Support Safe Schools for Transgender Students

Imagine not being able to use the bathroom at school, or being called the wrong name by your teachers or principal. All too often, that’s what transgender students face in school, making it impossible for them to attend school safely.

A new ad, “Hallway” produced by MAP and released today in partnership with GLSEN shows how just how harmful it can be to force transgender students to use a separate restroom, putting them at risk of bullying and abuse.

Read more about “Hallway” and the Safe Schools Movement in this exclusive from Teen Vogue.

Everyone, including transgender students, cares about safety and privacy in restrooms and locker rooms. School districts across the country have successfully worked to ensure that transgender students have access to facilities that match their gender identity while still protecting the privacy of all students. However, only 14 states plus the District of Columbia have laws explicitly prohibiting discrimination in schools on the bases of gender identity and sexual orientation.

To fill in the gap in state laws, many school districts were turning to the federal government for protections. In 2014, the Obama administration issued official guidance clarifying that transgender students are protected from discrimination based on Title IX’s prohibition on sex discrimination. However, the Trump administration recently rescinded that guidance, signaling that transgender students cannot count on their federal government for support. And, in February of this year, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights announced that they will no longer be investigating complaints of discrimination filed by transgender students.

According to a new brief released by today by MAP, GLSEN, and the National Center for Transgender Equality, more laws and policies are needed to ensure transgender students can fully participate in school.

Every student deserves a fair chance to learn and thrive in school—including students who are transgender. And our schools have a responsibility to protect all students from bullying, harassment, and discrimination.

MAP is teaming up with GLSEN, the leading education organization working to create safe and inclusive K-12 schools, to launch the Safe Schools Movement to advocate for safe schools for LGBTQ youth.

Join the Safe Schools Movement and take action today:

BREAKING: Top Corporations, Civil Rights Advocates and 1,200+ Businesses Join Open to All!

These days, it’s hard not to feel discouraged by recent events in our country.

From horrifying news about immigrant families being separated at our border, to dangerous Supreme Court rulings that sanction blatantly discriminatory policies like gerrymandering or the President’s Muslim Ban to stand, it is all very disturbing.

On social media, we see shocking videos of people of color, LGBT people, people of minority faiths, and many others facing discrimination from businesses in their local communities. And, far too often the news is reporting stories like the couple that was recently kicked out of an Uber simply because they’re gayMuslim women who were ordered to leave a cafépeople of color facing abuse and violence in a diner, or people with disabilities being harassed in a restaurant.

As a nation, we decided long ago that when a business opens its doors to the public, it should be open to everyone, on the same terms. It’s time to stand up and defend that bedrock American principal and reject discrimination.

That’s why Open to All today announced that some of the nation’s largest companies including Yelp, Levi Strauss & Co., more than 1,200 small businesses, the cities of New York and Oakland joined the coalition of over 190 civil rights, racial justice, LGBT equality, faith, disability and other organizations to unveil a new nationwide Open to All campaign.

As part of this new business engagement program, the Open to All coalition unveiled a newly revamped website, and new window signage for businesses with storefronts so they can announce to their customers that they are “Open to All.”

Click here to read the exclusive story from the Associated Press Levi’s, Yelp join coalition pledging not to discriminate

We’re also excited to announce that Yelp—the company that connects people with great local businesses—has introduced the “Open to All” attribute businesses to distinguish themselves as a safe and welcoming place to everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religious or disability. The new feature makes it easier for consumers across the country to identify and support businesses who are committed to welcoming all.

Other prominent, national businesses enlisting in the effort today include Airbnb, Lyft, and Thumbtack, among others, and all of whom urged other business leaders across the nation to champion the bedrock principle that businesses should serve everyone on the same terms, with dignity and respect. .

The new Open to All campaign is an opportunity for communities big and small to join together and send a strong message that we reject discrimination.

This is our chance to change things for the better and create the kinds of communities where everyone is welcome and not turned away because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion or disability.

