Posts tagged with "equality"

Shoes Illustration by Samantha Miduri for use by 360 Magazine

Tenth Annual Municipal Equality Index Released

In tenth edition of Municipal Equality Index, a record-setting number of 100 point scores and the highest-ever national average show that localities continue to lead the way on LGBTQ+ inclusion

Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, in partnership with The Equality Federation, released its 10th annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI), the only nationwide assessment of LGBTQ+ equality regarding municipal policies, laws and services. This year, a record-breaking 110 cities earned the highest score of 100, which is up from 11 in 2012, the MEI’s inaugural year, illustrating the striking advancements municipalities have made over the past 10 years.

In North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro and Winston-Salem are setting a true example for equality and inclusion by earning one of HRC’s MEI “All-Star” designations. MEI All-Stars earned over 85 points despite hailing from a state without statewide non-discrimination statutes that explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity. The average score for cities in North Carolina is 71 out of 100 points, which falls 4 above the national average of 67.

“LGBTQ+ people are everywhere—in every city, county and ZIP code. These All-Star cities are blazing the path forward for equality and fighting back against extreme unrelenting attacks on the LGBTQ+ community.” said JoDee Winterhof, Human Rights Campaign Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs. “This year, state-wide lawmakers have zeroed in on attacking transgender and non-binary children—for no clear reason other than bigotry and hate. Adopting the policies outlined in the MEI have not only fostered safer and more inclusive communities, but it has also spurred economic growth by showcasing to residents, visitors and outside investors that their city is open to everyone.”

“In reflecting on the Municipal Equality Index’s 10-year history, it feels as though these past few years have been the most challenging, and yet the most critical, to advancing LGBTQ+ equality. Despite the increasing attacks we are seeing on transgender youth in state legislatures, the important work to advance protections for LGBTQ+ people continues at the local level,” said Fran Hutchins, Executive Director of Equality Federation Institute. “As we face the upcoming attacks by opponents of equality, we know the state-based movement is stronger than ever and ready to fight for the millions of LGBTQ+ Americans who need us in the towns and cities across this country.”

The report also contains an issue brief for policymakers that covers how municipalities can support transgender and non-binary individuals, as well as the types of challenges they face, ways that a city can support them, and guidance on forming an anti-transgender and non-binary violence prevention task force. Additionally, the report includes HRC’s Pledge for Local Elected Leaders to End Violence Against Black and Brown Transgender Women.

“For 10 incredible years, the MEI has helped guide, shape and inspire more inclusive laws and policies in cities of all sizes in all parts of the country,” said Cathryn Oakley, State Legislative Director & Senior Counsel for the Human Rights Campaign and Founding Author of the Municipal Equality Index. “This program is one of the key ways HRC is able to impact the daily lives of our members, supporters and allies. Being able to personally witness these communities continue to push themselves to better serve their LGBTQ+ communities over the years has been one of my greatest joys. I am incredibly proud of this project and of the MEI team who have made this report a vehicle of enduring change and of our partners in communities around the country who have enthusiastically embraced its possibilities.” 

Other significant findings from the 2021 MEI include:

  • This year, 181 cities have transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits for municipal employees—up from 179 in 2020, despite more rigorous standards this year, and only five at the start of the MEI.
  • The national city score average jumped to an all-time high of 67 points, up from 64 last year and 59 in 2012, marking both the fourth consecutive year of national average increases as well as the highest year-over-year national average growth ever.
    • As a marker of the change that ten editions of the MEI have brought, cities rated by the MEI in 2012 averaged 59 points then; in 2021, those cities averaged 85 points. 
    • 11 cities scored 100 points in the 2012 MEI; ten times that number did so in 2021, the tenth edition.
  • Cities around the country saw progress, with every region of the country seeing a higher average score than last year.
  • 43 municipalities have anti-conversion therapy ordinances in states with no state-level protections, up from 38 last year.
  • The tenth edition of the MEI tells a story of sustained, transformational growth in cities of every size in every region of the country.  While state legislatures attacked LGBTQ+ people in a historically difficult legislative session, cities focused on solving actual problems.

Even though local leaders continue to pave the way forward on equality, there remains an unacceptable patchwork of laws for LGBTQ+ people across the country. This reinforces the need for the federal Equality Act that would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service.

The MEI rated 506 cities including the 50 state capitals, the 200 largest cities in the U.S., the five largest cities or municipalities in each state, the cities home to the state’s two largest public universities, the 75 municipalities that have high proportions of same-sex couples and 98 cities selected by HRC and Equality Federation state group members and supporters. It assesses each city on 49 criteria covering citywide non-discrimination protections, policies for municipal employees, city services, law enforcement and the city’s leadership on LGBTQ+ equality.

Carrboro North Carolina 84
Cary North Carolina 12
Chapel Hill North Carolina 100
Charlotte North Carolina 86
Durham North Carolina 100
Fayetteville North Carolina 39
Greensboro North Carolina 100
Raleigh North Carolina 69
Wilmington North Carolina 36
Winston-Salem North Carolina 87

The full report, including detailed scorecards for every city, as well as a searchable database, is available online here.

ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN 

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people. Through its programs, the HRC Foundation seeks to make transformational change in the everyday lives of LGBTQ+ people, shedding light on inequity and deepening the public’s understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, with a clear focus on advancing transgender and racial justice. Its work has transformed the landscape for more than 15 million workers, 11 million students, 1 million clients in the adoption and foster care system and so much more. The HRC Foundation provides direct consultation and technical assistance to institutions and communities, driving the advancement of inclusive policies and practices; it builds the capacity of future leaders and allies through fellowship and training programs; and, with the firm belief that we are stronger working together, it forges partnerships with advocates in the U.S. and around the globe to increase our impact and shape the future of our work.

Millennials × Spirits Making a Difference In The World

It is no secret that millennials are making changes in the world around us every day. From social justice, equality, politics, climate change, and social media, the world is changing every day because of them.

Millennials outnumber Gen X and will soon outnumber Baby Boomers among voters. Not only have they revolutionized the economy, but they have also shifted today’s culture in many ways. For example, millennials are well-known for how much they use social media. The millennial generation uses social media as a voice to reach hundreds, or even thousands, of people worldwide. Because of how they use social media, they are forever changing human interaction.

Millennials are making significant changes every day, and one of those changes is in alcohol trends.

In the last few years, millennials have become more focused on the quality of alcohol and the variety of flavors the alcohol industry offers. The demand for beer has decreased within the last decade while wine, whisky, vodka, and other spirits have grown.

Millennials have become more conscious of the quality and ingredients in alcohol than their Baby Boomer and Gen X counterparts. Nowadays, millennials are looking for value and health benefits in exchange for their money and are looking more at hand-crafted and artisanal alcohol products.

Many vodka brands are borrowing tactics from gin because of these changes. They are moving to a much lighter serve and lower-alcohol offerings to appeal to the millennial generation. Many of these brands are becoming “healthy” alcohols by removing sugars and adding botanical flavors.

Glasgow Distillery Company‘s co‐founder Mike Hayward says, “The success of gin has opened up the consumer’s thirst for new and interesting products that have botanicals and natural flavor at the core. We see this as a great opportunity to attract consumers to the vodka category by creating a range of products that meet the desire for interesting and innovative spirits presented in a new and exciting way.”

One vodka brand is taking a few ideas from the millennial generation and using their social responsibility to donate to groups trying to change the world while making a “smooth, crisp, and warming sipper.”

Organika Vodka, founded in 2016 in Russia, focuses on the ideals of sustainability in all forms. From locally sourcing renewable resources in the Lake Baikal region to working side-by-side by the indigenous people and developing a biodegradable spirits bottle, this company is striving toward showing just how much of a difference a company can make toward sustainability and ecological consciousness. By creating a more ecologically conscious alcohol, Organika is changing the industry for the better.

There are three varieties of Organika Vodka: Organika, Organika Life, and Organika White Truffle. While each kind is made with highly oxygenated water from Lake Baikal and 100% grain BIO spirit, they each have one ingredient that differentiates them.

Organika is made with Siberian Larch Extract, which can be found in different parts of the world, while the most valuable species is found in Siberia. It is said that Siberian Larch is known for strengthening blood vessels, which makes it a natural aphrodisiac.

A well-known tonic called sagan-daila is used to create Organika Life. Sagan-daila means “life-giving” and is said to stimulate the brain, kidneys, and heart activity. It is also said to relieve fatigue and hangovers.

Organika White Truffle is made with not only sagan-daila but also the white truffle mushroom, which is said to rejuvenate the body and “positively influences the men’s power.”

Not only does this company focus on being sustainable and ecologically conscious, but they are also focused on the preservation of rare animals like the Amur Tiger, the Far Eastern leopard, the snow leopard, and the polar bear.

The majority of their charitable donations are given to the World Wildlife Fund who actively sought out the brand for a partnership after being “so moved” by Organika’s efforts in rare animal preservation. Even during the height of COVID-19, Organika continued to support its partners.

If there is one thing millennials also care about significantly, it is most definitely animals. Suppose millennials cannot get behind a sustainable and ecologically conscious vodka brand that is making significant changes in wildlife. In that case, I am not sure what they would get behind. Not only does Organika use organic ingredients and locally source them, but they are also donating toward saving animals all around the world. I would say that is a win-win on both accounts.

With millennials caring more about what is in their drinks than the experience of drinking them, it is no surprise that vodka companies are making changes in their production.

In an interview with Forbes, Jonathan Hemi, the managing partner of Crystal Head Vodka, said, “Clean, additive-free, high-quality liquid is where we see opportunities as well in different expressions through different types of grains.” In other words, clean and sustainable alcohol is creating more opportunities for vodka brands like Organika to make significant changes in the alcohol industry.

Organika has recently signed contracts with the Miami Dolphins and the Breakthru Beverage Group in Florida, expanding their reach into the United States from Russia and Germany.

