PRESS RELEASE: EQNM Endorses Isaac Benton, Ane Romero, Pat Davis, and Maurreen Skowran for Albuquerque City Council

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PRESS RELEASE: EQNM Endorses Isaac Benton, Ane Romero, Pat Davis, and Maurreen Skowran for Albuquerque City Council

ALBUQUERQUE, NM — The Board of Directors of Equality New Mexico (EQNM), the state’s largest and oldest LGBTQ+ political advocacy organization, has endorsed Isaac Benton, Ane Romero, Patrick Davis, and Maureen Skowran for Albuquerque City Council.

Each of these four candidates has unique characteristics which we believe make them the right person for the job of City Councilor. Each has a strong, lengthy record of being a champion for the LGBTQ+ community, either through their elected office and/or the lived experience of their own identities. We take our endorsement process seriously and have made these decisions only after significant consideration and feedback from our community. If elected or re-elected, Maureen and Patrick will join Diane Gibson on the Council, setting an Albuquerque record for the number of openly LGBTQ+ councilors. The Board recognizes the incredible talent and commitment to our communities demonstrated by the other candidates who sought our endorsement in these races: Zachary Quintero, Robert Blanquera Nelson, and Gina Dennis. We look forward to working with each of you in your pursuit of public service.

Isaac “Ike” Benton – District 2 was previously endorsed by EQNM and is a long-time co-sponsor of EQNM legislative initiatives at the city. Ike has a strong, demonstrated record of supporting policies that promote equity and diversity. Benton supports an ordinance that would protect youth from bullying and harassment at community centers based on their identity, which includes language about alternative forms of discipline focused on education, remediation, prevention, and providing support for the target of bullying rather than exclusionary discipline, criminalization, or “zero tolerance” policies for bullying and harassment. Finally, he is committed to fair hiring and employment practices by Albuquerque government and private employers, working in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Equity and Inclusion and LGBTQ+ advocates to identify gaps and opportunities for legislative action.

“LGBTQ+ residents are key to our success as a community,” says Benton. “The role of government and community programs is to open doors to underserved populations that have historically been excluded from the economy. These must include everyone: women, immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ+ [communities], poor and working class people. [...] We must celebrate and promote diversity and understanding.”

Ane Romero – District 4 has worked tirelessly as an ally of the LGBTQ+ community. As the Policy Director for the Center for Civic Policy, she worked with LGBTQ+ advocates (including advocates from EQNM) to highlight, prioritize and pass LGBTQ+ policies at the state level. Romero has also worked for many years on behavioral health and suicide prevention initiatives and legislation, knowing that queer and transgender young people disproportionately attempt suicide. She has worked directly with LGBTQ+ youth, educating community members, families, and educators about risk factors that LGBTQ+ youth face.

“As city councilor, [I will] allow those who are experts in LGBTQ+ work to lead and guide the work,” says Romero. I will stand with the LGBTQ+ community to ensure that we expand policies to include opportunities for equality and oppose policies that discriminate in any way. Whether it’s protecting families or standing against policies that would openly allow businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ+ communities, I am committed to working on key policies that will help eliminate discrimination practices and any other policies that aim to pose a risk to the rights and freedoms of the LGBTQ+ community.”

Patrick Davis – District 6, as an openly gay City Councilor, has contributed to Albuquerque’s rapid progress in deepening protections for the LGBTQ+ community and he is committed to making protections even deeper and stronger. Davis, both as a councilor and in his professional career, has supported key EQNM initiatives, including our campaign to keep extreme conservative candidates from getting elected to the school board to creating a legal defense fund for county clerks issuing marriage licenses (before the NM Supreme Court decision) in 2013. Davis believes that "systemic inequality carries forward from generation to generation and we must address the inequities in education, job creation, addiction and entrepreneurship in order to help lift families out of poverty because the legacies of slavery and colonialism still exist in our social institutions.”

“I’m proud that we include LGBTQ+ affirming language, definitions and protections in our city policies but there is more we can do. [We can] recognize LGBTQ+-owned businesses for purchasing preferences, create dedicated LGBTQ+ liasons in city departments, specifically for police and fire, [and] expand city participation in national LGBTQ+ leadership networks,” says Davis.

