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11 October 2009

Comments

Paris

Good writeup Rod.
I think you're being very kind tho. This was basically a campaign speech form last year and the hate crimes mention was thrown in.

Frank

Wow, it's really quiet up in here.

I'm proud and glad the prez made the speech. Would I like to see a lot more? Yes. Are he and the Democrats going to slow? Yes, I think he said that too.

The upside is all the newspapers and cable are talking. That's some change, a start, although with hate crimes and a gay ambassador its back to the 90s.

And daps Rod, very nice and even tone. It's a riot at the other gay blogs.

Upward and onward ..

wondermann

I thought he did good and he will do what he needs to do.

Tim

I really enjoyed the speech.

Like allot of us in the GLBT community, I have become increasingly anxious at the slow pace of change since the November election - but the President reminded us that we have never had a bigger ally in the Whitehouse than we do now. He acknowleged and validated our impatience but also reaffirmed his comittment to the issues that matter most to us.

The President's oratory skill and pasion were on full display. I think this effort has definitely bought some time from our community.

Still, no matter how elequent and engaged, that patience will be tested if we don't see some concrete actions soon.

Kevjack

Great speech. Said all of the right things. My only issue is that Obama *always* gives a great speech...it's that whole "actually doing something" thing he has a problem with.

But this is a step in the right direction. And hopefully he will not take gay support for granted. One good thing that came from all of the grumbiling a few months ago is that we placed our issues on the agenda. We have to keep up the pressure.

BLACK

I think he did a fantastic job and I honestly believe that he will continue to right many wrongs with his administration. One thing to some of you who doubt Obama's commitment to the causes, he has to follow a process which includes FOOLS who really are gay themselves but hate themselves and block the very legislation that will help not just millions of gay Americans, but their dumb asses as well. So please don't keep shooting the messenger and try to see who the real enemy is in politics which is NOT BARACK OBAMA, BUT THE REPUBLICANS AND A FEW CONFUSED DEMOCRATS!

BLACK

Corey


It's unprecedented and unheard of that we have this kind of support from the White House UNTIL NOW! It was only in the last administration ..what, just a year ago..that everything was ANTI and UNTHINKABLE! But yet, for some of us, it's still not enough and things aren't happening fast enough! Some folk are just never satisfied because it's just never good enough!

Right before the speech ended, amidst the applause punctuated from the audience, and right before President Obama mentioned that proverbial "young man" with a secret, I began to wonder exactly how much this speech would affect the families of young LGBT people of color, and what effect it will have in black communities across the country? Or how many of them watched it at first broadcast or will care enough to watch it on Youtube?

I love it that he constantly made references and comparsions to the Civil Rights movement, holding him accountable, and BEING ACCOUNTABLE IN OUR OWN LIVES! Why place such a heavy burden for quick action on the PRESIDENT when so many of us NEVER show up in our own lives? Maybe Mr. Obama was on to something by mentioning Lady Gaga in his opening ~ because we tend to SHOW UP then! I keep saying "us" and "we" but what about "me", isn't that where the action starts?

The president's speech was stupendous and invigorating!

Luther

Rod, very good recap of the speech. The one thing about this site I do like is that even if posters don't agree, they are usually civil, some of those other sites are doing what they do best, fighting and making this a racial issue.

As far as what he said, nothing new, but, as long as he can sign the Matthew Shepard hate crimes bill, I for one will be happy. This was a bill that Bush vowed to veto as he and the rest of the GOP felt it was unnecessary, but, it is, as violence, work place harassment and firings and such needs to have gays included because unless you live in an enlightened state, you have nothing to protect you for being who you are.

Chris Cruz

Another great speech. Meanwhile, his administration is still discharging two LGBT servicemembers per day and HALF are black and Latino. My cousin was discharged from USN and one of my former friends in USAF is now being discharged, thanks to a jealous ex. But no worries...us black and brown folks are just happy the president says "gay".

It wouldn't have taken any effort to mention Maine or Washington state, that would help them so much. And if he wants to DADT or ENDA so badly ... why not say GIVE ME A BILL? He's done it with everything else. Thats one thing I appreciate Rod has said before. What is the roadmap here?

If "fierce advocacy" and "i will not waver" means he will sign bills when and IF they get to his desk, that's not fierce advocacy.

