Asked about this summer's passage of marriage equality in New York, Donovan says, ''I was enormously proud to be a New Yorker on the day that it passed. I actually worked for Andrew Cuomo when he was Housing Secretary. I worked for Mike Bloomberg who has been a constant supporter of the law - what is now law.''
He talked about how the law's passage had affected those around him, saying, ''So many friends that I know were able to achieve a dream the day that law passed. And so many neighbors.
''It made me proud to be a New Yorker - not enough to get me to move back. We've got more work to do in the Obama administration in a second term.''
Asked if that included marriage equality, Donovan confirmed it did, saying, ''Like marriage equality.''
Geidner wrote two different stories to highlight the two historic moments - one with the trans angle and another about marriage equality. This was a spectacular way to handle the two stories so one doesn't overshadow the other. I'm particularly proud of my hubby who gave a quote as the head of National Stonewall Democrats for the marriage story - and was the only person who mentioned both firsts. His quote, video of Donovan's speech, and more after the break.
Jerame Davis, interim executive director of National Stonewall Democrats, noted that Donovan made two firsts on Tuesday night.
''Secretary Donovan made LGBT history tonight. He became the first sitting cabinet secretary to address a national transgender equality organization as well as the first to express support for marriage equality,'' he wrote to Metro Weekly. ''Secretary Donovan's fearless commitment to our entire community and our multiple priorities is inspiring and demonstrates clearly that President Obama has made LGBT equality a priority throughout his administration. Democrats have long led on LGBT issues, but it's always fantastic to see our party continuously stepping forward."
While it's rather a shame that the marriage equality story has dominated the blogosphere so far, Donovan's speech to NCTE attendees was spectacular from all accounts.
In opening his remarks, Donovan told the crowd, "It is a very special honor to be the first cabinet secretary to address the National Center for Transgender Equality -- but I also want to be very clear that I will not be the last."
Donovan began by pointing to the administration's successes more broadly on transgender issues -- ranging from out transgender appointees like Amanda Simpson, who was in attendance, to the Office of Personnel Management's announcement prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity in federal employment. He also noted actions from the Veterans Affairs and State Departments, as well as the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
Then, Donovan expanded on the accomplishments within his own agency.
"But I'm here this evening because this Administration is not only committed to ensuring the transgender community has a seat at the table -- but also a place to call home," he said. "Every person in this room knows that rights most people take for granted are routinely violated against transgender people. It's estimated that one in five transgender Americans have been refused a home or apartment -- that more than one in 10 have been evicted because of their gender identity or expression."