Blog Posts Related to the LGBT Community

  • WATCH LIVE: White House LGBT Conference on Health

    Tomorrow, advocates, community organizers, doctors and medical students, elected officials, and interested members of the public will join Obama Administration officials in Philadelphia for an important conversation on the health needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.

    The White House LGBT Conference on Health is hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and Mazzoni Center. This event is the first in a series of White House LGBT Conferences that will be held across the country to empower grassroots leaders, community organizers, advocates, and interested citizens by connecting them with Federal government information, resources, and opportunities.

    The conference will begin with a morning plenary featuring remarks by Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius, Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) John Berry, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Obama administration officials.

    Watch the entire morning session (from 9:00 to 11:45 AM EST) live.

    Gautam Raghavan is the Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement


  • Commitments to the LGBT community in the 2013 Budget

    President Obama laid out a blueprint in his State of the Union address for an economy that’s built to last – an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.  The President released a budget that illustrates how we put that blueprint to work for all Americans, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans.  

  • On the Road in Chicago: Celebrating Every Family

    On Saturday, Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama, delivered the keynote address to over 1,200 fellow Chicagoans at the 2012 Equality Illinois Gala. In her remarks, Valerie recounted the progress we’ve made during the first three years of the Obama Administration. She reflected on what these changes have meant for people like Dennis and Judy Shepard, Janice Langbehn, and Col. Ginger Wallace.

    We should be proud of the laws we’ve passed, the policies we’ve enacted, and the strategies we’ve put in place… The couple that can walk down the street holding hands without being afraid.  The family that can face life’s most difficult moments together.  The service members and their loved ones who are no longer required to deny who they are.  We love this country, and we have changed it.

    As she later noted, the progress we’ve made is a part what President Obama has called our “inexorable march towards a more perfect union.”

  • On the Road in Des Moines: Supporting Community Partnerships

    John Berry Participates in Roundtable Events in Des Moines, Iowa

    OPM Director John Berry participates in roundtable events in Des Moines, Iowa, Friday, February 3, 2012 (Photo courtesy of Darin Leach, USDA).

    Across America, community and public service partnerships are having a positive impact on our economic recovery.

    I saw this in Iowa last week, when I addressed the First Friday Club, a monthly gathering of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) residents from the Des Moines area.  Over the course of the last year, this community has raised over $25,000 to award as college scholarships to local high school students who are working to combat homophobia in their schools.  

  • Commemorating National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

    On this, the 12th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, I remember my sister-in-law’s fight with the disease. Tragically, she did not win that fight – she left behind a devastated husband and five-year old daughter. But it is in her memory, and the memory of all the friends and loved ones we have lost, that we vow to keep working toward the day when HIV/AIDS is history.

    This past December, on World AIDS Day, President Obama spoke about the United States’ commitment to ending HIV/AIDS. In a speech at George Washington University, he told the audience, “Make no mistake, we are going to win this fight.  But the fight is not over … not by a long shot.” 

    Sadly, this is especially true in the African-American community. Black Americans represent 12 percent of the U.S. population, but they account for 44 percent of new HIV infections. Among young black gay men alone, infections have increased by nearly 50 percent in just three years, and black women account for the largest share of HIV infections among women. We each must do our part by getting tested regularly, and by educating those in our community about what they can do to help end the epidemic.

    President Obama is committed to doing his part as well. In 2010, he released the nation’s first comprehensive HIV/AIDS plan. Together with Secretary Clinton, he has helped assemble a coalition of governments, healthcare professionals, and service providers. They have set a goal that would have been unthinkable just a few decades ago: an AIDS-free generation, in which virtually all children are born HIV-free, and prevention tools help them stay HIV-free throughout their lives.

  • On the Road in Peoria: Combating Hate, One Community at a Time

    In the United States of America, no one should have to live in fear of being physically attacked because of what they look like, where they come from, what they believe, who they are, or who they love.  That’s why President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law on October 28, 2009, adding federal protections against violent crimes that are based on the gender, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation of the victim to the existing protections for hate crimes based on race, color, religion, or national origin.  While 45 states have hate crimes laws, only 12 states and the District of Columbia have laws that cover sexual orientation and gender identity and 31 states have laws that cover only sexual orientation.  This landmark federal legislation – the first federal civil rights law to specify protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity – was first introduced more than a decade ago and fills a critical need. 

  • Announcing the White House LGBT Conference Series

    Later this month, the White House Office of Public Engagement (OPE) will launch a series of conferences around the country specifically focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans.

    Held in partnership with key Departments and Agencies, these White House LGBT Conferences will provide advocates, providers, and community organizations of the public an opportunity to hear directly from the Administration on our efforts to ensure health, dignity, and justice for LGBT Americans.  These conferences will empower participants by connecting them with Federal government information, resources, and opportunities.

    The inaugural event, the White House LGBT Conference on Health, will be held in Philadelphia on February 16th, and will feature remarks by Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.  Participants will receive important updates from Administration officials and have the opportunity to learn about Federal government resources and opportunities through workshop sessions on issues such as access to care, aging, cultural competency, and mental health and substance abuse.  This conference will also provide an opportunity to highlight innovative work on LGBT Health already taking place in communities across America.

    These conferences are part of our ongoing education, outreach, and training efforts.  Future conferences will be held around the country and will focus on topics including, but not limited to, Housing & Homelessness, Safe Schools & Communities, and HIV/AIDS Prevention.

    Click here if you are interested in attending the White House LGBT Conference on Health.  Please note that space is limited and registrations will only be accepted until we reach capacity.

    For more information and updates, sign up for White House LGBT Updates.

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

  • Ending Housing Discrimination Against LGBT Americans

    Ed. Note: This piece is cross-posted from the Department of Housing and Urban Development's official blog.

    On Saturday, I was proud to speak before the 24th National Gay and Lesbian Task Force “Creating Change” Conference, where I announced the publication of a new Equal Access to Housing Rule that says clearly and unequivocally that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) individuals and couples have the right to live where they choose.

    The need for this rule is clear, particularly when it comes to housing. According to one recent report, not only are 40 percent of homeless youth LGBT, half of them report experiencing homelessness as a result of their gender identity or expression.  Even more troubling, the majority of them report harassment, difficulty, or even sexual assault when trying to access homeless shelters.  That’s not just wrong – it’s not who we are as Americans.  And as the Injustice at Every Turn report put out by the Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality last year found, these challenges are all too common.

    That’s why HUD is working to ensure that our housing programs are open to all – the rule will open access to housing for LGBT individuals and families in four important ways: