Blog Posts Related to the LGBT Community
- Posted byon September 1, 2011 at 10:02 AM EST
Ed. Note: Champions of Change is a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping our country rise to meet the many challenges of the 21st century.
In the fall of his freshman year of high school, Georgia high school student Austin Laufersweiler spotted a GLSEN Safe Space Sticker on his guidance counselor’s door. He knew he wasn’t alone and instantly felt safer. Austin went on to be a force for change and progress in his school, and was later honored as GLSEN’s 2009 Student Advocate of the Year.
At the foundation of GLSEN’s work to make schools safer and more affirming for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, are the experiences of students like Austin. These students’ strength and commitment shape our efforts to create a world where young people learn to respect all people and value difference for the positive contribution it makes to a more vibrant society.
But for every student who can connect with a system of support, countless other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) K-12 students navigate hostile school climates without the support they need.
- Posted byon July 26, 2011 at 5:13 PM EST
Ed. Note: Cross-posted from (Work in Progerss)
Last year, I wrote in “Sometimes, It Takes An Interpretation” that by making a clarification to the Family and Medical Leave Act, originally passed in 1993, we are taking into better consideration the changing nature of America’s households and workers. Our clarification then means that today, a same-sex partner who shares in parenting, or an aunt who steps in for a mother called to active military duty, can take unpaid leave to ensure the care for a child at home.
Today, we take another great step in better understanding the resources and benefits available to America’s workforce.
For the first time, in order to better understand the benefits available to an increasingly diverse American workforce, this year’s National Compensation Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics includes information on domestic partner benefits, providing a better, fuller picture of employee benefits in workplaces across our nation.
The report shows that while 71% of all workers in private industry have access to health care plans, only about 1 in 4 such workers have access to a health care plan they can use to cover their same-sex or opposite-sex domestic partner.
High wage earners and union workers are significantly more likely to have access to benefits for a domestic partner, while only a small percentage of low wage-earners, non-union workers and part-time workers have access to these benefits.
- Posted byon July 22, 2011 at 7:00 PM EST
Today, President Obama certified to Congress that the conditions necessary for ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” have been met. His certification follows that of Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
This means that in 60 days – on September 20, 2011 – DADT will cease to exist.
A few hours after the President’s certification, I joined a call with Secretary Panetta, Jeh Johnson, General Counsel for the Department of Defense, Brian Bond, the LGBT liaison in the White House, and Kathleen Hartnett from the White House Counsel’s office. We had the chance to thank many of the leaders in the LGBT community who worked so hard to make this moment possible.
Reaching this point has not been easy. There were those who doubted that President Obama could deliver on his promise to repeal DADT, especially in such a polarized political environment.
- Posted byon July 22, 2011 at 4:49 PM EST
Today, President Obama signed a certification ending the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy for good beginning September 20, 2011. The President signed the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" into law last December.
The President sent the email below to individuals and organizations who worked hard to make this victory possible.
- Posted byon July 19, 2011 at 5:43 PM EST
President Obama is proud to support the Respect for Marriage Act, which has been introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressman Jerrold Nadler. This legislation would uphold the principle that the federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal protections as straight couples.
The President has long called for a legislative repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which continues to have a real impact on the lives of real people -- our families, friends and neighbors.
- Posted byon July 1, 2011 at 5:52 PM EST
Today the Departments of Justice and Education announced an important settlement with a California school district, resolving an investigation under federal civil rights law into the harassment of a gay middle school student based on his nonconformity with gender stereotypes. That student, Seth Walsh, tragically committed suicide in September 2010, at the age of 13. The Departments’ investigation, which stemmed from a complaint received in October 2010, found that the school district did not adequately investigate or otherwise respond to the harassment that Walsh suffered for more than two school years, which included ongoing and escalating verbal, physical and sexual harassment by other students at the school based on Walsh’s nonconformity with gender stereotypes. Under the settlement, the district will take a variety of steps to prevent sexual and gender-based harassment at all of its schools, to respond appropriately to harassment that occurs, and to eliminate the hostile environment resulting from harassment.
As President Obama has said:
We’ve got to dispel the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage – that it’s some inevitable part of growing up. It’s not. We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe for all of our kids. And to every young person out there you need to know that if you’re in trouble, there are caring adults who can help.
Read more about today’s settlement and learn more about the enforcement of federal civil rights laws by the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Right’s.
If you’re a young person who’s been bullied or harassed by your peers, or you’re a parent or teacher who knows a young person being bullied or harassed, a few resources that can help you are available here.
Brian Bond is Deputy Director of the Office of Public Engagement.
- Posted byon June 29, 2011 at 7:48 PM EST
This evening, President Obama spoke to LGBT grassroots and community leaders, youth champions and advocates from around the country at a White House event to observe LGBT Pride Month. Gay, Lesbian, bisexual, Transgender and allies that have been working in their neighborhoods, towns and states to bring about equality.
As the President said:
But I think it's important for us to note the progress that's been made just in the last two and a half years. I just want everybody to think about this. (Applause.) It was here, in the East Room, at our first Pride reception, on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a few months after I took office, that I made a pledge, I made a commitment. I said that I would never counsel patience; it wasn’t right for me to tell you to be patient any more than it was right for folks to tell African Americans to be patient in terms of their freedoms. I said it might take time to get everything we wanted done. But I also expected to be judged not by the promises I made, but the promises I kept.
- Posted byon June 28, 2011 at 5:03 PM EST
Last year I visited Spokane, Washington, for a listening session on housing discrimination issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) individuals and families. After hearing a number of compelling stories, I met Mitch and Michelle, a couple with children, a family like any other. But Mitch had been denied the opportunity to add Michelle to his public housing voucher for the sole reason that he was transgender and therefore Mitch and Michelle did not fit into the public housing authority’s definition of family.
Mitch and Michelle are not alone. A recent study demonstrates how severe the problem of housing discrimination is for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. 19 percent of the 6,450 respondents reported having been refused a home or apartment and 11 percent reported being evicted because of their gender identity/expression. Extraordinarily, 19 percent reported experiencing homelessness as a result of their gender identity/expression with the majority of them reporting either harassment, difficulty in access, or sexual assault when attempting to access homeless shelters. Other numbers show that up to 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT.