Michael Crawford

Obama Appoints Highest Gay Official in History

Filed By Michael Crawford | January 13, 2009 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: gays and Obama, Obama appointments

The Washington Post is reporting that John Berry, director of the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. will be named as director of the Office of Personnel Management. Berry served in the Clinton administration as Assistant Interior Secretary. This makes Berry the highest ranking openly gay presidential appointment in history.

Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund, praised the selection. "It says a lot about Barack Obama's commitment to equality in the workplace that he has apparently chosen an openly gay person for this extremely important job. John has dedicated his career to public service, so it makes sense that he will be able help thousands of others who are willing to do the same."

The director of OPM is the President's principal advisor in matters of personnel administration. The agency is responsible for planning for the needs of the Federal workforce and for helping federal agencies improve human resources management. Among other functions, OPM is responsible for recruiting and connecting job applicants with federal agencies who need staff, developing compensation and performance management programs, and administering benefits and personnel security programs.

In other words, Berry will oversee the entire civilian federal workforce.

In addition, President-elect Obama has asked openly gay physician Mark Dybul to stay on as Global AIDS Coordinator. Dybul was appointed by President Bush and has overseen the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR.

These appointments along with the appointments of Fred Hochberg as chair of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, Brian Bond as deputy director of the White House Office of Public Liaison, Brad Kiley as Director of the Office of Management and Administration and Nancy Sutley to head the White House Council on Environmental Quality are the result of amazing work by the Presidential Appointments Project. The Presidential Appointments Project is a partnership of 12 leading LGBT organizations.

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Thank you, Michael. You seem to be the only one who cares. You have my deepest respect.

Off topic, so I hope that Michael forgives me:

I have nothing but the highest respect for your service in the United States Navy, Monica. I served in a different naval force, Armada Espana, one year active, four years reserve, after the Academy course between my LL.B and taking my Ph.D and did my active both in the Spanish equivalent of the JAG and on a patrol vessel, the Medas based at Las Plamas.

I met my American ex when he was stationed at Rota....

Rota? The Boomer I was on was out of there. I met a cute Irish girl at the Dutch Bar, but she broke my heart when I came back from patrol. It was the first and only time in my life I got totally plastered because of a woman. Rota, Spain. I sure have some memories there.

And Maura, you may not have served in the US military, but I still want to thank you for your service. (I wanted to post this comment separately.)

If you were there in the 70's, we still had the old german built S boats there.

An Irish girl at the Dutch bar?

First patrol in 1974, and did four more after that. Hell, we could have passed each other somewhere in town, or even talked. (Insert Twilight Zone theme music here.)

You and I may have some diametrically opposed viewpoints in some issues, but I am amazed at how many things you and I have in common. Such as both of us can really be pig-headed at times. (I meant that as a compliment.)

You have given me more grief on this blog then anyone else, including Catheryn, but you have also made me think more than anyone else. So, don't ever take my comments to you to mean I don't respect you. But, I will continue in some of my strong arguments on your beliefs. I'm sure I'll get the same treatment from you.

But I give you grief accompanied by a polite nod and a smile

Thanks Michael. You are staying on top of these appointments and each is note-worthy indeed.

I saw it mentioned on another blog that the Washington, DC Gay Men's Chorus will be performing at the same pre-Inaugural event as Bishop Gene Robinson. Obviously, inclusion is happening everywhere in the Obama Administration and in the Obama Inaugural Celebration. And, yes, it is a celebration -- the countdown is on for the end of eight terrible years of Bush. Obama will be different and we will be better for his vision. Others may disagree, but I would simply urge them to give Obama a chance.

I am happy with the appointments thus far. I'll be even happier when the Department of Justice begins to appoint people to replace the Bush appointees; then we'll get to the Supreme Court. Enjoy the inauguration and savor the process of a Constitutional lawyer upholding the Constitution. Change is Good!

Hmmm...seems like Saint Obama...I mean Barack Kerry was for same sex marriage before he was against it....


I wouldn't want to be perceived as obstructing Obama's right of free speech rights. Obama must not be barred from speaking out of both sides of his mouth just because it is politically motivated and it reveals his lack of proud religious principle.

Would we be ingrates to criticize him, right? Or are we suckers for repeatedly (eagerly / desperately) giving him a pass?

I won't answer that question. I'll leave it to the Wonder Twins to make another batch of denial flavored lemonade and serve it up - ice cold and full of unshakable faith.

This or that new appointment is just not news. And they’re not important. Just as an appointment of some one from the GLBT communities to head one of the components of Murder Inc, aka the Department of Defense, would be. Colin Powell willingly became a mass murderer to get such an appointment but it didn’t end racism. Not even a teeny, tiny bit.

There are plenty of GLBT folks ready and willing to drop any pretense of having principles and accept one of those appointments and it’ll happen some day. But it won’t end anti-LGBT bigotry. Not even a smidgen.

