Coalition pursues policy changes
NEW YORK, N.Y. — A coalition of 17 LGBT equality organizations has announced the New Beginning Initiative, designed to push for concrete federal administration policy and regulatory changes benefiting LGBT people and eliminating discrimination from federal policies. This is the first time such a coalition of LGBT and allied organizations has come together in this way to affect administration policy.

The initiative began more than a year ago in anticipation of a more LGBT-friendly administration. The 80-plus policies identified and recommended for changes span the authority of the White House and more than 30 federal agencies. The recommendations focus on pro-LGBT public policy changes the Obama administration can implement without legislative action.

The New Beginning Initiative 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 policies represent an initial view of the opportunities for federal funding and programmatic attention; additional policy changes will be identified over time.

Copies of the initial policies identified and recommended for changes were provided to the Obama transition team in November 2008 for inclusion in agency memos for incoming administration personnel. Copies have also been provided to key White House staff in the process of identifying administration and agency staff with authority to change policies and to educate White House staff on the issues facing LGBT people and families.

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 this summer to map out plans for each recommended policy. The New Beginning Initiative’s web page features an electronic scorecard to track progress as policy changes are achieved.

For more information, visit

Trans woman wins LOC bias suit
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Justice declined to appeal a federal court ruling awarding transgender veteran Diane Schroer (pictured) the maximum compensation for the discrimination she suffered by being refused a job with the Library of Congress because of her transgender status. June 30 was the deadline for the government to seek an appeal. The Bush Administration had defended the case vigorously, arguing that transgender Americans are not protected by any existing federal laws, but the district court rejected that argument.
Shannon Minter, Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said, “The DOJ’s decision not to appeal the verdict is consistent with the Obama administration’s campaign promises to protect transgender workers against discrimination and the administration’s recent order taking steps to bar gender identity discrimination in federal employment.
“Ms. Schroer, an Army Special Forces veteran with 25 years service, has our deepest appreciation for honorably and steadfastly pursuing her rights for several years to this successful conclusion which marks a significant victory for transgender workers across the country.”

David Stout

David Stout is the associate editor of QNotes. He can be reached at