On June 7, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is holding a gay-themed event called the June Pride Ceremony. The hour-long gathering, scheduled to take place from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., will feature DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano as a guest speaker, among others. The purpose of the event is to commemorate June Pride Month, while also marking "a year of significant progress for DHS Pride and for the LGBT community."
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) web site, DHS Pride, the group behind the event, is an employee association that represents gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgendered individuals working within DHS's ranks. The organization seeks to showcase how these individuals work diligently to secure the U.S. Here are some of the goals the group works towards, as per its web site:
- Identify and address issues particularly affecting Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender employees of the Department.
- Support and guide the Department in the development and implementation of effective policies and practices for the elimination of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in all Departmental activities.
- Serve as a resource and point of contact for its members, for those seeking or considering employment with the Department, and for other interested individuals or groups regarding LGBT issues and activities at DHS.
Aside from Napolitano, who will receive the DHS Pride Award for Service, Amanda Simpson, special assistant to the Army Acquisition Executive, DOD, will deliver the keynote address. Simpson is the first openly transgendered woman to be appointed to the U.S. government. Following the speeches, there will be a reception.
Here's an event flyer that provides all of the information on the festivities:
According to the DHS Pride web site, Napolitano's award is being given for "her many years of dedicated public service, her unwavering support of DHS personnel, her intense support of a DHS based on unity and inclusion and her support of DHS policies and protections for LGBT personnel."
This event comes as the Obama administration continues to expand its policies and support for the gay and lesbian community. Last month, the president publicly endorsed same-sex marriage.
For more analysis on this story, go to DebbieSchlussel.com.