The contract with the Miami Dolphins sees Organika at the Hard Rock Stadium from the 2021 season to the 2023 season. Fans of the Dolphins will be able to experience Organika vodka and Organika Life. They are also planning on using aluminum cups instead of traditional plastic for their drinks in the stadium.

The partnership with Breakthru Beverage opens new sales and distribution opportunities in Florida for Organika Vodka in the ultra-premium vodka category while also distributing the brand into 14 different states and Canada.

Sustainability and change are essential for both millennials and Organika Vodka to thrive. Not only can millennials help Organika change the world for wildlife, but Organika can also produce clean and eco-conscious alcohol for millennials. Both of these groups are working to change the world differently, but imagine what they could do working together. With the social-media-hungry millennials, there is no telling just how much Organika can achieve with its mission of preserving wildlife.

NFT Trophy for Goal of Euro 2020

First NFT Trophy for UEFA EURO 2020 Goal of the Tournament presented to Patrik Schick

On 15 October, the first NFT trophy for the UEFA EURO 2020 goal of the tournament was awarded. The award was initiated by Gazprom, an official partner of the tournament, and was handed to the Czech national football team forward Patrik Schick. Russian calligrafuturism artist Pokras Lampas was invited to design the award.

“Gazprom is a modern and technological company. By combining sports, high technology and art, and creating the first sports trophy of this kind, we have drawn a clear parallel with our unique production technology,” Gazprom Department Head and Press Secretary of the Gazprom Management Committee Chairman Sergey Kupriyanov said.

“I found my inspiration in the idea of the project, with the common nine values we share with Gazprom and the “Football for Friendship” Programme. These values, as well as football itself, unite people all over the world”, said the artist Pokras Lampas.

During the award ceremony, the central fragment of the NFT trophy was presented – a black and gold soccer ball with orbits containing the name ​​of Gazprom’s International Children’s Social Programme “Football for Friendship” and its nine values: friendship, equality, justice, health, peace, loyalty, victory, tradition, and honour. Its hologram is located at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

“We welcomed the initiative shown by Gazprom, our long-standing UEFA partner, to bring a fresh outlook on such kinds of awards. Gazprom’s Goal of the Tournament trophy is a unique event in the history of world sports. We look forward to even closer cooperation with Gazprom and realization of new initiatives supporting and developing world football,” – emphasized Guy-Laurent Epstein, UEFA Marketing Director.

“I am very proud to be the first in the history of football to receive this kind of trophy. To be honest, I have never seen something like this before” – said Patrik Schick, the footballer who scored the EURO 2020 goal of the tournament.

LGBTQ+ illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

People Mourn the Loss of LGBTQ+ Activist James Hormel

Following the news of the passing of longtime People For board member, LGBTQ+ advocate, and the first openly gay U.S. Ambassador, James Hormel, People For the American Way President Ben Jealous and People For the American Way Founder Norman Lear released the following statements:

“Jim was a true hero, so full of courage, humor and generosity,” said People For President Ben Jealous. “As a longtime board member of People For the American Way, he understood that building power among young people was critical to the future of our democracy. Jim was a truly kind and lovely soul, and his loss will be felt deeply. Our hearts and prayers are with his husband Michael and their extended family.”

“I loved Jim Hormel deeply,” said People For founder Norman Lear. “Through the years he was an incredible asset to People For the American Way, a provider of ideas and insights and deep understanding. He was also a fighter, passionate about so many issues we hold dear, from voting rights to free expression and the fight against censorship. I will miss him tremendously.”

About People For the American Way

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. Learn more: People For the American Way.

illustration by Gabrielle Marchan for use by 360 Magazine

DEBATING THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE DRAFT

By: Clara Guthrie

Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee have proposed a revolutionary reconfiguration of the federal military draft that is aimed at including women in the Selective Service System, according to a release from POLITICO. As the law stands now, all American men must register for the service when they turn 18, although the draft has not actually been enacted in more than 40 years since the Vietnam War. Refusing or failing to register can lead to fines, being denied student financial aid or federal jobs, and even prison time.

In the new proposal – authored by Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Jack Reed of Rhode Island – the language regarding who must enlist at 18 would be expanded to include “all Americans,” not just men.

The conversation around including women in the draft has picked up speed and garnered national attention in the past few years. In June, the National Coalition for Men brought a case to the Supreme Court that challenged the male-only draft, calling it unconstitutional. While the Court declined to hear the case, three Justices—Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer and Brett Kavanaugh—did release a public statement on the topic. The statement argued that the exclusions of women from the draft made little sense when considering how much the military has changed in the past four decades since the Supreme Court first held up the original policy. The tone of the statement was unsure about whether the draft meets the standard of “exceedingly persuasive justification” to discriminate on the basis of gender. The Justices also noted the monumental 2015 decision from the Pentagon to open all military combat roles to women as further evidence.

