Blog Posts Related to the LGBT Community

  • It Gets Better

    JJ Kahle is being honored as a Champion of Change for her work ensuring safety, dignity, and equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, as demonstrated by her inspiring video entry in the LGBT Pride Month Video Challenge.

    I am humbled by the designation, “Champion of Change,” and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to all those heroes—both recognized and unsung—who have laid the groundwork. The greatest heroes of all are the beautiful GLBTQ youth I have come to know in my life. They are so strong and brave and they persevere. They have been my greatest teachers. I thank my partner and my boys for their love and support of me.

    I am heartily appreciative of the President’s statement on his belief that all Americans deserve the same rights and privileges, regardless of their sexual orientation. As an educator, I extend this ideal to the belief that ALL students deserve a safe and supportive school environment in which to learn and grow. In our nation’s schools, it is vital that educators be directed and given the necessary training to insure that ALL of our children, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, are safe and can thrive in our schools. It is imperative that ALL schools, private and public, independent and parochial, face this challenge head on.

  • The White House Celebrates LGBT Champions of Change

    On Thursday, July 19, the White House will honor ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things across the country to ensure safety, dignity, and equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, as demonstrated by their inspiring video entries in the LGBT Pride Month Video Challenge.  

    The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.

    These Champions of Change have worked tirelessly to improve the lives of LGBT people across the country, and they represent countless other individuals and organizations who are equally dedicated to equal rights for LGBT people. 

  • CIA Celebrates National LGBT Pride Month

    Ed. Note: This piece is cross-posted from the CIA Featured Story Archive.  

    The Central Intelligence Agency’s Center for Mission Diversity and Inclusion and the Agency’s Network of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Employees and Allies (ANGLE) co-hosted a panel discussion of CIA senior leaders as part of the 2012 June Pride Month celebration. The panel highlighted the role allies—straight family members, friends, colleagues, and managers who believe in and actively promote equality—play in creating an inclusive workforce for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) employees at the CIA. The discussion also highlighted the theme of the CIA’s Pride Month celebration: “Inclusion for All, Celebrating with Pride.”

    The Deputy Associate Deputy Director of the CIA began the event by underlining the importance of sustaining an inclusive workplace for all employees. “We need to reflect the nation we protect and support equality, fairness, and justice for everyone in our organization,” he said. “We are one Agency, one organization, one workforce.”

  • Building a More Inclusive USAID

    Ed. note: This piece is cross-posted from the USAID blog.

    Earlier this week, Administrator Shah administered the Oath of Office to Peter Malnak, USAID’s new Mission Director to Rwanda.  As USAID works to build a more inclusive agency, Mr. Malnak’s swearing-in took on special significance as it marked the first time a same-sex partner of a new Mission Director participated in the event by holding the copy of the U.S. Constitution.  Mr. Malnak referenced the importance of the occasion in his remarks, portions of which are excerpted below.

    Peter Malnak - LGBT USAID

    Administrator Shah administers the Oath of Office to USAID Mission Director to Rwanda Peter Malnak as his partner John Palmucci holds a copy of the U.S. Constitution. Credit: USAID

  • Defense Department Hosts First Ever LGBT Pride Month Event

    Earlier this week, the Department of Defense (DoD) held its first ever LGBT Pride Month event at the Pentagon, commending the service and sacrifice of gay and lesbian servicemembers and LGBT civilian personnel.   The event follows the full implementation of repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

    Defense Department LGBT Pride Event Panel

    Brenda S. “Sue” Fulton, far right, speaks during a panel at DoD’s LGBT Pride Month event at the Pentagon, June 26, 2012. (Photo courtesy of DoD, by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley )


  • One Home at a Time: HUD Works with Illinois to Gain Equal Access for LGBT Americans

    Ed. Note: This piece is cross-posted from the Department of Housing and Urban Development blog and co-authored by Rocco Claps, Director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights.  

    When President Obama proclaimed June to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, he “called upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.” On a daily basis, Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity and the Illinois Department of Human Rights under Governor Quinn’s administration collaborate to make those aspirations reality in Illinois by working to eliminate housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

    We have made progress as a society, but there is still discrimination. In 2011, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality publicized the results of a survey of 6,450 transgender individuals. A staggering 19 percent of respondents reported being refused a home or apartment because of gender identity and 11 percent reported eviction because of gender identity. An alarming nineteen percent of the transgender respondents reported experiencing homelessness at some point in their lives and, when trying to access homeless shelters, over half reported outright denials, harassment, or sexual assault in the shelter context.  Similarly, findings of a 2007 Michigan study indicate that same sex couples face high rates of bias and discriminatory treatment based on sexual orientation when trying to access rental housing. And we know that up to 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT.

    In a nation founded on the principles of justice and equality for all, this is unacceptable.  Recently, HUD and the Illinois Department of Human Rights have taken important steps to ensure that LGBT persons have equal access to housing.

  • A New Generation at America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities

    As a member of President Obama’s Advisory Board for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), I find LGBT Pride Month to be a unique opportunity to consider the intersection of my various identities and reflect upon my personal journey.

    As an African American raised in the South, where the majority of the 105 HBCUs exist, I intimately understand the role these institutions play shaping civic life and educating a cadre of leaders that go on to change the world.  When it was time for me to select a college, I had options among some of the most prestigious schools in the country, and, fortunately, my parents supported my choice to attend Morehouse College.  While in college, I thrived.  I had a rich experience festooned with accolades and honors that declared me a Morehouse Man.  I had 19 line brothers who pledged a fraternity with me, and dear soul brothers who are as close as many blood relations.  And as an only child, going to all-male Morehouse truly amplified what brotherhood could look like.  We were a strong cohort of men dedicated to the notion that the next Martin Luther King, Jr. – or perhaps Spike Lee, or Samuel Jackson – could be among us.  That spirit of leadership is more powerful than any words on paper can describe.  It was a mission-driven instinct that produced a pride that many of us still talk about today.

  • Rising to the Challenge

    This commencement season, I’ve been able to address groups of graduates across our country from Georgia, to rural Illinois, to Southern California. One of the personal privileges I’ve had this season was to address my own alma mater, the University of Maryland.

    As a student at Maryland, I believed I might never have the privilege of serving the people of our country.  Back then, openly-gay people could be prevented from serving our country in Federal service.  I have the honor of working for the American people today because of the tireless work of countless others before me – people who believed they could change minds and overcome barriers.