Take Action

We list here quick actions you can take to advocate for timely issues.  The action might entail calling your elected officials: in these cases, consult Contact Elected Officials for information on how contact and effectively communicate with key federal, congressional, and state officials. For more long term advocacy opportunties, consult Volunteer or contact us.

Support Senate Bill 5689 Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying

This bill is currently in committee undergoing a State Required Update. In addition to harassment, intimidation, and bullying in public schools, it now clarifies the civil rights of transgender students.  The WA State Board Administration has created a transgender protections policy go with the SB 5689 update. However,  the Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA)  advocates making the policy adoption discretionary: that is, allow school districts the option to not implement it. Transgender and ally advocates want mandatory compliance to assure no infliction of bias by discrimination.

If you are interested in participating on a panel on behalf of this bill on Thursday March 14th, please contact the office of Senator Mark Liias, 23rd District via his legislative assistant Curt Kohlwes (Curt.Kohlwes@leg.wa.gov), who will prioritize youth pannel participation.

Equal Right Washington lobbyist Carey Morris will be available to support panel particpaints and answer any questions during their visit to the state capitol. You can reach Carey Morris at (360) 961-7125.

There are additional ways you can help support this bill. Two of our chapter members, Corina and Skyler Pfeil, recently testified on behalf of this bill and the need for transgender protections at a Senate hearing. You can watch this video to hear their testimony and better understand the issues.

You can also take the following actions to support this important bill.

  • Read the bill and track its progress on its Washington State Legislature page.
  • Use the comment feature on the bill to add your support of mandatory compliance of the transgender protection policy by school districts using this form (be sure to fill in all the information and check the Support box).
  • Call the members of the Senate Committee ask them to support mandatory compliance of the transgender protections policy this contact information.
  • Spread the word to your network of family and friends through conversations and social media  and ask them to take these same actions.

Speak up for persecuted gay and bi men in Chechnya

In August of 2017, news outlets reported that Chechen police had detained, beaten and tortured at least 100 gay men. These policies toward LGBTQ people continue under Chechnya’s current leadership. Last April UN Ambassador Nikki Haley UN released a statement that this violation of human rights cannot be ignored, with no follow up statements to date. On October 31, 2017, the US Congress unanimously condemned  anti-LGBTQ violence in Chechnya.

Action:

  • Contribute to groups that are working on behalf of this issue. In particular, these groups have all taken effective and powerful steps.
    • Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 7 million people campaigning for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all.
    • ILGA-Europe (European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) is an international non-governmental umbrella organization bringing together 490 organizations from 45European countries.
    • Rainbow Railroad focus efforts on assisting LGBT people who have faced physical violence or face an imminent threat of violence, imprisonment, or death. According to their executive director Kimahli Powell, after receiving initial reports of the persecution of gay and bi men in Chechnya, Rainbow Railroad immediately re-classified Eastern Europe as a priority region: “This means we’re expanding our on-the-ground contacts as well as increasing our capacity to identify and assess new or alternative safe routes out of Chechnya.”
    • Russian LGBT Network is an interregional, non-governmental human rights organization that promotes equal rights and respect for human dignity, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. They unite and develop regional initiatives, advocacy groups (at both national and international levels), and provide social and legal service.
  • Contact the Human Rights Campaign to let them know you support their #EyesOnChechyna campaign and that you want this issue to be a top priority. You can also follow the #EyesonChechyna campaign for up-to-date information.
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