1st Edition DHS Pride Quarterly Newsletter
DHS Pride Welcomes You to Our Inaugural Newsletter
DHS Pride serves to celebrate the diversity that LGBT personnel can bring to the workplace, acts as an informational resource for our members, and serves as a liaison between the Department and the LGBT community. We currently serve two hundred and seventy-five members, including representatives from every operational component and numerous geographic areas. Over the past year, DHS Pride has accomplished a lot, including: Hosting a large 2012 June Pride Ceremony, including honoring DHS Sec. Napolitano with the inaugural DHS Pride Award for Service. Launching of a regional chair system and successfully hosting of happy hours in numerous regions of the country for DHS Pride members, something no other DHS-recognized employee association has attempted Collection and dissemination of informational resources regarding personnel rights, entitlements, and benefits information Creation of working groups to identify and address issues experienced by specific subgroups of the LGBT community, including Law Enforcement Officers/ Military personnel and the transgender community. Launching of our website, Facebook and Twitter feed




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DHS Pride is working hard to grow our organization and continually find new and better ways we can serve our membership and the greater DHS personnel community This organization’s energy and momentum is dependent upon the engaged involvement of our membership, and I encourage your participation. Regardless of your position, work location, area of the country you live in, sexual orientation/gender status, or outness at work, you have a place in DHS Pride. I look forward to another year working with all of you as we demonstrate just what the LGBT community can contribute to the safety and security of our country. Sincerely, Adam M. Sulewski
Adam Sulewski is a international relations specialist at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his partner Bruce.

www.DHSPride.org | @DHS_Pride | DHS.Pride.Information@gmail.com


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Pride Celebration 2012
nel, her intense support of a DHS based on unity and inclusion and her support of DHS policies and protections for LGBT personnel. The Pride Ceremony also featured guest speaker Amanda Simpson. Special Assistant to the Army Acquisition Executive, U.S. Department of Defense, and the first open transwoman political appointee in the U.S. Government. Ms. Simpson spoke on the challenges of overcoming change and the hard work needed to ensure diversity.

DHS Pride Celebrates June Pride Month, DHS Sec. Napolitano Honored with Award for Service
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Department of Homeland Security Pride (“DHS Pride”) honored DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano with its inaugural Award for Service on June 7, 2012. The DHS-recognized employee association commemorated LGBT Pride Month at a Pride Ceremony featuring Sec. Napolitano and other DHS leadership, and an accomplished guest speaker, Amanda Simpson. The DHS Pride Award for Service is given for the purpose of recognizing an individual’s notable support of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community or significant achievement in a career field that can be held up as an example of the capabilities of LGBT personnel. Award recipients are drawn from current and former DHS personnel and individuals associated with the DHS community. In the DHS Pride Award for Service’s inaugural year, DHS Pride honors DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano based upon her many years of dedicated public service, her unwavering support of DHS person-

Also in attendance in the ceremony, hosted at U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement Headquarters, were U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John T. Morton and senior officials from DHS offices and operational components. Free DVD recordings of the event are available to interested DHS Pride members.

www.DHSPride.org | @DHS_Pride | DHS.Pride.Information@gmail.com


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Pride Celebration 2013

DHS Pride is proud to announce its June Pride Ceremony and Capitol Pride Booth for 2013. June Pride Ceremony Date: Location: June 6, 2013, 1:00 p.m.—2:00 p.m. (exact time is subject to change) Julie Myers Conference Center U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Headquarters 500 12th Street, SW, Washington, D.C. 20536 (Metro—Smithsonian Orange/Blue)

We will be awarding our annual DHS Pride Award for Service, hosting a guest speaker to commemorate June Pride, and hosting a reception. All LGBT personnel and our supporters are welcome to attend. The event will also be filmed and placed on YouTube this year for our members across the country. DC Capital Pride Festival Booth Date: Location: June 9, 2013, 10:00 a.m.—6:00 p.m. DC Capitol Pride Festival Pennsylvania Avenue, NW btw 9th and 6th Streets (Metro—Archives Green/Yellow) www.CapitalPride.org

All of DHS Pride is invited to our booth for networking, socializing, & membership recruitment.