This hot-topic issue most recently entered Capitol Hill in 2016. At the time, the Senate voted to have the decision become part of the annual defense policy bill; the House Armed Services Committee adopted a similar provision, but eventually scrapped it. As a compromise, an independent commission was formed to study the draft and the pressing question of what role gender plays in it. In March of 2020, the commission published its final report, which backed the idea of requiring women to register for Selective Service.

However, another distinctive school of thought advocates for the abolition of the draft altogether, as opposed to requiring all young people to register regardless of gender. As Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby wrote in his recent piece, Women don’t register for the draft, and men shouldn’t either, “Selective Service has outlived its usefulness. It should be consigned to history. […] Congress shouldn’t just end male-only draft registration. It should end draft registration, period.” Jacoby goes on to argue that the draft is an outdated practice and that an all-volunteer army is far more effective: “Compared with draftees, [those who volunteer for service] work harder, serve longer, perform better, and are more likely to regard their service as a calling, not a compulsion. Their commitment and skill are reflected in the consistent No. 1 ranking of the military as the most trusted institution in America.” This final point is supported by a 2019 Gallup Poll that found that Americans trust the U.S. military more than any other public institution. 

But, of course, there are legitimate issues posed by relying on a solely volunteer force. The All-Volunteer Force Forum (AVF Forum) is a network of military personnel and citizens alike who support some sort of draft being reinstated in order to combat the civil-military gap (a disconnect in views between military and non-military individuals). The AVF Forum cites issues including unsustainable recruiting techniques, a lack of socioeconomic and geographic diversity in the armed forces, and an inability to draw from the largest pool of possible candidates as all being exacerbated by a reliance on volunteerism.

In April, The AVF Forum held a conference to discuss potential amendments to the draft which do not include the complete dissolution of the institution. One solution is as follows:

“The conscription of only 5 to 10 percent of the force from the top 10 percent income tax bracket, [presented] by Marine Corps veteran and author Elliot Ackerman. The logic being that those within reach of the levers of power would be more inclined to limit military involvement if their own children faced drafting and deployment.”

No clear solution was reached at The AVF Forum conference, as the complicated debate continues to rage.

While it is unclear where exactly President Biden stands on the matter, he did share a clarifying quote at the Military Officers Association of America candidate forum in September of 2020 before he assumed the presidency. “The United States does not need a larger military, and we don’t need a draft at this time. […] I would, however, ensure that women are also eligible to register for the Selective Service System so that men and women are treated equally in the event of future conflicts,” said Biden.

The original proposition by the Senate Armed Services Committee is expected to be considered during committee markup this week. However, there will be no official floor action on the bill until at least later this year. 

If the legislation eventually passes, the measure would only go into effect one year after approval.

360 Magazine, LA PRIDE 50th Anniversary

H&M × Banana Republic × UN Free Supports Global LGBTI Equality

The United Nations Foundation announced today that top global brands H&M and Banana Republic are once again partnering with UN Free & Equal for Pride Month this June to raise awareness and funds in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) equality worldwide. H&M will donate $100,000 to the global campaign this year, while Banana Republic will donate $60,000 this Pride Month.

“Pride connects directly to our core values and encapsulates our social vision to enable everyone at H&M and beyond to live the life they want, express who they are and to be the best of themselves”, says Pascal Brun, Global Sustainability Manager, H&M.

Both H&M and Banana Republic have long supported UN Free & Equal, a global campaign of the United Nations Human Rights Office that strives to advance equal rights and fair treatment for LGBTI people around the world. With this year’s contributions, H&M has now donated a total of $850,000, while Banana Republic has donated $240,000 to date through partnerships with UN Free & Equal.

“Inclusion has always been part of Banana Republic’s DNA and we are proud to partner with UN Free & Equal again this year to support their mission for LGBTI equality and human rights,” said Ana Andjelic, CBO of Banana Republic. “The past year has shown it is more important than ever to fight for equality and celebrate opportunity for all.”

Pride celebrations this year are taking place against the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – a global crisis that has further exposed and exacerbated inequities and underscored the urgency of protecting the rights of LGBTI people.

“Every person – no matter who they are, where they live, or whom they love – deserves to live freely and authentically with full equality,” said Elizabeth Cousens, President & CEO of the UN Foundation. “The UN Foundation is proud to support UN Free & Equal in the fight for global LGBTI equality, and is grateful to both H&M and Banana Republic for their continued partnership.”

Now in its eighth year, the UN Free & Equal campaign aims to win respect, recognition, and acceptance for the human rights of LGBTI people around the world. The campaign reaches parents, students, teachers, journalists, and policymakers, especially in countries where LGBTI communities face hostility and hardship and aims to cultivate new allies in the fight for equality. It has campaigned in more than 30 countries so far, with 12 full-scale national campaigns currently active.

“LGBTI people remain among those who are most often left behind due to exclusion, discrimination and violence, and this has been further exacerbated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Young LGBTI people in particular face disproportionate levels of family rejection, bullying online and offline, homelessness and restrictions on access to information,” said Michael van Gelderen, LGBTI lead at UN Human Rights.

