State Dept. Highlights Transsexual Ethicist to Celebrate LGBT ‘Pride Month’

By Penny Starr | June 5, 2012 | 6:50pm EDT

Chloe Schwenke, one of three openly transsexual political federal appointees in the Obama administration highlighted at the U.S. State Department for June "Pride Month."

( – The U.S. State Department is highlighting “Pride Month” on its website with a link to President Barack Obama’s proclamation about June’s designation as the month to celebrate homosexuality and by posting profiles of department personnel who are gay, lesbian and transsexual, including an Obama political appointee whom the department describes as a transsexual who has been "an international development practitioner, academic, and ethicist."

“The story of America's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community is the story of our fathers and sons, our mothers and daughters, and our friends and neighbors who continue the task of making our country a more perfect Union,” states Obama in the June 1 proclamation.

“It is a story about the struggle to realize the great American promise that all people can live with dignity and fairness under the law,” says Obama.  “Each June, we commemorate the courageous individuals who have fought to achieve this promise for LGBT Americans, and we rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The website also posted profiles of six homosexual men, two lesbians and one transsexual who work for the State Department.

“Chloe Schwenke is one of three openly transsexual political federal appointees under the Obama Administration,” the profile of Schwenke states. “As a member of the Senior Executive Service, she serves in a dual role as Senior Advisor for LGBT Policy for USAID globally, and as the Senior Advisor to USAID's Africa Bureau on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance.

"Prior to joining USAID in 2010," the State Department says, "Chloe was an international development practitioner, academic, and ethicist who has advised USAID, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the United Nations Development Program, and leading NGOs."

"Her scholarly interests include international development ethics, LGBT human rights, gender and development, and leadership ethics," the State Department says.

"As a practitioner her experience has centered on the design, management, implementation, and evaluation of a wide range of gender, local governance and decentralization, civil society capacity building, conflict, and leadership programming," says the State Department of Schwenke. "Chloe has also assisted in the formation of three nongovernmental organizations active in development ethics and the facilitation of development services for sexual minorities."

The profile also notes that the transsexual Schwenke is married and has two children.

The profile of Cynthia Wang includes a photograph of Wang and her “wife,” whom she married in San Francisco in 2008, the profile notes.

State Department official Cynthia Wang and her "wife," highlighted for June "Pride Month" by the U.S. State Department.

“They proudly serve the U.S. Government abroad and hope to represent an example of the rich diversity of their country,” Wang’s profile states.

David Mahan works at the U.S. embassy in Hanoi as a Foreign Service health practitioner and his self-written profile includes information about his homosexual relationship.

“I am currently in a committed relationship with the love of my life, Mr. Khamla Daoheunge,” Mahan writes.  “We have been together for over 15 months and have enjoyed this current posting.”

“We have been able to relax and have enjoyed periodic travels to other Asian locales including visits to rural Viet Nam, Thailand, and Cambodia,” Mahan writes. “We are focused on Asia due to his [Daoheunge’s] limited travel experience outside of his native Lao home.”

In his proclamation, Obama lists his administration’s “significant progress towards achieving equality for LGBT Americans.”

That includes the end of the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, promoting “human rights” for LGBT people around the globe, and a federal government “strategy” to fight HIV/AIDS.

“No one should be harmed because of who they are or who they love, and my administration has mobilized unprecedented public commitments from countries around the world to join in the fight against hate and homophobia,” Obama states in his  proclamation.

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