Maureen Skowran – District 8, believe that we are defined by our core values – two of those defining values are a willingness to do the hard work to make things better and a commitment to service to country and community. We look forward to the opportunity to see Maurreen work on making our neighborhoods safe, expanding community resources, creating a vibrant local economy, and addressing the crises in homelessness, addition, and mental health – all through regular engagement with her district. Skowran would be the third openly LGBTQ+ member of the council.

”I am the only candidate from City Council District 8 who knows what it is like to be afraid to hold someone’s hand when walking in public or to be concerned when applying for a job that I will be denied employment because of my sexual orientation. I will stand up for LGBTQ rights because they are my rights and the rights of many in my district and throughout the city of Albuquerque,” says Skowran.

Equality New Mexico is proud to support these candidates who will help make the city of Albuquerque a more inclusive, safer, healthier place in which all people are supported, are valued, and experience equality and dignity in every aspect of life.

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Beyond PRIDE Month: What We Must Do for LGBTQ+ Liberation in the Next Decade

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Beyond PRIDE Month: What We Must Do for LGBTQ+ Liberation in the Next Decade

Even if you live under a rock, I’m sure you saw rainbows in commercials, at your favorite coffee shop, maybe even in your favorite pop star’s music video and in parades in communities across the country throughout June. For many, especially those new to this movement, it’s easy to forget that these colorful celebrations are meant to commemorate the Stonewall uprising and the transgender women of color who ignited the modern civil rights movement for LGBTQ+ equality.

So, it’s really… nice… to see PRIDE spirit ignited across the country — in both communities that have celebrated PRIDE for 50 years and in communities that celebrated PRIDE for the first time this year. (Yes, it’s in all caps because we’re that PROUD.)

And yet, in the midst of these celebrations, we find ourselves facing the actualization of a long-term strategy by extremist conservative factions of this country. These anti-trans, anti-queer, anti-black, anti-brown, xenophobic, Islamophobic, racist people are ripping the wires out of the machines that are meant to protect us. Meanwhile, we’re diligently distracted by Twitter.

Yes, we should celebrate. But if we are to effectively counter the challenges of the next decade, we must also be just as fed up with the system and committed to liberation as Sylvia, Marsha and the transgender women of color who threw the first bricks of our movement 50 years ago. Here are three things we must commit to doing:

Work hard to know and understand the intricacies and historical trauma experienced by our constituencies and build broad bases of support.

New Mexico is a multicultural state that is very rural, highly religious and ideologically diverse. Often, this recipe is associated with extreme difficulty winning legal protections for queer and trans people. Yet, our legal protections are some of the most progressive, secure and expansive in the country.

That’s because we’ve worked hard to understand the cultural context and historical trauma experienced by communities in our state. We know, for example, that long before western borders were established, two-spirit, queer and trans people were considered sacred by the indigenous nations on whose land the state is built today. Today, as we constantly work to continue learning, we’ve also invested in educating our communities on LGBTQ+ identities and issues to build a broad base of support for systemic change.

This has led to accomplishments like the unanimous passage of the Non-Discrimination Equality Act this year, an update to our Human Rights Act that eliminated a carve-out allowing small businesses to legally discriminate against LGBTQ+ employees. This is a considerable win for our movement, as we believe this is the first time in U.S. history a bill of this kind has unanimously passed both chambers of a state legislature.

Work collaboratively across coalition on policy and politics, taking a wide view and surgical approach to the work.

The Equality movement, rightfully so, has been criticized for focusing on and being coopted by the needs of cisgender white (gay) males. From 2009 to 2013, New Mexico engaged in a statewide campaign for marriage equality, culminating in a ruling from the New Mexico Supreme Court in support of same-gender marriage. We’re all intimately aware that achieving high profile LGBTQ+ legal protections like marriage equality are critical.

But we can’t stop there. We must take a wide view of our work to identify and uproot the systemic ways in which discrimination and oppression are sustained. We must recognize that LGBTQ+ liberation is bound up in the liberation of all oppressed groups and people, expand our view to include policies that affect all of us and engage in the meticulous work of uprooting these systemic, perhaps less obvious, ways in which discriminatory policies are upheld. In New Mexico, we’ve done this by bringing our constituency to advocate for policies like raising the statewide minimum wage, same-day and automated voter registration, access to and the decriminalization of abortion, working to expand/secure inclusive family definition in statute and more.

Be PROUD twelve months of the year, not just one.