In support of LGBTI youth, UN Free & Equal recently launched a campaign with the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth calling on allies to support young LGBTI people in creating a fearless future where all young people are safe, loved and empowered to thrive – regardless of who they are or whom they love. The campaign, which is made possible by the generous support of corporate and Government donors, kicked off on May 17, the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia and will run through International Youth Day on August 12.

To learn more about the UN Free & Equal campaign, visit here.

About H&M
H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB (publ) was founded in Sweden in 1947 and is quoted on Nasdaq Stockholm. H&M’s business idea is to offer fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way. In addition to H&M, the group includes the brands COS, Monki, Weekday, & Other Stories, H&M HOME and ARKET as well as Afound. The H&M group has 53 online markets and approximately 4,950 stores in 74 markets including franchise markets. In 2020, net sales were SEK 187 billion. The number of employees amounts to approximately 153,000. For further information, visit here.

About Banana Republic
Banana Republic is a global apparel and accessories brand committed to building a better tomorrow for people and the planet. Designed with purpose for those who share a passion for life with no boundaries, Banana Republic is redefining luxury by using the finest materials with the latest fabric innovations to create timeless, modern, and versatile clothing, eyewear, jewelry, shoes, handbags, and fragrances. Founded in 1978 in San Francisco, Banana Republic connects with customers online and in company-operated and franchise retail locations globally. For more information, please visit here.

About United Nations Foundation
The UN Foundation is an independent charitable organization created to be a strategic partner for the United Nations to address humanity’s greatest challenges, build initiatives across sectors to solve problems at scale, and drive global progress. Learn more here.

About UN Free & Equal
The UN Free & Equal campaign is an unprecedented global public information campaign aimed at promoting equal rights and fair treatment of LGBTI people. It was launched by the United Nations Human Rights Office in July 2013 and has since reached hundreds of millions of people globally through traditional and social media as well as generated a stream of widely shared materials – including powerful videos, impactful graphics and plain-language fact sheets. For more information please visit here.

BLM by Mina Tocalini for 360 Magazine

Juneteenth: A Road to Unity campaign

‘Grandmother of Juneteenth’ to walk in Galveston for “absolute equality”

The Juneteenth Legacy Project’s honorary national co-chair, Opal Lee will continue her Juneteenth: A Road to Unity campaign in Galveston on Memorial Day to influence Congress to make Juneteenth a national holiday.

On Monday, May 31 (Memorial Day) at 7:45 am Central, she will lead a walk for “absolute equality,” starting from 2702 Seawall Boulevard and ending at the Juneteenth Legacy Project’s massive public art installation at 2201 Strand.

Ms. Opal will be joined by leaders of the Juneteenth movement to support her effort to make Juneteenth a national holiday. The 2.5-mile walk, which is open to the public, will pass by a number of historic Juneteenth-related sites.

For those who may have missed it, The New York Times published a feature on the Juneteenth Legacy Project in their Sunday, May 23, 2021 print edition.

Also, please mark your calendars: Juneteenth Legacy Project will dedicate its public art installation, “Absolute Equality,” on June 19 at 11:30 am in Galveston. The public ceremony will feature a host of guests important to the initiative. Special guests will include U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) and U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), co-authors of legislation to make Juneteenth a national holiday.

For additional information, visit HERE.

LGBT flag illustration by Symara Wilson for 360 Magazine

The Business Coalition for the Equality Act 

Top North Carolina Businesses Register Unprecedented Support for the Equality Act as More than 400 Major U.S. Corporations Join Coalition to Urge Protections for LGBTQ People 

The Business Coalition for the Equality Act is believed to be the largest business coalition to ever come together to speak out in support of legal LGBTQ equality 

Today, the Business Coalition for the Equality Act announced it has grown to include more than 400 major U.S. corporations (including 13 major North Carolina corporations) calling for the urgent passage of the Equality Act–federal legislation that would modernize our nation’s civil rights laws by including explicit protections for LGBTQ people, as well as improve protections for women, people of color, and people of all faiths. The announcement signals unprecedented support for the Equality Act among America’s business leaders, who join a majority of Americans, hundreds of members of Congress, hundreds of advocacy organizations, and more than 60 business associations–including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers–in endorsing the federal legislation.

North Carolina corporations that have joined the coalition include Cargo Transporters, Inc., ABB Inc., ViiV Healthcare Company, GlaxoSmithKline LLC, Truist Financial, Advance Auto Parts (Advance Holding), Red Hat Inc., Ingersoll-Rand Company, Food Lion, LLC, Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, Bank of America Corp., Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and Replacements Ltd. They employ 457,002 people across the state, have 13 headquarters in the state, and generate $151.9 billion in annual revenue for North Carolina.

