Joe Biden Goes in on Trump in HRC Dinner Speech

Instinct previously reported that former vice-president Joe Biden would be attending the Human Rights Campaign’s annual national dinner and deliver the keynote speech that night. The event was hosted last night and Joe Biden did not disappoint.

With guests such as Eric Holder, Awkwafina, Tina Fey, Tan France, Antoni Porowski, Anne Hathaway, and Adam Rippon- the HRC dinner was the place to be.

Throughout the night, various people expressed their sentiments towards President Donald Trump in their speeches such as HRC President Chad Griffin who said:

“I don’t have to tell any of you that we are living through truly frightening times. Day after day, we’ve seen our most fundamental rights under attack by the highest levels of government, and the headlines couldn’t be any worse."

When it was finally Joe Biden’s turn to speak, he gave his addressed and expressed his opinion throughout:

“The President uses the White House as a literal bully pulpit.”

As he delivered his address, people began to chant “Run Joe Run!” throughout the auditorium. However, Biden has yet to confirm that he’ll run against Trump in 2020.

The full video can be seen below and other HRC speeches can be found at their YouTube Channel.



h/t: HRC

What Joe Biden is Doing for the LGBTQ+ Community

Yesterday, Politico reported that Joe Biden is set to keynote a major LGBTQ+ dinner. He has agreed to keynote the Human Rights Campaign’s annual dinner which helps the nation’s biggest and most politically active LGBTQ+ advocacy organization continue its push into the midterms.

However, Joe Biden is no stranger to being an ally for the LGBTQ+ community. Biden previously appeared at the dinner in 2015 while he and Obama were still in office. During their presidency, he was the first to speak out in favor of legalizing gay marriage and was responsible for pressing President Obama to speak out himself. The Human Rights Campaign’s president, Chad Griffin, called Biden:

“A strong voice for the vulnerable and a bold advocate for LGBTQ people.”

On top of his work with the Human Rights Campaign, Joe Biden also made headlines last month for launching an LGBTQ+ family acceptance campaign. His campaign was created to emphasize the importance of family and community acceptance of LGBTQ people. Through a social media campaign and testimonies, they hope to hear from people within the LGBTQ+ community, family members, and other members of the community in order to inspire and heal.

On the campaign, Biden said:

“I’m so proud to announce the Biden Foundation has launched this campaign. We’ll use our resources to highlight the harms of family rejection and lift up research, best practices, and personal stories to powerfully show the significant value of family acceptance. LGBTQ young people should never have to face rejection from those who love them. [I encourage stories] about the importance of family acceptance because we all deserve to be safe, loved, and affirmed.”

The announcement was accompanied by a video in which Biden and advocates for the cause decried the rates of homelessness and suicide in the LGBTQ+ community.

According to a 2012 study from the Williams Institute at UCLA, forty percent of youth who are homeless identify as LGBT. A JAMA study conducted in 2017 showed that teens who identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or questioning were at a much more vulnerable to planning or attempting suicide. While transgender teens were not included in the study, their rates are estimated to be the same if not higher.

Biden’s help to the LGBTQ+ community is a small ripple in the river but it is always refreshing to see a politician who puts his money where his mouth is.

h/t: Politico, CNN, NYU Local

HRC Executive Resigns and Apologizes After Using Racial Slur

Mary Beth Maxwell, the head of the Human Rights Campaign’s educational arm, resigned last week after a coworker reported her for using the n-word. Reports from Politico  indicate she was:

“[recounting] an upsetting personal story in which the term was used”


“describing an external situation that [she] found horrifying, in which racial and homophobic slurs were used.”

These quotes were pulled from an internal email from the president of the HRC, Chad Griffin.

Griffin said that Maxwell had no bad intent in using the word but he added that it did not matter:

“Not having bad intent in using the word does not make it acceptable. I want to be clear, intent does not matter. It is the impact of the word that matters. It is simply never acceptable for that word to be said by an employee in the workplace, period.”

He suspended Maxwell without pay and after receiving the findings of the full investigation, he accepted her resignation.

Maxwell wrote a note to the HRC’s chief of staff expressing her regret and it was then forwarded to all employees and to Politico. She wrote:

“While in each instance I was conveying something that really happened- in the first I was emotional and scared that it had been said and in the second feeling urgency about addressing a deeply racist and homophobic encounter that a colleague recounted- I should never have said that word out loud. Period. I fully respect and support HRC taking action to make clear that our commitment to a fair and just workplace is unwavering and that each of us must be held accountable for that.”

h/t: Politico, Human Rights Campaign

Workplace Climate Is Getting Better For LGBTs But Very, Very Slowly

In a new survey of 1,615 straight and gay workers by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, 46% of LGBTQ employees stay closeted in the workplace because they are afraid of being stereotyped, damaging business relationships or making folks feel ‘uncomfortable.’