But there are some important questions.

Will Obama order the immediate and total withdrawal of US troops from SW Asia? Will he push for convening an International War Crimes Tribunal to prosecute his two predecessors and their war leaders like Powell, Rumsfield and Gates crimes against humanity? We all know the answers are no. He’ll continue the murders.

Will he take back the trillions he and Bush gave to the corporate looters to provide working people with unemployment relief and retraining until they're reemployed. Will he provide us with socialized medicine, green union jobs, good housing, and schools? No, he will not and he says so.

Will he order the FBI to investigate Warren and his other bigot friends for inciting homophobic violence (can you hear Monica going ballistic?). Warren, who's politically descended from southern baptist/KKK/Dixiecrat cultists opposes the use of condoms in Africa. The direct and only result of that is that more Africans will die of HIV/AIDS and more African nations will be wrecked. Coincidence?

Will Obama order an investigation of Warrens bloody work in Africa? No, he won't.

Obama is already as worthless as Bush and Clinton and he'll get worse, much worse, on January 21st. Those who voted for him were taken by another baby kissing lesser evil hustler. And now they’re desperately trying to justify their unprincipled vote.

Didn't take long for the one-note song to start playing again on this one, did it?

You're right, Bill. LGBT people should refuse any and all positions in government. In fact, why bother voting anymore? Instead, we should all follow your lead of supporting a 3rd party that'll never win and never advance our cause.

Then we can really play the victim card. After all, "they" will have done it all to us if we don't participate in our own decisions!

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | January 14, 2009 8:46 PM

Come on Bil, get real. You may not have seen this happen as often as I have, beginning with the 1964 election after which LBJ did his Jekyll Hyde morphing routine and murdered 55,000 GIs and who knows how many million civilians in SE Asia.

But you were around when Clinton slid down that slippery slope, first selling us out on DADT and at the end becoming an openly bigoted enemy of our communities with DOMA and his infamous radio ads. You saw his championing of NAFTA and financial deregulation set the stage for today’s slide towards depression and I doubt that you’d agree with Ganshorn that Clintons murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children was justified by Albrights lies that the Iraqis had WMDs and the death of so many children was acceptable.

And you saw how much clout Bill's friends like Mixner and the other GLBTG hot shots had. Zero. And how much power his GLBT appointees had. Zero.

You can't claim claim ignorance of how these things work. Voting for Obama is consciously voting for a bigot already more than halfway down that slippery slope and for a prowar hand puppet of the military-industrial complex and Wall Street looters. Obama is a Clinton Clone educated by the Chicago Machine. I don’t know if that’s better or worse than being educated by the unreconstructed Dixiecart Little Rock Klonvocation but it doesn’t really matter.

I’m totally opposed to anyone joining the military death machine and contributing to mass murder from Palestine to Pakistan. Being a teacher or working for the Indian Health Service or something like that is different. But I don’t think the appointment of a few low level or even high level people from our communities will have any effect of the level of bigot pandering the Democrat party. They aren’t related. They don’t set policy. Obama the panderer and Cliton Clone set’s policy and they do as they’re told or they're history.

You’re fascinated by politics so you should know that elections are rigged by measures to prevent new parties from real participation and by disenfranchisement. You know that if the looters among the ruling rich thought elections might produce real change they wouldn’t be held. You should know that most eligible voters boycott most elections because they’re sick and tired of choosing a lesser evil from column A one year and column B the next. ‘Been there, done that’ is why elections get boycotted. And you should know for a fact that you and all the others wallowing in the Democrat Party have no clout. Independent political activist do have clout.

Get some clout. Leave the Democrat party. It's the last closet, the political closet.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | January 13, 2009 11:11 PM

"Teeny tiny, smidgen, and worthless" says a lot in this case.

Not about Obama who has reinvigorated expectations of a better life and world. America did not get itself in to it's over committed world state overnight and will not get out of it's problems overnight. We are basically a very greedy people who who do not like to think.

As long as the 7-11's and McDonald's are open life is good for most Americans. If gas is cheap and taxes are low life is good. Most Americans will talk at length about sports, children, the weather, anything to avoid thinking.

The ten percent of Americans who really think are getting higher profile positions. How would you react if this led to the first openly (I hate that word) Gay Supreme Court Justice? The confirmation based upon the knowledge that GLBT government workers, soldiers really do care about our Republic and are among those who think about it.

You build a foundation before you construct a house. We are a minority in a country that has a historical and constitutional protection of any minority built in to it. And yes, we have had horrible discrimination against many in our shameful history, but Michael is reporting on our new foundation within government.

Is it really a new foundation?

These are recycled gays...they are government employees that have worked for previous administrations...as many other gays have for administrations in the past.

It is a not a negative development that these people are able to get jobs. But it doesn't necessarily mean anything either. These people have worked for other Presidents.

