Tag Archives: obama

Obama Appoints the First (Out) Transgender White House Staff Member

Raffi Freedman-GurspanRaffi Freedman-Gurspan, a former policy adviser at the National Center for Transgender Equality, has been appointed as an outreach and recruitment director in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. Many across the nation have hailed the Obama Administration’s decision today, calling Ms. Freedman-Gurspan a role model and praising her assisting the LGBT community.

“President Obama has long said he wants his administration to look like the American people. I have understood this to include transgender Americans,” NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said. “That the first transgender appointee is a transgender woman of color is itself significant. And that the first White House transgender appointee is of a friend is inspiring to me and to countless others who have been touched by Raffi’s advocacy.”

Source: Obama appoints 1st transgender White House staff member – CNNPolitics.com

Obama Finally Signs Executive Order Banning LGBT Discrimination for Federal Contractors!

This is it! After many “false alarm” posts on Facebook and blogs, Obama finally put pen to a policy which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity for both the Federal government and Federal contractors. As I’ve posted before, this is potentially a large number of employees in the United States – 11 to 44 million in total – and could lead to many more companies putting anti-discrimination policies in place due to the “trickle-down effect” which often impacts suppliers of government contractors.

Read more at the link below:
Obama Urges Congress to Ban Job Bias Against Gays – NYTimes.com.

Obama Drafting Executive Order On LGBT Job Discrimination

I realize I’m a day late in posting this, but I do know many folks still haven’t heard the news, and it’s important to make certain this is disseminated.

As I reported in February, President Obama has the ability to use an Executive Order to mandate that all government contractors must have non-discrimination policies in place to protect transgender, lesbian, gay, and bisexual employees. There are many estimates of how many Americans this would actually protect – the Huffington Post is reporting about 16 million (link below), but my analysis indicates that depending upon how broadly one considers a company to be a “Federal contractor,” such a move could cover more than 40 million workers. What’s more, supplier agreements could have trickle-down effects which would result in even more workers being covered.

Well it appears that President Obama is indeed about ready to sign such an order into law, with the smart money giving next Monday as “the” date. Congress can override such an Executive Order, but given the composition of the Senate it is almost impossible to do so. Some are wondering if this is a sign that the Democratic Party expects to lose their margin in the Senate after the mid-year elections, or even lose their majority status, and thus President Obama is trying to get this in place to build precedent before a Republican Senate would be sworn in next January. Honestly, no one knows.

Obama Drafting Executive Order On LGBT Job Discrimination.

No Clear Message from the Obama Administration Over ENDA Executive Order

Obama_SigningOK, this is a little long, but I really need to lay down some background first about what could, if fortune favors us, be one of the most important transgender advances in recent history.

The President of the United States has some modest authority to use Executive Orders to direct how the Federal government behaves, so long as such orders are lawful. For example, the President could in theory order that all Federal employees must wear pink on Fridays, unless or until the Legislative Branch (Congress) passed a law forbidding such, or the Judicial Branch (the Supreme Court) declared such an order to be un-Constitutional.

This power, however, also allows the President to influence broad areas of America indirectly by directing how Federal contractors must behave if they are going to be qualified to bid on Federal projects. This is an incredible amount of implicit power, as a very large number of American companies are Federal contractors, or else wish to bid on Federal contracts. Wikipedia has an impressive list of the top-100 Federal contractors, and the total number of employees among these companies are in the millions. Take a look at the list – is your company on it? Mine does tens of millions of dollars of Federal work every year, and we probably are barely in the top-1000.

The total number of Federal contractor employees is not public data, and I struggled with a variety of half-baked sources and WAGs, often from Tea Party “conspiracy” sites. As best as I can tell, there are perhaps 7-10 million employees working for companies which are performing on Federal contracts, and perhaps 20-30 million employees of companies which have pursued Federal contracts. If you add this to the number of employees in the Federal government itself (4.3 million), we have somewhere between 11 to 44 million employees in the United States who would be potentially impacted by any Executive Order impacting Federal contractors.

Given that the total size of the employed United States workforce is about 144 million, and you can see that at a minimum we’re talking about 8%, and at most 31% of the American workforce is potentially impacted by an Executive Order.

So now that I’ve bored you with some statistics, now to the heart of the matter: to be blunt, President Obama has within his authority the ability to declare that all government contractors must have a strict non-discrimination policy in hiring, firing, and worker treatment to protect gender identity and gender expression, sexual preference, and sexual identity. In short, overnight President Obama could potentially make the lives of a very large percentage of the transgender community better overnight!

An order such as this would help get unemployed transgender persons off the streets and into the workforce, allowing them to start living better lives. It would protect the innumerable closeted transgender persons, who live in fear every day of being outed at work and losing their livelihoods. And it would change the entire dialog and force the issue to be confronted among many employers who aren’t even currently Federal contractors. As the size of our Federal government grows the attraction of the money available for private companies will increase, leading more and more discriminatory companies to throw in the metaphorical towel and enact their own anti-discrimination policies on their own.

However, according to the Washington Blade (link below), the Obama Administration is giving some mixed signals on whether or not they will use an Executive Order to do what the House of Representatives refuses to do – enact ENDA in any way, shape, or form.

I won’t spin the story below – it speaks for itself. There appears to be some confusion over where in the process of “consideration” an ENDA Executive Order lies. This sort of confusion is hardly new – President Obama’s staff have been historically much better at keeping secrets than past Administrations, so I don’t really think one can say for certain what will happen. President Obama may be concerned about the November elections, as the possibility of losing seats in the Senate, and more in the House, is a clear and present danger due to dissatisfaction over the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a “Obamacare”).

I hope that President Obama does enact an Executive Order ENDA soon, so precedent can build to help create change. The 2016 Presidential election is entirely up in the air, and a backlash from the masses sending in a Conservative President could easily result in a repeal of any Executive Orders which were thought to be “too Liberal.”

W.H. adviser says ENDA executive order ‘under consideration’ : Washington Blade – America’s Leading Gay News Source.