LGBT Pride Month celebration

The Department’s LGBT Pride Month Observance Program:

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

DOJ Pride will then host a Pride happy hour later that evening: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)

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.

2015 DOJ Pride Award winners

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DOJ Pride is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 DOJ Pride Awards:

The Gerald B. Roemer Community Service Award

Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., Solicitor General of the United States, and Stuart F. Delery, Acting Associate Attorney General of the United States

The James R. Douglass Award

Sharon M. McGowan, Deputy Chief of the Civil Rights Division’s Appellate Section

Solicitor General Don Verrilli and Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart Delery:  for leading the federal government’s efforts in the DOMA (Windsor) and marriage equality (Obergefell) litigations to achieve equal status for LGBT individuals and their relationships.  Under their leadership, the Department reversed decades of government-led and government-sanctioned discrimination against LGBT individuals and argued that sexual orientation classifications should be subject to heightened scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause.  In Windsor, the Department urged the Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act.  In Obergefell, the Department urged the Court to strike down state bans on marriage equality.  SG Verrilli argued both cases before the Court and closed his Obergefell argument by forcefully and passionately stating:  “Gay and lesbian people are equal.  They deserve equal protection of the laws, and they deserve it now.”  AAG Delery took a central role in briefing both cases before the Court and led the government-wide effort to implement the Court’s Windsor decision by coordinating across agencies to treat married same-sex couples the same as married opposite-sex couples to the greatest extent possible under existing law.

Sharon McGowan:  for leadership on Windsor implementation and Title VII transgender inclusion.  As Deputy General Counsel for Policy and Acting General Counsel of the Office of Personnel Management, Sharon played a key role in the speedy implementation of the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision with respect to the health insurance, life insurance, dental and vision insurance, long-term care insurance, and flexible spending accounts of LGBT employees across the federal government, including the Department.  OPM issued its first Windsor guidance about extending benefits to the families of LGBT employees a mere two days after the Court’s decision.  Now, as Deputy Chief of the Civil Rights Division’s Appellate Section, Sharon ensures that the Division effectively fulfills its mandate of protecting civil rights.  She has been active in the Department’s efforts to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to protect transgender individuals in all areas of life, including employment and education.  Sharon also serves as a key member of the Civil Rights Division’s LGBTI Working Group, which coordinates the Division’s LGBT work.

Thank you to all who voted.  The winners will be recognized at the Department’s Pride Celebration on Wednesday, June 3, from 11am to 12pm in the Great Hall.

Congratulations again to all of the nominees.  We recognize and thank you for your tireless efforts on behalf of LGBT inclusion and equality!

DOJ Pride Celebration details for 6/3/2015

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DOJ Pride is thrilled to announce the details of the Department’s LGBT Pride Month Observance Program  in June:

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 will then host a Pride happy hour later that evening:

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)

DOJ Pride Brownbag 5/7/15: Mattachine Society of DC

DOJ Pride brown bag, Mattachine Society of DC
Thursday, May 7, 12-1:30pm
RFK 1101, Main Justice’s Andretta Room

Meet the President of the Mattachine Society of D.C., Charles Frances, and the organization’s pro bono counsel, Paul Thompson, Lisa Linsky and Mary Hallerman of McDermott Will and Emery for an engaging and informative discussion concerning the “archive activism” of the Mattachine Society of DC.

The Mattachine Society’s mission is to uncover the often deleted histories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans and their treatment by federal and state governments for over 65 years.  The original Mattachine Society of DC was founded by gay civil rights pioneer, Dr. Frank Kameny in 1961.

The Mattachine Society of D.C. is a non-profit, non-partisan research and educational society that conducts original archival research at The National Archives, U.S. Presidential Libraries, the FOIA Library of the FBI, the Stonewall National Museum and Archives and other private and public repositories across the country.

The May 7 program will focus on some of the documents uncovered by the Mattachine Society of D.C. and the McDermott team, and include a discussion of what the media has referred to as, the “Animus Amicus” brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court by McDermott on behalf of the Mattachine Society of D.C. in connection with the upcoming marriage cases.

The program presenters will discuss J.Edgar Hoover’s Sex Deviate Program from the 1950s, its impact on LGBT Americans in federal employment, and the trickle-down effect on the states from the federal government’s anti-LGBT policies and practices dating back to the 1940s, all of which laid the groundwork for the state marriage bans now at issue before the U.S. Supreme Court.

We will have a Q&A session to provide the audience an opportunity to discuss this important work and its significance to the broader LGBT community.

DOJ Pride Brownbag 1/15/15: Dylan Orr

DOJ Pride Brownbag with Dylan Orr
Thursday, January 15, 12pm-1pm
Andretta Room, RFK Main Justice Room 1101

The DOJ Pride and the Antitrust Division Diversity Committee are pleased to present a brownbag lunch with Dylan Orr, Chief of Staff to Assistant Secretary of Labor Kathy Martinez in the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the Department of Labor.  Dylan was the first openly transgender appointee in the executive branch when he was appointed in 2009.  Dylan has received numerous awards for his work advancing transgender equality, including the 2013 Julie Johnson Founder’s Award by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the 2013 Community Advocate Award by the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition.  He received his Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Smith College and his Juris Doctor from the University of Washington School of Law.  Dial-in information is available by request.