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In Weekly Radio Address, Mayor Gray Celebrates LGBT Pride

Sunday, June 9, 2013

In Weekly Radio Address, Mayor Gray Celebrates LGBT Pride

Mayor Outlines His Administration’s Efforts to Ensure Equality & Respect for All

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray used his weekly radio address this week to mark the District’s celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pride season and highlight the work that his administration is doing to ensure that the District’s LGBT residents enjoy the same civil-rights protections that other residents take for granted. 

The broadcast can be heard on All News 99.1-FM WNEW radio beginning at 10:05 am on Sunday, June 9. The text of the address is below:

 

Remarks of Mayor Vincent C. Gray

Weekly Radio Address

All News 99.1-FM WNEW

Sunday, June 9, 2013

 

Hi, I’m Vincent C. Gray, Mayor of the District of Columbia. June is the month when the District celebrates lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pride, and I’ve already taken part in several Capital Pride Festival-related events – including the Pride Parade, which is one of my favorite events all year. 

During Pride, LGBT individuals get together to celebrate their identity. As a straight ally, I’m happy to celebrate with the District’s LGBT community, because their struggle for acceptance and equality mirrors that of so many other groups in our nation’s long history of learning how to live up to our own creed. 

For me, ensuring that LGBT people enjoy equal rights has always been an issue of basic fairness and justice. I am extremely proud that the District has been in the vanguard of protecting the rights of our LGBT citizens, with some of the strongest pro-equality laws in the United States. It was during my tenure as Chairman that the Council approved marriage equality in the District in 2009. Then, we were one of only a very small handful of jurisdictions in the country with full marriage equality – and now several more have followed suit. 

But marriage isn’t the only thing that’s important when it comes to guaranteeing that our LGBT friends, family and neighbors enjoy the same rights and protections that the rest of us take for granted. A lot more is required to secure full equality, and we are moving toward making that a reality in the District. 

In just the past year, my administration has worked to improve the lives of LGBT residents in several crucial ways. For instance, we launched a groundbreaking transgender equality and respect campaign, which uses advertisements to remind District residents that people who are transgender are our friends, family and neighbors – and that any violation of their civil rights not only violates the law, but it also violates the dignity of our entire community. 

Another thing we’ve done is train 99 percent of managers in the District government and an additional 20 percent of all other District government employees in LGBT cultural competency. We are also implementing a bullying-prevention policy that is a model for the nation. And we have partnered with our US  Attorney’s Office to solicit community impact statements from members of the LGBT community in hate-crimes cases. 

But much remains to be done to ensure that our LGBT citizens enjoy the full protection of the law, both here in the District and nationwide. For instance, I look forward to the Council passing the “Japarker Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Equality Amendment Act of 2013” so I can sign it into law. This legislation would require District health officials to issue a new birth certificate designating a new gender to people who have undergone gender transition. This is just one example of how we need to continue breaking down barriers so that our LGBT friends, neighbors and loved ones can participate fully, seamlessly and securely in the life of our community. 

One of the things that makes the District such a wonderful place to live is our broad diversity and our respect for all people. Let us be ever-vigilant about protecting that diversity and honoring that respect. 

Happy Pride, and thank you for listening. I’m Vincent C. Gray, Mayor of the District of Columbia – and we truly are the city of the future.