Arts & Entertainment
President Obama voices support for June's Pride month
Proclamation lists the advances his administration has made for LGBTs
Originally printed 6/9/2011 (Issue 1923 - Between The Lines News)
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
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