(Washington, D.C., June 25, 2009)—The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and a collaboration of expert organizations today announced the New Beginning Initiative, designed to push for concrete federal administration policy and regulatory changes directly benefiting the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and eliminating discrimination from federal policies.
The initiative, which is an outcome of the National Policy Roundtable with organizations opting into the initiative, began more than a year ago in preparation of a more LGBT-favorable administration. The more than 80 initial policies identified and recommended for changes span the authority of the White House and more than 30 federal agencies. The recommendations focus on pro- LGBTQ public policy changes the Obama administration can implement without legislative action. The New Beginning Initiative is the first time such a coalition of LGBTQ and allied organizations has come together in this way to affect administration policy. Organizations participating in the initiative are listed here.
NCLR is proud to support several key policy changes proposed through this initiative, with a particular focus on ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and in ensuring the fair treatment and equal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. In particular, federal funds should not be used to discriminate, existing federal law should be interpreted to protect LGBTQ people wherever possible, and new policies should be enacted to ensure equality under the law.
The New Beginning Initiative, funded through the generous support of the Open Society Institute, includes concrete policy changes written by the respective participating organizations. Each organization will identify the strategies for accomplishing the respective policy changes it is working on in the coming months and years. The 80-plus policies represent an initial view of the opportunities for federal funding and programmatic attention; additional policy changes will be identified over time.
Examples of the recommended policy changes are:
- Amending the nondiscrimination guidelines for the federal civilian workforce to include gender identity and expression.
- Funding to reduce violence in schools, including preventing bullying and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Including sexual orientation and gender identity categories as a designated and mandated component of federally funded aging research and data collection.
- Ensuring LGBTQ people are recognized as a population marked by health disparities for appropriate inclusion in federally funded studies.
- Requiring the office of Housing and Urban Development to recognize unaccompanied homeless youth as a special- needs population requiring the development of targeted youth housing models.
- Encouraging U.S. diplomatic engagement on international LGBTQ issues as legitimate human rights concerns.
Participating organizations have already begun meeting with administration officials to pursue some of the policy changes. A meeting of the participating organizations will be held over the summer to map out plans for each recommended policy. As the collaborating organizations succeed in changing policies, press releases will be sent out notifying the LGBTQ community and broader public about progress made. Additionally, the New Beginning Initiative’s Web page features an electronic scorecard to track progress as policy changes are achieved.
Organizations participating in the initiative launch (listed alphabetically): Council for Global Equality; Family Equality Council; Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders; Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network; Immigration Equality; Lambda Legal; Mautner Project; National Black Justice Coalition; National Center for Lesbian Rights; National Coalition for LGBTQ Health; National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce; National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; National Youth Advocacy Coalition; Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays; Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE); Servicemembers Legal Defense Network; The Trevor Project.
Disclaimer: Each policy proposal should be considered the proposal of the organization(s) responsible for drafting the proposal. There should be no assumption that all organizations adopt, agree with or would prioritize the policies in the same way.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.
The National Policy Roundtable, established in 1997 and convened by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, is a forum for more than 35 institutional leaders to discuss and coordinate public policy strategy related to LGBTQ issues.