As a whole, the 416 member companies of HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act represent a major swath of America’s economic engine, with member companies overseeing business operations in all 50 states, company headquarters spanning 33 states and a combined $6.8 trillion in annual revenue. The 416 members of the coalition collectively employ more than 14.6 million people in the United States. The Business Coalition for the Equality Act is believed to be the largest business coalition to ever come together to speak out in support of legal LGBTQ equality. The largest former effort was the business amicus brief for marriage equality, which included 379 businesses.

“We are seeing growing support from business leaders because they understand that the Equality Act is good for their employees, good for their businesses and good for our country. Employers care about their employees’ ability to rent an apartment, send their kids to school, visit the dentist, and pick up the groceries free from discrimination. They realize that when LGBTQ employees and their family members are protected in their daily lives, it makes them more secure and confident in their jobs, and also more productive,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Thank you to every company that is speaking up and advocating for the passage of the Equality Act. It’s time for the Senate to listen to the business community and the public and pass this long overdue legislation.”

The Equality Act ensures everyone in America, including LGBTQ people, are protected from harassment and discrimination in all areas of life. Currently, even if an LGBTQ person works for a company that provides clear non-discrimination protections and inclusive cultures, that employee and their family members can still experience discrimination in other areas of life and have no legal recourse. In the majority of states–29 states in total–that lack explicit nondiscrimination protections, these employees can be denied healthcare, loans, housing, and basic goods and services because they are LGBTQ.

The business community’s support reflects the broad and overwhelming support for the Equality Act in communities nationwide. New polling from Hart Research Associates found that 70 percent of Americans (including 50 percent of Republicans) support the Equality Act. Hundreds of members of Congress and more than 600 organizations, including the nation’s top leaders in civil rights, education, health care, and faith organizations have also endorsed the legislation.

Corporate endorsements for the Equality Act have more than doubled since the Equality Act passed the U.S. House in 2019.

Business Support for the Equality Act

American Airlines: “American’s mission of taking care of people on life’s journey includes making the case for greater equity and inclusion, two of our company’s core values that are also critical to our success,” said Molly Wilkinson, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and PRIDE EBRG Executive Sponsor. “That’s why we’re proud to join with the Human Rights Campaign and this broad coalition of businesses in support of the Equality Act, a measure that would protect Americans from the kind of discrimination, harassment and unequal treatment that runs counter to our purpose. American has proudly stood with the LGBTQ community for decades and will continue to advocate for full inclusion, equity and protection under the law, because all of our team members and customers deserve to feel welcome and safe.”

Levi Strauss & Co.: “Levi Strauss & Co. is proud to support the Equality Act,” said Anna Walker, Vice President, Public Affairs. “We have a long history of supporting equal rights for the LGBT community, from being the first Fortune 500 company to extend health benefits to unmarried domestic partners more than 20 years ago, to being the only California business in 2007 to file an amicus brief with the California Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage. The time has come in this country for full equality for the LGBTQ+ community. Ensuring fairness in our workplaces and communities is both good for business and simply the right thing to do.”

Dow: “Dow has been a proud supporter of the Equality Act since it was first introduced; and we continue advocating for the full inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community in the eyes of the law,” said Louis Vega, President, Dow North America and VP Government Affairs & Advocacy, North America. “Ensuring equality and opportunity for all is not only the right thing to do as a matter of human decency, it is good for society and business.”

IBM: “A workforce that reflects the diversity of today’s society drives new ideas and innovation,” said Carla Grant Pickens, Global Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer. “At IBM, we seek to hire the most talented individuals regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or other personal characteristics. We also believe that equal protections should extend beyond an employer’s four walls, which is why IBM stands with HRC in endorsing the Equality Act. It’s time that civil rights protections be extended to LGBT+ individuals nationwide on a clear, consistent, and comprehensive basis.”

Marriott International Inc.: “At Marriott, we believe that every individual, including those in the LGBTQ community, should feel welcome, safe and respected when they enter one of our properties. As a global hospitality leader, our principles of non-discrimination extend to all travelers, and include sexual orientation and gender identity. That is why we are proud to join with the Human Rights Campaign and support passage of the Equality Act, to help ensure equality under the law as well as under our own roof.”

LGBTQ+ illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Corporate Leaders × Anti-Lgbtq Bills

Corporate leaders: Companies should work against anti-LGBTQ bills in Texas, other states 

Chris Adamo, vice president of Federal and Industry Affairs at Danone North America; Brad Figel, vice president of Public Affairs North America at Mars, Inc.; Molly Fogarty senior vice president of Corporate & Government Affairs at Nestlé USA; and Tom Langan, North America director of Sustainable Business & External Affairs for Unilever:

  • “As four of the largest food companies and major employers in the United States, we view the growing number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills under consideration in state legislatures, including those that target transgender people and particularly children, with increasing alarm.
  • “These bills are bad for families, for communities, for businesses and for the U.S. economy, all still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic…This motivates us to continue using our influence to advocate for policies that establish full equality at the federal and state levels, including swift Senate passage of the Equality Act.
  • “Discriminatory legislation — in threat and in practice — directly and negatively impacts the ability of our businesses to compete. It undermines our ability to recruit our future workforces and retain existing talent in states like Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Texas and others enacting and considering draconian legislation.”
  • “Such policies are out of step with the views of most Americans. The overwhelming majority of Americans support full equality for LGBTQ+ people, according to recent data released by the Human Rights Campaign.”
  • Companies have a responsibility to actively work with federal and state legislators to advocate against bills that harm our employees and our customers, and to advance fairness and equality for all Americans”

We condemn dangerous, discriminatory legislation that serves as an attack on LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly transgender and non-binary people.

