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Cabinet secretary makes history

November 16, 2011

Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Last night, Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, became the first sitting Cabinet secretary to address a transgender organization as well as the first Cabinet secretary to endorse marriage equality. At the National Center for Transgender Equality’s 8th Anniversary Awards Ceremony, Donovan’s address highlighted some of the important advances for transgender people that this administration has overseen, including the proposed rule announced early this year banning discrimination in housing on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

After the gala, Donovan formally announced his support for marriage equality in an exclusive interview with Metro Weekly, also becoming the first sitting Cabinet secretary to come out in support of marriage equality.

The Task Force has worked closely with NCTE, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to secure policy victories in housing through the New Beginning Initiative, a Task Force-led coalition of expert organizations working for concrete policy and regulatory victories in federal administrative agencies. Through this coalition, we have worked to secure the very wins across the federal government that Donovan discussed during his keynote speech at NCTE’s event last night.

Also at the event, NCTE honored Donna Cartwright with the Julie Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award for her work as a founding board member of NCTE and co-president of Pride at Work’s national executive board, and Brian Bond with the Distinguished Ally Award for his work as the former deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.

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