Michael Crawford

Gays to be Named to Obama Administration

Filed By Michael Crawford | December 31, 2008 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, gay Obama appointees, Obama and LGBT rights, Presidential Appointment Project

Unnamed sources say that the Obama-Biden Transition Team is very likely to name several openly LGBT people to key positions within the administration in the next several weeks. The appointments would follow disappointment expressed by LGBT activists after the Transition Team failed to nominate a LGBT cabinet secretary and outrage expressed by the LGBT community after the naming of anti-gay pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at President-Elect Obama's inauguration.

Since February the Presidential Appointments Project, a partnership of 12 LGBT organizations including Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, Human Rights Campaign, Log Cabin Republicans and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, has served as a talent bank collecting resumes from a wide range of openly LGBT professionals seeking appointments within the new administration. That unprecedented and unified effort seems to be about to bear fruit.

To date, the only gay appointee has been Nancy Sutley to the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Updates to follow as more information becomes available.

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I guess this means the Rick Warren whiners will stop? I fucking doubt it. Pop some popcorn and just watch.

I'm going to guess that the people you dismissively refer to as "whiners" are a diverse group of people with lots of different reasons to oppose the Religious Right continuing to steam-roll over the rest of us and will come to their own conclusions on this.

But I'm going to doubt that many will think that an unnamed source promising several undefined lower-level appointments suddenly means that other instances of disagreement get erased.

I am with Alex on this Monica. I am tired of swallowing the toxins that the Right continues to shovel in our direction. I lived as a straight woman til I was past 40, and I refuse to surrender the perogatives and I'll be damned to hell if I will allow someone else to wrench them from me.

I recall clearly the outcry when that APA workgroup was being anmed and the T in LGBT had enormous issues with it.

How would you have reacted if we had said "cool your jets, Obama will fix it?

As for Michael's post, well, seeing is believing. A cadre of gay organisations handing a lower level staffer some hiring recomendations does not move me.

Also, why was the NCLR and whatever the largest trans organisation is not included? Like it or not, many of us just don't feel warm fuzzies coming from the HRC, which is at best Lesbian inattentive and trans-dismissive, let alone the LCR's, who are overtly misogynistic and trans-loathing. The other two organisations do not do enough with Lesbian causes other than marriage to impress me. (You all know that I have a huge thing about Lesbian healthcare issues after watching friends die)

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | December 31, 2008 8:13 PM


If you reread the post, you will see that the Presidential Appointments Project is a joint partnership of 12 organizations and not just the four that I listed.

The National Center for Transgender Equality is among those groups. You will have to ask the folks at NCLR why they are not among those groups.

My post wasn't written to "move you." It was written show those of of us who strongly supported Obama's campaign for the presidency that our efforts are about to bear fruit.

Obama has made the strongest pro-LGBT statements of any incoming president in history and whether or not you "see" or "believe" we will make significant advances under his leadership.

Politics 101

The squeaky wheel gets the oil.

In the aftermath of the protests over Warren, we have seen a) Obama give one the strongest pro-gay statements of any President-elect and b) now he's appointing people whom I m going to guess were on the bubble for being appointed.

The point is change does not happen in a vacuum of silence. It happens for those who fight to obtain it.

More than that, at least some part of our agenda on ENDA, DADT etc will happen next year. Again, because of public pressure.

My friend, who works on the Hill (he's not gay, but a straight evangelical) told me that this is how politics works. If you want something, fight for it. If not, no one else will. If you remain quiet, no one else will speak up for you. That's what politics is.

I don't understand people who don't get this.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | January 1, 2009 5:55 PM

Monica, you called the anger of LGBT people in California about Prop 8 whining too. Resentfully, you demanded that California gays give up the gains we’ve made there because y’all have yet to make similar gains down in Dixieland. And now people who get legitimately angry about a pig bigot like Warren being given a national audience to satisfy some disgusting pre-election deal with Obama are whiners also? And those who dismiss the (possible) appointment of a (very) few tokens are whining. And…

Then you say “Interesting to see people finding ways to belittle these appointments so they can still cling to their rage against Warren. Cling? Rage? When you use words like that are you merely doing a second-rate imitation of a talk show host or are you angry because right-wingers like you and Michael Crawford are so self-isolated by your politics.