Yeah and sorry, these really arent the 90s where we should get excited when a president says the "G" word. And I continue to remain unimpressed with most black and brown LGBTs who are soooo happy we have a black president, they don't see that we are faring worse under his inaction on LGBT policies.

Great writeup Rod but I am really surprised. They must be serving some really strong Koolaid at HRC ... or you didnt feel like really going there.

Mad Professah

I give the speech a B+. It was better than average. He is now on record saying the same things as president that he said as a candidate.

That's a pretty big deal.

I understand people are impatient, but I agree with Obama that we will look back at this time and know that this was when discrimination against LGBT people was ended.

And the President only heads one branch of government.

libhomo

My sympathies are with the people who protested outside, not the people who watched inside.

Interestingly enough, the divisions in the queer community over this may actually help us. We are becoming a constituency at play that the Democrats will have to do more to win over.

Jim

I didn’t really want to watch this speech—why be disappointed again? And in general, I’ve not been as impressed with Obama’s speeches as most people. But this one, like his health care speech to Congress, was very good—maybe the best I’ve ever heard from him.

As Pam Spaulding noted on her blog, this speech could be a big deal to, say, a gay teen needing to feel encouraged or to straight folks wavering in their feelings towards gay people. But for the rest of us, the “patience” theme is way overplayed. We all want some specifics. At this point we’d be happy with even a few.

Last night, I went to the BBC web site, and the second highest headline was “Obama to end military gay policy.” It’s still the top headline in the site’s “Americas” section. Obama did indeed say “I will end ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” in his speech. So I guess we need to take him at his word on that. Hopefully, he’ll being doing it as a president rather than as a lobbyist, some time in 2020.

I’ll be darned if I saw a single black face in that audience. We all know the multiple reasons for that. But any black churchgoers out there who think that gay rights are simply a “white thing” are not going to get their minds changed by watching this speech.

It sure would be nice to have the president address the National Black Justice Coalition on television some day, but I don’t suppose that will ever happen. Maybe he could at least visit a church like Rev. Kevin Taylor’s. That might stir things up a bit.

Matt

Change comes slowly, and Obama is making big steps. I'm sure if he could wave a wand and do away with homophobia, he would do so. But for now, we have to accept that we live in a democracy with all its imperfections. When change does come, it will be because leaders like Obama have won over the hearts and minds of all the haters out there.

Dalton

>>I'm sure if he could wave a wand and do away with homophobia, he would do so.

Cry me a river. The new talking point from ObamApologists is "wave a magic wand." Who said during the election that he couldn't wave a magic wand? I remember another candidate saying that and being attacked. And who was saying he would be so transformative and "change" everything and push for our rights. I see no change. Even Bush had a gay ambassador. Two iirc.

Just stop with the excuses. No one asked Obama to WAVE a magic wand. We just want him to LEAD. Waiting around for Congress to send him something is NOT leading. Coming out and saying "I want a BILL ON MY DESK ASAP" (=health care, climate, volunteer service, missile reduction etc) that is LEADING. If the president with two houses in congress wants a bill ... he will GET IT. Ask George Bush, he didnt have any problem. Even when Repubs didnt have the majority.

LEADING means putting your neck out and setting an example. Waiting around for others to do something is NOT leading. This speech was the same we heard during the election, plus saying he will sign hate crimes. Let me remind you hate crimes passed under Bush and survived a senate fillibuster. I'm happy we have a president who wont veto such a basic piece of legislation, but he didnt lead on that either. John Conyers has LEAD on that and thankfully Rod has been pointing it out.

Chris Cruz

"And the President only heads one branch of government."

Yes and acts as the defacto head of the party that controls TWO branches of government. Obama was elected to LEAD not be LED by Congress.

Really, the apologism doesn't help. If its not about waving wands or he is "only" the president, it makes him so irrelevant as a bystander. If Obama is such a bystander, why defend him so much.

The president can tell Harry and Nancy "I want to pass ENDA next year" just like he told them to get a health care bill. Thats what presidents do.

It's really disappointing how black LGBTs keep giving Obama a pass. If you think the leader of the free world and the Democratic president who is the party head of the Democratic congress ... CANNOT ask for a bill you are really overdosing on the koolaid.

Chris Cruz

@Mad Professah

So we're grading speeches now?
What grade do you give the administration on gay rights? Or are you also waiting "until January 19 2017"? lolz

QH

Give the man a chance to take action. Change is gradual, and takes time, he's already started the ball rolling. I think we as a GLBT community need patience & appreciation. At least he is for us, and that is half the darn battle right there.