Finally, we can’t just celebrate PRIDE for one month each year. If we are to win equality, we must dedicate ourselves to the strategic, hard work year-round — something I’m proud Equality New Mexico has done for the last 25 years. We must stay educated about the issues, elect representatives who will work for our rights and invest in organizations that are effectively working in policy and politics. At this year’s legislative session, we saw the fruits of our year-round dedication with the passage of a suite of LGBTQ+ bills, including the Non-Discrimination Equality Act, the Gender Neutral Restroom Signage Act, the Safe Schools for All Students Act and the Vital Records Modernization Act.

So here’s the bottom line: PRIDE month has ended, but the work is far from over. We’ve taken strides in creating visibility for the community during PRIDE month, but performative, non-reciprocal intersectionality is not enough and, in fact, inflicts harm on the movement for LGBTQ+ liberation. So please stop.

We hope you’ll join us in committing to the next generation of hard, strategic work necessary to achieve lived and legal liberation and dignity for every LGBTQ+ person in every aspect of life. Let’s roll up our rainbow sleeves and get to it, y’all!

Let us know what you think at the bottom of the article published on Medium! https://bit.ly/2Y5gVIA

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Everyone Deserves a Family: The Erosion of Federal Child Welfare Protections

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Everyone Deserves a Family: The Erosion of Federal Child Welfare Protections

Trump and Pence are at it again. This federal administration continues to do everything it can to rip the wires out of the machine that are meant to protect LGBTQ+ people. This time their sights are set on queer and trans foster kids and families.

However, it’s important for New Mexicans to know that because of our strong Human Rights Act, any services provided to foster youth and families are protected by the state’s non-discrimination law. But out of an abundance of caution, we’ve recently formed a working group of child and youth advocacy organizations with the goal of correcting deficiencies in CYFD regulation. We are working on making non-discrimination protections in child welfare, juvenile justice, and youth homelessness systems more explicit, comprehensive, and unmistakeable.

Help us make sure that we cross the finish line on these polices by becoming a sustaining member today.

Learn more about the administration’s proposal and the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus’s condemnation of it from this press release:

DATE:  April 25, 2019
CONTACT:  aliya.bean@mail.house.gov; 202-225-2305

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

House LGBT Caucus Condemns Administration’s Proposal to Eliminate Data Collection on LGBTQ Foster Youth and Parents

Washington D.C. — The Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus released the following statement in response to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposal to eliminate data collection on LGBTQ foster youth and parents. On April 16, 2019, HHS proposed scrubbing data on the sexual orientation of foster youth and foster and adoptive parents and guardians in its Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data system.

Research shows that nearly 1 in 5 foster youth are LGBTQ. LGBTQ foster youth report twice the rate of poor treatment in foster care and suffer worse outcomes in foster care than their non-LGBTQ counterparts. Further, although same-sex couples are 7 times more likely to foster or adopt than their different-sex counterparts, many child placing agencies refuse to serve same-sex couples and LGBTQ individuals.

“Every child deserves a safe and loving home, but unfortunately LGBTQ children and parents face significant discrimination in the foster care and adoption system,” said LGBT Equality Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Angie Craig (MN-02) who has four sons with her wife Cheryl. “As a mother, and as someone who faced adoption discrimination for being a part of the LGBTQ community two decades ago, I strongly denounce Secretary Azar’s proposed rule change, and ask him to stand with children across the country who are seeking safe, supportive homes free from discrimination.”  

Please contact Aliya Bean at 202-225-2305 or aliya.bean@mail.house.gov with press inquiries.

Founded in 2008, the mission of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus is to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality.  The Caucus is strongly committed to achieving the full enjoyment of human rights for LGBT people in the U.S. and around the world. 

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Press Release from Rep. Haaland's Office: Haaland, Bonamici to Introduce Elder Pride Act

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Press Release from Rep. Haaland's Office: Haaland, Bonamici to Introduce Elder Pride Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Haaland, Bonamici To Introduce Elder Pride Act
 

WASHINGTON, D.C. -  Today, Congresswomen Deb Haaland (NM-01) and Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01) announced that they will introduce the Elder Pride Act to address a lifetime of discrimination that has resulted in less financial security, more social isolation, and specific healthcare needs for older LGBT Americans. The Elder Pride Act amends the Older American Act to address the needs of older LGBT Americans and make necessary investments to support them. 

