Prior to the 2008 general election, the New Beginning Initiative (NBI) coalition partners developed a non-exhaustive list of priorities for the new Administration. After President Obama's historic election in November 2008, the NBI shared its policy recommendations with the transition team. Since that time we've been working with the Administration and federal administrative agencies to make changes that benefit the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. The information below represents the concrete accomplishments to date that have resulted from the work of the NBI and its members.

White House

Grant Benefits to Same-Sex Partners of Federal Employees
President Obama signed an Executive Order that granted limited rights to the same-sex partners of federal employees. Among the rights granted are: including partners in long-term care program, permitting employees to use sick leave to care for partners, and extending certain benefits to Foreign Service families.
Lead Organizations for Drafting Policy Change: The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, American Civil Liberties Union, National Center for Transgender Equality

Department of Commerce

More Accurately Include Same-Sex Couples in U.S. Census Data Collection and Reporting: Count same-sex married couples
Make changes in the policies of the Census Bureau to allow researchers to better enumerate and understand the characteristics of same-sex couples by not changing the marital status of married same-sex couples to un-married persons.
Lead Organizations for Drafting Policy Change: The Williams Institute and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Federal Agency: Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau

Department of Health and Human Services

National Technical Assistance Resource Center
The Administration on Aging announced the first-ever grant opportunity to fund a national resource center on LGBT aging. This center will provide resources to mainstreaming aging centers as well as aging resources for the LGBT community. It is a significant step in the inclusion of LGBT older adults within the fabric of minority elders with specific needs.
Lead Organizations for Drafting Policy Change: The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and SAGE
Federal Agency: Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging
Restore LGBT to Groups that Receive Services
Change at the Administration on Aging agreeing to restore LGBT people who can receive services on the agency Web site.
Lead Organizations for Drafting Policy Change: The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and SAGE
Federal Agency: Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging
Lift the HIV Travel Ban
In a two-pronged approach, the New Beginning Initiative was able to lift the discriminatory HIV travel ban. The first step required legislative action to overturn the 1987 "Helms Amendment" that categorized HIV as a "dangerous and communicable" disease. Subsequent advocacy and work with the Department of Health and Human Services to fully remove the ban led to new regulations officially removing HIV from the "dangerous and communicable" list and finally ending the ban on travel to the United States for people with HIV/AIDS.
Lead Organizations for Drafting Policy Change: : Immigration Equality and Council for Global Equality
Federal Agency: Department of Health and Human Services

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Change The Definition of Family
In October of 2009 HUD announced that it would change its rules to ensure that LGBT families are covered under HUD programs, to ensure that grant recipients follow local anti-discrimination laws, and ensure that sexual orientation and gender identity are protected categories in mortgage loan rules. These rules are forthcoming.
Not Initiated, but celebrated by New Beginning Initiative
Federal Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development

Office of Personnel Management

Include Gender Identity in the EEO Statement
The OPM updated its Equal Employment Opportunity statement to explicitly include gender identity in federal employment.
Lead Organization for Drafting Policy Change: The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, National Center for Transgender Equality
Federal Agency: Office of Personnel Management

Department of State

Provide Foreign Service Benefits for Same-Sex Partners
The Department of State amended policy to provide certain benefits to the same-sex partners of Foreign Service employees, including access to medical facilities, medical or emergency evacuation, and access to language training.
Lead Organization for Drafting Policy Change: Council for Global Equality
Federal Agency: Department of State
Change Passport Rules for Change of Name
The Department of State reversed course and now permits same-sex couples with marriage licenses to apply for a new passport using the individual's taken surname (applies in situations where someone takes the last name of the other person in the marriage).
Lead Organization for Drafting Policy Change: GLAD
Federal Agency: Department of State
Please Note: Each organization has chosen to participate in this project and has done so individually and in collaboration as noted. Each policy proposal should be considered the proposal of that organization. Any errors or inaccuracies belong to that organization and may not be imputed to any other organization, or its board or staff. No organization reviewed, edited, revised, commented or rejected the proposals or analysis of other organizations. There should be no assumption that all organizations adopt or agree with the recommendations. No organization may be held responsible or liable for anything submitted by another group.

We would like to thank the Open Society Institute for their generous funding of this initiative.



©2010 National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation, 1325 Massachusetts Ave NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20005. Phone 202.393.5177. Fax 202.393.2241. TTY 202.393.2284.