Fran Hutchins

Building Strong Leaders in the State-based Movement

We’re in the midst of a unique moment in the movement for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. As marriage wins continue in the courts, and national attention shifts to work in places where LGBT people aren’t protected from discrimination — strong leadership in the states is more important than ever.

September 21, 2021
Members Only Survey: Does Your Organization Use the VAN?

Over the past few months, many of our members have expressed interest in learning more about the Voter Activation Network (VAN).The VAN is a voter database containing information on voters for the purpose of assisting your get out the vote (GOTV) efforts and other areas of your campaigns.

September 21, 2021
Working to End Discrimination in the Mountain West

The Mountain West region is notable — not just for its mountain ranges and national parks — but for its commitment to winning nondiscrimination protections for its LGBT communities. As part of the Federation’s Fairness Project, we’re convening a cohort of five states in the Mountain West.

September 21, 2021
Progress on Gay Adoption

As the head of Equality Federation, which works to ensure that L.G.B.T.Q. people can thrive and provide for their families, I see firsthand how discrimination causes harm. And as an adopted person, I am forever grateful that my adoption agency’s top priority was finding me a home with loving parents, rather than turning people away based on religious beliefs.

September 21, 2021
Equality Federation Praises the Reversal of the Ban on Transgender Military Service

Today is a new day for transgender service members. We applaud President Biden and the newly confirmed Secretary of Defense, General Lloyd Austin, for their action today to reverse the discriminatory transgender military ban.

September 21, 2021
The Failed Coup Robbed Us of Georgia Joy

Monday, January 4, began my first official week as the new executive director of Equality Federation. I was ready to hit the ground running by playing a very small part in the massive and successful Georgia Senate get-out-the-vote effort.

September 21, 2021
We've Worked Virtually For Years: Here's How

Equality Federation has been operating virtually for a number of years and would like to share tip for organizations who are new to the world of working online. Check out our list of resources that will help you navigate your new digital workplace.

September 21, 2021
Ways to Support Your LGBTQ Friends and Family

Allies, family members, and friends, here are a few ways you can support your LGBTQ loved ones while waiting for the Supreme Court decision.

September 21, 2021
3 Takeaways from MAP's Report on LGBTQ People of Color Living in Rural America

Here are a few takeaways from the report that paints a picture of an often overlooked segment of our population.

September 21, 2021
Meet the Equality Federation's Newest Team Member

Dione Friends joined Equality Federation as Director of Communications in August 2019. Prior to joining Equality Federation, she spent eight years on the communications team at the ACLU of Texas, where she substantially grew their digital presence, communications capacity, and ability to reach people offline.

September 21, 2021
15 States Say It’s Legal to Fire LGBTQ People

15 states filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court asking them to rule against three individuals who were fired for being LGBTQ. The three cases include the first transgender civil rights case to be heard by the high court on October 8th.

September 21, 2021
The Stories of LGBTQ Rural America...

Growing up in Alabama, I loved visiting the farm where my dad was raised. We’d ride four wheelers, hunt, fish, and all pitch in during hay season. Well, mostly my cousins and I got in the way. In some ways, I felt at home in the country, as my family called it.

September 21, 2021
How we saved transgender equality in MA!

I’ve spent the last week on the ground in Western Massachusetts running get out the vote for the Yes on 3 campaign, and Tuesday night (Nov. 6, 2018) I got to celebrate a historic win with the amazing people who’ve made it happen.

September 21, 2021
Update from Yes on 3: Training New Leaders, Knocking on Doors, Getting to YES!

Last week I traveled to Massachusetts to work with the country’s first ever statewide ballot campaign to uphold protections for the transgender community. The campaign is running an impressive operation, from building a massive volunteer-driven voter contact program to putting up some of the best television ads making the case for dignity and respect under the law.

September 21, 2021
Transgender Rights Under Attack in Massachusetts

The current fight in Massachusetts—the birthplace of marriage equality—has been called “the next transgender rights battleground” and “the biggest test to date” on transgender rights. But, without a doubt, this is about more than Massachusetts.

September 21, 2021
I'm so proud my dad won't discriminate.

I’m so proud of my dad today, and well, every day really. He’s an honorable man who works hard and owns a business in our hometown, Oklahoma City. Like any family, it was a journey with ups and downs when I came out, but he has always supported me.

September 21, 2021
Why the Fight to End Conversion Therapy Matters

In the nearly three years since the Obergefell ruling legalized marriage in all fifty states, we’ve faced an uphill battle. Victory has often meant defeating anti-LGBTQ legislation rather than passing proactive, pro-equality legislation.

September 21, 2021
Equality Federation is Growing!