“All people deserve to be healthy and secure in old age, but the struggles that our LGBTQ+ communities endured for years have put their wellbeing in old age at risk,” said Congresswoman Deb Haaland, a member of the Equality Caucus. “The Elder Pride Act will ensure there are programs available to address some of the symptoms of decades of discrimination, so LGBTQ+ people of a certain age have the same level of opportunities as everyone else.”

 “LGBTQ older Americans across the county have spent a lifetime fighting to be treated with dignity and respect, and they deserve our support in their senior years,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “Too often, these seniors face severe challenges when seeking essential care. I am proud to partner with my colleague Rep. Deb Haaland in the House, and Sens. Bennet, Casey, and Murkowski, to introduce legislation to provide support services to meet the unique needs of LGBTQ seniors, particularly those in rural areas.” 

Specifically, the bill would:

  • Establish an office of Inclusivity and Sexual Health in HHS, including an Assistant Director of LGBTQ+ Policy, to increase access to health care for LGBTQ+ older Americans;

  • Support research on the LGBTQ+ aging population to address the challenges the elderLGBTQ+ community faces, with an emphasis on those in rural areas;

  • Create and administer a grant program to help support organizations that serve older Americans conducting programs that connect LGBTQ+ seniors with their non-LGBTQ+ peers and local LGBTQ+ organizations; and

  • Make grant funding available to organizations to conduct training programs to serve LGBTQ+ seniors and other vulnerable populations.

 “We commend U.S. Representatives Deb Haaland and Suzanne Bonamici on supporting inclusive aging and sexual health care services, and ensuring they are more inclusive of LGBT elders and those living with HIV, who face a lifetime of discrimination that only continues as they age,”said SAGE CEO Michael Adams. “Compounding the problem, those who live in isolated areas often experience the added struggle of finding LGBT-welcoming care and connecting with their LGBT community. Although there are a variety of federal programs designed to assist them, none are specifically designed to provide equal access to services for LGBT older people. This legislation would change that.”

 "LGBTQ+ elders are an important part of our community. These are people who, by simply coming out to their friends and families decades ago, helped jumpstart the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement. These brave people deserve the same quality care when they go to the doctor or seek assisted living like everyone else," says Adrian N. Carver, Executive Director of Equality New Mexico. "We know that older LGBTQ+ people, particularly those in rural areas, often encounter discrimination or a lack of cultural competence when they seek sexual health care or assisted living services. This bill is vital to removing those barriers and ensuring LGBTQ+ older individuals have equal access to quality care." 

 U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Bob Casey (D-PA) today introduced the Inclusive Aging Act, comprehensive legislation to create and expand services to address sexual health care for older Americans and the diverse needs of older LGBTQ+ Americans.

 “Our outdated laws are limiting care and resources for an entire generation of LGBTQ+ Americans,” said Bennet. “LGBTQ+ seniors already face significant barriers to accessing quality health care, especially if they live in rural communities. By establishing programs that make investments in the organizations assisting LGBTQ+ seniors, we will better meet the diverse needs of the LGBTQ+ community.”

 “For far too long the needs of LGBT elders and seniors living in rural communities have been overlooked,” said Senator Casey, Ranking Member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging. “The Inclusive Aging Act would expand access to culturally competent health care services for LGBT elders and help reduce social isolation among older Americans in rural areas.” 

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Contacts: Felicia Salazar (Haaland) 202.981.1594 / Natalie Crofts (Bonamici) 202.225.0855 / Shannon Beckham (Bennet) 202.228.5434 / Aisha Johnson (Casey) 202.224.0101

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It's a Wrap! Suite of LGBTQ+ Bills Signed into New Mexico Law

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It's a Wrap! Suite of LGBTQ+ Bills Signed into New Mexico Law

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed the last of four LGBTQ+ specific bills into New Mexico lawWhen implemented, these laws will have significant impacts on many members of our community. We are incredibly proud of the progress we achieved together for New Mexico this year. 

Here are the LGBTQ+ specific rights and liberties you can soon expect:

1. Sex designations will be easier to correct on birth certificates. Beginning June 14th, the Vital Records Modernization Act will allow New Mexicans to correct the sex designation on their birth certificates without having to undergo expensive, invasive, unnecessary, and discriminatory surgery. Designations of M, F, and X will be permitted. 

2. No New Mexico business will be able to discriminate against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity (also implemented June 14th). Prior to the passage of the Non-Discrimination Equality Act (which passed UNANIMOUSLY in both chambers before being signed into law by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham), there was a loophole that allowed small businesses (with 14 or fewer employees) to discriminate. 

