Today the White House is hosting the first-ever meeting to focus specifically on transgender issues. The Office of Public Engagement (OPE) will meet with transgender activists and leaders to discuss federal policy on trans issues. Topics to be discussed include employment policy, access to health care, military policy, and immigration detention standards.
Some activists have expressed concern in the past week that the meeting was to be held behind closed doors and without any press invited to cover the event, though OPE pointed out that most stakeholder meetings are off the record. Still, advocates are happy to be able to address the issues facing the transgender community. Michael Silver, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, said "At this point, employment is the top priority of the community. A recent survey showed 47% of transgender people have been denied a job or a promotion - or fired from a job - just because of who they are."
The National Center for Transgender Equality was among the groups invited to attend the meeting. Executive director Mara Keisling noted the historical nature of the meeting. "This is the first president who has allowed trans people - really allowed LGBT people - to bring forward problems and then advocate for them," she said.
Media Resources: Washington Blade 4/27/11; Feministing 4/28/11