That 'Damn Lesbian' Roberta Achtenberg Thinks Now May Finally Be the Time for Executive Order Barring Sexual Discrimination

You can't bar the disabled from federal housing. Ditto that for racial or religious minorities, the aged, or nearly any other group — but homosexuals. Amazingly, in 2009, one can still be barred from a place in federally funded housing based upon his or her sexual orientation.

In fact, San Francisco's Roberta Achtenberg was nearly prevented from being the federal official overseeing fair housing because of her sexual orientation; Sen. Jesse Helms famously referred to the former city supervisor as “a damn lesbian” prior to her confirmation hearing. And though she was confirmed, Achtenberg was unable to eliminate federally funded bigotry against homosexuals.

Fast-forwarding 18 years, another San Franciscan, John Trasvina, has been appointed  to serve as assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). And Achtenberg is optimistic that this straight male may be able to do what she, a lesbian activist, was not in a position to do: End federal housing discrimination against the LGBT community.

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