Blog Posts Related to the LGBT Community

  • Kicking Off LGBT Pride Month

    June is Pride Month for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community.  This is an opportunity to reflect on the progress we’ve made, and recommit ourselves to the work ahead. 

    To help kick off LGBT Pride Month, today President Obama recorded the following video message to Americans across the country:

    In addition, the President also issued a Proclamation where he describes the progress we’ve made over the last few years and our ongoing commitment to the rights of LGBT Americans. The Proclamation says in part:

    Since I took office, my Administration has worked to broaden opportunity, advance equality, and level the playing field for LGBT people and communities.  We have fought to secure justice for all under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and we have taken action to end housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  We expanded hospital visitation rights for LGBT patients and their loved ones, and under the Affordable Care Act, we ensured that insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage to someone just because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.  Because we understand that LGBT rights are human rights, we continue to engage with the international community in promoting and protecting the rights of LGBT persons around the world.  Because we repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans can serve their country openly, honestly, and without fear of losing their jobs because of whom they love.  And because we must treat others the way we want to be treated, I personally believe in marriage equality for same-sex couples.

    Throughout the month, we’ll be posting periodic updates at whitehouse.gov/LGBT. Check back often, and make sure you sign up for updates!

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

  • On the Road in Minneapolis: Focus on All Families

    Since taking office, President Obama and his Administration have taken significant steps to ensure the health, safety, and equality of families that are headed by or include lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.  For example, the Department of Labor has expanded the Family and Medical Leave Act to include children of domestic partners and the Department of Health and Human Services has issued guidance to ensure hospital visitation rights for LGBT patients at hospitals that receive Medicare and Medicaid.
                   
    Last month, the White House Office of Public Engagement partnered with the Family Equality Council to host the White House LGBT Conference on Families in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Obama Administration officials joined individuals and families from Minnesota and across the country for the half-day event.

    White House LGBT Conference on Families in Minneapolis

    Acting Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery (left) and ACF Commissioner Bryan Samuels speak at the White House LGBT Conference on Families, April 28, 2012 in Minneapolis, MN (Photo courtesy of Family Equality Council).

  • Ambassador Susan Rice on International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia

    Earlier today, Ambassador Susan E. Rice, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, issued a statement on the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.  Her statement can be found here, and is also included below:

    On International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, we celebrate human diversity and rededicate ourselves to a basic but essential truth—that human rights are universal and must be protected. To our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender friends and relatives around the world: the United States stands with you in your struggle against discrimination. We will continue to do everything we can, in every arena possible, to promote communities and societies in which all people can live safely and love without fear.

  • Promoting Equality in LGBT Health

    Last month while I was in Chicago, I had the opportunity to attend a great event hosted by Equality Illinois to discuss the President’s commitment to combating barriers and promoting equality for LGBT people and underscore some of the important work that is being undertaken at the Department of Health and Human Services.
     
    Some of the efforts that I shared highlight the importance of equality, including the updated Health Plan Finder tool on Healthcare.gov.  This update will enable all LGBT Americans to search specifically for insurance plans that include coverage for domestic partners, compare the cost sharing and benefit choices of health plans, and choose the best option to meet their needs; including finding coverage for all members of the family.  Individuals can also access Healthcare.gov’s regular features, such as sorting based on enrollment, out-of-pocket expenses or other key categories.  

  • President Obama Supports Same-Sex Marriage

    Yesterday, during an interview with ABC News, President Obama said, “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

    It’s no secret the President has gone through some soul-searching on this issue. He’s talked to the First Lady about it, like so many couples do.  He’s heard from folks—gay and lesbian friends, staff members in long-term, loving relationships, as well as brave young servicemen and women he got to know through the fight to end Don’t, Ask Don’t Tell.  

    He’s sat around his kitchen table with Sasha and Malia, who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. As the President said during the interview, “it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently.  It doesn’t make sense to them. And frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change of perspective -- not wanting to somehow explain to your child why somebody should be treated differently when it comes to eyes of the law.”

