Tag Archives: Barack Obama

President Barack Obama Pays Tribute To Edith Windsor

In her life-time, Edie Windsor changed history, and everyone from LGBT citizens and allies, to past presidents and celebrities were grateful for her courage.

Her 2013 lawsuit against the federal government prompted the Supreme Court to strike down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.

The suit, United States v. Windsor, was integral to the 2015 high court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

Barak Obama was quick to pay tribute, writing on his facebook page;

America’s long journey towards equality has been guided by countless small acts of persistence, and fueled by the stubborn willingness of quiet heroes to speak out for what’s right. Few were as small in stature as Edie Windsor – and few made as big a difference to America.”


The former president touted Windsor’s role in the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling on marriage equality, which he called “a victory for human decency, equality, freedom, and justice.”

I thought about all the millions of quiet heroes across the decades whose countless small acts of courage slowly made an entire country realize that love is love – and who, in the process, made us all more free. They deserve our gratitude. And so does Edie.”

Hillary Clinton also offered her condolences on Windsor’s passing, along with many others.


New Press Secretary Unsure Whether Trump Will Undo Obama’s LGBT Executive Order

Sean Spicer, the press secretary for the Trump administration said yesterday that he doesn’t know if Trump is planning to overturn Barack Obama‘s executive order banning anti-LGBT discrimination among federal contractors.

This week, Spicer responded to a question from the Washington Blade in a press briefing, saying:

I don’t know on that one. I have to get back to you on that. I don’t think that we’ve gotten that far in the list of executive orders, but I’d be glad to get back to you.”

When pressed about executive orders about LGBT rights in general, Spicer responded,

Again, it’s not — I just don’t know the answer. I’ll try to get back to you on that.”

The new President has never released a policy plan on LGBT issues, and also has no policy plan on HIV/AIDS.

He also failed to detail policies on either issue during his election campaign.

However, Trump said he planned to overturn many of Obama’s executive orders. He did not specifically mention any executive order related to LGBT rights.

Thousands March To Protest Trump’s Presidential Victory

Less than 24 hours after it was called that Donald Trump had defeated Hillary Clinton to become the 45th President of the United States, demonstrators have been held in several US cities.

Many shouted the slogan “Not my president”. Others burned orange-haired effigies of the businessman.

In New York, thousands – including Lady Gaga – marched on Trump Tower, attacking Trump’s policies on immigration, gay rights and reproductive rights.


Gaga, a prominent supporter of Clinton, was photographed protesting outside Trump Tower in New York City in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The star stood on a sanitation truck, holding a sign reading ‘Love trumps hate.’ A Trump Tower clock can be seen in the background.

Thousands of people also poured into the streets of downtown Los Angeles, and hundreds of them later spilled onto the 101 Freeway, shutting down traffic as they forcefully denounced Trumps victory.


In Chicago, crowds blocked the entrance to Trump Tower, chanting: “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascists USA”


In Portland, Oregon, demonstrators temporarily closed an interstate highway.

In Washington DC, protesters held a candlelit vigil.

Demonstrations also took place in Philadelphia, Boston, Seattle and San Francisco, among other cities.


Trump is due to meet current White House incumbent Barack Obama for talks aimed at ensuring a smooth transition.

Mr Obama – who had branded Mr Trump “unfit” for office and campaigned against him – urged all Americans to accept the result of Tuesday’s election.

We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country.”

Defeated Mrs Clinton also told supporters Mr Trump had to be given a “chance to lead”.

Where Do The Presidential Candidates Stand on LGBTQ Rights?

America has made a lot of progress under President Barack Obama to improve the rights our LGBTQ community.

Last year marked the landmark Supreme Court ruling, which finally made marriage equality the law of the land in all 50 states.

This is a monumental achievement and it follows the growing acceptance of the LGBT community – something also signified by the fact that many straight allies and many companies have turned their social media icons ‘rainbow’ in support.

However, it’s not the be all and end all of the LGBT rights movements and much needs to be done.

For example, While President Obama did recently signed an executive order that banned federal agencies and contractors from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity, that doesn’t include everyone.

But there have been set back. The fight over transgender bathroom access is still on-going, employees can still be fired for being gay in 27 states, and last month’s tragic shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando showed the nation that the battle for equality is far from over.

Both presidential candidates have attempted to paint themselves as champions of the LGBTQ community.

