A definitive list of everything Obama has done for the LGBT community
In just 59 days President-Elect, Donald Trump will be inaugurated, and with him Mike Pence as his Vice President.
Minorities around the U.S. and the world have staged protests worried about what this office might hold for them. The LGBT community in particular are wary some of their rights may be taken away. There’s no guessing what will happen under a Trump administration so here’s all the ways Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, was the LGBT-loving President America deserved.
1. He named the first national monument to LGBT rights
Earlier this year Obama named the area and park surrounding Stonewall Inn in New York City as the first LGBT national monument. Stonewall Inn and the surrounding streets are the sites of the 1969 Stonewall uprising, which helped launch the modern gay liberation movement.
“I’m designating the Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America’s national park system,” Obama said in a video released by the White House in June.
“I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country – the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us, that we are stronger together. That out of many, we are one.”
2. When, under his leadership, the Supreme Court legalised gay marriage in all 50 states
“Progress on this journey often comes in small increments, sometimes two steps forward, one step back,” Obama said after the decision was announced in June 2015. “And then sometimes, there are days like this, when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.”
3. He made it a federal crime to assault an individual because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity
In October 2009, Obama signed in the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Named after Matthew Shepard, a gay teenager who was kidnapped and severely beaten to death in 1998 and James Byrd, Jr. who was dragged to death that same year.
4. The U.S. Department of Education has hosted three summits specifically for LGBT teens
“Since President Obama took office in January 2009 he has led a commitment, shared by all those in his administration, to make sure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans have a chance to reach their full potential,” Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said at the beginning of the 2011 summit.
5. He made it so healthcare insurance companies could not discriminate depending on sexual orientation
Obama signed in the Affordable Care Act in March 2010 which meant insurers can no longer turn someone away just because he or she is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
6. Obama released the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the US
In 2010, Obama’s administration laid out a plan to cut the annual number of new HIV infections in the United States by 25 percent over the next five years. His administration recently reviewed and renewed this plan in 2015 so it will go all the way to 2020.
Approximately 1 in 5 affected U.S. citizens are unaware of their status so an update to the plan last year aimed to ‘increase the percentage of people living with HIV who know their serostatus to at least 90 percent’.
7. He has supported legislative efforts to ban the use of ‘conversion therapy’
Obama released a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration study which determined “variations in sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression are normal. Conversion therapy is not effective, reinforces harmful gender stereotypes, and is not an appropriate mental health treatment”.
8. His administration opened the first national resource centre for older LGBT individuals
Health and Human Services funded the centre opened in 2011 and aims to support the 1.5 to 4 million LGBT individuals who are 60 and older.
9. Obama ended the military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy
In 2011, Obama ended the 17-year-old law which stated openly gay men and women and bisexuals could not serve in the U.S. military.
“As of Sept. 20, service members will no longer be forced to hide who they are in order to serve our country,” Obama said at the time.
10. His administration ordered all U.S. schools to allow transgender students access to the bathroom that matches their identity
In response to the controversial ‘bathroom bill’, the bill that forces trans people to use bathrooms that correspond with gender on their birth certificate, put forward in North Carolina early this year, the Department of Justice issued a letter on the matter.
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“A school may provide separate facilities on the basis of sex, but must allow transgender students access to such facilities consistent with their gender identity,” the letter read.
“A school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or to use individual-user facilities when other students are not required to do so.”
11. Obama brought back Pride Month
Although Bill Clinton held the very first LGBT Pride Month back in 2000, it disappeared soon after. Since Obama was elected, he has held a Pride Month every year he’s been in office. Coinciding with the Pride Parades held in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots of ’69, Pride Month is a month-long celebration of LGBT individuals.
Seriously though, thanks Obama.