February and March have been months of change for the LGBTQ community, despite the anti-LGBTQ bills we’ve seen in Missouri, Georgia, and North Carolina. While we are outraged that Missouri‘s religious freedom bill passed and Governor Pat McCrory just signed HB 2, a bill that will limit all LGBTQ protections and transgender bathroom rights in North Carolina, we must also celebrate the progress that we’ve seen.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal just vetoed House Bill 757, which would have allowed faith-based organizations and businesses to decline services to the LGBTQ community. New York banned conversion therapy and Mayor Bill de Blasio approved Executive Order #16, mandating that NYC facilities provide bathroom access to transgender people consistent with their gender identities. In South Dakota, schools became safer for LGBTQ students when Dennis Dauggard vetoed HB 1008, a bill that would have banned transgender students from safely accessing their school bathrooms. Advocacy moments such as these pave the way for brighter LGBTQ futures, yet we must recognize that there is still more work to do.
Just two months ago, City of West Hollywood Council Member John Heilman, who is also a Trevor supporter, responded to a story in our newsletter and brought a resolution to the city council asking for support of the reauthorization of the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, which will help make it possible for state, schools, and tribes to receive funding for mental health programs, including crisis hotlines and suicide prevention services. Due to Heilman’s support, the City of West Hollywood will generate letters to California Senators, as well as some key people in Congress to help Trevor make national change.