Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Gay Obama appointee to keynote SF group’s workplace summit

Out and Equal Workplace Advocates, an LGBT-focused business advisory group based in San Francisco, has scored a major get for its annual summit this fall: John Berry, the openly gay director of the Office of Personnel Management.

Formerly the head of the National Zoo, Berry is the highest ranking person in President Barack Obama’s administration. He has been the White House’s most public gay surrogate of late as it battles against a sea of criticism from the LGBT community that the president has not been forceful enough in pushing LGBT rights.

At a Pride rally in Washington D.C. earlier this month, he reiterated the administration’s support for passage of hate crimes legislation, a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the repeal of military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents married same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits.

Berry will oversee implementation of the memorandum Obama signed last week extending some benefits to the spouses of LGBT federal employees. And he has vowed to continue to advocate for the extension of heath care and retirement benefits, something the White House claims it can not do due to the anti-gay federal Defense of Marriage Act.

“Everyone should take part in this opportunity to hear directly from someone who is helping shape LGBT history,” Out and Equal Executive Director Selisse Berry wrote in an e-mail released Wednesday, June 24 announcing the news. “He is actively working to secure equal rights not only for federal employees, but for all of us by inspiring change and being a catalyst for equality.”

The 2009 Out and Equal Workplace Summit, a conference on LGBT workplace equality, will take place October 6-9 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort outside Orlando, Florida. Berry will deliver his keynote address during the summit’s Friday afternoon plenary.

For more information about the conference, visit

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