But where do they actually stand on the issues?

Hillary Clinton

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has been an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights for several years, and she has received the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign, one of the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy groups.

As secretary of state, she fought for greater benefits for LGBTQ diplomats at the State Department and greater recognition of gay rights around the world.

During a 2011 speech in Geneva, Switzerland, to mark International Human Rights Day, Clinton said

Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.”

If elected, Clinton has already said she would support federal legislation to ban all discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, according to her campaign website.

She says she would also make it easier for people to change their gender on official documents, take measures to support LGBTQ elders and youth, and work to promote LGBTQ rights worldwide.

However, some gay-rights activists have criticized Clinton for coming around on the issue relatively late — neither she nor Obama fully supported same-sex marriage during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Others have questioned where Clinton stood on the issue when her husband, former President Bill Clinton, helped put two important anti-gay policies in place in the 1990s.

Her vice-presidential candidate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, has had a long evolution on gay rights.

Like Obama and Clinton herself, Kaine long opposed same-sex marriage, preferring rights for same-sex couples that fell short of full marriage.

But he his views have changed, and one of his first executive actions as governor of Virginia banned workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation (that part of the non-discrimination policy was later repealed by his successor, Republican Bob McDonnell).

Sarah Kate Ellis, president of the LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD, explains,

We’ve seen our own family and friends evolve around us, so it’s not out of context to see a politician evolve as well.”

Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin also added;

Having proven time and time again that they have the experience, determination, and leadership needed to move equality forward for all Americans, we are confident Clinton and Kaine will tear down the walls of discrimination that hold all of us back. The stakes for LGBTQ people in this election couldn’t be higher, and the choice for pro-equality voters couldn’t be clearer.”

Donald Trump

So now we move to Donald Trump – a man who is to the left of many Republicans on LGBTQ rights, but that doesn’t necessarily make him an ally of our community.

Since the horrific shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando last month, Trump has promoted himself as the LGBTQ community’s best hope in this election.

The shooter, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, who was born in the United States, had been investigated by the FBI for ties to terrorism and pledged allegiance to an Islamic terrorist group during the attack.

In his speech to the Republican National Convention earlier this month, Trump said,

As your President, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology, believe me.”

However, many of Trump’s policy positions tell a different story. He’s said that if elected president, he would consider appointing Supreme Court justices who would overturn marriage equality.

Trump’s position on transgender bathroom access has shifted at different times in the campaign.

And he has a history of making questionable comments about LGBTQ people.

That leaves many feeling that Trump’s record on LGBTQ rights is mixed, at best.

As for his running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, he signed anti-gay legislation that makes many kinds of discrimination legal across his state.

Full support there then – not really.

Obama Faces LGBT Rights Challenge in Kenya

As the United States has grown more tolerant during Obama’s presidency, African countries have imposed harsher laws on gays and lesbians.

However, in an interview with BBC’s John Sopel prior to his visit Africa, the President spoke openly of his support for the global LGBT community, before rebuking comments made by the Kenya’s deputy leader, William Ruto.

When asked about the difficulties he may face during his visit, Obama said he has been “very blunt” about his beliefs surrounding the subject of LGBT rights, and voiced his distaste for Mr Ruto’s comments, saying he is “not a fan” of discrimination on any level, including discrimination “on the basis of sexual orientation or gender.”

Responding to a question on Kenya – and how he will deal with Mr Ruto, who recently stated, “We have heard that in the US they have allowed gay relations and other dirty things”


President Obama said:

Yeah. Well, I disagree with him on that, don’t I? And I’ve had this experience before when we’ve visited Senegal in my last trip to Africa. I think that the president there President Sall, is doing a wonderful job in moving the country forward – a strong democrat. But in a press conference, I was very blunt about my belief that everybody deserves fair treatment, equal treatment in the eyes of the law and the state.

And that includes gays, lesbians, transgender persons. I am not a fan of discrimination and bullying of anybody on the basis of race, on the basis of religion, on the basis of sexual orientation or gender.”

He also said that he believes his personal connection to the country will aid him in his efforts to convince them to change their stance on homosexuality.

And as somebody who has family in Kenya and knows the history of how the country so often is held back because women and girls are not treated fairly, I think those same values apply when it comes to different sexual orientations.”

