Bil Browning

HUD Secretary Donovan Makes LGBT History

Filed By Bil Browning | November 16, 2011 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Housing and Urban Development, HUD, LGBT history, Metroweekly, NCTE, Shaun Donovan, trans politics

At the National Center for Transgender Equality gala awards banquet last night, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan made history. Not only was he the first cabinet secretary to address a trans organization, he also hud-secretary-donovan.jpegbecome the first cabinet member to come out in favor of marriage equality.

MetroWeekly's ace reporter Chris Geidner reports:

Asked about this summer's passage of marriage equality in New York, Donovan says, ''I was enormously proud to be a New Yorker on the day that it passed. I actually worked for Andrew Cuomo when he was Housing Secretary. I worked for Mike Bloomberg who has been a constant supporter of the law - what is now law.''

He talked about how the law's passage had affected those around him, saying, ''So many friends that I know were able to achieve a dream the day that law passed. And so many neighbors.

''It made me proud to be a New Yorker - not enough to get me to move back. We've got more work to do in the Obama administration in a second term.''

Asked if that included marriage equality, Donovan confirmed it did, saying, ''Like marriage equality.''

Geidner wrote two different stories to highlight the two historic moments - one with the trans angle and another about marriage equality. This was a spectacular way to handle the two stories so one doesn't overshadow the other. I'm particularly proud of my hubby who gave a quote as the head of National Stonewall Democrats for the marriage story - and was the only person who mentioned both firsts. His quote, video of Donovan's speech, and more after the break.

Jerame Davis, interim executive director of National Stonewall Democrats, noted that Donovan made two firsts on Tuesday night.

''Secretary Donovan made LGBT history tonight. He became the first sitting cabinet secretary to address a national transgender equality organization as well as the first to express support for marriage equality,'' he wrote to Metro Weekly. ''Secretary Donovan's fearless commitment to our entire community and our multiple priorities is inspiring and demonstrates clearly that President Obama has made LGBT equality a priority throughout his administration. Democrats have long led on LGBT issues, but it's always fantastic to see our party continuously stepping forward."

While it's rather a shame that the marriage equality story has dominated the blogosphere so far, Donovan's speech to NCTE attendees was spectacular from all accounts.

In opening his remarks, Donovan told the crowd, "It is a very special honor to be the first cabinet secretary to address the National Center for Transgender Equality -- but I also want to be very clear that I will not be the last."

Donovan began by pointing to the administration's successes more broadly on transgender issues -- ranging from out transgender appointees like Amanda Simpson, who was in attendance, to the Office of Personnel Management's announcement prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity in federal employment. He also noted actions from the Veterans Affairs and State Departments, as well as the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Then, Donovan expanded on the accomplishments within his own agency.

"But I'm here this evening because this Administration is not only committed to ensuring the transgender community has a seat at the table -- but also a place to call home," he said. "Every person in this room knows that rights most people take for granted are routinely violated against transgender people. It's estimated that one in five transgender Americans have been refused a home or apartment -- that more than one in 10 have been evicted because of their gender identity or expression."

Here's the video of the entire speech courtesy of Michael Lavers from Boy In Bushwick.

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This is just a whole big bunch of awesome! And please tell Jerame thanks from a PIA trans woman. :)

Oh, shoot. When I read the title, I thought he'd come out as trans. But this is cool too!

Too funny! I thought the same thing, lol.

I can't help but wonder how the Obama administration will handle the embarassment of being helld responsible for promoting the use of the failed term transgender. I can promise you as an Iowa Transsexual I will be out in force letting the rest of America know how the LGB and Mara Kiesling are abusing non LGBT aligned Transsexuals. Heres to egg in your faces and future Democrat embarrasment.

Yes, most likely this will cost Obama the election. It amazes me that places like Salon and Slate havent picked up on this and tried to warn Obama of this major scandal that is looming over him.

And yet here your non-LGB transsexual ass is on an LGBT blog trying to stir shit once again. If you dislike us that much - gay, lesbian, bi and transgender folks - feel free to hit the exit. I'll hold the door open for you. 'Cuz this same old tune is getting old and most folks don't want to dance with you anymore.

"And yet here your non-LGB transsexual ass is on an LGBT blog trying to stir shit once again."

Well, yeah, that's her goal. From Austen's thread:

"I tried to do the LGBT volunteer thing as a heterosexual Trnssexual that wished not to be labeled transgender or part of the LGBT. My identity was not respected nor was my request not to be labeled Transgender. So now you have me working against the LGBT and the Transgender label. Shame you could have had an allie now you have me actively lobbying against the use of the word Transgender and the LGBT."

It's nice to a transgender organization getting real clout in Washington. Keep it real, keep it classy.