www.DHSPride.org | @DHS_Pride | DHS.Pride.Information@gmail.com


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DHS Pride Board Members The DHS Pride organization is proud to introduce the newly elected 2013 officers and board members!
Adam M. Sulewski, DHS Pride President U.S. Customs and Border Protection Program and Management Analyst, Office of International Affairs (desk) 202.344.1241 (mobile) 202.425.7327 Adam.Sulewski@DHS.gov Janie E. Bennett, DHS Pride Vice President U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Supervisory Detention and Deportation Officer (desk) (mobile) 210.967.7053 210.385.6531 Warren R. Kaufman, DHS Pride Board Member U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Assistant Chief Counsel (desk) 210.472.6778 (option 5) Warren.Kaufman@DHS.gov Brandon A. Montgomery, DHS Pride Board Member U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (mobile) 202.538.1846 Brandon.A.Montgomery@ICE.DHS.gov baamdc@gmail.com Irene M. Recio, DHS Pride Board Member U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (mobile) 703.582.5656 Irene.M.Recio@USCIS.DHS.gov

Janie.E.Bennett@ICE.DHS.gov Stacie L. Schultz, DHS Pride Secretary U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Immigration Services Officer (office) 402.219.6006 ex.7340 Stacie.Schultz@DHS.gov stacielschultz@gmail.com Juan J. Torres, DHS Pride Treasurer U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (desk) 202.272.1238 Juan.J.Torres@uscis.dhs.gov

www.DHSPride.org | @DHS_Pride | DHS.Pride.Information@gmail.com


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Outgoing Board of Directors

DHS Pride’s Board of Director’s would like to thank our out-going Board of Directors for their service in 2012. It was a pleasure to serve with them.

Fmr Treasurer

Mark Hamilton Former DHS Headquarters. Arlington, Virginia We wish Marc well as he leaves federal service for a role in the Defense Industry.

Fmr Webmaster

Norman Robinson DHS Headquarters OCIO & CRCL Washington, D.C.

Board Member

Michael Widomski Former Federal Emergency Management Agency Washington, D.C. We wish Michael well as he departs DHS for a new role with the National Weather Service.

www.DHSPride.org | @DHS_Pride | DHS.Pride.Information@gmail.com


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DHS Multi-Component Workforce Deploys For First Time; Personnel Deputized By FEMA to Aid Sandy Victims
In November, 2012, only days after Hurricane Sandy made landfall on New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, DHS Secretary Napolitano activated the Surge Capacity Force. This workforce, made-up of volunteers from DHS and the operational components were dispatched to the disaster zone to aid the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In New York and New Jersey, the volunteers created and managed disaster relief centers, went door to door to check on residents and advise them of available aid, and performed many other tasks required to administer and coordinate one of the largest relief efforts in FEMA later reported to the U.S. Congress, Hurricane history. This was the first time the Surge CapacSandy represented one of the largest personnel ity Force was activated since its 2009 creation. deployments in FEMA’s history. This included the historic activation of the DHS Surge Capacity This law directs the DHS Secretary to create an Force totaling 1,100 volunteers. employee volunteer force, named the Surge Capacity Force. These employees are detailed from Before the storm made landfall, FEMA and its other DHS components and other federal agenemergency management partners facilitated the cies, and receive training in advance regarding establishment of shelters, Disaster Recovery the organization and administration of FEMA’s Centers (DRCs), Points of Distribution (PODs), responses to disasters. In addition, the volunteer and Joint Field Offices (JFOs) in the affected arpersonnel must deploy to disaster locations to act eas. At peak, 716 shelters were open with a as boots on the ground in support of FEMA’s repopulation of 26,913 in 16 states. FEMA continsponse and recovery efforts. ues to work with our partners to help disaster survivors who remain in shelters find permanent The Secretary of DHS can activate the Surge Cahousing solutions. pacity Force when catastrophic incidents, such as a hurricane, terrorist attack, earthquake, or The DHS SCF functions to coordinate resources other kinds of events. After reviewing initial reand keep them in reserve to ensure help is availports of damage after Hurricane Sandy made able when the need is greatest in support of natulandfall this past October, Secretary Napolitano ral disasters, acts of terrorism, and other manactivated the Surge Capacity Force for the first made disasters, including catastrophic incitime on November 1, 2012 to support FEMA. dents. The SCF program is currently being rolled out throughout the Department and will then be Within days, volunteers from across the Departrolled out government-wide. ment were assembled in Maryland for briefings (continued on page 7) on their assignments. As Secretary Napolitano
www.DHSPride.org | @DHS_Pride | DHS.Pride.Information@gmail.com


