The Administration for Children and Families commemorates June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month. ACF is committed to honoring the diversity of its workforce and ensuring that all employees are treated with respect and dignity. We are working hard to ensure that our programs reach any deserving individual, including members of the LGBT community.
Whether it be an LGBT teen needing shelter for being kicked out of his or her home, or same-sex couples seeking to adopt a child, ACF programs recognize our changing world and find ways to help better the condition of LGBT families and individuals in this great, diverse nation.
Our services are also a beacon hope for LGBT people across the globe. Every year, LGBT people make the difficult decision to leave their homeland and seek asylum in the United States in order to avoid imprisonment or a death sentence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
Exactly one year ago this week, ACF awarded a grant for the first-ever resource center to support the resettlement of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender refugees. The Office of Refugee Resettlement awarded the $250,000 grant to Heartland Alliance of Chicago to create a training and technical assistance center to provide support to all organizations aiding LGBT refugees.
The resource center is intended to inform decisions about where refugees resettle in the context of available resources and supportive communities especially for LGBT refugees. It is the first grant that ORR has awarded specifically for LGBT refugee assistance.
Prior to awarding this grant to Heartland Alliance, ORR consulted with LGBT advocacy and non-profit groups including the Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration (ORAM) and Human Rights First to get a better understanding of LGBT issues specific to refugees and to highlight available services.
Additionally, ORR identified LGBT refugees as a vulnerable population in need for targeted services through the Supplemental Services program and provided training on LGBT matters during the August 2011 National Consultation.
Since the award was made, Heartland has been working diligently to identify partners, arrange trainings and materials, and put programs in place. In February 2012, they announced the creation of their brand new program-specific website.
We at ACF support President Obama in his “quest to broaden opportunity, advance equality, and level the playing field for LGBT people and communities.”
Read the President’s official Pride Month Proclamation.