By: Alice Y. Hom, Director, Queer Justice Fund
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender folks typically celebrate Pride Month with marches, parades, and celebrations and one of those celebrations took place on a hot and humid day of June 29 at the White House. As the Director of the Queer Justice Fund, I was invited to attend the LGBT Pride Month Policy Briefing and Reception.
The day kicked off in the morning with a LGBT Pride Month Policy Briefing where 100 invited LGBT community leaders heard progress reports on LGBT issues from various federal agencies including the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Justice, Housing, and Housing and Urban Development. We also had an opportunity to ask questions and to share more about the issues that our communities face. One example of this comes from the Department of Health and Human Services which will begin collecting data on LGBT populations as well as drafting new standards for reporting and collecting data on race, ethnicity, sex, disability status, and primary language. This piece of news gives me hope that the efforts of LGBT community organizations and allies are having some impact on federal policies.
President Barack Obama who officially proclaimed the month of June 2011 as LGBT Pride Month hosted an afternoon LGBT Pride Reception where over 200 leaders and community members listened to his remarks about the progress made so far for LGBT rights and how much more needs to be done.
President Obama also applauded those in attendance who are the advocates, community organizers and leaders working on the ground to lift up and address the challenges, issues, and needs of the diverse LGBT communities. I was happy to see a couple of QJF grantee partners at the event. Doreena Wong of API Equality Los Angeles and Ben de Guzman and Glenn Magpantay of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance attended this reception.
It was a wonderful experience to meet others from all around the United States who are engaged in LGBT activist work. I was excited to share more about the Queer Justice Fund and how AAPIP’s mission of building democratic philanthropy includes addressing the disparity of funding to LGBTQ AAPI communities and issues.