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(cnt’d) All volunteers will be trained and utilized in four primary program areas All DHS Surge Capacity Force personnel were trained and utilized in four primary program areas — Logistics, Community Relations, Individual Assistance, and Public Assistance before deploying. All remained on the federal payroll, as though they were still at their long-term jobs, and returned to their regular roles and work locations when their service was no longer needed in the disaster area. help when the need is greatest in support of natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other manmade disasters, including catastrophic incidents. The SCF program is currently being rolled out throughout the Department and will then be rolled out government-wide. All volunteers will be trained and utilized in four primary program areas — Logistics, Community Relations, Individual Assistance and Public Assistance.

The DHS SCF is a great way to serve your counThe DHS Surge Capacity Force has since been try and further the overall mission of DHS. More stood down, but FEMA is continually seeking vol- information on the DHS Surge Capacity Force unteers from the DHS workforce who want to can be found on DHS Connect at:

The U.S. Coast Guard takes part in a patrol of New York Harbor to inspect port facilities and navigation channels in the days following Hurricane Sandy’s landfall in October 2012.

http://dhsconnect.dhs.gov/Pages/ SurgeCapacityForce.aspx

www.DHSPride.org | @DHS_Pride | DHS.Pride.Information@gmail.com


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I was just the Seat-Holder: Gay Military Families at the SOTU
and Coast Guardsmen – to see that their families are respected and cared for with equal dignity and respect. So I felt the tremendous weight of that obligation when I got the remarkable phone call inviting me to attend the State of the Union as a distinguished guest of the First Lady. My first thoughts were of the Morgan and Johnson families. Karen Morgan lost her wife Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan to cancer on February 10. Staff Sergeant Tracy (Dice) Johnson's wife Staff Sergeant Donna Johnson was killed October 1 by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. Tammy and I went to the White House holding these widows especially close in our hearts. As we arrived at the White House gate a woman came up to me saying, “Are you Tracey? Are you the one who’s going to overturn DOMA?” “Well, I don’t know about that, there are a lot of us working on it!” I said, laughing. “I read about you – the military families are the ones who are going to get this done. Can I get a hug? Will you let me take a picture with you?” The encounter reminded me again, I am just a seat-holder. I was invited to be at the State of the Union with the First Lady, but I was holding the seat for countless military spouses, across all branches of service, and their family members. When I met Dr. Biden and the First Lady I let them know I was representing ALL military families, in special honor the Morgan and Johnson Families. I told the First Lady that Charlie had died on Sunday and that she wanted to live to see this day. The First Lady said she was so sorry, and expressed her condolences to Charlie’s family. When we arrived at the Capital and were seated in the First Ladies box I represented all of us that night. It was an honor to represent the many who paved the path to this moment and the countless warriors and their families whose wounds still

By Tracey Hepner, Transportation Security Administration

Less than two years ago under “don't ask don't tell,” I wasn’t able to even exist. Since then, I joined a group of courageous gay and lesbian spouses to brief Pentagon officials, co-founded a National LGBT military family organization , witnessed the repeal of DADT, married the love of my life, she got promoted to Brigadier General, and I went from invisible to “out” in the most public way possible. Tuesday I was an invited guest of the First Lady to personally witness her husband’s commitment to ALL military families. The most remarkable experience of these past couple years has been meeting gay and lesbian soldiers and their spouses, partners, and families. Both Tammy and I feel an enormous obligation to these soldiers – sailors, airmen, Marines,

www.DHSPride.org | @DHS_Pride | DHS.Pride.Information@gmail.com


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I was just the Seat-Holder: Gay Military Families at the SOTU


The author (in white) sitting in the First Lady’s Box during the 2013 State of the Union Address at the U.S. Capitol.