    In the end, the President said, he believes it's important to "treat others the way you would want to be treated."We need to recognize that people are going to have differing views on marriage and those views, even if we disagree strongly, should be respected.  

    Newspapers across the country commented on yesterday’s news.  Let’s take a look at a few of them:

    New York Times: “It Has Always Taken Strong National Leadership To Expand Equal Rights In This Country, And It Has Long Been Obvious That Marriage Rights Are No Exception. President Obama Offered Some Of That Leadership On Wednesday.” “It has always taken strong national leadership to expand equal rights in this country, and it has long been obvious that marriage rights are no exception. President Obama offered some of that leadership on Wednesday. ‘I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,’ Mr. Obama said in an interview with ABC News that the White House arranged for the purpose of giving Mr. Obama a forum to say just that….Mr. Obama consciously presented his change of position (he used to favor so-called civil unions but not marriage) as a personal journey. He said he thought about ‘members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together,’ and about ‘those soldiers or airmen or Marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage.’ That process will seem familiar to Americans of his and older generations who have reached the same place, or are still getting there. Polling shows that younger Americans have firmly supported same-sex marriage for some time. Mr. Obama said denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples ‘doesn’t make sense’ to his daughters. ‘Frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective,’ he said.” [The New York Times, 5/10/12]

  • Reactions to President Obama’s Support for Marriage Equality

    Yesterday, in an interview with ABC News, President Obama articulated his support for marriage equality, saying “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

    In the last 24 hours, we have received countless statements of support from individuals and organizations across the country, including labor unions, environmental groups, social justice and civil rights advocates, and organizations advocating for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. 

    Here are some of those statements:

    AFL-CIO

    “Working people believe in equality and fairness and that’s why we are happy to stand with millions of Americans and with President Obama in supporting marriage equality.

    “LGBT working people face numerous inequities in the workplace and in society as they struggle to care for their families. Civil unions do not guarantee the 1,138 rights, benefits and responsibilities that are triggered by the word "marriage” under federal law.

    “Most important, we should respect and honor our friends, neighbors, and family members who want to take care of their families and their loved ones – whatever their sexual orientation. We are proud to come together for a more just America.”

  • On the Road in Atlanta: Focus on HIV/AIDS

    Dr. Grant Colfax at the White House LGBT Conference on HIV/AIDS

    Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, speaks at the White House LGBT Conference on HIV/AIDS at Morehouse School of Medicine, Thursday, April 19, 2012 (Photo courtesy of Morehouse School of Medicine).

    Last month, the White House Office of Public Engagement and Office of National AIDS Policy partnered with Morehouse School of Medicine to host the White House LGBT Conference on HIV/AIDS in Atlanta, Georgia. Hundreds of advocates, community organizers, health care providers, elected officials, and interested members of the public joined Obama Administration officials in Atlanta for an important conversation on the impacts of HIV/AIDS on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

    There have been tremendous advances in HIV testing and treatment. But there is still much work to do: there are nearly 50,000 new HIV infections in the United States each year. Among these new infections, nearly two-thirds are among men who have sex with men, with infection rates the highest among black men. And gay men are 44 times more likely to be HIV-infected compared to other men in the United States.

  • Ending Bullying in Our Schools & Communities

    Recently, I watched the movie BULLY with my mom.  We were both deeply moved by the film and the stories it tells of students, families, and communities impacted by bullying.

    Earlier today, we screened BULLY at the White House.  We were joined by bullying prevention advocates from a range of communities – LGBT, AAPI, faith, disability, and others – as well as educational partners and key Obama Administration staff who work on these issues every day, including Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.  Before the film, a panel of nationally recognized experts on bullying prevention spoke from their perspectives about challenges and opportunities, and after the film, we heard from Lee Hirsch, the director and filmmaker, and several of the students and families who were directly impacted by bullying and intolerance and whose stories were featured in the film.