Standing in alliance with gay and transgender people, President Obama held an LGBT Pride Month Reception on June 15 to acknowledge and honor the queer community.
Obama welcomed prominent LGBT national leaders, student leaders, military members, and media to the White House for food, friends, and celebration. Texas’s own Meghan Stabler was among the president’s guests. Stabler is a nationally acclaimed transgender advocate, national gay rights activist, a member of the Obama 2012 LGBT Leadership Circle, and the only transgendered member on the board of directors for the Human Rights Campaign. “With the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, it was great to see White House individuals welcoming everyone, including LGBT people of duty,” she said.
During the reception, Obama made a welcoming speech that called attention to the accomplishments his administration has made in the fight for queer equality. He praised the courts for ruling the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the increased efforts to raise awareness for bullying in schools, and the passing of the Matthew Shepard Act.
However, the president acknowledged the need for additional legislation to
further equality. He called for a fully inclusive nondiscrimination act, so that no American is fired solely for being gay or transgender. He also seeks increased legislation against LGBT bullying in schools, as well as full marriage equality. “Americans may still be evolving when it comes to marriage equality, but as I have indicated personally, Michelle and I have made up our minds on this issue,” Obama said.
Stabler agrees on the need for a fully inclusive nondiscrimination act and marriage equality, but emphasizes that all queer issues are of equal importance. “I wouldn’t prioritize LGBT issues,” she said. “I think they’re all equal—each means something different to different people.”
Obama ended with a promise to be an ongoing advocate to gay and transgender Americans, stating, “No matter what you look like, or where you come from, or who you love, you can dream big dreams and dream as openly as you want.” — Megan Smith