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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.

            

Black background with gay pride flag shaped in a heart, with the words '2016 Pride Inside and Out, LGBT Pride Month'

June is Pride Month and each year we set aside this month to reaffirm our commitment to equal opportunity for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. As the nation’s largest employer, the Federal Government sets an example and tone for all other employers, an example that reinforces the fact that employment discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation or gender identity is simply unacceptable.

This June, across the Federal family and throughout the nation, Americans are grieving and angry at the horrific massacre at a nightclub in Orlando. As the President said in the aftermath of the shootings:  “As Americans, we are united in grief, in outrage, and in resolve to defend our people.”

All of our people.

As Federal employees and as Americans, we will stand together and refuse to allow the brutal murders in Orlando to deter us. This is a time for the Federal community to come together, to support each other, and to not let this tragedy lessen our resolve to continue the important work of promoting equal opportunity and preventing discrimination.

At OPM we have been at the forefront of implementing Administration policy and court decisions that expand rights for the LGBT community. When the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Windsor that the Federal Government must recognize same-sex marriages in states where they were allowed, OPM was the first agency to roll out benefits. Even before the Windsor decision, OPM spearheaded and effort to expand agencies’ ability to extend benefits to same-sex partners of Federal employees and their children where the law would permit.

The President also issued an Executive Order making it clear that Federal employees and employees of Federal contractors are protected from discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

President Obama spoke of this commitment in his Pride Month proclamation: “There remains much work to do to extend the promise of our country to every American, but because of the acts of courage of the millions who came out and spoke out to demand justice and of those who quietly toiled and pushed for progress, our Nation has made great strides in recognizing what these brave individuals long knew to be true in their hearts -- that love is love and that no person should be judged by anything but the content of their character.”

We still have work to do and it would be a disservice to the LGBT community – as well as all minority communities – to suggest that discrimination is a thing of the past. But here at OPM we are committed to doing everything possible to prevent any discrimination in our Federal workplaces. We have worked to make sure LGBT employees have the same rights and benefits as all Federal employees. From health insurance to leave to care for a same-sex partner when they are sick, our hope is to make sure that no Federal employee ever receives unequal treatment.

We also want to make sure that members of the LGBT community and all Federal employees who experience any type of discrimination in the Federal workplace know their options for recourse. That is why on June 15 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.  OPM will be hosting an event at its headquarters entitled “Addressing LGBT Discrimination in Federal Employment.” The program will also be webcast. We hope you will join us as representatives from the Equal Opportunity Employment Council, Office of Special Counsel, and OPM discuss what protections exist and how to handle any discrimination that you may experience in the workplace.

Not only is discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation or gender identity illegal, it also diminishes the Federal Government’s ability to hire, retain, and promote a talented workforce. I urge everyone to take time this month – and every month throughout the year- to support the members of the LGBT community all across this country who work to eliminate and prevent discrimination everywhere.


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