The President’s comments echo that of the US Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons, as well as the path other countries like the UK are going down to promote LGBT rights at home and abroad.

Obama said:

This job is an important new tool for us because it allows us to engage in a globally consistent manner at a reasonably senior level with governments overseas to explain our views and our policy projection here, which is actually not very controversial.”

A White House spokesperson had previously stated that the President had every intention of discussing gay rights on his trip to Kenya – despite the country’s warnings not to.

Anti gay protesters have made repeated attempts to discourage the President to from promoting gay rights during his visit to the country, taking to social media and the streets of Nairobi in an attempt to dissuade any discussion on the matter.

A Kenyan political group had also planned to protest the President’s upcoming visit by asking 5,000 people to march naked through the streets – however, the march was cancelled after the Kenyan security forces intervened.

Love Wins | The Internet Reacts to the US Supreme Court Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage

In a historical move, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favour of legalising same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

The online reaction was swift and celebratory, and everyone from J.K. Rowling to President Barack Obama weighed in on the historic decision. “Love won,” wrote Ellen DeGeneres on Twitter.

Ellen Degeneres

J.K. Rowling

Ian McKellen and Derek Jacob

Barack Obama

John Kerry

Hillary Clinton

Miley Cyurs

Kelly Osbourne

Ricky Martin

Mary Lambert

Tyler Oakley

Cara Delevingne

Ruby Rose


Tegan and Sara

Cyndi Lauper

Neil Patrick Harris

Margaret Cho

Games of Thrones



House and Senate Democrats Write Letter To Obama Asking For Executive Action Protecting LGBT People Overseas

Sixty-one House and Senate Democrats have asked President Obama to work to make sure federal funds aren’t being used to fund LGBT discrimination abroad.


The letter, led by Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), reads.

We encourage you to continue efforts to ensure the human rights of all persons regardless of sex, gender identity, or sexual identity. We write to encourage you to take additional steps to ensure U.S. funds are not used to subsidize LGBT discrimination at home or abroad.”

They applauded Obama for his Executive Order last year, which protected LGBT government workers against discrimination, but asked him to do more.

The Executive Order does not apply to contractors hiring and doing business abroad. It does not apply to grantees. Moreover, the Executive Order does not prohibit those receiving U.S. funds from engaging in marketplace discrimination (e.g., refusal of goods and services) against LGBT customers or suppliers.”

The letter notes that LGBT people are often in “dire need” of the services that foreign aid provides.

We encourage you to make this an urgent, Administration-wide priority and coordinate across agencies to ensure a broad non-discrimination policy is implemented before the end of your Administration’s tenure. In doing so, this would ensure LGBT people have access to the full range of services offered by U.S.-funded programs and would guarantee our foreign aid dollars are aligned with the values of promoting the human rights of marginalized people globally.

To promote our fundamental values of equality, equity, and diversity, we cannot go half way at home and we certainly cannot halt the extension of these values at our border. Our nation has what I see as a major role in defending the innate rights of all human beings across the globe—including the LGBT community—to live, love, and prosper.

The Washington Blade reports that no Republican penned their names to the missive, nor did Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who’s gay, and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who’s bisexual, didn’t sign the letter.

President Obama Discusses LGBT Equality In Historic Visit to Jamaica

Last week, United States President Barack Obama made history when he visited Jamaica as he was the first sitting president to do so since 1982. But that wasn’t the only reason that Obama’s visit was monumental – he also used his time in the country to speak about LGBT rights.

This was a surprise for many not just because Obama spoke about LGBT rights on a big stage but because Jamaica is regarded by some as one of the most homophobic countries to visit. Although intercourse between two women is legal, sex between two men is not and Jamaica has no anti-discrimination laws that protect people against discrimination based on sexuality, gender identity or gender expression. It’s also not uncommon for people to be beaten or even stoned to death once other citizens find out that they are gay.

Angeline Jackson, who is the executive director of Quality of Citizenship Jamaica (an “organisation which focuses on women’s issues; especially those faced by lesbians, bisexuals and other women who have sex with women”) has faced this discrimination, something Obama mentioned in his speech:

Several years ago, when Angeline was 19, she and a friend were kidnapped, held at gunpoint and sexually assaulted. And as a woman, and as a lesbian, justice and society were not always on her side.