As four of the largest food companies and major employers in the United States, we view the growing number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills under consideration in state legislatures, including those that target transgender people and particularly children, with increasing alarm.

These bills are bad for families, for communities, for businesses and for the U.S. economy, all still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.

We condemn dangerous, discriminatory legislation that serves as an attack on LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly transgender and nonbinary people. Such laws not only threaten hard-won progress to bring greater awareness, support and equality to transgender Americans, they also threaten the livelihoods and safety of their communities and their families.

This motivates us to continue using our influence to advocate for policies that establish full equality at the federal and state levels, including swift Senate passage of the Equality Act.

Member companies of the Sustainable Food Policy Alliance, including Danone North America, Mars, Inc., Nestlé USA and Unilever United States, urge the entire U.S. business community to do the same.

This issue is not political. Providing the same basic protections to LGBTQ+ people as are provided to protected groups under federal law is the right thing to do for businesses and for society.

We employ tens of thousands of people in communities across the country. We embrace diversity in our workforces. Inclusive principles already guide the way we work, run our successful businesses, and engage with our employees and communities.

Discriminatory legislation — in threat and in practice — directly and negatively impacts the ability of our businesses to compete. It undermines our ability to recruit our future workforces and retain existing talent in states like Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Texas and others enacting and considering draconian legislation.

In Kentucky, for example, proposed legislation would allow health care providers to turn away LGBTQ+ and other patients, and bar trans youth from K-12 public school and university sports. Similarly, in Texas, legislators have proposed bills that would ban transgender girls from youth sports.

When states legislate this way, not only do they create an environment where not everyone feels safe and welcomed, they endorse it. Such environments deny transgender and nonbinary people the opportunity to fully contribute to the economies in places where they work and live. This harms them and their families and hinders businesses and local communities.

We applaud Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s decision this week to veto legislation that would have banned gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth. Unfortunately, the Arkansas legislature overrode the governor’s veto Tuesday.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signs a bill in March 2021 to ban transgender athletes from competing on girls or women’s sports teams.

Such policies are out of step with the views of most Americans. The overwhelming majority of Americans support full equality for LGBTQ+ people, according to recent data released by the Human Rights Campaign.

Legislation hurts states’ economies

The ramifications of these discriminatory bills on states’ economic and financial health are also well-documented. A UCLA study found that the social, economic and health effects of stigma and discrimination against LGBTQ+ people negatively impact Texas’ economy by tens of millions of dollars each year. Another study by the Texas Association of Business estimated that discriminatory legislation could result in an estimated economic loss to Texas’ gross domestic product ranging from $964 million to $8.5 billion.

The impacts of such bills are not limited to the states where they are passed. Researchers that studied 39 countries found a clear link between LGBTQ+ discriminatory practices and legislation and the corresponding loss of potential economic output. For LGBTQ+ youth, the study found that discrimination harms their learning, resulting in increased dropout rates and, consequently, reduced participation in the workforce.

We acknowledge that words are powerful. But for companies to engage new generations of workers and consumers, while fostering an environment good for people and for business, we must move beyond only public statements of support for LGBTQ+ issues.

Companies should protect employees

Companies have a responsibility to actively work with federal and state legislators to advocate against bills that harm our employees and our customers, and to advance fairness and equality for all Americans.

We four SFPA companies are committed to stepping up and taking action, including through our advocacy on this important issue. Doing so will support an environment in which all people can grow, thrive, compete and succeed as their true, authentic selves.

Chris Adamo is vice president of Federal and Industry Affairs at Danone North America. Brad Figel is vice president of Public Affairs North America at Mars, Inc. Molly Fogarty is senior vice president of Corporate & Government Affairs at Nestlé USA. Tom Langan is North America director of Sustainable Business & External Affairs for Unilever.

Corporate leaders: Companies should work against anti-LGBTQ bills in Texas, other states

Sports illustration by Allison Christensen for 360 MAGAZINE

NCAA Opposes Anti-Trans Sports Bills

On the Eve of Final Four Tournament, NCAA President Mark Emmert Speaks Out Against Anti-Trans Sports Bills In States, Reinforces NCAA Will Hold Championship In Locations “Free of Discrimination.”

On the eve of this weekend’s NCAA Final Four tournament, NCAA President Mark A. Emmert spoke out against the slate of discriminatory, anti-transgender bills in state legislatures across the country—aimed at banning transgender youth from participating in sports—framing the legislation as “harmful to transgender student-athletes” and “conflicting with NCAA’s core values.” In addition to criticizing the legislation, Emmert went a step further by reinforcing NCAA’s commitment to hosting championship games in locations “free of discrimination.”