Show your support for these changes by donating to EQNM now!

3. Schools will become safer for LGBTQ+ students. By July 1st all New Mexico schools must show proof of changes in their bullying prevention policy that comply with the Safe Schools for All Students Act. These changes must include protection of both sexual orientation and gender identity, improved reporting procedures, and the use of uniform definitions.

4. Single-occupant public bathrooms will become more inclusive. The Gender-Neutral Restrooms Signage Act requires that, by June 14th, single-occupant restrooms in public places have gender-neutral signage. 

Additionally, we worked on two bills that aren’t traditionally LGBTQ+ priorities but which have an impact on our queer and trans communities. From those bills, you can expect:

1. Registering to vote will be easier. The Automatic and Same Day Voter Registration Act requires that beginning June 14th, New Mexicans visiting MVD or HSD offices be automatically asked if they'd like to register to vote or update their voter registration, AND they will be able to do so up to and including voting day.

2. Approximately 150,000 New Mexicans will get a raise in January and the minimum wage will be brought to $12.00/hour by 2023. The Minimum Wage Increase will help alleviate poverty, put more money into New Mexico’s economy, and honor the dignity of work for all New Mexico's workers. 

Thankfully, due to much hard work, you won’t see the effects of these two '“License to Discriminate” bills that we killed:

1. Healthcare non-discrimination policy will be protected. HB525 Healthcare License to Discriminate sought to remove non-discrimination protections. It was one of the most extreme, unrestrained attacks on trans and queer people, women, and science that we've seen and we were relieved to see it go.  

2. Similarly, HB600 Women’s Healthcare License to Discriminate offered yet another unrestrained attack on trans and queer ‘women’s’ healthcare. Thankfully, we were able to kill it in its first committee. 

Become an EQNM sustaining member to support our continued work to block dangerous bills like these AND move forward with protective bills that didn't make it through this year.

Although we worked very hard on the following pieces of legislation, they didn’t pass this year. With your support, we will continue to work hard on them:

1. Prohibit Gay/Trans Panic Defense was held up by the onslaught of legislation this year. This bill would have stopped the gay/trans panic defense from being used in violent crime cases. The use of this defense is the result of a decades-old idea that gender LGBTQ+ identities were mental illnesses. We know this is false and it’s high time this legislation was overturned — we’ll keep working to get this done.

2. Similarly, Permanent Protection for Abortion Access was tabled. This bill would have permanently protected access to abortion. We plan to double down on this work and make sure people in every corner of the state know why access to reproductive healthcare *is* in fact an LGBTQ+ issue.

We owe HUGE thanks to all our sponsors: Rep. Deborah Armstrong, Sen. Jacob Candelaria, Rep. Angelica Rubio, Sen. Elizabeth Stefanics, Sen. William Soules, Sen. Linda Lopez, Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, Sen. Bill Tallman, and Sen. Peter Wirth.

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2nd Legislative Update

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2nd Legislative Update

At the beginning of the third week of the #nmleg, there is a lot of movement on our priorities. Thank you to all our legislative sponsors, organizational partners (especially Planned Parenthood, Transgender Resource Center of NM, Strong Families NM, and Young Women United), and all of our members/volunteers/supporters for your work to help the first two weeks of the session to be a success!

What's up with our legislation? Check it out here:

SENATE BILL 20: SEX DESIGNATION ON VITAL RECORDS  <<< click for more information.
Sponsored by: Sen. Candelaria and Rep. D. Armstrong, CoSponsored by Sen. Sedillo Lopez

SB 20 passed Senate Public Affairs Committee, Senate Judiciary Committee and yesterday, PASSED the Senate floor by a vote of 26-13, with bi-partisan report. Next up, the House of Representatives!

SB 20 allows transgender, gender expansive, gender nonconforming, non binary New Mexicans to confirm their gender on their NM birth certificate, without the requirement of surgery. It allows folks to change the gender marker to an "M", an "F", or an "X". 

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SENATE BILL 159: PROHIBIT CERTAIN LEGAL DEFENSES  <<< click for more information. 
Sponsored by: Sen. Candelaria

SB 20 passed the Senate Public Affairs committe yesterday and moves on to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Click the link above to sign our petition and to stay tuned for opportunities to engaged on this bill.

