One of the many things that choked me up on Election Night was not only Sen Barack Obama’s win, but the fact that he included “Gay” people in his acceptance speech. I was damp around the eye-lids, I have to admit. True, GLBT folks were handed a terrible setback with California’s Proposition 8 story, but you have to admit: Getting mentioned during a Presidential Election Acceptance speech is a very big deal! The GLBT community has come a very long way in the past 37 years since Stonewall.
Obama seems to be keeping on track by including a non-discrimination policy as his transition team is assembled. Again, a caveat for the GLBT community who will be judged on the merit of their work – and not by their clothes, their sexuality or their sexual identity. For the first time in American history, gay and trans gendered applicants will be hired by their talent and their work ethic. And that, is worth bragging about.
From Page Q:
The Obama-Biden Transition Project does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or any other basis of discrimination prohibited by law,” says the website of the Office of the President-elect, Change.gov.
ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel Christopher E. Anders said the statement sends a clear message from the Obama-Biden team. Anders goes on:
“As the new Administration gears up, it should be focused on hiring the best people for the job,” Anders added. “By including sexual orientation and gender identity in its non-discrimination policy, the Obama-Biden transition team makes clear that it will focus on the relevant qualities that actually predict an applicant’s success on the job – professional experience, character, skills and education.”
GLBT people finally might get the break they’ve longed for in this new Administration. Anders continues:
“President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden, by explicitly rejecting the bigotry and intolerance of the past, are committing that gay, lesbian, and transgender professionals can serve in government without fear of discrimination,” Anders added. “This is a critical next step in securing the basic rights of LGBT community.”
Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese weighed in by saying:
“We’re already seeing the initial signs that President-elect Obama is committed to welcoming the experience and talents of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people within his administration. After years of President Bush’s special counsel refusing to enforce fair hiring practices in regards to LGBT workers, this statement signals that change is happening and that our community is a rightful part of it.”
Yes, loosing in California’s Proposition 8 was a difficult blow. But knowing, fianlly — that we have a friend in the White House, makes it all worth while. I’m expecting hundreds of new opportunities opening up including a death watch on that ridiculous “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” thing.
So we had a set back. Big deal. All we need to do is find our tiaras, hop back up on those stilettos and finish the fight in California and everywhere. And with Obama in the White House, we’re allowed an extra little shaving of hope once again.