Tag Archives: Obama

White House Wants LGBT Elected/Appointed Officials

white houseThe White House is looking for nominees for its new award program, “Harvey Milk Champions of Change.”

Established in 2011, the White House Champions of Change Program regularly spotlights ordinary citizens who are doing extraordinary things for their community, their coutnry, and their fellow citizens.  In that tradition, the White House says, “we will honor as Harvey Milk Champions of Change a small group of LGBT and local elected and appointed officials who have demontrated a strong commitment to both equality and public service.”  They are especially looking for “unsung heroes” — individuals whose contributions have gone unrecognized.

The nominations are due before Friday, April 19, 2013.  The nomination form is at http://www.whitehouse.gov/champions/nominate.  More information on this effort is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/04/08/announcing-harvey-milk-champions-change.

Webinars on Trans Aging, Federal LGBT Aging Policy

Obama-LGBT-aging-webinar-450FORGE has made available two free, on-demand webinars that may be of interest to those interested in LGBT aging issues.

“Transgender 101 for LGBT Aging Professionals” introduces transgender concepts and helps professionals identify how these concepts may impact service provision.  It’s available at


“How Obama is Changing Growing Old LGBT” is now a little dated — it amazes this 55-year-old LGBT aging advocate just how quickly federal policy is changing — as it was prepared in November 2011.  Nevertheless, this is a good introduction to some of the major changes that are affecting LGBT older adults and the profesionals who serve them.  It’s available at


Health Care Reform and LGBT People

The U.S. Supreme Court has just decided to uphold most of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” a move that is extremely helpful for LGBT people.  Some of the most important provisions related to LGBT people:

  • Pre-existing conditions will no longer be a barrier to getting health care insurance, a provision that is especially important to transgender people, who are sometimes excluded from coverage because “gender identity disorder” is ruled a pre-existing condition;
  • Making private insurance policies available to small employers and individuals who make between $15,000 and $43,000 per year;
  • Non-discrimination provisions covering sexual orientation and gender identity;
  • The collection of data to better understand LGBT health disparities, which sets necessary groundwork for future programs to improve LGBT persons’ health;
  • Improved coverage of preventive care for Medicare beneficiaries; and
  • Much more.

Here are two more places to consult to find out more about LGBT people’s health and the Affordable Care Act at:

Vote in White House LGBT Video Challenge

George Stewart, a volunteer with SAGE Harlem, has won one of six coveted spots in a White House LGBT Pride Mionth Champions of Change Video Challenge, and your vote can help him win!

The campaign aims to “feature stories of unsung heroes and local leaders who are making an impact in their communities.”  You can vote until midnight, Monday, June 25, 2012 by going to http://www.whitehouse.gov//lgbtvideochallenge.  Let’s make the White House know how important LGBT elder issues are to our community!

Federal Government Reprints Transgender Discrimination Data

In an unusual development, transgender people not only get much more attention than the rest of the LGB population in a new federal report, but the feds essentially republish four pages of findings from a 2011 transgender research and advocacy report written by the National Center on Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Injustice as Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Study.

The new federal publication, the National Healthcare Disparities Report 2011, is the latest in a series of annual reports that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at the Department of Health and Human Services publishes “to help policymakers understand and address the impact of racial, socioeconomic, and other differences on various populations.”

The 2011, 256-page report for the first time addresses LGBT health disparities.  In a refreshing but somewhat troubling turn-around, the new section (and one graph) is entitled “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Populations,” but actually only addressees transgender data.  All of the section’s content is taken from the NCTE/NGLTF report, with “minor edits…to conform to Government style conventions and make the text consistent with the rest of the report.”  It’s nice to have the “T” lead for once – and wonderful to have the federal government take notice of our health disparities — but I wish it hadn’t been done in a way that can promote continued confusion about who, exactly, LGBT people are.

White House LGBT Conference on Aging

If you can be in Miami on May 7, 2012, make sure you plan to go to the White House LGBT Conference on Aging, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the University of Miami’s Clinical Research Building at 1120 NW 14th Street.

The conference will feature keynote remarks by Kathy Greenlee, the openly lesbian Assistant Secretary on Aging for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Raphael Bostic, the openly gay Assistant Secretary for Policy & Research Development at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

“The White House LGBT Conference on Aging will provide advocates, community leaders, and members of the public an opportunity to engage with the Obama Administration on the health, housing, and security needs of aging members of the LGBT community.  Participants will receive updates from senior officials from The White House and key agencies and departments, connect with Federal government resources and opportunities through workshop sessions, and provide valuable feedback through the “Open Space” process.”

To sign up (which includes places to say what specific issues or topics you would like to explore during the conference and what kinds of resources and information you’d like to access there), go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/webform/white-house-lgbt-conference-aging

The President’s 2013 Budget

All agree that the President’s budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2013 will go nowhere in this Congress, but the just-released budget does signal the President’s priorities, a goal that was also furthered by the issuance of a fact sheet entitled, “An Economy Built to Last and Security for the LGBT Community.”

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Trans Rights Advances in 2011

Transgender people have never seen a year like 2011 – nearly every month brought news of a major advance. 

It began with a clarification that any physician can certify that a passport applicant has had appropriate treatment for a gender transition, all that is now needed for a transgender person to obtain a passport in their correct name and gender.   Since passports are one of the few “gatekeeper” documents that can be used to change other forms of identification like driver’s licenses, this change has huge implications for lowering the rate at which trans people are involuntarily outed and thereby exposed to prejudice.

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LGBT Elders: 2011 Achievements In Review

The following is the 2011 “Gennys,” awarded by the people behind Gen Silent: Continue reading

On the Right Side of History

It’s not always easy to recognize history in the making, but many people thought they saw just that in a seminal speech delivered this week by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton at the United Nations in Geneva. Continue reading