Go Obama!-QH

apres moi

IMHO, I personally believe the only thing Obama has the power to do is end ENDA and place a moratorium on DADT. As for DOMA, it's going to have to land on his desk via Congress or be circumvented through a SCOTUS case as was the case with Loving Vs. Virgina.

It's really disappointing how black LGBTs keep giving Obama a pass. If you think the leader of the free world and the Democratic president who is the party head of the Democratic congress ... CANNOT ask for a bill you are really overdosing on the koolaid. - Chris Cruz

As a gay black person, right now the only two things on my mind that's also on my shoulders are to keep myself focused on my work and career at the company I work for so that I can keep my job and gain more job skills to avoid being unemployed if that were to happen and where the health care debate is going now, which also effects millions in GLTBC community as well as in the black and latino communities.

DOMA isn't that much of a priority for me because today, I'm still looked at by the color of my skin first before who I love, and that's also the way it is in the gay community in the US for other people of color as well. I give Obama a pass because I'm being selfless and look at the needs of the whole country right now rather than just the gay community. Health Care and marriage equality are civil rights. But passing a decent health care option right now effects millions more than marriage equality. This comes from having aging parents and relatives, where my father is constantly sick with a debilitating form of asthma that's almost killed him twice.

Hearing chants in the Seattle March today of "Hey hey, ho ho, Barack Obama has got to go" saddens me and disinterests me from wanting to publicly support marriage equality. Quite frankly it reminds me of that saying my uncle told me as a kid that goes "If you're white, to be noticed and commended for good work, you just have to work 95%. But when you're black and want to be noticed and commended for good work, you have to work 110%. Make any mistakes you're butt is on the line" This is the case for Obama.

Byron

The change that he campaigned on bringing about was one of changing the way things are done in Washington. That means working with people including the opposition, and not running roughshod over them as has been the case under both Republican and Democratic administrations and Congresses.

You best believe that had he just come in pens a-blazing with exec orders and the like, any gains would have been short-lived. As soon as Congress shifted back to Republican control, or even if there were just significant losses in either house, they'd be overturned. Tit for tat is pretty much the only game Washington knows, and that game would surely have been played out on any GLBT issues.

Trying to get the parties and the Congress to work in any way other than that is proving (to no one's surprise, I hope) difficult at best. Considering something as reasonable and universally necessary as health care reform has brought about some of the most unreasonable bickering in recent history, it makes perfect sense that lightning rod issues like gay rights get a back burner.

Gays have a much better ally in the White House now than 10 months ago.

Tim

I think we need to remember that the glass is half-full (maybe 3/4 full). Everyone does remember that Obama won right? Do you remember who was president 10 months ago? Back then we were wondering if the President would sign an executive order declaring us all sodomites and deporting us to a leper colony. Lets not forget to be grateful for the vast improvement for goodness sake.

Seven

I loved the speech. I absolutely love it. President Obama is the greatest friend gays and minorities have ever had in the White House. I believe that he will end DADT and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. Clearly, President Obama sincerely believes in equality and I believe that he will move heaven and earth to insure that the blessings of liberty promised in the preamble to the US Constitution are enjoyed by American.

Mad Professah

@Chris Cruz I'm a professah, I grade everything :)

I didn't say anything about a 2017 deadline. So, please don't make assumptions about my "apologist" credentials. My position is that the President needs to resolve the health care mess first, then after that I will join the chorus of (mostly white) gay activists screaming at the relative inaction of the administration to enact change on LGBT rights.

I do think it is reasonable to acknowledge that Obama is the first President in his first term to address an LGBT audience publicly and make commitments to a specific legislative agenda. Was it enough? No.

The best response to Obama's speech that I have heard comes from my personal hero (and former NGLTF Exec Dir) Urvashi Vaid:


"I thought it was a strong speech,"
said Vaid. She added:

I thought it was unequivocally in support. He didn't set a timetable, which people are criticizing, and I think we should keep the pressure on the administration. But they are clearly our friends, and he is clearly committed in a way that would be very hard not to follow through on. I think people should turn their disappointment toward Congress and to governors and state legislatures. People should turn their disappointment into political organizing back home to create the new majority that we're going to need to sustain social justice in this country.

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