If there were any lingering doubts over President Barack Obama’s legacy on LGBT rights, the nation’s first African-American president appeared to wipe them away last week.
On June 16, after years of pressure from outside groups, the White House announced that Obama would sign an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The news that Obama would at last act on something he said he would do when running for president in 2008 was greeted with applause — and relief — from LGBT advocates previously puzzled by inaction on the executive order. Read more
Opponents of same-sex marriage tried to keep their movement alive during a rally Thursday outside the United States Capitol.
An estimated 2,000 people turned out for the National Organization for Marriage’s “March for Marriage,” with speaker after speaker vowing to take a last stand against growing support for marriage equality. Read more
Earlier this year, a select group of active duty members of the military met at a community center in Texas. The 30 Americans represented every branch and component of military service. They were members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. The vast majority had been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan at least once, and many others had multiple deployments under their belts — some to both countries. A majority were junior enlisted and junior noncommissioned officers. But what brought them together was the same thing that cloaked their meeting in secrecy: They are all transgender.
For three days, those 30 servicemembers — who under military policy can be discharged because of their gender identity — heard each others’ stories. Many of them had never met another transgender servicemember before, let alone another trans person. In some cases, it marked the first time they had ever come out to another person. The meeting was not just an opportunity to build a network of support relationships for those forced to continue to live life in the closet while serving their country, but also to strategize. The gathering had been organized by a group of activists with decades of combined experience working on LGBT military issues who are seeking to open the armed forces to transgender service. Read more