sting from serving under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The President and I spent some time discussing the military benefits that the Pentagon announced and the work that still remains. He told me that the Service "We will ensure equal treatment for all service mem- Secretaries are really on board with treating all serbers, and equal benefits for their families – gay and vice members equally. Then he looked me right in the straight." eye and said; “We are going to get this done.” I responded by saying; ‘I know we are.” I couldn’t help I leapt out of my seat, pumping my fist in the air and myself and just had to tell him; “I am very proud of cheering - if the camera had been on me, I might you.” He was touched and said to me, “Thank you for have been the only one in the box jumping up and down. I felt those words. How long have we waited for your service.” those very words: equal treatment. I had tears running down my face when they took the After the speech our escorts put us in line, handed us photo and a renewed commitment to keep working tickets, and said, “You’re going to meet the President” until those words equal treatment become a reality for all our military families. – all I could think was, “What am I going to tell the President of the United States?” ~Tracey Hepner It was a privilege to be able to witness the President of the United States say these words: It was my turn. His aide announced my name. He looked at me and a big smile followed. I extended my hand to the President of the United States. He said it was a pleasure to meet me!? I thanked him for his words in the SOTU and continuing commitment to all military families. He didn’t rush our encounter.

A version of this article appeared on the Huffington Post

www.DHSPride.org | @DHS_Pride | DHS.Pride.Information@gmail.com


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Our Regional Chairs


Friday, April 12 New York City Happy Hour (New!) 5:30pm-8:00pm

The Strand Hotel (33 West 37th St) New York, NY DHS Pride Bowling Sunday, April 21 11am-1pm League (New!) AMF Alexandria Lanes (6228 N Kings Hwy) Alexandria, VA Thursday, April 25 DC Happy Hour 5:30pm-8:00pm COBALT (1639 R Street NW) Washington, DC For more information on DHS Pride Social Events, visit www.dhspride.org or our Facebook page!

Interested in becoming a Regional Chair? Please contact Juan.J.Torres@USCIS.DHS.gov & Irene.M.Recio@USCIS.DHS.gov for more information on how to bring DHS Pride to YOUR community.

www.DHSPride.org | @DHS_Pride | DHS.Pride.Information@gmail.com


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Legal News: U.S. Supreme Court Hears Pivotal Cases
Hollingsworth v. Perry/U.S. v. Windsor Test SCOTUS’s Views on Same-Sex Marriage; Decisions Due in June
On March 26th and 27th, the U.S. Supreme Court (the Court) heard oral arguments on two cases that could become landmark decisions in the gay / lesbian civil rights movement. The decisions are expected in June, at the end of the Court’s current term. California was not entitled to, through a voter’s initiative, withdraw a right that had been established by the state supreme court according to its reading of the state constitution.

The second case, United States v. Windsor, No. 12-307, is of most importance to federal workers. It involves a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 (DOMA), by Edith Windsor, a widow who was forced to pay over $363,000 in federal estate taxes after her wife died and she inherited the home in which they had been living. They were legally married in Canada and the marriage was recognized in New York where they had been living, but not by the federal government. DOMA defines marriage to be “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.” Many of us employed by the federal government have suffered similar discrimination by being denied over 1,100 federal benefits afThe first case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, No. 12forded to heterosexual spouses, but denied un144, involves the question of whether Proposition der DOMA to same sex couples legally married in 8, a voter initiative in California that defined mar- the nine states and District of Columbia that recriage as a union between a man and a woman, ognize it. violates the federal constitution. During oral arguments on March 26th, the first issue that the justices focused on was standing, which in non- As in the first case, the Court spent the first part legal terms, refers to whether the parties which of the oral arguments on Wednesday questioning are challenging and defending the initiative have the attorneys on standing issues. In this case, the legal right to do so. From the tone and con- the standing issue centers on the fact that Presitent of the questions posed by the justices, many dent Obama’s administration has ruled DOMA legal experts are predicting that the Court will find unconstitutional and refused to defend it before that the parties lacked standing and the legal re- the Court. Defending DOMA was counsel for the sult would be that same-sex marriages would re- Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), a sume in California. However, civil rights advostanding body of the U.S. House of Representacates are hoping that the Court will issue a deci- tives, which voted to defend DOMA before the sion on the merits, in which case, the Court could Court and hired counsel to do so. A group of Dedecide that: all states with bans on same-sex mocrats filed a friend of the court brief in support marriage violate the U.S. constitution; bans on of President Obama’s position that DOMA is unsame-sex marriage in those states with civil unconstitutional. ions (that essentially provide all the rights and benefits of marriage) are unconstitutional; or that (cont’d on page 12)
www.DHSPride.org | @DHS_Pride | DHS.Pride.Information@gmail.com


