Obama's 100-day gay report card
by Jen Colletta
Apr 28, 2009 | 6587 views | 6 6 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This Wednesday marks the 100th day since President Obama took the oath of office and, for the national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, never-before-experienced access to and inclusion in the federal government — although the LGBT community is still awaiting the appointment of an openly gay individual to the president’s cabinet.

Since taking office, Obama has appointed at least 35 openly LGBT individuals to federal posts. Nine of these employees were nominated for positions that required Senate confirmation, making Obama the first president ever to choose LGBT individuals for such positions within the first 100 days of the presidency.

Among the top LGBT appointments are John Berry as director of the Office of Personnel Management; Fred Hochberg as chair of the Export-Import Bank; Kathy Martinez as assistant secretary for the Office of Disability Employment Policy; Marisa Demeo as associate judge in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia; Nancy Sutley as chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality; and Mercedes Marquez as the assistant secretary for community planning and development and Raphael Bostic as assistant secretary for policy development and research, both at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Additionally, the administration has expressed that it adheres to a hiring practice that does not allow for discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Obama administration’s inclusion of the LGBT community has also extended beyond employment opportunities.

In the past three months, scores of LGBT community leaders have been invited to the White House for a series of mainstream events.

On Feb. 18, Joe Solmonese, executive director of the advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, and Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, were included in the president’s reception for progressive leaders.

Solmonese also participated in the Feb. 23 Fiscal Responsibility Summit, as well as the March 5 White House Forum on Health Reform, along with Carey, Paul Kawata, president of the National Minority AIDS Council, and Frank Oldham, executive director of the National Association of People Living with AIDS.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, Darlene Nipper, deputy executive director of the NGLTF, and Leslie Calman, executive director of the Mautner Project, a national lesbian health organization, were all included in the March 11 launch event for the White House Council on Women and Girls.

The administration has also made strides to provide outreach to specific segments of the LGBT community.

In late March, Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, and a collection of LGBT and ally students met with secretary of education Arne Duncan to discuss the challenges faced by LGBT students, marking the first time that such a meeting took place.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has also included the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in its efforts to educate business organizations about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The efforts at inclusion have also trickled down to everyday LGBT families.

Recently, hundreds of same-sex couples and their children took part in the annual Easter Egg Roll at the White House after the administration set aside tickets for more than 100 LGBT-headed families. This marked the first year — in the event’s more-than 130-year history — that such families were specifically invited to participate.

Also last month, representatives of the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control rolled out the administration’s Act Against AIDS campaign before nearly two-dozen HIV/AIDS and LGBT activists. The new program — a video, audio and print advertising campaign that seeks to spread awareness about the disease — is the first federal media campaign to address HIV/AIDS in nearly 20 years.

Although the full details of the fiscal-year 2010 federal budget have not yet been released, Obama has pledged that it will propose increased funding for domestic HIV/AIDS causes.

In terms of international efforts, Obama authorized the United States’ inclusion on the United Nations Statement on Sexual Orientation — a document that states that homosexuality should not be criminalized and that condemns human-rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Former President George Bush refused to sign the statement.

The administration also made public its official positions on LGBT issues on the White House Web site (www.whitehouse.gov/agenda/civil_rights/), and Obama has made mention of the LGBT community during such large-scale public events as last week’s Day of Remembrance at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, where he noted: “To this day, there are those who insist the Holocaust never happened, who perpetrate every form of intolerance — racism and anti-Semitism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism and more — hatred that degrades its victims and diminishes us all.”
Comments-icon Post a Comment
April 29, 2009
Hey RecordRat, since when has a politician's view on gay marriage become our abortion-like "litmus test" of acceptablility? Personally, if Obama wants to spend a little political capital on the LGBT community, I would much rather see him fight for an end to employment discrimination based on sexual orientation/identity. Not all gays want to get married, but I am assuming we all would like to have a job withouthaving to lie to our bosses about what bar we go to on a Friday night.

Oh, by the way RecordRat, I am a gay man, not a queer (Q) citizen. If we want people to take the LGBT community seriously, for God's sake let's dump the word "queer" as recommended by famous playwright Larry Kramer.

Michael C
April 29, 2009
I'll be happy with him when DOMA is repealed, EDNA is passed, Don't Ask, Don't Tell is repealed, and UAFA are passed. Until then he gets an A for symbolic gestures and an F for getting anything of substance done. But, hey, I'm sure this qualifies him for a pointless black tie dinner from the Human Rights Campaign.
April 29, 2009
Great article on Obama's admin and the LGBT community. Now all we need is the Hate Crimes and ENDA passed.

April 29, 2009
Imagien what would have happened if McBush and McBitch won.

The Christian gestapo, carrying their crosses in one hand and their swords in the other, would be rounding up gays and Jews for the camps.

While finishing the rape of America's middle class.

And we'd have a flag where the stars were replaced with christian crosses, but with the ends bent to form a swastika.

Let the legacy of George Satan Bush and his right wing conservative religious egomaniacs life forever as another example of infamy.

I suspect those people have a reserved place with their names on fireproof plates already set up for their when they take their trip to the next life
April 29, 2009
Hi Jen! You are everywhere! Is there anything you don't cover?

Obama's 100 Days (and 100 - 3am nights)

As a primary and mental health advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens, I find it telling that in the first 100 days it took 99 for Congress to confirm Kathleen Sebelius as Health and Human Services Secretary. They finally did when pig flu flew...

Missing our Golden Girl - Miss Altered States resembled Marilyn Monroe many sizes ago, today she is happy to appear Bea Arthur.

Arlen(e) just made my day gay!

April is National Autism, Alcohol,

Child Abuse Prevention,

Sexual Assault & Immigration Awareness Month

April 29 is Angela Shelton Day Report It Rally.

Shatter the Silence!

www.reportitnow.org - www.pavingtheway.net

April 28, 2009
Of 800 words, not a single mention of BO's position on same sex marriage.How dissappointing of this media outlet.

It reads like a fluff piece and ignores the most significant issue of the day for Q citizens, as we await California's pronouncement, after Iowa and New Jersey. Obama prefers civil unions to full marriage recognition - a form of separate-but-equal.

Did the White House write this release?