In the last five years, Equality Federation has grown by leaps and bounds! Our strategic growth has allowed us to roll out field and targeting support to all 50 states, increase our ability to track and provide rapid response during state legislative sessions, and grow our leadership programs to include training and support for fundraising, communications, and organizing staff of member groups.

September 21, 2021
Breaking: Supreme Court Lets Discrimination Continue...

The Supreme Court has denied to review two cases that challenged Mississippi‚ dangerously broad anti-LGBTQ law, HB 1523.

September 21, 2021
30 LGBTQ State Leaders Attend West by Midwest (WxMW) 2017

Our regional summits are growing! This year’s West by Midwest (WxMW) Leadership Summit was our biggest and best ever. For the third year in a row, we’ve invited members from the Western states to join us at what used to be the Midwest Leadership Summit.

September 21, 2021
The Current Political Landscape

Equality Federation’s Legislative Action Center tracks every piece of LGBTQ-focused legislation in all 50 states, allowing us to deploy critical resources to our state partners at every step of the legislative process. This year we tracked over 350 bills affecting the LGBTQ community. Fifteen states faced down anti-transgender bathroom ban legislation this year and we were victorious in fighting every one of these discriminatory efforts.

September 21, 2021
March Forward with Equality Federation: We Can End HIV in Our Lifetime

Twenty five years ago, I first started working in the LGBTQ movement. Back then I was hopeful for so many things that have since been realized, but one thing has yet to come true: an end to HIV.

September 21, 2021
March Forward with Equality Federation: Racial Justice

We’re taking the month of March to reintroduce ourselves to you, highlighting efforts you might not have heard about yet.

September 21, 2021
March Forward with Equality Federation: Legislative Action Center

We can’t sugarcoat it, we are living in some challenging times. But, from these challenges come opportunities for victories in the LGBTQ community. This month, we’d like to reintroduce ourselves. We’ll tell you more about what we’re doing to make lives better for LGBTQ people from Maine to Wyoming, Florida to Oregon.

September 21, 2021
We're Not Letting Trump Distract Us From State Battles

In case you missed it, 2016 was a year for the record books. Well over 200 pieces of anti-LGBTQ legislation kept Equality Federation and our state partners busy in state capitals across the country. That’s the bad news.

September 21, 2021
We're Hiring a Training & Organizational Development Associate

Advocates are working all across the country to advance statewide laws and local ordinances protecting LGBT people from discrimination. At the same time, our opposition is mounting an effort to pass so-called religious exemption laws legalizing discrimination against LGBT people in housing, employment, and services.

September 21, 2021
2015 LGBT Legislative Roundup

We’re all holding our breath for the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage, which will be announced any day now. At the same time, we’re also finally catching our breath, because by the end of this month, all but a handful of state legislatures will be out of session.

September 21, 2021
National Roundup: Nondiscrimination Ordinances

In the first half of 2015, we have seen many victories and challenges across the nation as advocates fight for protections for LGBT people in their state. In Michigan, opponents of the state’s recently introduced preemption bill have dubbed it a Death Star.

September 21, 2021
The 22 Anti-LGBT Bills in Texas

Like its neighboring state of Oklahoma, Texas has seen a dizzying number of anti-LGBT bills this session, 22 to be exact. Federation member Equality Texas helped to soundly defeat four preemption bills that would have invalidated local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances.

September 21, 2021
The Latest: Louisiana Set a Dangerous Precedent this Week

Louisiana set a dangerous precedent this week. Two different nondiscrimination bills -- both positive pieces of legislation that would have extended protections to LGBT Louisianans -- were tabled. 

September 21, 2021
Members: What’s New on the Fairness Project Site

We heard from many of you who participated in the Fairness Project site survey. You told us you want news and resources, and you want them often. We can do that!

September 21, 2021
Members: It is Time to Complete Our Annual Recertification Survey 2015

Every year, Federation members must complete our recertification survey as part of our Member in Good Standing Policy.Recertification is a chance for you to update the Federation about your work, your priorities, and your team.

September 21, 2021
You Can Move the Race Conversation Forward

The LGBT movement is shifting. We are seeing the tides changing from a focus on marriage to one of states working for protections in nondiscrimination, safe schools, immigration, healthcare, and beyond. But what is constant throughout this change is the intersectionality of our work, and the need to look at each issue through multiple lenses.

September 21, 2021
2015 LGBT Progress Update: We Are Winning!

So far 2015 has been quite a year. We haven't seen a state-by-state attack on our rights like this since the marriage bans of 2004. There's good news though: we are winning.

September 21, 2021
Bittersweet Home Alabama

On July 4, 1999, I left Alabama, the state I had called home for my entire life. Since the moment that I pulled away from my childhood home in a car packed to the gills, I have considered that day my own personal Independence Day.