But instead of remaining silent, she chose to speak out and started her own organisation to advocate for women like her, and get them treatment and get them justice, and push back against stereotypes, and give them some sense of their own power. And she became a global activist.

But more than anything, she cares about her Jamaica, and making it a place where everybody, no matter their color, or their class, or their sexual orientation, can live in equality and opportunity.  That’s the power of one person, what they can do.”

Obama also gave a nod to the younger generations of Jamaican people, saying that “You’re more eager for progress that comes not by holding down any segment of society, but by holding up the rights of every human being, regardless of what we look like, or how we pray, or who we love” and that this gave him hope.

So are Obama’s words likely to change anything for LGBT Jamaicans? In 2012 the Jamaican government said that it “is committed to the equal and fair treatment of its citizens, and affirms that any individual whose rights are alleged to have been infringed has a right to seek redress” while Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller has said that “no one should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation”, but still, nothing has been done to address Jamaica’s widespread LGBT discrimination.

With Obama’s speech only shedding light on the hardships faced by Jamaica’s LGBT community, it’s far more probable that Jamaicans will begin to discuss discrimination even if no action is taken to deal with it right now. That’s not tremendously encouraging but hopefully, change will arrive in Jamaica soon.

White House Staffers Show Support For Ban on Conversion Therapy in Powerful Video

Last week US President Barack Obama issued a statement calling for an end of the use of conversion therapy for LGBTI minors. Now, six White House staffers – some straight, some LGBT – are also calling for an end to the dangerous, widely debunked practice of conversion therapy.

The video, which was posted by The White House on YouTube, features Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President; Jay Davis, Advisor for Digital Strategy and Engagement, Environmental Protection Agency; Yohannes Abraham, Special Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs; Amanda Simpson, Executive Director, Army Office of Energy Initiatives; Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer of the United States; and Douglas Brooks, Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy.

Conversion therapy can be called many things – we used to call things like this “brainwashing” or “reprogramming.” It’s all about making people conform to the way things are. But if society is to grow, we need to move beyond the way things are, to the way things should be – the way things ought to be.”

In response to an online petition calling for a ban on conversion therapies, which had gained over 120,000 signatures in three months, Obama said in a statement urging states to ban therapies that attempt to change the sexual orientation of gay, lesbian and transgender youth.

Although the petition called on Obama to support a federal ban, the president has said he’ll instead call for state action.

The petition was inspired by Leelah Alcorn, a 17-year-old transgender youth who committed suicide in December after attending conversion therapy.

Mental health groups and gay rights activists say such therapy can increase the risk of depression or suicide.

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on Friday during a town hall discussion on Tumblr also weighed in, opposing conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy is not sound medical practice. Moreover, we all need to work together to build greater understanding and acceptance throughout our society. Doctors can and should be part of that effort.”

The US states of California and New Jersey have banned the practices targeting LGBTI youths whilreother states such as Oklahoma are considering legislation to protect the therapies from legal challenges.

US President Continues Support For LGBT Community, Telling Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Bans Are Unconstitutional

Since his political beginnings, Barack Obama has continued to support LGBT rights, and not only pushing through same-sex marriages in a number of states, but he has made American history by references and backing the community in his speeches.

He did so again, on Saturday, in a ceremony celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

Not only this, but Obama’s Administration has filed a Supreme Court brief announcing its belief that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional.

“The laws they challenge exclude a long-mistreated class of human beings from a legal and social status of tremendous import. Those laws are not adequately justified by any of the advanced rationales. They are accordingly incompatible with the Constitution.”

The administration is stating bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, and it adds that LGBT people are “a long-mistreated class of human beings.”

The nation’s top court will hear oral arguments on four same-sex marriage cases April 28.

India’s LGBT Community Seeks Obama’s Support

While many may disagree with his politics and his policies, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, has often made headlines with his outspoken support for the United States’ LGBT community. While he originally said that he believed marriage should only be between a man and a woman, several years later he became the first in-office president to voice support for same sex marriage, he helped repeal DADT (Don’t Ask Don’t Tell), a law which prohibited members of the military from coming out and just this week he made history by using his State of the Union speech to condemn the persecution of LGBT people.

On the other hand, you have India. Despite once decriminalising homosexuality, India repealed that decision and re-criminalised it in 2013 meaning that being gay or having same-sex intercourse could see you face lifetime imprisonment. India’s ruling party the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said that they would like to legalise homosexuality once more, calling it the “progressive way forward”, but unfortunately they don’t appear to be doing much about it.

