DOJ Pride updates

SUMMARY

Tuesday, May 12News article about a settlement with the VA for “full relief” after the VA threatened to terminate a psychiatrist for being out.

Saturday, May 16:  President Obama released a statement about the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Sunday, May 17:  Vice President Biden released a statement about the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Tuesday, May 19:  Judge David S. Tatel of the DC Circuit will speak at a DOJ diversity speaker series from 12-1pm in RFK 7411.

Thursday, May 21:  EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang will keynote the 2015 DOJ AA & PI Heritage program from 11am-12pm in the Great Hall.

Wednesday, June 3:  DOJ Pride celebration day!  Pride program from 11am-12pm in the Great Hall; happy hour from 6-8pm at Nellie’s Sports Bar in DC.

Friday, June 5:  Early registration deadline for the 2015 Lavendar Law conference, which is August 5-8 in Chicago.

Monday, June 22:  Applications due for an upcoming vacancy on the DC Superior Court.  Vacancy announcement attached.

DETAILS

Tuesday, May 12News article about a settlement with the VA for “full relief” after the VA threatened to terminate a psychiatrist for being out.

The Veterans Affairs Department has backed down from a stance that its mental health providers who are gay or lesbian should conceal that fact from patients.  In a settlement announced Tuesday by the Office of Special Counsel, Dr. Patricia Kinne, a psychiatrist who was working at the Louisville VA Medical Center, was awarded “full relief” after a review of patient complaints about her for revealing herself as a lesbian and referring to her wife.

Patients seeking to discontinue their treatment by Kinne had given her sexual orientation as the reason, prompting VA managers to threaten termination if she continued to speak of such “personal information,” which VA considered harmful to the doctor-patient relationship.  The special counsel staff investigation of the discrimination case found that only two of Kinne’s patients had requested transfers to another provider for such a reason, among several hundred requests regarding other psychiatrists involving broader issues in a comparable time period.

Investigators also noted that VA managers were “unable to distinguish their treatment of Dr. Kinne’s conduct from others who had received complaints, and provided inconsistent reasoning to support their actions,” the office said in a release. “Dr. Kinne is a well-regarded psychiatrist with no other reported performance or conduct issues, and was complimented by the VA in 2013 for having relatively few patient complaints.”

Kinne’s settlement included compensation for pain and suffering as well as her legal fees, according to one of her attorneys — Cathy Harris of Kator, Parks, Weiser & Harris in Washington. A complaint Kinne filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was also resolved.  With Kinne now employed elsewhere in the VA system, the department agreed to improve training of managers and human resources staff at the Louisville facility and notify them that employees are not required to hide their sexual orientation.

“These protections exist to ensure we have a federal workforce based on merit and free of discrimination,” Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner said. “Enforcement of these protections ensures that the federal government is welcoming to LGBT employees. The VA deserves credit for taking positive steps to address the concerns raised by this case. All agencies should be mindful that federal managers cannot create arbitrary distinctions that lead to discriminatory treatment of their employees.”

Saturday, May 16:  President Obama released a statement about the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Statement by the President on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

Michelle and I join our fellow Americans and others around the world in commemorating the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia tomorrow, May 17.  We take this opportunity to reaffirm that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights are human rights, to celebrate the dignity of every person, and to underscore that all people deserve to live free from fear, violence, and discrimination, regardless of who they are or whom they love.

We work toward this goal every day. Here at home, we are working to end bias-motivated violence, combat discrimination in the workplace, and address the specific needs of transgender persons.  Overseas, I am proud of the steps that the United States has taken to prioritize the protection and promotion of LGBT rights in our diplomacy and global outreach.

There is much more to do, and this fight for equality will not be won in a day.  But we will keep working, at home and abroad, and we will keep fighting, for however long it takes until we are all able to live free and equal in dignity and rights.

Sunday, May 17:  Vice President Biden released a statement about the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Statement by the Vice President on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

My father taught me the simple notion that everyone, everywhere is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect. When it comes to LGBT people, that simple proposition has been painfully difficult to accomplish over the years. But in the last decade, thanks to the astounding bravery of the LGBT community and those who have championed their cause, the United States has made remarkable progress toward the ultimate goal of equality in law and in life. Our progress remains incomplete, but the momentum has shifted in the right direction.

Progress has also been made in many places around the world. But in too many places, life for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals is actually getting worse. In too many places, LGBT community members face violence with impunity, mistreatment by police, the denial of healthcare, or religious condemnation and social isolation.

