Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and
Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
will speak at the White House's first-ever Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender (LGBT) youth summit next week.
Duncan, who will be introduced by Kevin
Jennings, assistant deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of
Education's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, is expected to
highlight the administration's ongoing commitment to ensuring equal
access to education for LGBT students.
appointment created a firestorm of protest among social conservatives
who opposed an openly gay man heading the department.
“LGBT youths are a uniquely
vulnerable population in America’s schools,” the administration
said in a statement announcing the event. “Because they suffer at
a higher rate than many of their peer groups from physical violence,
bullying, anxiety and depression, LGBT youths are more prone to
exhibit high-risk behaviors such as substance abuse, sexual
risk-taking and running away from home. The summit, hosted by the
Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, will bring together students,
educators, administrators, and heads of federal and nonprofit
agencies to provide information and seek solutions to these issues.”
Sebelius will address the crowd on
Monday and Duncan on Tuesday.
The two-day summit takes place at the
Washington Court Hotel in Washington.