AG Lynch: 'Cascade' of LGBT Equality...Will Forever Reshape This Country'

By Susan Jones | June 19, 2015 | 7:37am EDT
President Barack Obama applauds as Attorney General Loretta Lynch arrives for her investiture ceremony, Wednesday, June 17, 2015, at the Warner Theatre in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

( - "Keep up the great work," Attorney General Loretta Lynch told LGBT activists at a Lambda Legal reception in Washington on Thursday.

"We are finally witnessing the cascade of equality...that will forever reshape this country," she said in her prepared remarks.

She told the activists that they have the "enthusiastic partnership" of both the Justice Department and the president: "President Obama and I are both passionate about this cause and deeply devoted to this mission, and this administration is committed to invigorating the values of equality and opportunity that you have long demanded for all Americans."

Lynch noted that many LGBT "trailblazers" emerged from the legal community, standing up to discrimination and harassment "to fight for what your hearts have always told you is right."

That fight has pivoted the country "away from hate and intolerance" toward acceptance, respect and understanding, she said.

"Of course, even as we celebrate remarkable advances, it is clear that we still have more work to do."

Lynch mentioned "marriage equality" and the case now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. She also mentioned and "difficult legal issues, from adoption to immigration," which "remain unresolved."

She noted that the transgender community particularly is facing "new and difficult legal issues that extend far beyond marriage -- and here, too, the Department of Justice has provided support. 

"In April, for example, we filed a statement of interest supporting Ashley Diamond, a transgender woman incarcerated in Georgia whose hormone treatment was cut off when she entered prison.  We stated our position that the Eighth Amendment requires individualized assessment and care for gender dysphoria in prison just like any other medical condition."

(To avoid stigma, the American Psychiatric Association in 2012 replaced the term "gender identity disorder" with "gender dysphoria." "It is important to note that gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder," APA said at the time, although "clinically significant distress associated with the condition" may be.

"Put simply, we understand that this nation’s ongoing fight for equality has many fronts, and we cannot afford to grow complacent when there is so much left to do.  We must – and we will – keep working to bring about the more equal society, the more just future and the more perfect Union to which we must always aspire."

Lynch said she will work with the activists "to spread fairness, dignity and equality to every corner of this nation. And I cannot wait to celebrate all the victories that lie ahead as we continue to bend the arc of the moral universe decisively toward justice."

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