Join the campaign and take action:

  • SPREAD THE WORD Order window clings and a toolkit to reach out to local businesses. Ask them to sign the Open to All pledge and show their support publicly!
  • OPEN TO ALL ON YELP Let businesses know about Yelp’s new “Open to All” attribute and encourage them to check the box!
  • SHARE Help spread the word about Open to All by sharing the images and videos below on social media using #OpenToAll
  • BE COUNTED Add your voice to the growing chorus of Americans who reject discrimination! Be a part of the Open to All campaign!

EXCLUSIVE: USA Today Article Sheds Light on Attempts to Undermine Marriage Equality

The threats posed to children by the recent and coordinated efforts to undermine marriage equality are highlighted in a recent exclusive from USA Today.

The story outlines the two overarching efforts to scale back the protections afforded to same-sex couples, plain refusals by some government officials, state legislators, and courts to fully recognize the marriages of same-sex couples and their relationship with their children; and, refusals by individuals, businesses, government contractors, and even government employees claiming they have a religiously-based right to discriminate against LGBT people, including the children of LGBT people. These license to discriminate efforts are reflected in legislation, court cases, and agency guidance around the country.

The article follows two same-sex couples that were trying to start new families through adoption, but were denied a placement because of state laws that allow child welfare agencies to discriminate against prospective families as long as they cite a religious or moral objection.

Unfortunately, these stories reflect a disturbing trend in states across the country towards religiously-based service refusals that put children at risk. Just this year, two states—Oklahoma and Kansas—have passed laws granting child welfare agencies a license to discriminate against prospective parents, leaving the nation’s most vulnerable children with fewer prospective parents.

Read more about this report in an exclusive from USA Today:


Advocate Opinion: “Tell the Supreme Court That Businesses Must Be ‘Open to All’”

Today, the Advocate published a new opinion piece, “Tell the Supreme Court That Businesses Must Be ‘Open To All,’” marking the start of Open to All Week. In the article, MAP executive director Ineke Mushovic outlined the incredibly high stakes of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case and described how the court has heard these arguments before.

March 12—18, Open to All Week, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the landmark case, Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises. Piggie Park, a small barbeque chain, which is still open today, wanted the right to refuse service to African American customers. The owner, a segregationist, claimed that the Civil Rights Act violated his religious freedom.

The Supreme Court disagreed in a decision issued on March 18, 1968.

Piggie Park wasn’t just about barbeque. And Masterpiece isn’t just about cake.

Now the nation awaits a decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission, where the owner of a bakery is claiming that the state’s nondiscrimination law, which requires him to serve same-sex couples, unconstitutionally violates his religious beliefs.

In the opinion piece, Mushovic warns how a win for the bakery in Masterpiece threatens the historic legacy of the Piggie Park decision and could take us back to a shameful era in our nation’s history, an era where businesses could claim a right to discriminate as they see fit.

Click here to read the opinion piece in the Advocate.

Salon Exclusive: ‘Beyond wedding cakes to funerals: The high stakes of Masterpiece Cakeshop SCOTUS case’

Today, Salon published an in-depth exclusive examining the high stakes of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. Masterpiece Cakeshop v. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission involves a Colorado bakery that discriminated against, and refused to serve a gay couple in violation of Colorado’s nondiscrimination law. A decision is expected by June.

The article begins with asking a tough question: Can a pivotal Supreme Court ruling lead to “heterosexuals only” signs in front of businesses?

The story was spurred by the release of a new, hard-hitting ad produced by MAP called Funeral Home, which depicts a grieving widow who has just lost her spouse. She, her parents, and her in-laws enter a funeral home to arrange burial services. But they are turned away when the staff realize that the woman and her late spouse are lesbians.

The ad was produced as part of the Open to All public education campaign. This story, inspired by a real legal case, demonstrates how a loss in Masterpiece would open the door to much wider ranging forms of discrimination—including what the grieving widow in the ad faced.

Read more about the new ad in the Salon exclusive ‘Beyond wedding cakes to funerals: The high stakes of Masterpiece Cakeshop SCOTUS case’.