SB 159 would end the practice of allowing defendantes who admit to committing a violent crime against someone who is LGBTQ+ to plead for a lesser sentence, even for cases of murder. Our community continues to be the target of violence – particularly the transgender community – and hate crimes are at a recent high.

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SENATE BILL 227: ADDITIONAL UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICE  <<< click for more information. 
Sponsored by: Sen. Stefanics

Awaiting hearing in the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee. Click the link above to sign our petition and to stay tuned for opportunities to engaged on this bill.

SB 227 would affirm equal protection promises by removing language in the Human Rights Code that gives small businesses (14 or less employees) a license to discriminate against their LGBTQ+ employees. That means you can be fired, disciplined, demoted, or discriminated against--and it's time for that to change.

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SENATE BILL 288: SAFE SCHOOLS FOR ALL STUDENTS ACT  <<< click for more information. 
Sponsored by: Sen. Soules

SB 288 has it's first hearing in the Senate Education Committee TODAY. Click the link above to sign our petition and to stay tuned for opportunities to engaged on this bill.

SB 288 repeals the current bullying prevention law and replaces it with language that would work to make sure that that transgender students are fully included in the policy, contributing to improving learning outcomes, attendance, and graduation rates.

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Newly introduced legislation – read it here:

HOUSE BILL 388: GENDER FREE RESTROOMS  <<< click for more information. 
Sponsored by: Rep. Rubio

Bill was introduced and awaits hearing in the House Government, Elections & Indian Affairs Committee. Read the bill and to stay tuned for opportunities to engaged on this bill.

Gender-neutral restrooms offer a safe, private facility for people with disabilities, families, and the transgender/LGBQ communities to do their business. HB 388 simply requires that single-stall and/or single-occupancy bathrooms have gender-neutral signage.

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SENATE BILL 430: EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT DEMOGRAPHIC INFO COLLECTION  <<< click for more information. 
Sponsored by: Sen. Candelaria

Bill was introduced and is awaiting hearing in the Senate Public Affairs Committee. Read the bill and and to stay tuned for opportunities to engaged on this bill.

This is the "database to make our case" for ending improving outcomes and decreasing disparities in the delivery of  services and benefits by state government. Requires certain state-level departments to collect sexual orientation and gender identity data, as guided by the Department of Health, when collecting other voluntary demographic data, and for any of that data to remain unable to be personally identifiable.

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MAKE AN INVESTMENT: We couldn't do this work without your generous contributions.
CLICK HERE TO DONATE

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NEW MEXICO REACHES HIGHEST CATEGORY IN STATE EQUALITY INDEX:

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NEW MEXICO REACHES HIGHEST CATEGORY IN STATE EQUALITY INDEX:

 
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The work of achieving full liberation for LGBTQ New Mexicans continues

SANTA FE, N.M.: This year, because of the diligent work of Equality New Mexico (EQNM), our state has joined the highest category in the State Equality Index (SEI). The SEI is a comprehensive report detailing statewide laws and policies that affect LGBTQ+ people and their families, and assessing how well states are protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination.

EQNM is celebrating 25 years of winning equality for New Mexico and being placed in the Working Toward Innovative Equality category of this report is an acknowledgement of our work. The SEI outlines the protections we have won, including a comprehensive non-discrimination law, safe schools laws, and healthcare access for transgender people. EQNM proudly continues to take a wide view of our mission, and uses a surgical approach to focusing on the implementation of laws and advancing innovative legislation that addresses the needs of vulnerable populations.

“The State Equality Index confirms what New Mexicans already know. Because of the passionate work led by generations of community members, this year the SEI categorizes our state as ‘Working Toward Innovative Equality’,” says Adrian N. Carver, Executive Director of Equality New Mexico. “We are proud to join the ranks of states who are leading the next phase of the LGBTQ+ movement, centering our work from our state’s cultural values of equity, inclusion, and liberation.”

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NM LGBTQ+ leaders' statement on US Supreme Court ruling allowing the Trans Troop Ban to go into effect

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Contact: Adrian N. Carver
adrian@eqnm.org
(505)224-2766 x.700

SUPREME COURT ALLOWS TRANS TROOP BAN INTO EFFECT, WAITS FOR RULING OF 9TH CIRCUIT 
Congresswoman Debra Haaland, Equality New Mexico, Bataan Chapter of the American Veterans for Equal Rights, Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico React

In a surprise ruling this morning, transgender people in the military were delivered what is hopefully a temporary injustice by the United States Supreme Court. Justices stayed injunctions on President Trump's discriminatory ban on transgender people serving in the military. While this ruling allows the ban to go into effect, the Court did not rule on the merits or the legality of the ban, opting to wait for the ruling of the 9th Circuit Court.

