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.”
Barack Obama is the best Presidential pal a gay person could ever have. He is the twice elected 44th President of the USA, the first Hawaiian to hold the office. He is intelligent and handsome with a fierce, beautiful wife, two lovely teenage girls and two cute dogs. They live in a pretty white house in hip, happening Washington DC.
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 has been the gay friendliest President in history, in most ways, until now, the only gay friendly one. Since his first days in office, Obama has 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.
Last November, the President nominated Eric Kenneth Fanning to be US Secretary of the Army. Fanning was confirmed by the US Senate just 10 weeks ago. Fanning is the 22nd Secretary of the Army, the largest service branch of the US military, and the first openly gay head of any military service. 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 gay lives:
He worked towards and protecting the Rights of LGBTQ People around the world. Last summer, he gave a talking to at 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.
“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: Potus, Vice-President Joseph Biden, and assorted officials in their White House recorded a Dan Savage It Gets Better video that take on the issues of bullying and suicide among LGBTQ youth.
The Administration has worked to ensure LGBTQ Equality in Housing and Crime Prevention, helping gay Americans secure mortgages and ensuring Equality for LGBTQ Federal Government Employees.
Against terrible odds, Obama has 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 disparities, better nutrition and physical activity for all people, along with expanding access to health coverage. The Affordable Care Act makes sure that all Americans have secure, stable, and affordable 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. The Department of Health And Human Services now requires all hospitals receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds (nearly every hospital in America) to allow visitation rights for LGBTQ patients. The President 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 has written and posted a proclamation making June Gay Pride And History Month.
In July 2014, the President 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.
Obama has 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 Gay 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, Obama designated a new national monument at the historic site of the 1969 Stonewall Riots in NYC. The brand new Stonewall National Monument will protect 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 8 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 week, Obama is a dynamic, inspiring speaker with a smart sense of humor, pop culture references, crack comedic timing and an incredible intellect. It will be interesting to see what Obama will do after January 2017. I think he should have a late night talk show on Bravo where he and guests hang out in a re-creation of the Oval Office outfitted with a DJ Station, Ms. Pacman, and craft beer on tap, with everyone belting out Al Green tunes and gossiping about RuPaul’s Drag Race. I could be his sidekick/announcer and he would let me call him Barry.
Tiny personal footnote: I am alive today to compose this #BornThisDay column because of The Affordable Care Act, as if I didn’t love Obama enough.