In a letter sent to HRC President Alphonso David—released today by HRC—Emmert wrote: “The NCAA Board of Governors policy requires championship host sites to demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination. The board policy also requires that safeguards are in place to ensure the dignity of everyone involved in the event.”

The letter—sent in response to a letter from David—further called out Idaho House Bill 500, a bill that bars transgender women and girls from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. Emmert expressed that the legislation “conflicts with the NCAA’s core values of inclusivity, respect and the equitable treatment of all individuals.” He further emphasized the NCAA’s commitment to host sites that are “safe, healthy, and free of discrimination.”

In 2016, the NCAA Board of Governors instructed the association to relocate all seven previously awarded championship events from North Carolina after the vote of HB 2, legislation that eliminated existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people and forced transgender students in public schools to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity. The NCAA has continuously stated a firm position that if participating states do not meet the association’s “expectations of a discrimination-free environment,” they will “not hesitate to take necessary action at any time.”

“These bills seek to deny the very existence of transgender people, further perpetuating stigma that fuels an epidemic of violence against our community,” said HRC’s Alphonso David. “To be clear, this stigma is directly affecting NCAA athletes; as highlighted in a recent article detailing the steps the NCAA had to take to protect the safety of one of its transgender athletes, including hiring body guards. It bears repeating: this is a moment of crisis. HRC stands ready to support the work of the NCAA to ensure that we continue to foster diversity, inclusion and equity.”

“It’s heartbreaking that during a global pandemic, when transgender youth especially need community and support, we are seeing a record number of proposed bills threatening to ban them from playing sports with their friends,” said Athlete Ally’s Anne Lieberman. “These discriminatory bills are in direct violation of the NCAA’s 2016 nondiscrimination policy for championship events, and we hope to see the NCAA join us in supporting the rights of all LGBTQ+ student athletes to be safe, welcome and included in sport.”

Athletes Across the Country Speaking Out Against Anti-Transgender Bills

Athletes and other prominent sports figures across the country are speaking out against the discriminatory measures. Recently, 500 NCAA student athletes called on the Board of Governors to continue upholding its “NCAA Anti-Discrimination Policy and only operate championships and events in states that promote an inclusive atmosphere.” This week, Minnesota Lynx GM and coach Cheryl Reeve wrote: “Transgender exclusion pits woman athletes against one another, reinforces the harmful notion that there is only one right way to be a woman and distracts us from the real threats to women’s sports.”

The anti-transgender legislation is part of a larger coordinated effort to advance a series of anti-LGBTQ measures in statehouses across the country—where 192 discriminatory bills targeting LGBTQ people are under consideration. Of these discriminatory bills, 93 directly target transgender people and about half of those would ban transgender youth from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity.

The full letter from Emmert is below.

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April 1, 2021

Dear Alphonso:

Thank you for writing to me and the NCAA Board of Governors. We appreciate your continued attention to this issue and are pleased we share the same views on the importance of diversity and inclusion.

As you mentioned, the NCAA, including our more than 1,100 member schools, has long advocated for increased opportunities and inclusion in sport. We are incredibly proud of the opportunities that student-athletes have gained thanks to more inclusive collegiate environments. Our member schools and conferences also share our commitment to offering a diverse and inclusive experience for all our student-athletes, which is why we have developed policies to ensure students have fair and equitable opportunities to compete.

The NCAA is concerned with the numerous bills that have been filed across our country related to sport participation. As we have previously stated in situations such as Idaho’s House Bill 500 and its resulting law, this legislation is harmful to transgender student-athletes and conflicts with the NCAA’s core values of inclusivity, respect and the equitable treatment of all individuals. The NCAA Board of Governors policy requires championship host sites to demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination. The board policy also requires that safeguards are in place to ensure the dignity of everyone involved in the event.

The NCAA continues to closely monitor and assess state bills and federal guidelines that impact student-athlete participation. In addition to our longstanding work in diversity and inclusion, in October 2020, the NCAA convened a summit about gender identity and student-athlete participation that focused on issues of competitive equity, inclusion, and physical and mental health for all student-athletes. NCAA inclusion and Sport Science Institute staff and others continue to work with leading experts to assess our transgender participation policy and provide resources to the membership about inclusive practices on their campuses.

We also are aware of President Biden’s recent executive order that strengthens the enforcement power of Title IX as it relates to transgender students on campuses. This federal guidance will be another important mechanism that states consider when formulating new legislation. All NCAA schools also must follow state and federal laws, including Title IX. 

It is our clear expectation that all NCAA student-athletes will be welcomed, treated with respect, and have nondiscriminatory participation wherever they compete. We are committed to upholding these principles and will continue to assess emerging laws to ensure student-athletes have fair opportunities.

Thank you again for contacting us.

Sincerely,

Mark A. Emmert

NCAA President 

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The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organizations working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.