"This ruling, which lifts the injunctions on the ban – even temporarily – is a slap in the face of ALL the brave people currently serving or want to serve our country," says Adrian N. Carver, Executive Director of Equality New Mexico. "Anyone who meets military standards should be able to serve. Transgender service members seek only to be evaluated on the same standards as anyone else."

This unfortunate ruling means that transgender service members will cruelly face discharges and transgender recruits will be denied enlistment opportunities while these cases proceed and until the Court has another opportunity to consider the case on the merits. 

"Our country has had Transgender Service Members serving in silence from our very first days in the Revolutionary War.  As with our LGB (lesbian, gay, and bisexual) Sisters and Brothers we have often served above and beyond the call of duty.  It is time for our country to join 19 other nations that embrace Transgender Service Members as part of their every day rank and file.” says Penn Baker, President of the Bataan Chapter of the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER).

Excluding qualified service members solely because they are transgender is discrimination, and it is contrary to military values. The military’s own research shows Trump’s ban would weaken our military. It means losing qualified, trained service members and depriving the military of qualified recruits at a time when enlistment numbers are already too low.

Adrien Lawyer, Co-Director of the Transgender Resource Center of NM says, “We recognize that this action is not just an attack on the 15,000 active transgender military members, but an attack on transgender people across the country. When the livelihoods of these troops are threatened, we see a threat to the employment rights of transgender people across all sectors. When the talents and skills of these brave and valuable employees are defamed, we see a question about the worth and importance of transgender people throughout our nation.”

Trump’s cruel ban is based on discrimination, not facts. Multiple courts have recognized this, and it will ultimately be blocked for good. Transgender people have been serving with honor, many on the front lines. Transgender recruits have demonstrated their fitness to serve. They deserve our respect and gratitude, not this cruel ban.

Congresswoman Deb Haaland also weighed in by saying, “Transgender people have proudly and openly served our country for the past several years.  Yet, equality is continuously under attack by this administration. Today’s Supreme Court decision to uphold this irrational ban, is devastating for the transgender service members and enables blatant discrimination against transgender service members.  

“Preventing people from devoting their lives to their country simply due to their gender identity is a cruel affront on American values. I am incredibly disappointed by the Supreme Court’s refusal to uphold the rights of the transgender community. This irrational ban distracts from service, does nothing to promote military readiness, and directly opposes the American belief in coming together to support our country regardless of background.”

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Four bills introduced that would deepen protections for LGBTQ+ New Mexicans

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Four bills introduced that would deepen protections for LGBTQ+ New Mexicans

Our first FOUR bills have been introduced by our legislative champions:

SENATE BILL 20: SEX DESIGNATION ON VITAL RECORDS  <<<click for more information.
Sponsored by: Sen. Candelaria and Rep. D. Armstrong
SB 20 allows transgender, gender expansive, gender nonconforming, non binary New Mexicans to confirm their gender on their NM birth certificate, without the requirement of surgery. It allows folks to change the gender marker to an "M", an "F", or an "X". 

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SENATE BILL 159: PROHIBIT CERTAIN LEGAL DEFENSES  <<<click for more information. 
Sponsored by: Sen. Candelaria
SB 159 would end the practice of allowing defendantes who admit to committing a violent crime against someone who is LGBTQ+ to plead for a lesser sentence, even for cases of murder. Our community continues to be the target of violence – particularly the transgender community – and hate crimes are at a recent high.

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SENATE BILL 227: ADDITIONAL UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICE  <<<click for more information. 
Sponsored by: Sen. Stefanics
SB 227 would affirm equal protection promises by removing language in the Human Rights Code that gives small businesses (14 or less employees) a license to discriminate against their LGBTQ+ employees. That means you can be fired, disciplined, demoted, or discriminated against--and it's time for that to change.

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SENATE BILL 288: SAFE SCHOOLS FOR ALL STUDENTS ACT  <<<click for more information. 
Sponsored by: Sen. Soules
SB 288 repeals the current bullying prevention law and replaces it with language that would work to make sure that that transgender students are fully included in the policy, contributing to improving learning outcomes, attendance, and graduation rates.

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