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LGBT Pride Month

Background of the image is a pride flag on the left side side and the American flag from the right side overlapping.  In white all caps text in the middle say 2017 LGBT PRIDE MONTH.

The month of June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month (LGBT Pride Month).   As noted by the Library of Congress, LGBT Pride Month is celebrated each year in the month of June.  LGBT Pride Month is just one way that we can honor the struggles and achievements of the LGBT community, including the LGBT members of our Federal workforce.  Please join me and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in celebrating LGBT Pride Month. 

I firmly believe that when we draw on the wisdom of a workforce recruited from all segments of society, we are better able to understand and meet the needs of our customers – the American people. 

The Federal Government leads by example by providing equal employment opportunities to all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.  It is important to note that a fundamental value of civil service has been to draw from all segments of society, where selection and career advancement of Federal employees are “determined solely on the basis of relative ability, knowledge and skills.”  This is an ideal time to emphasize that all Federal employees – including LGBT individuals – should be able to perform their jobs free from any unlawful discrimination.  Additional information on this important topic can be found in a helpful resource guide titled “Addressing Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination in Federal Civilian Employment:  A Guide to Employment Rights, Protections, and Responsibilities.”  

June 12th is the one year anniversary of the horrific massacre at a nightclub in Orlando.  As a nation, we showed our respect and solidarity to the LGBT community.  On this one year anniversary, I invite you to pause and reflect on this tragedy again.  It is also an opportunity to show the American people that Federal agencies will continue promoting equal opportunity and stand against any unlawful discrimination.

I want to remind you that various resources are available to promote a diverse and inclusive workforce.  I invite you to take advantage and learn more from these helpful resources.   In addition, to learn more about the benefits that are extended to same-sex partners of Federal employees and their children where the law permits, please visit our frequently asked questions for LGBT Federal employees and annuitants.

Enjoy your celebration and Happy Pride Month.

            

As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month, I want to proudly reinforce my continued commitment to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender members of our Federal family, and recognize the incredible contributions this community has made in service to the American people.

We better serve the American people when our Federal workforce draws from and honors the unique talents and experiences of individuals from every community across this great country. Though we tackle tough challenges each and every day, the diversity of thought, opinion, and experience drives the creativity and ingenuity we need to get our vital work done. And our LGBT colleagues are instrumental in helping agencies fulfill their service-driven missions.

I realize that it’s not enough to simply recognize and honor the contributions of this community when more work still needs to be done to build a more fair and equal society for LGBT Americans. As the President’s chief human resources official, I want to make it clear that the Federal Government does not and will not condone workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Federal employees.

That’s why I’m so excited to announce that the Office of Personnel Management is joining our partners at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Merit System Protections Board, and the Office of Special Counsel to release an updated guide titled “Addressing Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination in Federal Civilian Employment: A Guide to Employment Rights, Protections, and Responsibilities.” This informative resource will help LGBT Federal employees make more informed choices about how best to pursue their individual claims when they believe they have suffered from discrimination.

Image with Pink background with a black bar across the middle. Headline: ADDRESSING SEXUAL ORIENTATION & GENDER IDENTITY DISCRIMINATION IN FEDERAL CIVILIAN EMPLOYMENT

At OPM, we continue to look for ways in which we can make our policies more equitable and fair for our entire Federal family, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We do this not just because it makes good business sense, but also because as a model employer, it’s simply the right thing to do.

As the President says in his LGBT Pride Month proclamation:

“All people deserve to live with dignity and respect, free from fear and violence, and protected against discrimination, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, we celebrate the proud legacy LGBT individuals have woven into the fabric of our Nation, we honor those who have fought to perfect our Union, and we continue our work to build a society where every child grows up knowing that their country supports them, is proud of them, and has a place for them exactly as they are.”

I could not agree more. 



June is LGBT Pride Month. One of the best ways to celebrate this community is by making sure that its members have the same rights and benefits as the rest of our Federal family.

LGBT Pride Month was created as a way to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan, which were a tipping point in the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. What began as “Gay Pride Day,” has grown to a month-long series of events around the country. These commemorations also include memorials for members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes and HIV/AIDS.

President Obama has appointed more than 300 openly LGBT professionals to serve in his administration -- more openly LGBT presidential appointees than all previous administrations combined. They include:  John Berry, Ambassador to Australia and formerly Director of OPM; Rufus Gifford, Ambassador to Denmark; Fred P. Hochberg, Chairman and President of the Import-Export Bank of the United States; and Kathy Martinez, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy at DOL.

The President has also appointed more than a dozen openly gay Federal judges. They include Elaine Kaplan, a judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and a former Acting Director and General Counsel of OPM.

Banner with the text Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month 2014

One of my highest priorities as Director of OPM is ensuring the diversity of our Federal workforce and a workplace where every employee feels respected, safe and valued.

OPM has been at the forefront of ensuring benefits the Federal Government offers are as inclusive as possible. In the past several years, we have adjusted policies so that same-sex domestic partners now qualify for many benefits, from using the Family and Medical Leave Act to take care of a partner’s ill son or daughter to getting help from an agency’s Employee Assistance Programs.

We have also amended the regulations that set the definitions related to family member and immediate relative in order to clarify that they cover same-sex and opposite-sex domestic partners. So when an employee with a same-sex partner needs to use sick leave, funeral leave, leave transfer, or the leave bank, he or she has the same benefits as employees with opposite-sex partners.

And following the Supreme Court’s ruling last June that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional, OPM began immediately adjusting policies and regulations to reflect that change. This included extending health care and retirement benefits to employees in same-sex marriages, and clarifying that employees could take FMLA leave to care for same-sex spouses.

OPM will be holding an LGBT Information Webcast on these and many other benefits from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. on June 18. Federal employees and benefits managers will get an overview of benefits since the repeal of Section 3 of DOMA and be able to ask questions of our benefit officers.

As the President said in his proclamation declaring June LGBT Pride Month: “We celebrate victories that have affirmed freedom and fairness, and we recommit ourselves to completing the work that remains.”


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