Is Obama the Most Trans-Friendly President Ever?
BY Diane Anderson-Minshall
June 21 2014 12:55 PM ET
With little fanfare, President Barack Obama, has made history in support of transgender Americas, doing so with little fanfare, according to Associated Press's Lisa Neff. While Newsweek nicknamed Obama "the first gay president" for his support of lesbian and gay initiatives — to both criticism and acclaim — Neff says that he has "steadily extended his administration's advocacy to the smallest and least accepted band of the LGBT rainbow: transgender Americans," making him the most trans-friendly president ever.
Among the highlights Neff points out: Obama was "the first chief executive to say 'transgender' in a speech, to name transgender political appointees and to prohibit job bias against transgender government workers. Also in his first term, he signed hate crime legislation that became the first federal civil rights protections for transgender people in U.S. history…the administration has quietly applied the power of the executive branch to make it easier for transgender people to update their passports, obtain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, get treatment at Veteran's Administration facilities and seek access to public school restrooms and sports programs — just a few of the transgender-specific policy shifts of Obama's presidency." On the lighter side, he was also the first president to invite transgender kids to join in the White House's annual Easter egg roll.
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told AP that President Obama "has been the best president for transgender rights, and nobody else is in second place."
Transgender groups and the administration have agreed on a low-key approach, both to skirt resistance and to send the message that changes are not a big deal, Barbara Siperstein, the first trans person elected to the Democratic National Committee, told Neff.
"It's quiet by design, because the louder you are in Washington, the more the drama," said Siperstein, who helped organize the first meeting between White House aides and transgender rights advocates without the participation of gay rights leaders.