2019: LGBTQ year in review

2019 to 2020 stretch

Fighting against LGBTQ civil rights eradication in 2019

2019 will go down as a year where LGBTQ organizations fought back against any and all attempts to eradicate LGBT civil rights. As millions of Americans reflect upon 2019 and make resolutions for 2020, Accountable for Equality put together their list of actions that show the strength of the LGBTQ movement. Throughout the year they stood up to hate groups, their funders, and held corporations accountable, while documenting acts against equality.

Accountable for Equality released a report, titled Blocking Progress & Advancing Hate, outlining the vast network of state and national organizations working to eradicate equal rights for LGBTQ Americans. It includes the Alliance Defending Freedom, Concerned Women for America, Eagle Forum, Family Policy Alliance, Family Research Council, Heritage Foundation, Liberty Counsel, and the National Christian Foundation.

Hate is not charitable

Amalgamated Foundations of Amalgamated Bank, one of the nation’s leaders in ethical and inclusive banking launched the Hate is Not Charitable Campaign to raise funds to fight against using tax-deductible dollars to support hate groups, saying it “undermines a shared value of democracy inherent to the logic of promoting the public interest, and that “promoting hatred is the opposite of public good.”

Holding big business accountable

Major corporations have dedicated significant time and resources to make their corporate environment more LGBTQ friendly. However, there is still work to be done. In 2019 two major campaigns were launched to hold corporations accountable. In August, the Business Roundtable—a group of the nation’s leading CEOs—released a statement that redefined the purpose of a corporation to include the credo that corporations must “foster diversity and inclusion, dignity and respect…” In June, Blackstone began to raise awareness of the social and professional challenges impacting LGBTQ individuals through its OUT Blackstone Task Force.

SoulCycle/Equinox Protests
When news broke that SoulCycle/Equinox mogul Stephen Ross was an ardent supporter of President Trump, activists across the country dropped their membership in droves to protest.

Zero for Zeros Holds Corporate PACs Accountable
Zero for Zeros aimed at holding corporations accountable for their political giving.  Zero for Zeros highlighted corporations who receive a perfect 100 rating from the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, while simultaneously funding elected officials in Congress who lead anti-LGBT efforts. This gained the attention of New York State and City Comptrollers and corporations, including Microsoft.

No Gay? No Way! Pressures Amazon in the Volunteer State
When Amazon, one of the world’s most recognizable brands, chose Tennessee as a secondary location for their Headquarters, LGBTQ activists rallied together and the No Gay? No Way! Campaign utilized guerrilla tactics, including flying a plane over the Tennessee Capitol, to pressure Amazon to stand up against the Tennessee Legislature and their anti-LGBTQ agenda.

From Cars to Cards Activists Flexing Muscle
2019 was a year where activists persuaded corporations to reverse course. The Hallmark Channel pulled advertising that featured two women kissing, but, after significant public backlash, reversed course. Other advertisers like Toyota also came under intense scrutiny.

Taking on the most powerful anti-LGBT organizations 

Scottsdale Discriminates, Home of Alliance Defending Freedom
In Arizona, the home of the Alliance Defending Freedom, Scottsdale Discriminates started a conversation among residents on what ADF really is. They highlighted what they stand for, and why Scottsdale residents should challenge ADF’s self-proclaimed claim that they do not discriminate.  The campaign spotlighted ADF activities in two advertisements and prompted city leadership to take a position on ADF, including Scottsdale City Councilwoman Virginia Korte saying she does not support the efforts of Alliance Defending Freedom welcomes the advocacy group to expose Alliance Defending Freedom and their actions.

Shining a light on the National Christian Foundation
In October, Accountable for Equality took their message straight to the National Christian Foundation at its Impact 2019 Donor conference in Orlando. A mobile billboard and digital ad campaign surrounded the conference hotel and Orlando International Airport. The ads asked, “Since when is hate a Christian value?”. In 2019 we saw, for the first time, who exactly funds the anti-LGBT movement. The National Christian Foundation was exposed for their act of funneling tens of millions to LGBTQ hate groups.  As America’s 8th largest charity, it was discovered that more than $56.1 million from 2015-17 was given to SPLC-labeled hate groups.

Working in the system and winning the States:

In 2019, four states banned conversion therapy. Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, and Maine all passed measures at the state level banning the practice in a blow to groups furthering their hateful agenda. New Jersey will be next to join the group. In New Mexico,  and Washington, D.C., they joined 17 states with a comprehensive anti-bullying law inclusive of LGBTQ students.

The work for the LGBTQ community and allies is far from over.  Just a few weeks ago, the Alliance Defending Freedom announced their plans to work with the American Legislative Exchange Council to continue their agenda.  A partnership between ALEC—widely known as an organization that provides state legislatures with model legislation—and ADF means more states will be seeing anti-LGBT measures than ever before.

Keep informed by visiting the Accountable for Equality website.