Blog Posts Related to the LGBT Community

  • Building a More Inclusive USAID

    Ed. note: This piece is cross-posted from the USAID blog.

    Earlier this week, Administrator Shah administered the Oath of Office to Peter Malnak, USAID’s new Mission Director to Rwanda.  As USAID works to build a more inclusive agency, Mr. Malnak’s swearing-in took on special significance as it marked the first time a same-sex partner of a new Mission Director participated in the event by holding the copy of the U.S. Constitution.  Mr. Malnak referenced the importance of the occasion in his remarks, portions of which are excerpted below.

    Peter Malnak - LGBT USAID

    Administrator Shah administers the Oath of Office to USAID Mission Director to Rwanda Peter Malnak as his partner John Palmucci holds a copy of the U.S. Constitution. Credit: USAID

  • Defense Department Hosts First Ever LGBT Pride Month Event

    Earlier this week, the Department of Defense (DoD) held its first ever LGBT Pride Month event at the Pentagon, commending the service and sacrifice of gay and lesbian servicemembers and LGBT civilian personnel.   The event follows the full implementation of repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

    Defense Department LGBT Pride Event Panel

    Brenda S. “Sue” Fulton, far right, speaks during a panel at DoD’s LGBT Pride Month event at the Pentagon, June 26, 2012. (Photo courtesy of DoD, by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley )


  • One Home at a Time: HUD Works with Illinois to Gain Equal Access for LGBT Americans

    Ed. Note: This piece is cross-posted from the Department of Housing and Urban Development blog and co-authored by Rocco Claps, Director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights.  

    When President Obama proclaimed June to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, he “called upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.” On a daily basis, Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity and the Illinois Department of Human Rights under Governor Quinn’s administration collaborate to make those aspirations reality in Illinois by working to eliminate housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

    We have made progress as a society, but there is still discrimination. In 2011, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality publicized the results of a survey of 6,450 transgender individuals. A staggering 19 percent of respondents reported being refused a home or apartment because of gender identity and 11 percent reported eviction because of gender identity. An alarming nineteen percent of the transgender respondents reported experiencing homelessness at some point in their lives and, when trying to access homeless shelters, over half reported outright denials, harassment, or sexual assault in the shelter context.  Similarly, findings of a 2007 Michigan study indicate that same sex couples face high rates of bias and discriminatory treatment based on sexual orientation when trying to access rental housing. And we know that up to 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT.

    In a nation founded on the principles of justice and equality for all, this is unacceptable.  Recently, HUD and the Illinois Department of Human Rights have taken important steps to ensure that LGBT persons have equal access to housing.

  • A New Generation at America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities

    As a member of President Obama’s Advisory Board for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), I find LGBT Pride Month to be a unique opportunity to consider the intersection of my various identities and reflect upon my personal journey.

    As an African American raised in the South, where the majority of the 105 HBCUs exist, I intimately understand the role these institutions play shaping civic life and educating a cadre of leaders that go on to change the world.  When it was time for me to select a college, I had options among some of the most prestigious schools in the country, and, fortunately, my parents supported my choice to attend Morehouse College.  While in college, I thrived.  I had a rich experience festooned with accolades and honors that declared me a Morehouse Man.  I had 19 line brothers who pledged a fraternity with me, and dear soul brothers who are as close as many blood relations.  And as an only child, going to all-male Morehouse truly amplified what brotherhood could look like.  We were a strong cohort of men dedicated to the notion that the next Martin Luther King, Jr. – or perhaps Spike Lee, or Samuel Jackson – could be among us.  That spirit of leadership is more powerful than any words on paper can describe.  It was a mission-driven instinct that produced a pride that many of us still talk about today.

  • Rising to the Challenge

    This commencement season, I’ve been able to address groups of graduates across our country from Georgia, to rural Illinois, to Southern California. One of the personal privileges I’ve had this season was to address my own alma mater, the University of Maryland.

    As a student at Maryland, I believed I might never have the privilege of serving the people of our country.  Back then, openly-gay people could be prevented from serving our country in Federal service.  I have the honor of working for the American people today because of the tireless work of countless others before me – people who believed they could change minds and overcome barriers. 

  • The Obama Administration Honors LGBT Pride Month

    Earlier this month, President Obama released the 2012 LGBT Pride Month Proclamation as well as a video message.  And on Friday, the President delivered remarks to hundreds of advocates and community leaders, students and faith leaders at the White House LGBT Pride Month Reception. In his remarks, the President described some of the significant steps his Administration has taken over the last few years, including the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”:

    And, of course, last year we finally put an end to “don’t ask, don’t tell” -- so that nobody would ever have to ever again hide who they love in order to serve the country they love.  And I know we've got some military members who are here today.  I'm happy to see you with your partners here.  We thank you for your service.  We thank your families for their service, and we share your joy at being able to come with your spouses or partners here to the White House with your Commander-in-Chief.

    Over the last few weeks, members of the President’s Cabinet have also released their own statements and video messages.

  • Update: White House LGBT Pride Month Video Challenge

    Earlier this year, the White House Office of Public Engagement launched the LGBT Pride Month Champions of Change Video Challenge to feature stories of unsung heroes and local leaders who are making an impact in their communities.

    We received a number of inspiring entries from all across the country. If you submitted a video entry, thank you for your participation and commitment to equality for the LGBT community.

    Today, we are featuring six video entries online. Members of the public will have until midnight next Monday, June 25, 2012 to provide feedback by selecting their favorite video.

    Click here to view these six videos and pick your favorite.

    Gautam Raghavan is an Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement.

  • President Obama Hosts LGBT Pride Reception at the White House

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the LGBT Pride Month Reception (June 15, 2012)

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the LGBT Pride Month Reception in the East Room of the White House, June 15, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    President Obama today hosted a reception in the East Room to observe LGBT Pride Month. The President welcomed community leaders, students, politicians and members of the armed services for the annual event and paid tribute to the generations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans who devoted their lives to ensuring equality for all.  In his remarks, the President acknowledged that while great progress has been made, the battle is not over yet:

    ... but we will get there. We'll get there because of all of you. We’ll get there because of all of the ordinary Americans who every day show extraordinary courage. We’ll get there because of every man and woman and activist and ally who is moving us forward by the force of their moral arguments, but more importantly, by the force of their example. 

     And as long as I have the privilege of being your President, I promise you, you won't just have a friend in the White House, you will have a fellow advocate for an America where no matter what you look like or where you come from or who you love, you can dream big dreams and dream as openly as you want.

    Read President Obama's full remarks here.