Blog Posts Related to the LGBT Community

  • 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)

  • 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]