That’s why India’s LGBT community is hopeful ahead of Barack Obama’s visit to the country this weekend. They are calling on him to help make a change and to help end the persecution against them.

A member of the LGBT community, Gautham Gayan, told the Times of India that:

“We decided to begin an online campaign and contacted our counterparts in other cities to coordinate. We are creating awareness and raising our voices so that the message reaches Obama and those in the Indian legislature.”

Gautham Gayan

So far that online campaign has to come to fruition as a hashtag (#ObamaForQueerIndia) and a petition. The petition, which currently has 652 signatures, says the following to Obama:

“We are not a minuscule [sic] minority. And we ask you to support us by speaking about our rights when you meet our leaders. Our voices can be ignored by our leaders, yours cannot. Help the LGBTQIA community in India get the freedom and equal rights that they so truly deserve.”

The petition and the campaign have both been garnering attention and so they will hopefully encourage Obama to speak out. The US State Department previously called on India to end the ban so it does seem likely that the president himself will follow suit.

LGBT Comes To Obama’s State of the Union Address

US President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address was historic moment for the American LGBT community, and marked the end of an exceptional 12 months for global LGBT awareness.

In his speech, the President declared that Americans “condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.”

This marks the first time a president has used the words transgender and bisexual in a State of the Union address, and the the explicit use of the term lesbian rather than the generic gay.

This shout-out is a considerable victory for both bisexual and transgender Americans, who have struggled to achieve mainstream recognition for decades.

“That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

We do these things not only because they are the right things to do, but because ultimately they will make us safer.”

President Barack Obama

Mr Obama also praised the rapid progress on same-sex marriage across the United States over the past year.

“I still believe that we are one people. I still believe that together, we can do great things, even when the odds are long. I believe this because over and over in my six years in office. I have seen America at its best…

I’ve seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story of freedom across our country, a civil right now legal in states that seven in ten Americans call home.”

President Barack Obama

Barack Obama Issues Presidential Proclamation to Commemorate World AIDS Day

President Barack Obama issued the following Presidential Proclamation for World AIDS Day – the annual observance to raise awareness and commemorate those who have lost their lives to one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history.



In communities across our Nation and around the world, we have made extraordinary progress in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. Just over three decades ago, when we knew only the devastation HIV inflicted, those living with it had to fight just to be treated with dignity and compassion, and since the first cases of AIDS were reported, tens of millions of vibrant men and women have lost their lives to this deadly virus. Today, we have transformed what it means to live with HIV/AIDS. More effective prevention, treatment, and care now save millions of lives while awareness has soared and research has surged. This World AIDS Day, we come together to honor all those who have been touched by HIV/AIDS and celebrate the promising public health and scientific advances that have brought us closer to our goal of an AIDS-free generation.

Since I took office, more people who are infected with HIV have learned of their status, allowing them to access the essential care that can improve their health, extend their lives, and prevent transmission of the virus to others. My Administration has made strides to limit new infections and reduce HIV-related disparities and health inequalities, and we have nearly eliminated the waiting list for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program. For many, with testing and access to the right treatment, a disease that was once a death sentence now offers a good chance for a healthy and productive life.

Despite these gains, too many with HIV/AIDS, especially young Americans, still do not know they are infected; too many communities, including gay and bisexual men, African Americans, and Hispanics remain disproportionately impacted; and too many individuals continue to bear the burden of discrimination and stigma. There is more work to do, and my Administration remains steadfast in our commitment to defeating this disease. Guided by our National HIV/AIDS Strategy, we are working to build a society where every person has access to life-extending care, regardless of who they are or whom they love. The Affordable Care Act prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage due to a pre-existing condition, such as HIV/AIDS, and requires that most health plans cover HIV screenings without copays for everyone ages 15 to 65 and others at increased risk. We have expanded opportunities for groundbreaking research, and we continue to invest in innovation to develop a vaccine and find a cure. And this summer, my Administration held a series of listening sessions across the country to better understand the successes and challenges of those fighting HIV at the local and State level.