That’s a drop of only 4 points from 50% ten years when the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Degrees of Equality report was issued in 2008.

Of the straight respondents, half said there aren’t any LGBTQ employees at their place of employment.

According to The Wall Street Journal, over half of Fortune 500 businesses now have an executive tasked with addressing inclusivity and diversity at their company.

Even so, one in five LGBTQ employees say they’ve been told to dress in a more ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’ manner. Inclusivity?

Fifty-three percent of LGBTQ workers say they hear gay/lesbian jokes occasionally at work. Inclusivity?

The number one reason why LGBTQ employees don’t say anything about negative comments about gay folks is they don’t believe the issue will be addressed and they don’t want to injure relationships with coworkers.

The new report by the HRC Foundation looks to "uncover the prevalence of LGBTQ workers feeling pressure to hide their sexual orientation and/or gender identity on the job and the cost of that hiding both to individuals and employers."

You can download a PDF of the report, titled A Workplace Divided: Understanding the Climate for LGBTQ Workers Nationwide, by clicking here.

HRC Asks Education Secy Betsy DeVos "How Do You Sleep At Night?"

After interviewing over 12,000 LGBTQ teenagers, the HRC Foundation and the University of Connecticut has released the largest-of-its-kind survey detailing the anxiety and challenges so many of them face going regarding their daily lives at home, at school and in their communities.

With teens ranging in age from 13 to 17, and from all 50 states and Washington D.C., the survey reveals teenagers are not only experiencing stressful levels of apprehension and angst, but only a small minority (26%) feel unsafe in their own school classrooms. 

The researchers found that:

• 79% of LGBTQ teenagers surveyed report feeling depressed or down over the past week

• 95% of LGBTQ youth report trouble sleeping at night

• LGBTQ youth of color and transgender teenagers experience unique challenges and elevated stress -- only 11% of youth of color surveyed believe their racial or ethnic group is regarded positively in the U.S., and over 50% of trans and gender expansive youth said they can never use school restrooms that align with their gender identity

• More than 70% report feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness in the past week

• A scant 5% say all of their teachers and school staff are supportive of LGBTQ people

• 76% report that they’ve heard family members make negative comments about LGBTQ people

To protest the harmful effects the Trump/Pence administration is having on young LGBTQs, artist Robin Bell and HRC projected a message on the U.S. Department of Education building (above).

The projection read, “Betsy DeVos, How do you sleep at night when only 26% of LGBTQ youth always feels safe in class?”

You can read the full survey from HRC and the University of Connecticut here.

Nine Trans People Have Been Killed in the U.S. This Year

The strangling death of 26-year-old Carla Patricia Flores-Pavón last week is the ninth known murder of a transgender person in the U.S. this year. The Human Rights Campaign has tracked violence against trans people and non-binary people since 2013. Last year, at least 28 transgender people were killed, a record since tracking began.

These are the nine transgender victims of fatal violence in 2018:

Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, 42, was known throughout her North Adams, Massachusetts community as an activist. She founded and organized the Miss Trans New England pageant. She was found stabbed and beaten to death in her home on January 5. Her husband, Mark Steele-Knudslien, 47, was charged with the crime.

Viccky Gutierriez, 33, from Honduras, was a member of TransLatin@ Coalition’s Los Angeles organization. She was stabbed to death before her home was set on fire on January 10. Kevyn Ramirez, 29, faces the possibility of life in prison for the crime.

Tonya Harvey, 35, was shot to death in Buffalo, New York on February 6. Police initially identified Harvey as male before releasing an updated report. They are now investigating the murder as a possible hate crime.

Celine Walker, 36, was found dead from a gunshot wound in a Jacksonville, Florida hotel on February 4. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office misgendered Walker at first, claiming they do not identify victims as transgender. Authorities are still looking for a suspect.

Zakaria Fry, 28, and roommate Eugene Ray, 70, went missing from their New Mexico home in mid-January. Their bodies were discovered 40 miles outside of Albuquerque on February 19. Charles Spiess, 32, was arrested and charged with two counts of murder.

Phylicia Mitchell, 45, was shot to death outside her home in Cleveland, Ohio on February 23. On April 10, Cleveland.com reported that Gary Sanders, 36, was charged with aggravated murder in Mitchell’s death. The slaying is believed to be drug-related. "She was a good person,” her longtime partner Shane Mitchell told the Cleveland press. “Even though she had a drug problem, she's a good person. She got mixed up with the wrong people.”

Amia Tyrae Berryman, 28, was fatally shot in a Baton Rouge, Louisiana hotel March 26. Police have no suspects at this time. Local TV station WBRZ-TV 2 misgendered Berryman when first reporting the crime.

