of trans and gender non-conforming people, and to raise awareness of anti-trans discrimination.

Ironically, today is also the first day after North Carolina’s newest effort to render trans people invisible, House Bill 142, was signed into law by Governor Cooper. Unlike what you might have heard, HB 142 was not a repeal of HB 2, and it continues to harm trans people in new ways. HB 142 prohibits cities and municipalities from providing non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. HB 142 undercuts any local efforts to grant protections for trans and gender non-conforming people in restrooms and other public accommodations, giving that control to the state. HB 142 also blocks local legal protections for those seeking a living wage.

Last weekend, people of faith across the country, representing a wide variety of religious beliefs, participated in a National Weekend of Prayer for Transgender Justice. Through prayer, education, and action we continued the clarion call for transgender justice and opposition to all forms of discrimination. Laws like HB 142 and HB 2 are not unique to North Carolina; attacks on LGBTQ people have been enacted in state houses across the country and through the ongoing actions of the Trump administration. These are not just rules and laws; they are moral failings that need to be called out by people of faith.

The safety of trans people is not a partisan issue. Trans people exist in all parts of society; we are your neighbors, your friends, your family, your co-workers, and we are part of your congregations and clergy. As people of faith, we must harness our courage and demand respectful and human treatment from those who unwisely wield their power in ways that undermines the least of these.  One way to practice faith, then, is to radically affirm all persons and affirm the radical differences that create the tapestry we call humanity.

Our country’s new administration has stepped backward on supporting trans people, leaving equality to vary not only by state or zip code, but block by block and living room by living room. Walking down one street over another might dictate the restroom one is legally allowed to use, whether one can be fired or expelled from school for transitioning, and whether an act of harassment will be prosecuted as a hate crime (or prosecuted at all).

Our many faith traditions teach us to love justice. Incomplete or measured justice is not justice at all. We advocate strongly against HB 142 and any other law that seeks to further the stigmatization of our most marginalized. As people of faith and moral courage, we instead demand a clean repeal of HB 2 that includes statewide non-discrimination protections in public accommodations, employment, housing, education, and credit. We call for full affirmation of the worth and dignity of all North Carolinians.

Last year when the North Carolina legislature passed HB 2, the NCAA took a position against this discriminatory law by announcing they’d relocate their 2016-2017 championship games outside of North Carolina. After HB142 was signed the NCAA announced they’d consider hosting championship games in North Carolina. We need the NCAA to hold the line and reject the fake “repeal” that the legislature has put in place.

As trans people of faith, we hope you’ll TAKE ACTION against discrimination by urging members of the NCAA’s Board of Governors to reverse their decision on putting North Carolina back in contention for future championships.



Barbara Satin, Assistant Faith Work Director, National LGBTQ Task Force

Hannah Simpson, Practice Spirit, Do Justice Member, Transgender Advocate, Writer, Educator, and Comedian

Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, PhD, Public Theologian in Residence at Faith Matters Network

Alex Kapitan, Co-founder, Transforming Hearts Collective; and Steering Committee member, Transgender Religious Professional Unitarian Universalists Together

Trans Day of Visibility Trans People of Faith

Barbara Satin; Hannah Simpson; Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, PhD; Alex Kapitan

Reproductive Justice Matters on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

February 10, 2017

February 7 marks National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, and with it a strengthened
resolve to rise up against the broad attacks on reproductive health, rights and justice by Congress and the current Trump Administration.

The HIV epidemic’s disproportionate toll on the Black community in the U.S. endures in spite of significant biomedical advances. Today, treatment methods exist that can reduce transmission rates to almost zero. Yet for many in the Black community – and particularly Black LGBTQ people – access to those methods remains out of reach. Black transgender women are disproportionately vulnerable to HIV, and Black women overall are 16 times more likely to acquire HIV than white women – and five times more likely than Latina women. Last year the CDC released the startling statistic that Black gay and bisexual men in the US are estimated to have a 1 in 2 risk of acquiring HIV in their lifetimes, and the numbers of new diagnoses are increasing among young people. The disproportionate
effect of this epidemic is unsettlingly clear, and the cause is structural: systemic racism prevents people from accessing sexual and reproductive healthcare, including HIV care.

Unequal access to HIV prevention, treatment, and the holistic wrap-around care, services and education/information necessary to maintain sexual and physical health are the drivers of HIV/AIDS in the U.S. This is a country where the infrastructure exists to roll out effective preventative measures, but social constructs like stigma, racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and classism keep us from progressing past this epidemic. The fact that HIV/AIDS persists predominantly among historically marginalized and disenfranchised communities is an indicator of the deep-seated structural inequality facing people of color in the U.S. today.

Black AIDS Day is a day to remember and center the leadership of people of color in the struggle against HIV/AIDS – and that all of us need to keep fighting like hell against efforts by Congress and the new administration to limit access to basic necessities and constitutional protections even further.

