Today, HRC is proud to kick off National LGBTQ Pride Month, a time when we honor our history and recommit to resisting anti-equality forces working to undo our hard-earned progress.

Our History

Pride month coincides with the anniversary of the famous Stonewall Riots in New York City. On June 28, 1969, when New York City police began again harassing LGBTQ patrons of the Stonewall Inn simply for congregating, those patrons decided they’d had enough. LGBTQ activists stood up and bravely fought back. From those early demonstrations grew a modern social movement determined to rid the nation of discrimination against all LGBTQ Americans.

Taking Action

In 2018, LGBTQ advocates and allies continue to fight for full equality across the nation under the Trump-Pence administration’s hateful policies and rhetoric, while defending the hard-fought progress we’ve made over the years.

We aren’t just resisting at the federal level, we are fighting back against anti-LGBTQ state legislators attempting to undermine the fundamental civil rights of LGBTQ people across America. We have been going on offense with HRC Rising - our largest grassroots expansion ever -- because we simply can't afford to wait. Never underestimate the power of your voice and actions to create change.

Click here to find a Pride event in your area and join HRC and thousands of others to celebrate  LGBTQ progress and equality while also checking to make sure you’re registered to vote.

Text UNITE to 30644 to join HRC’s Mobile Action Network. Participate with our vast legion of supporters to help mobilize your community to change hearts and minds across the country by becoming an HRC volunteer.

Though Stonewall’s legacy is cemented in history, LGBTQ progress remains under attack in the Trump-Pence era. HRC takes inspiration from the brave members of our community who stood up for themselves -- and all of us -- at Stonewall, and is committed to ensuring all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, are treated equally and with dignity under the law.

Celebrating on Social Media

Use the hashtags #Pride, #Pride2018, #LoveIsLove, #LoveWins and #PrideParade in one of fifteen languages to unlock special Pride emojis on Twitter.

Make sure you rise up, speak up and show up this Pride month, and in November to make your voice is heard at the ballot box.

HRC is celebrating the passage of 10 pro-equality state bills during the first half of 2018. At the peak of legislative activity this year, 43 state legislatures were in session. Since the beginning of the year, HRC has been tracking more than 112 anti-LGBTQ bills and 185 pro-equality bills. As the November elections approach, only 16 state legislatures remain in session.

Of the 10 pro-equality bills passed by state legislatures, six have already been signed into law and four await gubernatorial action.

Four of the 10 bills are designed to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and debunked practice of so-called “conversion therapy,” which has been proven to pose devastating health risks for LGBTQ young people such as depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and even suicidal behavior. Every major medical and mental health organization, including the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association and American Medical Association, condemn the practice.

In Connecticut, Governor Dannel Malloy signed SB 13, a bill allowing transgender inmates to be housed according to their identity and ensuring they will be searched by officers matching their gender, have their pronouns respected and have access to clothing and toiletries matching their gender.

Last Friday in Hawaii, Governor David Ige signed SB 270, an anti-conversion therapy bill.

Earlier this month, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed SB 1028, a similar anti-conversion therapy bill.

In April, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed SB 2371, a broad criminal justice reform bill that includes a provision prohibiting the placement of LGBTQ prisoners in solitary confinement solely due to their identity.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed H. 333, a bill requiring a single-user restroom to be identified by a sign that marks the facility as a restroom and does not indicate any specific gender.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed SB 5722 in March, making it the first anti-conversion therapy bill to become law in 2018.

In New Hampshire, two pro-LGBTQ bills await action by Governor Chris Sununu: HB 587, an anti-conversion therapy bill, and HB 1319, a non-discrimination bill for transgender people. HB 1319 would update the state’s laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing and public spaces to explicitly include protections based on gender identity.

In New Jersey, two bills related to gender markers and gender identity on birth and death certificates were passed and sent to Governor Phil Murphy. S. 478, a birth certificate gender marker update bill, modernizes the process for updating one's birth certificate gender marker by removing the current surgical requirement. S.493, a death certificate gender identity bill, clarifies that the sex of the decedent is to be recorded on their death certificate so as to accurately reflect the decedent’s gender identity. It also creates a process for accurately determining and recording the gender identity of the decedent if conflicting information exists.

