August 4, 1961– Barack Hussein Obama II:
“No matter who you are or what you look like, how you started off or how and who you love, America is a place where you can write your own destiny.”
Donald J. Trump in 2014:
“Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf. Worse than Carter.”
Within hours of his inauguration, the current POTUS’ people had taken down the LGBTQ page on the White House website. Within a few months of taking power, the new administration began to chip away at LGBTQ rights. I find it very difficult to hold the sort of hope I had when Obama was in office.
Barack Obama is the best Presidential pal a LGBTQ person could ever have. He was the twice elected 44th President of the USA; in 2008, winning more votes than any candidate in history. He was the first Hawaiian to hold the office. He is intelligent and handsome, with a fierce, beautiful wife, two lovely daughters and two cute dogs. They live in their new home in Washington, D.C.’s Kalorama neighborhood.
Before becoming the Leader Of The Free World, Obama was a pot smoking college student at Columbia University, then a graduate of Harvard Law School where he served as president of the Harvard Law Review, a community organizer, and a professor of Constitutional Law at University Of Chicago.
In two elections, he aggressively sought campaign donations from the LGBTQ citizens of our country and he received the large majority of gay people’s votes in 2008 and 2012. LGBTQ people makeup at least 10% of the electorate and I am certain that nearly everyone in the USA has a sibling, parent, cousin, friend, neighbor or co-worker that is gay. What politicians say about LGBTQ Americans matters and Obama was the LGBTQ friendliest President in history, in most ways, the only friendly one. Since his first days in office, Obama showed his opponents that he is tight with the gays, appointing more gay people as judges, foreign ambassadors and other top government jobs than anyone before him or after his presidency.
At the end of 2015, Obama nominated Eric Kenneth Fanning to be U.S. Secretary of the Army. Fanning was confirmed by the Senate in spring 2016. Fanning was the 22nd Secretary of the Army, the largest service branch of the US military, and the first openly gay head of any military service. Fanning does not serve the current POTUS. Obama:
“Eric Fanning brings many years of proven experience and exceptional leadership to this new role. I am grateful for his commitment to our men and women in uniform, and I am confident he will help lead America’s Soldiers with distinction.”
“Every single American, gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender- every single American deserves to be treated equally in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of our society. It’s a pretty simple proposition.”
Here are a just a few of the ways Obama has contributed to improving LGBTQ lives:
He worked towards and protecting the Rights of LGBTQ People around the world. In 2015, he scolded his fellow Kenyan, President Uhuru Kenyatta, about Kenya’s Gay Rights record. Under that country’s law, sex between men is illegal and punishable with 15 years imprisonment. Kenyan leaders had encouraged Obama not to discuss Gay Rights on his first trip to their country. Obama:
“When you start treating people differently not because of any harm they are doing to anybody, but because they are different, that’s the path whereby freedoms begin to erode, and bad things happen.”
Obama has worked at preventing bullying against LGBTQ Students, along with former Vice-President Joseph Biden, and assorted officials in their White House, they recorded a series of Dan Savage’s It Gets Better videos that take on the issues of bullying and suicide among LGBTQ youth.
His Administration has worked to ensure LGBTQ Equality in Housing and Crime Prevention, helping queer Americans get mortgages, and ensured Equality for LGBTQ Federal Government Employees.
Against terrible odds, Obama actively addressed Health Care disparities with The Affordable Care Act, bringing hope and healing to the hurting, funding communities for programs that address tobacco control, obesity prevention, HIV-related health issues, better nutrition and physical activity for all people, along with expanding access to health coverage. The ACA works to provide all Americans have secure, stable, and affordable health insurance. Because of the law, insurers can no longer turn someone away just because they are gay, bisexual, or transgender. His administration developed and implemented a National HIV/AIDS Strategy, funding The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention with $200 million in grants for HIV prevention for transgendered people and gay and bi men of color. He made sure that The Department of Health And Human Services requires all hospitals receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds (nearly every hospital in America) to allow visitation rights for LGBTQ patients. Obama also directed HHS to ensure that medical decision-making rights of LGBTQ patients are respected.
Obama signed historic Hate Crimes Legislation, ended legal defense of the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA), repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and championed Marriage Equality. Each year he was in office, he wrote and posted a proclamation making June Gay Pride And History Month.
In July 2014, he signed an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against any employee or applicant for employment “because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin,” continuing to set an example as a model employer that does right by its workers. The current POTUS rescinded this order.
Obama strongly supported legislative efforts to ban the use of Conversion Therapy against minors and he released a Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) study condemning the practice.
Obama is the first President to use the term “Gay” in any Inaugural Address, declaring the movement for Equality to be part of the pantheon of USA’s Civil Rights struggles:
“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. For if we are truly created equal then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well.”
He also made an additional reference in the speech about LGBTQ Equality. He placed The Stonewall Riots as a signature event in the Civil Rights movement, putting the 1969 event in the ranking with historical turning points in the battles for Women’s Rights and Racial Equality:
“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths- that all of us are created equal- is the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall.”
In June 2016, Obama designated a new national monument at the historic site of the 1969 Stonewall Riots in NYC. The new Stonewall National Monument protects the area where the queers rose up against police harassment and sparked the modern LGBTQ Civil Rights movement in the USA. It is the first official National Park Service site dedicated to telling the history of LGBTQ Americans, and it happened just days before the first year anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision guaranteeing Marriage Equality in all 50 states. The Stonewall National Monument will permanently protect Christopher Park, a historic community park where Christopher Street, West 4th Street and Grove Street all meet directly across from the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. The monument’s boundary encompasses eight acres of land, including the surrounding streets and sidewalks that were the site of the 1969 Stonewall Riots.
Obama is also one cool cat. With an easy-going demeanor and an informal way of interacting with others, some tight-ass Republicans and other haters claim that he can be inappropriate, even offensive. But for most of us, we appreciate his level head, sly candor and bracing honesty.
As we heard at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia last summer, Obama is a dynamic, inspiring speaker with a smart sense of humor peppered with pop culture references, crack comedic timing and an incredible intellect.
I think he should have a late-night talk show on Bravo where he and guests would hang out in a re-creation of the Oval Office outfitted with a DJ Station, a Ms. Pacman, and craft beer on tap, with everyone belting out Al Green tunes. He should be a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race. I could be his sidekick/announcer and he would let me call him Barry.
The Obama Presidential Center will be hosted by the University of Chicago, and will be located in Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago.
Obama called the Republican Senate’s Health Care plan: “a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America”.” I am alive today because of The Affordable Care Act, as if I didn’t love Obama enough.