September 21, 2021
Midwest Leaders Strategize for Winning Equality in the Heartland

Last month I had the honor and pleasure of gathering with Federation members from our Midwest cohort at the annual Midwest Leadership Summit in Chicago. As part of our State Leadership Project, the Midwest Leadership Summit is a chance to share strategies, network, and plan for collaboration in the year to come.

September 21, 2021
States of the States Part 3: Staff and Board Creating Social Change

Since 2006, the State of the States report by Equality Federation has documented the strength and sustainability of state-based advocacy organizations that advance equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the communities they call home. Over the past eight years, State of the States has faithfully documented our movement’s triumphs and trials as reflected in the capacity of our state-based organizations.

September 21, 2021
The Federation Launches Our New Fairness Project Site

Equality Federation is pleased to announce the launch of our brand new resource - the Fairness Project site. While 29 states across the country still lack statewide nondiscrimination protections for LGBT individuals -- and another three lack protections based on gender identity and expression -- there are hundreds of local communities where state-based leaders have successfully pushed for municipal protections.

September 21, 2021
Advocating for the Inclusion of Gender Expansive Youth in your State or Local Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBS)

Last week we held a webinar for Equality Federation members about how your organization can engage in Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) advocacy in your states and municipalities by adding an optional question on gender expansive youth.

September 21, 2021
Summer of Action Kicks-Off: Join the Volunteers Going Door-to-Door for LGBTQ Equality!

Summer of Action has kicked off in Phoenix, Atlanta, Jacksonville, and Cleveland! Over the next three weeks we will have thousands of conversations about nondiscrimination with people on their front porches and on the phone!

September 21, 2021
Orlando: What Can I Do?

Because I work in LGBT rights, people are asking me what they can do in response to Orlando. My response: find a vigil if you need healing or want to show support. If you want to do a bit more, here’s what I’ll tell you:

September 21, 2021
Grit & Grits: Winning Equality in the South!

The cornerstone of our Southern Leaders program is our Southern Leadership Summit, an annual gathering that brings together advocates from the region for two days of intensive workshops and discussion. Challenging legislative sessions in all the Southern states gave us a lot to talk about, and leaders shared what they’d learned so far, with many fights still going on.

September 21, 2021
Preemptions: The Lurking Threat to Local LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Protections

In state after state this year, opponents have used ever-evolving strategies to legislate anti-LGBTQ discrimination. The two most common strategies are religious exemption bills (so-called “religious freedom” bills) and bills focussed on restroom access.

September 21, 2021
Why Updating Birth Certificates Is Important for Transgender People & How Laws Are Changing

Now is the time for transgender equality, and more states are doing the right thing. They are no longer forcing transgender people to have surgery or obtain court orders in order to change the gender marker on their birth certificates.

September 21, 2021
Has Your State Banned Anti-Gay Conversion “Therapy” Yet?

Last week, Governor Cuomo of New York announced regulations that will ban public and private healthcare insurers from covering so-called gay conversion therapy and prohibit state mental health facilities from conducting the controversial practice on minors. This is big news.

September 21, 2021
Under the Dome: Oklahoma’s 27 Anti-LGBTQ Bills [video]

Equality Federation is currently tracking over 200 bills, at least 150 of which are anti-LGBTQ, throughout the country. Oklahoma leads the pack with 27 anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation up for consideration by lawmakers this session.

September 21, 2021
200+ LGBTQ Bills Sweep the Nation

In the world of LGBT legislation, the biggest trends this season are marriage and bathrooms. Through our newly launched Legislative Action Center, the Federation is currently tracking an unprecedented 200 bills, including a slew of anti-transgender bills that focus on preventing public facility use in 11 states and religious exemption bills targeting marriage in over a dozen states.

September 21, 2021
Introducing Equality Federation's Legislative Action Center

Equality Federation’s Legislative Action Center (LAC) is a proactive state legislative tracking and assistance program that will serve Federation partners, coalition members, and movement leadership and staff.

September 21, 2021
First of Its Kind LGBT-University

Advocates from across the United States traveled to Phoenix, Arizona last week to participate in the inaugural LGBT-University hosted by Freedom for All Americans.

September 21, 2021
Member Resource: List Hygiene - How to Deep Clean Your Supporter List

How many of you have HUGE lists? Fifty, sixty, one hundred thousand supporters? Good for you! Now, how is that list performing? You probably track opens, actions, and donations to help you write the most effective emails to engage your members.

September 21, 2021
Members: It is Time to Complete Our Annual Recertification Survey

It's an exciting time here at the Federation! Each year, we ask our beloved members to complete our recertification survey. Recertification is a chance for you to update the Federation about your work, your priorities, and your team. It’s also an opportunity to let us know of any changes we can make to improve your experience as a member.

