Yesterday, in celebration of Lesbian Day of Visibility, the White House hosted a roundtable conversation with trailblazing lesbian and LGBTQI+ senior leaders from the White House and the broader Biden-Harris Administration. The roundtable included lesbian and queer advocates ,community leaders, leaders across the federal government, several of whom are the first out lesbians to hold their position, including: Ambassador Chantale Wong, Director of the Asian Development Bank, who is the first out lesbian to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate to an ambassador post; Admiral Rachel Levine, Assistant Secretary for Health, who is a lesbian and the first openly transgender woman to achieve the rank the four-star admiral in any of the country’s uniformed services; White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre; and Deputy White House Communications Director Pili Tobar. The roundtable was convened by White House Gender Policy Council Director Jennifer Klein.
Participants discussed the unique barriers and challenges faced by lesbians and LGBTQI+ women, including barriers to health equity and reproductive justice; the impacts of anti-LGBTQI+ state legislation on the mental health and wellbeing of lesbian and LGBTQI+ girls; the effects of isolation and discrimination on lesbian older adults; and the economic justice and housing issues impacting lesbian women and couples. Participants highlighted that lesbians who are also women and girls of color, transgender women, women with disabilities, and older women face additional intersecting challenges to achieving economic security and full inclusion. Administration officials highlighted the actions the Biden Administration has taken to advance equity and visibility for lesbians and other LGBTQI+ women, and reaffirmed the President’s commitment to full equality for all lesbians and LGBTQI+ women and girls.
External participants included:
- Charlotte Clymer, Transgender Activist, Military Veteran, and Board Member, LPAC Action Network
- Desireé Luckey, Director of Policy, Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (URGE)
- Dr. Imani Woody, Founder and CEO, Mary’s House for Older Adults
- Joanne N. Smith, President and CEO, Girls for Gender Equity (GGE)