Sasha Wall, 29, was found dead from multiple bullet wounds in her still-running car on Easter Sunday in the sandhills of South Carolina. No arrests have been made in the ongoing investigation, but local media  have reported a lead. Local station WSOC-TV misidentified Wall as male.

Carla Patricia Flores-Pavón, 26, was fatally strangled in her Dallas apartment on May 9. A man was seen leaving her apartment shortly before she was found. A source told local station CBS 11 the victim had recently connected with a man in a chat room.  An investigation is underway. Dallas police say there is no evidence of a hate crime.


Seven of these women were women of color. Violence disproportionately impacts trans people of color, who are uniquely vulnerable due to a struggle for basic living needs like employment, housing and healthcare in the crosshairs of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia.

For Mother's Day HRC Announces Star-Studded "Moms For Equality" Campaign

Even with progress being made every day, the fact is LGBTQ youth face disproportionately high rates of bullying, anxiety and depression.

But when it comes to kids, few are as ferocious a defender as a mom.

So just in time for Mother’s Day, the Human Rights Campaign has announced a new “Moms for Equality” campaign featuring mothers of famous LGBTQs urging their fellow parents and allies to join the fight for equality. 

Kelly Rippon, Sally Field, Betty DeGeneres, Jodie Patterson and more share tributes and truth in the new campaign, chronicling their journeys to becoming fierce advocates of LGBTQ people. 

“Everyone, LGBTQ or otherwise, should get to live as freely as Adam does –– and, as one of HRC’s Moms for Equality, I’m committed to making that happen,” says Kelly Rippon, mother of out Olympic bronze medalist (and "America's sweetheart") Adam Rippon.

“This whole campaign has become such a family affair. All of us are in this fight for LGBTQ equality for Adam, of course, but also for all those young people like him who haven’t had an easy time openly being themselves," added Rippon. "They need allies to support them, now more than ever!”

“At 20, Sam came out proudly as a gay man: to us and to a world where some still hate you just for being different. Ten years later and that hate seems to have only gotten stronger,” says Oscar winner Sally Field writes in a touching tribute for the “Moms for Equality” campaign. “But with you, we can help stop hate in its tracks.”

“It’s on us to change the world for these kids and make it a better place. Just like my Ellen did 21 years ago and continues to do to this day,” says Betty DeGeneres, mother of Ellen DeGeneres. “I’m a proud Mom for Equality and a longtime member of HRC.”

Jodie Patterson, recently named one of “The 20 Most Influential Moms of 2018” by Family Circle magazine, shares, “As a mom, I’ve always wanted to fix things. But, as I soon realized, there wasn’t anything about Penelope that needed fixing. He, like every transgender child, was simply announcing to me and to the world how he truly saw himself.

“He was boldly claiming his identity,” said Patterson. “I joined the fight for transgender equality that very day and I’m here, seven years later, to keep that fight going as one of HRC’s Moms for Equality!”

Limited edition “Fight Like A Mother” t-shirts are available to those who join the campaign through Mother’s Day.

Middle East & North Africa LGBTQ Activists Share Personal Stories In New Video Project

Amid state-sponsored repression and social stigma, LGBTQ people across in the Middle East and North Africa are speaking out against homophobia and transphobia. Some of them are building national movements, while others are simply sharing their stories. - nbcnews.com

Yesterday, on our Facebook Page, we asked:

Have you become more involved or less involved in politics since the last presidential election?

I often receive calls to donate my time and/or money to this gay cause, this LGBTQ+ event and I say I don't have the time or money or often think that the cause does not align with my personal life and I go on with my personal life and don't think any more of the call, this email, that Facebook post. 

YouAreNotAlone is the name of the campaign in which 34 gender activists have taken part. Participants' efforts have tackled LGBT issues in Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania, and Yemen. - raseef22.com

We shouldn't say we have it easy in America, but we have it so much easier than many nations in the world.  It's a reality check when we hear that hook-up apps, that we throw on when we see a cute guy in public to see if he's "on the grid," are used to hunt down gay men.  That men are turned in by their neighbors to authorities because they may be gay. 

A new multimedia project from Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality (AFE) is seeking to amplify the voices of these human rights activists. Their initiative includes a 75-page report about the state of LGBTQ activism in the region, titled "Audacity in Adversity," and a video series, titled "No Longer Alone," which includes Arabic-speaking LGBTQ people sharing their personal stories and experiences as activists.

YouAreNotAlone, as it is called overseas or No Longer Alone by the HRC, is somewhat of a reality check for some of us that do say no to that phone call or just delete that email.



Many of the nations where the participants are from criminalize homosexuality. With that in mind, the creators of "No Longer Alone" allowed some interviewees to hide their faces, use false names, and if desired, alter their voices.