September 21, 2021
A Strategy Change in Utah Brings Leaders Together to Advocate for Nondiscrimination

When the legislative session began in Utah this year, Equality Utah (EQUT) felt prepared to pass a nondiscrimination bill -- they had spent years building relationships on both sides of the aisle, had worked closely with the LDS church, and were planning to run a robust legislative campaign to show lawmakers that the public supports a law allowing gay and transgender Utahns to live free from discrimination in housing and employment.

September 21, 2021
The Federation’s Safe and Just Schools Program Empowers Groundbreaking Work in Minnesota

All young people deserve the opportunity to feel safe and protected at school in order to learn. That's why the Equality Federation and our members are committed to building welcoming and just schools where students are free from bullying, harassment, discrimination and harsh discipline policies that push our young people out of school.

September 21, 2021
Membership Requirement Update

In 2013, the board and staff of the Equality Federation completed an exciting branding process to reinvigorate and reenergize our brand, message and story. During this process, we modified our logo, updating it with bright new colors that have been integrated into all of our communications.

September 21, 2021
Get Help With Your State Equality Fund Application

It's that time again! The State Equality Fund (SEF) has issued an open invitation for letters of inquiry (LOI). The Cycle 2 LOI deadline is January 27, 2014. This is your last opportunity to apply for 2014 funding! 

September 21, 2021
Building the Campaign to Fight an Anti-Freedom Amendment in Indiana

With all the excitement and energy around recent marriage equality wins, it can be easy to forget that despite our monumental progress on marriage, LGBT people are still under attack in many places.

September 21, 2021
Federation Members Advocate for Immigration Reform

Too often, LGBT immigrants are forced into two closets — one because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and the other because of their immigration status. At the Federation, we believe that it’s time for all immigrants, including at least 267,000 LGBT immigrants, to be able to come out of the shadows. And we believe that our members can be a powerful voice in helping this dream become a reality.

September 21, 2021
National Day of Dignity and Respect on October 5

On October 5, more than 80 cities across the country will host marches and rallies for the National Day of Dignity and Respect in support of immigration reform. Immigrant communities in America as well as faith, labor, and civil rights groups will join together to call on Congress to pass immigration reform in 2013.

September 21, 2021
Getting Help With Your State Equality Fund Application

The State Equality Fund (SEF) has announced its new guidelines for 2014 and issued an invitation for letters of inquiry (LOI).For the past eight years, Federation members have used support from SEF to make huge policy advances that improve the lives of LGBT people in their state. And at the Federation, we're eager to help even more of our state groups take advantage of this critical funding stream.

September 21, 2021
Taking Action During the August Recess: ENDA and Immigration Reform

In much of the United States, it’s hot, humid, and sticky. Back-to-school ads are starting to show up on TV. And every time you send an email, you're greeted with an out-of-office reply about someone's last-ditch-effort summer vacation.

September 21, 2021
New Access to Resources for Our Members

You may have noticed a few changes lately at the Equality Federation – a new website, new member newsletter, new logo. We're working hard to elevate our brand so that we can better tell the story of the state-based movement for equality.

September 21, 2021
Reflections on Yesterday

Like many of you, the Equality Federation team was glued to SCOTUS Blog yesterday morning. And like you, we were elated when the decisions were released. DOMA struck down. Marriage restored in California. A giant weight was lifted off our shoulders, and we breathed a sigh of relief. We won.

September 21, 2021
This Pride Season, Help Win Immigration Reform

This Pride season, we have so much to celebrate in our community. I’m proud of the marriage victories and non-discrimination wins that Federation members have had a part in this year. I’m also extremely proud of the stand that the LGBT community, including many Federation members, has taken on immigration reform.

September 21, 2021
Planning the Post-Marriage Movement

In November 2012, three states -- Maine, Maryland, and Washington -- extended the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. And in the past few months, three additional states -- Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota -- have followed suit, reaching 12 states in the nation that allow all loving couples to share in the joys and responsibilities of marriage.

September 21, 2021
Wyoming Equality Joins the Federation & Shares Plans for the Future

The Federation is proud to welcome Wyoming Equality as one of our newest members, though they have been around for over three decades. They’ve accomplished a lot in their state, especially in the past year, and have big plans for the future. I recently spoke with their Public Education Coordinator, Laura Weatherford, to learn more about the organization’s history, recent victories and current priorities.

September 21, 2021
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Confident young woman standing with crossed arms.

Want To Make A Difference? Support Our Work

With your support, we'll be able to continue our work to build the leaders of today and tomorrow, strengthen state-based LGBTQ+ organizations, and make critical progress on the issues that matter most—like protecting transgender people, ending HIV criminalization and ensuring access to care, and banning conversion therapy across the country.