The 115th Congress is on a path to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and in doing so leave 18 million people without health insurance in the first year – eventually increasing to 32 million uninsured Americans. The ACA was an incredible breakthrough for people living with and affected by HIV: it prohibits insurance providers from refusing insurance to people with pre-existing conditions like HIV/AIDS; it disallowed lifetime caps or annual limits on insurance benefits, something that people living with HIV (PLHIV) and people with other chronic conditions would quickly surpass; Section 1557 of the ACA put forth a number of non-discrimination protections on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender identity and against sex stereotyping, providing a way to seek remedy when a healthcare or insurance provider does implement discriminatory practices; and, the ACA ensures folks have access to preventative care, including HIV testing, at no co-pay cost. Most importantly, under the ACA, 32 states expanded eligibility for Medicaid, allowing previously uninsured low-income people to gain access to quality healthcare, reducing vulnerability to a number of health related issues including HIV. The Medicaid expansion also permits those with an HIV diagnosis to receive care earlier. Before the ACA, PLHIV would have to wait until they received an AIDS diagnosis before they were eligible for Medicaid.

nbhaad-young-gifted-tested-facebook-twitter-template-1_facebook-profileThough some members of Congress have promised us that there will be no repeal of the ACA without a replacement, there has been no assurance that the ACA’s protections for people affected by HIV will meaningfully remain in place. Furthermore, rightwing members of Congress and the new administration’s mission to defund Planned Parenthood and other clinics that provide reproductive and sexual health services will further reduce healthcare options, and likely lead to devastating health consequences.

Planned Parenthood clinics provide testing for HIV, as well as for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which can increase a person’s vulnerability to HIV if left untreated. Many Planned Parenthood clinics also provide access to or information about the HIV prevention medication PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), and Planned Parenthood is one of the largest providers of transgender healthcare in the country. We need to support providers that recognize the linkages between HIV care and reproductive health services, since access to contraceptives, in-vitro fertilization, cancer screenings and abortion care are likewise integral to many people’s overall health, wellbeing, and reproductive future, including many LGBTQ people. Stripping away these services will leave low-income communities–and predominantly Black, Brown and LGBTQ people, including immigrants and undocumented persons–limited in their family planning choices and vulnerable to a variety of sexual and reproductive health concerns.

We are experiencing a political trend toward taking away necessary health-related services in an effort to control people’s bodies, restricting our right to self-determination, and criminalizing people for being who they are. It’s evident in attempted 6-week abortion bans (and successful 20-week bans), efforts to ban transgender folks from using the restroom aligned with their gender identity, and Trump’s outrageous Muslim ban fueled by Islamophobia, racism, and a disregard for the plight of refugees—particularly those who are LGBTQ and may be escaping life-threatening persecution. It is imperative right now to center marginalized communities and collectively speak out against political activity that disregards the needs of people of color, PLHIV, and LGBTQ people, and folks living at the intersections.

To learn more about barriers to healthcare as a form of structural violence keep an eye out for a webinar hosted by the National LGBTQ Task Force and Positive Women’s Network-USA for Women and Girls’ HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in March!

You can learn about the National LGBTQ Task Force’s health advocacy work by reading our fact sheet “10 Key LGBTQ Health Advocacy Priorities” here!


By Sabrina Rewald, If/When/How Reproductive Justice Fellow


Recap: Racial Justice Institute at Creating Change 2017

January 19, 2017

The Racial Justice Institute at Creating Change in Philadelphia took place Wednesday, January 18th. This day long Institute of learning, storytelling and skill building allows queer, allies, people of color, and white folks to build awareness against racism and explore ways to apply this within the LGBTQ movement and beyond.

img_3905 While LGBTQ people continue facing barriers to full equality, our discussions around discrimination should include dialogue around racial justice, economic justice, gun control, transgender justice, Islamophobia, and more. Some of the breakout sessions included confronting internalized oppression and self care for people of color, engaging race for multiracial people, white privilege, and creating organizational change.

“It was heavy. It allowed me to open up. For the longest time, I have never accepted the feeling of being angry because I was always told by white people that I am angry. And being in a space with people of color allowed me to reflect and finally accept this anger. So as a Latino gay man, I finally felt a sense of relief,” said Luis Berrios of GALEI. img_3900

The National LGBTQ Task Force in partnership with other racial justice organizations, host the Racial Justice Institute annually during the Creating Change Conference to build an anti-racist LGBTQ movement. Each year, the Racial Justice Institute becomes more popular among conference attendees. New and old LGBTQ and ally leaders attend Creating Change experiencing the institute’s deep and important programming to ensure their commitment for racial justice. But what veterans and new comers all have in common is that they’re looking for tools, support and community. It’s no easy task to create an institute that intentionally and thoughtfully facilitates conversations about race and increases people’s capacity to address racism in their everyday lives.

We are thankful for once again hosting a successful and instrumental institute that aims to shape discussion and fight for racial injustice. To learn more about the Racial Justice Institute, visit

by the National LGBTQ Task Force staff

Welcome to the 29th Creating Change Conference

January 18, 2017

Welcome to the 29th Creating Change Conference. Where diversity meets action and identity means cause. It’s truly an honor to be here this week in Philadelphia, the City of Queerly Love. Where thousands of LGBTQ activists gather to share in thought, discussion, curiosity, and strategy in forming our movement. As we start this new year, we are presented with the opportunity to build family and form friendships to last a long time.

6174633696_img_0545In this crucial time, we must continue to stand next to each other. When many are still fighting for their homes, their jobs, their lives; the need to continue to create change is by all means the most important reason to continue to be an activist. For thousands of people will be coming together to learn, empower, and strategize about the coming year in LGBTQ rights and social justice.

Creating Change is the stage for the nation and the world to gather LGBTQ leaders and shape this new year and the next four years to ensure our livelihoods and our rights.  6174664976_img_0558So like everyone coming for the first time or the 29th time at Creating Change, expect something new that will help you in your journey to make a difference in the LGBTQ movement.

Visit to learn more about Creating Change.

by the National LGBTQ Task Force staff

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