Friday, 20 January 2017

What Obama did for the LGBT community

As Barack Obama's time as 44th President of the United States comes to a close, I think it's a fitting time to look back at all the things Obama did for LGBT people...

Equal marriage: In June 2015, a decision by the Supreme Court meant that same sex marriage was legalised across the entire United States.

Though Obama was not always for same sex marriage, he issued Presidential directives in 2009 and 2010, telling federal agencies to extend whatever benefits they could to the same-sex partners of federal employees.

'Don't ask, don't tell': Obama pushed for the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' which placed a ban on openly gay service members, serving in the United States Military.

This move is often seen as being part of a change of culture in the US Military, and lead to the Defence Department later allowing trans people to serve in the military.

LGBT administration officials: Obama made efforts to bring LGBT people into his administration, making a record number of openly LGBT appointments to top positions.

Among them Eric Fanning, who became the first openly gay Secretary of the Army in November 2015.

Obama also became the first president to appoint trans people to his administration including Amanda Simpson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for Operation Energy, and Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, White House liaison to the LGBT community.

Hate crime/anti-discrimination legislation: Obama expanded federal protections to include crimes motivated by gender and gender identity, sexual orientation and disability.

In 2014, Obama expanded a statute prohibiting federal hiring discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Worldwide rights: During his time in the White House, Obama engaged with governments around the world to promote advancing the rights of LGBT people.

The Obama administration funded the Global Equality Fund to making LGBT rights a core directive, and in February 2015, the State Department appointed the first Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI persons.

So with this in mind, we look to the 45th President of the United States Donald Trump, and it has to be said the LGBT community aren't exactly hopeful that Trump will do much for them.

Earlier this week I did a Vlog setting out why LGBT people fear the Trump Presidency - watch it HERE.

On Wednesday night LGBT protesters took to the streets outside Vice President Elect Mike Pence's house, making a statement that they would be watching for any moves to attack rights.

Mike Pence has been no friend to the LGBT community, voicing his support for gay conversion or 'cure' therapy.

Though Trump has said he would not seek to change the Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage, he has been openly opposed to it in the past.

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