President Obama voices support for June's Pride month

Proclamation lists the advances his administration has made for LGBTs


The story of America's LGBT community is the story of our fathers and

sons, our mothers and daughters, and our friends and neighbors

who continue the task of making our country a more perfect Union.

It is a story about the struggle to realize the great American

promise that all people can live with dignity and fairness under

the law. Each June, we commemorate the courageous individuals

who have fought to achieve this promise for LGBT Americans, and

we rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of equal rights for all,

regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Since taking office, my administration has made significant

progress towards achieving equality for LGBT Americans. Last

December, I was proud to sign the repeal of the discriminatory

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. With this repeal, gay and lesbian

Americans will be able to serve openly in our Armed Forces for the

first time in our nation's history. Our national security will be

strengthened and the heroic contributions these Americans make to

our military, and have made throughout our history, will be fully

recognized.

My administration has also taken steps to eliminate

discrimination against LGBT Americans in federal housing programs

and to give LGBT Americans the right to visit their loved ones

in the hospital. We have made clear through executive branch

nondiscrimination policies that discrimination on the basis of

gender identity in the federal workplace will not be tolerated.

I have continued to nominate and appoint highly qualified,

openly LGBT individuals to executive branch and judicial

positions. Because we recognize that LGBT rights are human

rights, my administration stands with advocates of equality around

the world in leading the fight against pernicious laws targeting

LGBT persons and malicious attempts to exclude LGBT organizations

from full participation in the international system. We led a

global campaign to ensure "sexual orientation" was included in

the United Nations resolution on extrajudicial execution - the

only United Nations resolution that specifically mentions LGBT

people - to send the unequivocal message that no matter where

it occurs, state-sanctioned killing of gays and lesbians is

indefensible. No one should be harmed because of who they are or

who they love, and my administration has mobilized unprecedented

public commitments from countries around the world to join in the

fight against hate and homophobia.

At home, we are working to address and eliminate

violence against LGBT individuals through our enforcement

and implementation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr.

Hate Crimes Prevention Act. We are also working to reduce the

threat of bullying against young people, including LGBT youth.

My administration is actively engaged with educators and community

leaders across America to reduce violence and discrimination in

schools. To help dispel the myth that bullying is a harmless or

inevitable part of growing up, the First Lady and I hosted the

first White House Conference on Bullying Prevention in March.

Many senior Administration officials have also joined me in

reaching out to LGBT youth who have been bullied by recording

"It Gets Better" video messages to assure them they are not alone.

This month also marks the 30th anniversary of the emergence

of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which has had a profound impact on the

LGBT community. Though we have made strides in combating this

devastating disease, more work remains to be done, and I am

committed to expanding access to HIV/AIDS prevention and care.

Last year, I announced the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS

Strategy for the United States. This strategy focuses on

combinations of evidence-based approaches to decrease new

HIV infections in high risk communities, improve care for

people living with HIV/AIDS, and reduce health disparities.

My administration also increased domestic HIV/AIDS funding to

support the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and HIV prevention, and

to invest in HIV/AIDS-related research. However, government

cannot take on this disease alone. This landmark anniversary

is an opportunity for the LGBT community and allies to recommit to

raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and continuing the fight against

this deadly pandemic.

Every generation of Americans has brought our Nation closer

to fulfilling its promise of equality. While progress has taken

time, our achievements in advancing the rights of LGBT Americans

remind us that history is on our side, and that the American

people will never stop striving toward liberty and justice for

all.

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