- About GLIFAA
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GLIFAA has grown tremendously since 1992, and we are proud of the efforts of our many members who stood up -- often at personal risk -- and took action to improve the ability of gay and lesbian personnel to serve openly and proudly in U.S. foreign affairs agencies.
Although we still have much to achieve, the text of a 1950 Congressional hearing on "Homosexuals in Government" shows how far we have come as gay and lesbian Americans in public service.
The situation of gays and lesbians in public service improved greatly during the decade of the 90s. When President Clinton entered office in 1993, he moved to protect the rights of gays and lesbians in government by enforcing the equal treatment provisions of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 in all government agencies. In his EEO statement dated November 22, 1993, President Clinton requested that each federal Agency and Department establish a workplace free from discrimination and harassment, including discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation. During the first two years of the Clinton Administration, many federal Agencies and Departments, among them the Department of State, amended their equal employment opportunity and civil rights policies to include the term "sexual orientation".
On April 22, 1994, then Secretary of State Warren Christopher issued a very clear and concise memorandum which prohibited discrimination, inter alia, on the basis of sexual orientation. The two-sentence "Statement of Policy with Respect to Non-Discrimination" read: "The Department of State is committed to equal opportunity and fair and equitable treatment for all. The Department shall not discriminate among its employees or candidates for employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, or sexual orientation." This was restated in the FAM regulations under 3 FAM 1511.1, paragraph "a".
In May 1998, President Clinton issued Executive Order 13087, which amended a 1969 Executive Order (11478) that specified the list of categories for which discrimination is prohibited in federal employment. Executive Order 13087 established "a uniform policy for the Federal Government to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in the federal civilian workforce." This was the first time that such a policy had been set forth in an Executive Order of the President.
Ten Years and Beyond
On May 10, 2002 GLIFAA celebrated our tenth year with a reception at the historic DACOR/Bacon House in Washington, DC. Among the over 300 attendees demonstrating support were three U.S. Ambassadors, four current Assistant Secretaries of State, a USAID Assistant Administrator, and leaders of key national LGBT advocacy organizations, including Human Rights Campaign Executive Director Elizabeth Birch. The Guest of Honor was Ambassador James Hormel, who had served in Luxembourg as the first publicly gay U.S. ambassador in history.
In commemoration of our ten-year anniversary, then GLIFAA Vice President for Outreach Erin Krasik and President Jim Theis compiled a history of our organization. Shortly after the retrospective's publication, GLIFAA hosted openly gay Congressman James Kolbe (R-AZ) at the Department of State and White House Director of National HIV/AIDS Policy Scott Evertz at USAID for separate roundtables on the war against the HIV/AIDS pandemic during June Gay Pride Month 2002. In April 2003, GLIFAA representatives met with Secretary of State Colin Powell, the first time our organization has met personally with a Secretary of State.
As part of June 2003 Pride events, GLIFAA was honored to host guest-speaker Judy Shepherd, gay rights activist and mother of Matthew Shepherd, the 22-year old University of Wyoming student who was the victim of a 1998 anti-gay hate crime in Laramie, Wyoming. Ms. Shepherd spoke to an audience of almost 300 at the Department's Dean Acheson Auditorium. For more information, see the original invitation here.