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But those two large items haven’t been the only ways the Obama administration has helped the LGBT community to overcome hurdles in the federal government. Obama has implemented a nondiscrimination policy for federal employees that includes both sexual orientation and gender identity, released new regulations ensuring that government housing programs are open to LGBT participants and families, required all government-funded hospitals to recognize same-sex partners as equal to heterosexual spouses and stopped automatically deporting individuals in same-sex binational relationships, an immigration protection long granted to married, opposite-sex, binational couples.
Other dramatic changes to federal policies have come in the area of transgender rights. From new regulations to the Federal Aviation Administration about transgender pilots, to working with the Department of Homeland Security on how to handle transgender passengers flying with mismatched gender markers on their identifications, the Obama administration has been the first to directly involve itself in making life easier for transgender people.
Transgender New York delegate Melissa Sklarz is absolutely certain that Obama is the best candidate for transgender people.
”From health care inclusion to housing discrimination protection, Barack Obama has taken great strides to ensure that transgender people achieve basic civil rights just like other Americans. Even the ability to secure a passport without SRS (sexual reassignment surgery) is a welcome change for many trans people that will create security and opportunities with travel abroad,” she said.
National Stonewall Democrats, the umbrella organization for most of the country’s LGBT Democratic clubs, has an exceedingly large presence at this year’s convention. They are co-hosting a luncheon Wednesday afternoon with the Victory Fund, the Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina where first lady Michelle Obama will speak. NSD’s Tuesday night party is the biggest LGBT-specific event planned for the week.
Matt Comer, interviewed for this report, is the editor of QNotes. Democratic National Convention coverage is provided by Metro Weekly and QNotes, the leading LGBT community newspaper of North Carolina, based in Charlotte.