Blog Posts Related to the LGBT Community

  • 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.

  • The Power of Out

    Ed. Note: This is a cross-post from the Department of Justice blog.

    In the Great Hall of the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building, senior officials, employees and invited guests joined Attorney General Eric Holder to celebrate the accomplishments of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Americans and their allies during the department’s annual LGBT Pride Month Program.   The theme of the event was “The Power of Out,” based on a study by the same name from the Center for Work-Life Policy, which quantifies the loss to individuals and to the bottom line when organizations fail to create a workplace hospitable to their LGBT employees.

    The program began with Marc Salans, President of DOJ Pride, opening the ceremony and introducing a video clip from President Barack Obama regarding LGBT Pride Month.  Attorney General Holder spoke about the department’s efforts to defend the civil rights of LGBT Americans and increase support for LGBT individuals working for the department.

  • LGBT Students Give Secretary Duncan Homework

    Secretary Duncan Speaks with Students from GLSEN and GSA

    Secretary of Education Arne Duncan meets with students from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). (Photo courtesy of the Department of Education)

    Ed Note: This is a cross-post from the Department of Education blog.

    While many students sign yearbooks and trade digits and Twitter handles as school closes, Secretary Arne Duncan began June on assignment: using student input to expand Department efforts to help eliminate bullying against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) student community.

    June is LGBT Pride Month, and to kick off the month, and as part of ED’s Student Voices Sessions, the Secretary met with eight students from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) to hear directly from the students about their experiences and to discuss bullying and possible solutions.

  • DHS Commemorates LGBT Pride Month

    Ed. Note: This is a cross-post from the Department of Homeland Security blog.

    Every day, DHS employees around the world work to ensure the security of our country. They work along our borders, in our airports, in federal buildings and throughout the maritime domain. There are also countless DHS employees that Americans don’t see. At the DHS Pride Ceremony today, I had the opportunity to speak with and thank some of our LGBT employees for their dedication to our Department and our important mission. 

    Secretary Napolitano with the DHS Pride Board of Directors

    Secretary Napolitano meets with the DHS Pride Board of Directors. (Photo courtesy of the Department of Homeland Security)