Inside the Transition: LGBT advocates
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Inside the Transition: LGBT advocates


You of all built the movement and we join you in that. And we have a president now who can lead a movement of openness and inclusion across the country. And I think as you know that he was committed to that in the campaign and I think he meant what he said and he is going to be committed to that when he gets into office. We just had a meeting with national leaders of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community representing 41 different national organizations as well as leaders from our campaign effort. It was a very productive meeting where they had an opportunity to come come here to the transition headquarter and talk about party recommendations when it came to presidential appointments I was really pleased to hear about reinvigorating the civil servants and the kinds of quality appointees that we need in this administration, not just because they are LGTB but because they are LGTB but because they are LGTB and they are qualified for this position. One of the amazing things about the meeting was that we had three co-hosts from the transition team who led it. Fred Hochberg , who served as deputy administrator for the small business administration. Roberta Achtenberg, who was the first LGTB person appointed and confirmed by the United States Senate in a presidential administration. And Elaine Caplan who served on our government operations transition team agency review. I wanted to show the community that within our own leadership we have prominent openly gay people serving proudly on this transition team. They had a wide range of things that they wanted to talk about. I think a critically important communication from the administration and from president elect Obama as we set out our legislative agenda would be a clear communication about his desire to sign an inclusive hate-crimes bill in the early part of his administration. And his desire and really his mandate that he get a fully inclusive employment non-discrimination bill early on in his administration. Another one that I feel will be very important is that census. We have a census coming up and LGTB issues, right now, are not going to be any part of that census. One of the concerns that the LGTB community raised is making sure that the census form includes sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. It is hard to talk bout the needs of our community if government does not count our community. Legally, and from a policy perspective this is one of the most exposed communities. There are no federal laws, none. And none of the benefits flow to families, working class families, that need them who happen to be LGTB families. We’re looking for issues in which we share a concern that the black community also shares and that’s HIV and AIDS. The nation’s capital that we live in one in every twenty people is infected with HIV and AIDS. We are the most resourced country in the world and that is worse than HIV infection rate in Port au Prince and which is the capital of the poorest country in the western hemisphere. The key issues for our community are still the key issues for all Americans, We care very deeply about those things, we care about American issues. The larger society and governmental history history is such that we are kind of relegated to certain issues or certain concerns. We are a community that is hungry to be part of the table in coming up with solutions for economic challenges that face our community as well as health care. I don’t think we’ve ever done this before. I don’t think any administration has ever had this high level of a meeting with national LGTB leaders. So for this community to come to the table and say to us what we have heard from community we have spoken to: come in and fix government, fix what’s wrong. The change that we need, the change that we were promised, that is what that LGTB community wants to about.

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