Good for them....but what NEW thing does it mean to me - to us?

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | January 13, 2009 11:34 PM


I hope that at some point you really figure out what is motivating the constant stream of cynicism that you display.

All is not doom and gloom. Hopefully some day you will see that.

What motivates it?

American history.

read some.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | January 14, 2009 1:06 AM

Michael, when you can't outthink someone you resort to calling them cynical, bitter, etc.

Why is criticism of a lesser evil hustler an expression of doom and gloom instead of a call to (political) arms?

Becasue you say so?


Find some other way to justify your unprincipled Obamadolatry. Try thinking these things through from the perspective of the needs of the movement, not your partisan goals.

Bill, seriously, shut the hell up. You're nothing more than a bigot yourself.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | January 14, 2009 8:35 PM

"Bill, seriously, shut the hell up. You're nothing more than a bigot yourself."

Care to offer some proof or are we correct in assuming that you’re just another patsy trying to explain why there so easily swindled by Obama.

To prove that you're not a liar engaging in character assignation kindly off some proof that I'm a bigot. Any honest person who's read my remarks would disagree.

Now, leaving J. Edgar Blue hamfisted lies behind, lets try to get back to politics. Explain your unprincipled support of Obama's open anti-GLBT bigotry, and why you think having a lap dog of Wall Street in the White House is a good idea. And why you like the genocide in SW Asia.

You won't. You'll just slink back into your bunker because you don't have a clue about how to answer those questions.

And you'll start channeling Joe McCarthy again, trying to stifle criticism. Honest people don't like that sort of thing. And it’s supposed to be against the rules here but maybe you’re one of those exceptions to the rule like Michael. He accused Patrick of being a racist because Patrick has an actual spinal cord and criticized Obama. But nothing happened to Michael, except he got a little promotion.

Cry some more, Bill. You're just digging your hole ever deeper every time you go on another unhinged, hateful screed. We get it, you're an anti-Obama, anti-Democratic, psuedo-independent bully who thinks every but you is OBVIOUSLY stupid and wrong. You're a walking stereotype of every so-called "independent"who's anything but, every bomb-chucking losertarian, every Rethug who won't own up to it because it's unpopular.

You can stop now, nobody gives a damn.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | January 15, 2009 6:02 PM

Joe McCarthy, who you're channeling wasn't very bright either. Like you he didn't know squat about politics. Sooner, rather than later he put his foor in his mouth and shot himself in the foot.

All he was able to do was lie. But, like you he wasn't a very convincing liar. Only a few deranged people believed him. No one beleives you.

Why are patsy's like you so easily gulled by baby kissing politicians? Do you even know?

"We are basically a very greedy people who do not like to think."

Speak for yourself.

This is hardly a description of most Americans who work for a living, instead of looting, and who have to think to survive. What it does accurately describe is the class of business people, managers and the rich who vampirized our economy until it failed.

"As long as the 7-11's and McDonald's are open life is good for most Americans. If gas is cheap and taxes are low life is good. Most Americans will talk at length about sports, children, the weather, anything to avoid thinking."

This sanctimonious patronizing is similar to the excuses used by cops, judges and other ‘justice” officials who flood the jails with victims of a racist and homophobic ‘justice system’. It comes in handy when managers and business owners hire and fire, slash wages and cut benefits. And it’s the gospel of economic parasites who write bad loans, work for credit agencies or other wise bilk working people. It’s the kind of excuse that lets them support wars while carefully avoiding personal military service. They use deferments when there’s a draft or simply deserting like Bush.

It expresses the real thinking of the pompous self-described business and political elite who rule the US. “The ten percent of Americans who really think are getting higher profile positions.“ Are their lives more important than ours? I think not.

That kind of attitude lets nincompoops with business degrees feel blameless firing hundreds of thousands. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that

“… in December, the number of unemployed persons increased by 632,000 to 11.1 million and the unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons has grown by 3.6 million and the unemployment rate has risen by 2.3 percentage points.”
Their claim to be better - “top 10%” – is a excuse for treating US workers and consumers like cattle. It’s total crap. And just plain silly.
Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | January 14, 2009 6:47 AM

The 10% I was referring to are LGBT persons who represent our public face to government and the world.

The Americans I refer to are among the one third who are obese and the other third who are overweight in a world with a billion people near starving who, like me, could give an excrement about your negativity.

I stand by my statement about average Americans and the 10% who think rather than being told what to think by you. Had you been able to avoid spitting bile at your keyboard long enough to read the full text of what I said, rather than quote from it and put your own "twist" upon it, you might agree with me.

As you run along beyond the subject area of a posting (it was about White House appointments of an incoming president you know)you demonstrate how you are a "one note Silly Billy."

I thought Condy Rice was the highest gay (lesbian) official in US history (at least recent history).