In the face of a disease that extends far beyond our borders, the United States remains committed to leading the world in the fight against HIV/AIDS and ensuring no one is left behind. Hundreds of thousands of adolescent girls and young women are infected with HIV every year, and we are working to reach and assist them and every community in need. As part of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, over 7 million people with HIV around the globe are receiving antiretroviral treatment, a four-fold increase since the start of my Administration. In countries throughout the world, our initiatives are improving the lives of women and girls, accelerating life-saving treatment for children, and supporting healthy, robust communities.

As a Nation, we have made an unwavering commitment to bend the curve of the HIV epidemic, and the progress we have seen is the result of countless people who have shared their stories, lent their strength, and led the fight to spare others the anguish of this disease. Today, we remember all those who lost their battle with HIV/AIDS, and we recognize those who agitated and organized in their memory. On this day, let us rededicate ourselves to continuing our work until we reach the day we know is possible — when no child has to know the pain of HIV/AIDS and no life is limited by this virus.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States do hereby proclaim December 1, 2014, as World AIDS Day. I urge the Governors of the States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, officials of the other territories subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and the American people to join me in appropriate activities to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS and to provide support and comfort to those living with this disease.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.

Barack Obama

Obama Signs Executive Order to Protect LGBTQ Federal Employees

By definition, an executive order is “a rule or order issued by the president to an executive branch of the government and having the force of law”. Rather than our run of the mill laws that stop us from doing things like sticking up an entire supermarket for its ice cream sandwiches or bursting every fire hydrant on the street in the name of ‘Summer hydration’, executive orders simply tell certain parts of the United States government how they’re meant to do their jobs. Last week, that meant that United States President Barack Obama signed an executive order to bar federal contractors (business that have contracts with the United States to complete certain jobs or tasks) from discriminating against their hired workers on the ground of sexual orientation or gender identity. That was a groundbreaking move as it meant that LGBTQ workers would be further protected but with questions being asked about the protections for LGBTQ workers employed directly by the United States government, Obama has swiftly silenced doubters.

How did he do this? With another executive order! Being the President sure has its benefits and now the advantages of this are being extended to LGBTQ federal employees as the second historic executive order signed by the man in charge of the USA sees anti-discrimination protection extended to those too. What the executive order covers is a great deal of things and it means that finally, LGBTQ federal employees (this includes those who are transgender or gender non-conforming if the binary isn’t your thing) cannot be fired, denied promotion, or passed up on being hired based on gender identity or sexual orientation. In short, it means that everyone on the government’s payroll in some way, shape or form can get on with the jobs they intended to do without the laws holding them down!

In a speech that got laughs, smiles and even applause as President Obama detailed all of the positive things that his country had succeeded in passing (removing the Defense of Marriage Act and the same-gender marriage victories were both mentioned), he also explained that a large aspect of his decision to make these executive orders is because Congress, often halted by Republican opposition to more progressive laws, has failed to do so,

“The majority of Fortune 500 companies already have nondiscrimination policies to protect their employees because it’s the right thing to do and because many say it helps to retain and attract the best talent. And I agree. So if Congress won’t act, I will. I have directed my staff to prepare an executive order for my signature that prohibits discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. (Applause.)”

Granted, there’s still a long way to go yet but hopefully with Obama signing incredibly important executive orders left and right, Congress and politicians on a state level will get it together and follow suit too.


Obama Announces June ‘LGBT Pride Month’ is in Honour of Stonewall Riots

President Barack Obama has announced that June will be recognised nationally as LGBT Pride Month, in honour of the 45th Anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

“I, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2014 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.

I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.

This month, as we mark 45 years since the patrons of the Stonewall Inn defied an unjust policy and awakened a nascent movement, let us honor every brave leader who stood up, sat in, and came out, as well as the allies who supported them along the way. Following their example, let each of us speak for tolerance, justice, and dignity, because if hearts and minds continue to change over time, laws will too.

As progress spreads from State to State, as justice is delivered in the courtroom, and as more of our fellow Americans are treated with dignity and respect, our Nation becomes not only more accepting, but more equal as well.

During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, we celebrate victories that have affirmed freedom and fairness, and we recommit ourselves to completing the work that remains.

In many places around the globe, LGBT people face persecution, arrest, or even state-sponsored execution. This is unacceptable. The United States calls on every nation to join us in defending the universal human rights of our LGBT brothers and sisters.”

President Barack Obama

In the statement the President also called out Republicans in Congress for stalling ENDA, which would afford protections to LGBT people in employment.