TJSL Student Attends White House Conference
October 20, 2011
Report on the White House Black LGBT Emerging Leaders Briefing
by Brandon Primus, 3L
Last month, I attended the Congressional Black Caucus Conference as a delegate from The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) and The National Black Law Student Association (NBLSA). The NBJC is an organization whose mission is to lobby congress, and the executive branch, to write and implement policies that target the Black LGBT community. The Intersectionality of Black, low-income, and LGBT presents a specialized set of needs that are sometimes unconsciously overlooked in both the broader race specific movements and LGBT specific movements. During the White house Briefing, several members of the presidential personnel discussed policies by the Obama Administration to address the disparities of the Black LGBT community. Personally, I was overwhelmed at the multitude of the different socioeconomic disparities that plague the Black LGBT community and the complexity of constructing policy that would address these issues, but not cause detrimental political conflicts.
In the Administration’s attempt to construct policies to mitigate some of the disparities within the Black LGBT community, the Administration purports to use “Cultural Competency.” This attempt at understanding the culture of the Black, low-income LGBT community is meritorious; however, the Administration never disclosed how this cultural competency was acquired. Furthermore, this idea of implementing cultural competent polices left the NBJC delegation with the duty to create more dialogue between the Black LGBT community leaders and the White House. Since the NBJC is mostly comprised of many Black LGBT community and political leaders’ inclusion efforts such as this White House Black LGBT Emerging Leaders Briefing, is a useful strategy to ensure that the White House acquires accurate “cultural competencies” of the Black, low income LGBT community.
Surprisingly, the issue at the forefront of the briefing was transgender inclusion in Black LGBT policy. Transgender people are mainly marginalized, and often misunderstood by not only the heterosexual population, but also by the Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual communities. Most of the statistical information discussed during the Briefing (i.e. HIV/AIDS rates, employment disparities) were not inclusive of transgender people. Although the transgender community is not a new phenomenon in society, gathering information and constructing policies to address their specific disparities is a new undertaking by the Obama Administration. Unlike past presidential administrations, the Obama Administration is seeking to create policies that specifically target the needs of the transgender community separate from the needs of the Black LGBT community at large. Perhaps this policy research and action on Transgender issues will continue as the White House continues its outreach to the Black transgender community.
In conclusion, these were the highlights of my White House briefing experience. Also, during the briefing I kept extensive notes of particular issues within the topic areas that are outlined on the White House briefing schedule. Please feel free to contact me for further discussion about this briefing.