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Legal News: U.S. Supreme Court Hears Pivotal Cases
During the oral arguments, the justices seemed more receptive to the points made in favor of finding DOMA unconstitutional. Justice Ginsburg stated that "You are really diminishing what the state has said is marriage There's two kinds of marriage, there's full marriage and then there's sort of skim milk marriage [Marriage benefits] affect every aspect of life," Justice Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), in which the Court struck down the sodomy law in Texas and, by extension, invalidated sodomy laws in thirteen other states, making same-sex sexual activity legal in every U.S. state and territory, stated that DOMA is problematic because it runs “in conflict with what has always been thought to be the essence of the State police power, which is to regulate marriage, divorce, custody.” Legal ex-

perts believe that Justice Kennedy will be the swing vote siding with the majority to find DOMA unconstitutional. Whether or not they are correct, without a doubt the two cases heard by the Court this week signal a milestone for gay / lesbian civil rights because they have brought issues regarding same-sex marriage inequalities to the limelight and led to healthy and productive conversations throughout the United States. Hollingsworth v. Perry’s and Windsor v. U.S.’s final rulings are due to be released by the U.S. Supreme near the end of June, 2013.
Submitted by DHS Pride Board Member Irene Recio

www.DHSPride.org | @DHS_Pride | DHS.Pride.Information@gmail.com


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Working Groups
Need Someone In Your Corner?; DHS Pride launches its Intervention Committee
Are you confused or concerned about what protections/entitlements exist for LGBT personnel? Have you encountered discrimination or find our community is unwelcomed or unnoticed in your workplace? Sometimes questions, or problems arise in the work setting that require a fresh pair of eyes or perhaps even a helping hand. With that in mind, DHS Pride has launched a working group to address these types of questions for its members. If you encounter a situation which concerns you and involves a LGBT issue but you are unsure of the appropriate response, are hesitant to raise it or have tried without success, we would like to help. DHS Pride will work to understand and document your concern. DHS Pride will endeavor to direct you to the proper resources, collect information on systemic problems or misinformation, and work in partnership with DHS to ensure the Department’s embrace of diversity is substantive and enduring. If you choose to remain anonymous, we will respect your confidence. This process is not intended to and does not replace/supplant any EEO complaint process or grievance mechanism, but is instead offered as a way to raise the level of consciousness about LGBT issues in the workplace as they affect our members. For more information or to talk about a concern, please contact DHS.Pride.Information@gmail.com (subject line “Intervention Committee”) or DHS Pride Board member Warren Kaufman at Warren.Kaufman@dhs.gov; (210) 472-6778 (option 5).

Creation of DHS Pride Transgender Working Group
DHS Pride is proud to announce the formation of a Transgender working group. The group will identify and address the unique and specific needs of DHS Transgender personnel. Stacie Schultz has volunteered to serve as the facilitator of the working group. The working group will initially work to: (1) identify issues affecting the transgender community both internal and external to DHS, (2) establish resources, contacts and links, and (3) identify non-profits and internal/external resources who can help develop a FAQ of resources for DHS Transgender employees. All who are interested in joining should contact DHS Pride Secretary Stacie L. Schultz via our email DHS.Pride.Information@gmail.com (subject line “transgender”)

www.DHSPride.org | @DHS_Pride | DHS.Pride.Information@gmail.com


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Working Groups/Supportive links for LGBT
Working Groups
There are many opportunities for DHS Pride to participate in our organization. Two current working groups have been formed to identify & address the concerns of specific types of personnel in our community.:
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Law Enforcement Officer/Military Working Group Transgender Working Group Intervention Working Group

If you are interested in becoming involved with the work of these working groups, please write to DHS.Pride.Information@gmail.com for more information

Social Networking
For additional information about DHS Pride, members and employees can also reach the organization through the following websites or email address:

DHS Pride – Facebook DHS Pride’s Facebook page is a closed group page. For Closed groups, everyone on Facebook can see the group name and members, but only group members can see posts in the group. Unless you’re added to the group by another member, you’ll need to ask to join. You’ll become a member when your request is approved.

DHS Pride – Twitter Follow DHS Pride on Twitter, @DHS_Pride for DHS Pride announcements, information on DHS and her components, and general LGBT and federal personnel news. Have links to other websites relevant to DHS LGBT personnel that you think we should include? Let us know! [Please note: DHS personnel should follow their chain of command's regulations and their own personal judgment when utilizing social networking websites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.]

www.DHSPride.org | @DHS_Pride | DHS.Pride.Information@gmail.com

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