Unfortunately, two anti-LGBTQ bills have also been signed into law so far this year. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed SB 1140, a bill that would allow child welfare organizations -- including adoption and foster care agencies -- to turn away qualified Oklahomans seeking to care for a child in need, including LGBTQ couples, interfaith couples, single parents, married couples in which one prospective parent has previously been divorced, or other parents to whom the agency has a religious objection. Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer signed SB 284, which is a license to discriminate with taxpayer funds against prospective LGBTQ foster or adoptive parents, single parents, or other qualified families.

HRC continues to work with partners, allies and advocates across the country to pass pro-equality legislation and defeat anti-LGBTQ bills.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – For transgender people who want to serve in the military, the law itself is in transition. The future careers of thousands of service members are still in limbo after a federal judge temporarily blocked President Donald Trump’s effort to ban transgender people from serving in the military.

New Mexico Navy veteran and transwoman Penn Baker is disappointed that there is still a fight over who can and can't serve their country.

Baker is the president of the New Mexico chapter of American Veterans for Equal Rights. After leaving the Navy in 1970, Baker never stopped fighting for her peers who for years had to hide their true selves if they wanted to openly enlist.

"We fought desperately to repeal 'don't ask, don't tell,'" Baker said. "We've been successful with that, and now we're fighting desperately to fight transgender personnel to serve openly."

Baker worked on a nuclear submarine in the Navy from 1963 until 1970s during the Vietnam War. During that time, Baker hid her true gender identity under the surface.

"Why would we disgrace those people if they're willing to serve our country?" Baker said.

Hawaii has become the 12th state to ban dangerous “ex-gay” conversion therapy. Governor David Ige signed legislation to outlaw the fraudulent practice Friday afternoon.

The usually religion-based scam claims to be able to change people’s sexual orientation and gender identity.

"We’re seeing significant momentum to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy, and The Trevor Project calls on even more states to join Hawaii in banning this barbaric practice,” Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director, said. The Trevor Project is the leading organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT youth.

The American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all condemned the practice as dangerous to the mental and physical health of LGBT people.

“There are currently more than 700,000 survivors nationally, and an estimated 77,000 teenagers across the country will be subjected to conversion therapy over the next five years,” said NCLR Born Perfect Strategist Mathew Shurka.

“As a survivor, I know how harmful conversion therapy can be, and I could not be happier that Hawaii has taken this important step to protect the health and safety of its LGBTQ youth from this terrible practice.”

Hawaii joins California, Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia. Maryland and New Hampshire legislators have passed bans that are awaiting their respective governor’s signature.

The brains of transgender individuals share characteristics with those of the gender they identify with, according to new research.

Researchers used MRI scans to identify how adolescents’ brains responded to a pheromone that men and women are known to react to differently.

The brains of transgender people who identified as women reacted more like female brains, and transgender people who identified as men had brains that responded more like males than their biological sex.

There are sex differences in the brain at the structural level and also how male and female brains perform certain tasks, said neuroscientist Julie Bakker of the University of Liege in Belgium via email. Bakker’s research “found that adolescents with gender dysphoria had brain activity patterns very similar to their desired/experienced gender,” she wrote.

“At the moment, most available evidence suggests that it is a developmental effect, taking place before birth, but of course, we cannot rule out any effects of sex hormones later in life.”

Bakker’s study was small: looking at only about 150 individuals. As such, its findings should be interpreted with caution. Doug VanderLaan, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, is currently working on a similar study at a larger scale, which has yet to publish results.

“This research area is still very much in its early days,” he said. “There have been relatively few studies and the methods have not been consistent. Consequently, there are few findings regarding specific brain areas that have been shown to be reliable and more research is needed.”

However, he said, across studies so far, it has generally been the case that the brains of transgender people share certain resemblances to those of their identified gender.

Bakker suggests that her research could be used to inform how young people with gender dysphoria are treated. “Although more research is needed, we now have evidence that sexual differentiation of the brain differs in young people with GD (gender dysphoria), as they show functional brain characteristics that are typical of their desired gender,” she said.

With more research, “We will then be better equipped to support these young people, instead of just sending them to a psychiatrist and hoping that their distress will disappear spontaneously.”

VanderLaan thinks it’s a little too soon to jump to that conclusion.

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