Going back to our Facebook question:

Have you become more involved or less involved in politics since the last presidential election?

Should we have asked, when was the last time you participated in a pro-LGBTQ+ event or political event?  Bravo for those that speak up for the LGBTQ+ causes when we do not.




h/t:  nbcnews.com, raseef22.com

Did Bisexual Health Awareness Month Make Us Examine Our Own Health And Our Relationship With Our Doctor?

I will admit, I didn't know March was Bisexual Health Awareness Month.  It came and went and I juts continued with my cis gay life. Do I shrug my shoulders and say, oh well, there seems to be a day or a month dedicated for anything and everything now, and move on? 

We honestly need to stop treating the Bisexual+ community as the lower case confused child of the rainbow family. Why does it seem that the most prevalent comments about the bisexual community are that they just want it all, they are confused, and they just need to pick a side. 

Enough is enough with that mentality.  Haven't we as Ls and Gs an Ts heard too many comments just like those?  As a gay man, how many times have you been asked if you've ever had sex with a woman and if the answer is no, they seem totally shocked that you never tried it and move forward with saying you should?

But what if some of these off the wall, degrading, confusing questions came from your doctor?

GLAAD.org recently posted a piece called "Six Things Bisexual+ People Are Tired Of Hearing From Their Doctors."

1) “Wow, being bisexual must make dating so easy, you’ve got all the fish in the sea.”

2) “Are you sure there is no way you could be pregnant?”

3) “You don’t need STD/STI testing because you’re in a same-sex relationship, right?” or “I think we should run some STD/STI tests, just in case.”

4) “When was the last time you had sex? I mean… real sex?”

5) “So you’ve been in a relationship for a while now. You’re not bisexual anymore? Finally picked a side?”

6) “Don’t worry, I experimented some back in college too, I know how it is”

For more elaboration on these comments, head over to GLAAD.org where Micah Prussack puts it all in context.

So imagine hearing these comments from a professional that is there to help you protect your health.  Knowing these questions and the attitude toward Bisexuals is a negative, degrading one, do bisexuals even "come out" to their doctors?  Maybe you have heard these questions from your own doctor?

The Human Rights Campaign marked Bisexual Health Awareness Month by highlighting the startling health disparities facing the bisexual community:

  • HRC’s 2017 Youth Survey conducted with the University of Connecticut is not yet published, but preliminary insights reveal that bisexual youth are more likely to avoid exercise, smoke cigarettes, and more frequently feel irritable and depressed than their lesbian and gay peers. Additionally, bisexual youth were less likely to disclose their sexual orientation to their doctors and health care providers.
  • HRC’s 2015 report Health Disparities Among Bisexual People found that when compared to their heterosexual, lesbian and gay peers, bisexual adults reported double the rate of depression and were far more likely to engage in self-harming behaviors.
  • HRC’s 2014 report Supporting and Caring for our Bisexual Youth found that bisexual, queer and pansexual youth were less likely than their lesbian and gay peers to report feeling happy, and more likely to experience being excluded and harassed.
  • In partnership with BRC, BiNetUSA and the Bisexual Organizing Project, HRC Foundation’s issue brief, Health Disparities Among Bisexual People, highlighted these disparities, which include higher rates of cancer, heart disease and obesity, and higher rates of HPV and other sexual health issues, likely stemming from a lack of access to preventative care and not being out to medical providers.
  • The Williams Institute also found that bisexual people are far less likely than their gay and lesbian counterparts to disclose their sexual orientation to their medical providers, leaving them at risk of failing to have access to a full range of medically-necessary care.

Are we asking doctors to be verse in all the challenges the LGBTQ+ community may face.  Well, actually, yes.

We're asking doctors to do the best they can, and if they are at their limit of knowledge, refer us to someone that can do more, that can assist more. But we are asking for a level playing field and an open minded playing field.

Once again, I didn't know March was Bisexual Health Awareness Month, but it does raise a question, a personal one for me. Am I afraid to find a doctor that doesn't respect or know how to deal with me being a gay man?

I moved to Florida over 4 years ago and I have not been to a doctor yet.  Eye and teeth, yes, those are taken care of, but an overall health doctor/physician?  No. I have not taken the step to do the research to see what doctor may be accepting of me being a man and liking men.  If this is such an issue for me, I cannot imagine what it is like for a bisexual person, a transgender person, or any other member of our alphabet, besides the more "accepted L and G" members.

Bisexual Health Awareness Month can affect us all, even if we aren't a B.

Have you been open with your doctor about your LGBTQ+ ness?

How did you go about selecting a doctor?

Or did you keep your family doctor and just "come out" to them?

Have you left a doctor because s/he could not handle, understand, or help you because of your sexuality?

h/t: GLAAD.org, The Human Rights Campaign