The best mechanism to confront this hatred is to speak up in favor of universal human rights. Supportive voices must be heard. Today and every day, let us continue to defend the rights of LGBT people, whether from nearby cities or far-off villages. We cannot rest until everyone receives the dignity, respect, and equal treatment under the law that all people deserve.

Tuesday, May 19:  Judge David S. Tatel of the DC Circuit will speak at a DOJ Diversity and Inclusion Speaker Series Event from 12-1pm in RFK 7411.

DOJ Diversity and Inclusion Speaker Series Event –“A Conversation with the Honorable David S. Tatel”

Tuesday, May 19, 2015, 12:00 pm (Noon)  – 1:00 pm (EST)

DOJ Conference Center (Room 7411), RFK Main Justice Building; Broadcast live on the Justice Television Network (JTN)

The Department will host its seventh session in the diversity and inclusion speaker series from 12:00 pm (Noon) – 1:00 pm (EST), Tuesday, May 19, 2015, in the DOJ Conference Center (Room 7411) of the RFK Main Justice Building.  The program will be broadcast live on the Justice Television Network (JTN).  This program will be rebroadcast on JTN later that day from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (EST), and will also be rebroadcast on Thursday, May 21, 2015, from 1:00 to 2:00 pm. (EST) and on Friday, May 22, 2015, from 2:00 to 3:00 pm (EST).

Please join us for a conversation with Judge David S. Tatel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  Judge Tatel, who happens to be blind, will speak about his wide-ranging and storied legal career, which has included – prior to his appointment to the D.C. Circuit – teaching as an instructor at the University of Michigan Law School, working at several large private law firms, serving as founding director of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Director of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the Director of the Office for Civil Rights of the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare during the Carter Administration.  To learn more about Judge Tatel, please visit http://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/home.nsf/Content/VL+-+Judges+-+DST.  In addition, employees will hear special remarks from Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart F. Delery.

For this program, Judge Tatel will be “informally” interviewed by Allison Nichol, Special Counsel for Disability Resources, Office of the Associate Attorney General, as part of ongoing efforts within the Department to draw awareness to attitudinal barriers impacting people with disabilities.

Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.  Employees in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area are invited to attend this event live in the DOJ Conference Center (Room 7411), RFK Main Justice Building.  Registration is not required to attend.

Thursday, May 21:  EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang will keynote the 2015 DOJ Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage program from 11am-12pm in the Great Hall.

The Department will hold its annual Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Observance Program from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon, Thursday, May 21, 2015, in The Great Hall, Robert F. Kennedy Main Justice Building.  The National theme for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is “Many Cultures, One Voice:  Promoting Equality and Inclusion.”  All employees in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area are invited to attend.  The program will be broadcast live on the Justice Television Network (JTN).

During this year’s program, Jenny R. Yang, Chair, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and former DOJ Civil Rights Division Senior Trial Attorney, will deliver the keynote address.  Ms. Yang was named EEOC Chair by President Barack Obama on September 1, 2014.  To learn more about Ms. Yang, please visit her EEOC profile page.  In addition, employees will hear special remarks from Departmental senior officials, including Grande H. Lum, Director, Community Relations Services.  Minh Dang, Scientist, Drug Enforcement Administration and Chair, DOJ Pan Asia Employees Association, will also provide remarks.  A special musical performance will be provided by the Washington Chinese Traditional Orchestra.

Wednesday, June 3:  DOJ Pride celebration day!  Pride program from 11am-12pm in the Great Hall; happy hour from 6-8pm at Nellie’s Sports Bar in DC.

Bending Toward Justice:  Continuing the March Toward LGBT Equality
Wednesday, June 3, 11am-12pm
The Great Hall, RFK Main Justice

We will have the honor of hosting the Department’s own Solicitor General, Don Verrilli, on the eve of the Supreme Court’s marriage decision.  Just last month, speaking on behalf of the United States, Solicitor Verrilli advocated forcefully and effectively for equal treatment of LGBT individuals, telling the Court:  “Gay and lesbian people are equal.  They deserve equal protection of the laws, and they deserve it now.”  We are also delighted to host Sheila Alexander-Reid, Director of the DC Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs.  Ms. Alexander-Reid is veteran community activist and recently served as a Vice President of the Washington Blade.  In addition, we will recognize the winners of this year’s DOJ Pride Awards, the voting for which closes at noon tomorrow, May 14.

DOJ Pride Happy Hour
Wednesday, June 3, 6-8pm
Nellie’s Sports Bar, 900 U Street NW (one block from the green/yellow U Street metro stop)

Friday, June 5:  Early registration deadline for the 2015 Lavendar Law conference, which is August 5-8 in Chicago.

Monday, June 22:  Applications are due for an upcoming vacancy on the DC Superior Court.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s