If you want to become a mirror image of Bush's Religious Right and act the same as they do, only with Obama, then please, be my guest. I refuse to sink to their level by making similar demands on Obama as the RR did on Bush. But, since you don't like Democrats or Republicans, then I guess we will hear this kind of language from you regardless of whatever happens, good, bad or indifferent. Happy New Year.

Yawn. Oh Hai. I uzed yur votes n dont needz you anymorz. Sounz Familiar?

LAKE FOREST, Calif. (ABP) -- Pastor Rick Warren termed criticism of his selection to pray the invocation at President-elect Barack Obama's Jan. 20 inauguration "hate speech" and "Christophobia" in a video message on the Saddleback Church website.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | December 31, 2008 7:59 PM

As 2008 comes to a close, I am thinking quite a bit about the extremely high level of bitterness and cynicism that some in the LGBT community remain trapped in. It is unfortunate and i hope that future generations of LGBT people will escape this self-defeating trap.

Anthony in Nashville | January 1, 2009 3:57 PM

One thing I've noticed among a lot of LGBT leaders/writers/activists is their high rate of burnout due to the "bitterness and cynicism" that you mention.

I wonder if anyone has done any research into whether the LGBT community is more cynical or pessimistic than the population at large, and if so, why.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | January 1, 2009 6:00 PM

“I am thinking quite a bit about the extremely high level of bitterness and cynicism that some in the LGBT community remain trapped in.”

Like Monica and other right-wingers Crawford deliberately tires to equate anger and a determination to win our agenda with bitterness and cynicism. That’s because while most of us are in it for the movement, Crawford’s only goal seems to be advancing the career of a tawdry hustler named Obama. He’s a self proclaimed Obamaholic.

Idolatry of an individual instead of the political goals of the GLBT movements is the root of the question. Anyone who puts loyalty to party line or to an individual above the needs of the movement will end up isolating themselves and then blame everyone else for being bitter.

Stop your bitching and take action. Anyone can apply for a position in the Obama-Biden administration. Here's the link.


Interesting to see people finding ways to belittle these appointments so they can still cling to their rage against Warren. I'm willing to bet that even if Warren was removed from giving his 2-min prayer, there would still people who would find ways to complain about it. "He wasn't removed soon enough!!!" It'll be interesting to see this blog light up like the 4th of July when shit really hits the fan, assuming they haven't spent all their anger on Warren.

It's interesting that you're defending these appointments, Monica, considering that they haven't been made.

When we know who's appointed to what, then we can discuss whether they're good appointments or not. But before we even know who's being appointed or what offices they got, it's ridiculous to expect people to celebrate.

Y'know, after the whole Rick Warren thing, I just can't take anything on faith anymore from this guy. It's not just the fact of the appointment, but the apparent complete lack of compassion for and consideration of the feelings of LGBT Americans on Obama's part. If things are truly to be different now, if that much-promised change really does include us, I will believe it when I see it actually happen and not one second before. Obama's now taught us, through Rick Warren, that now that he's going to be President that he's going to do whatever he wants with little or no concern for how it affects LGBT people.

He asks to hear what we're thinking, but Rick Warren proves that for all of that public posturing the truth is that Obama's just not listening to what we're saying.

Well, again, seeing is believing. Michael, thank you for letting me know that NCTE was there, though I am unfamiliar with their status in the heirarchy of trans-ogranisations.

Realistically, though, if NCLR was not there then Lesbians were not represented. Nothing new, and there is friction between HRC and NCLR since NCLR supported United ENDA.

The right wing got a homophobe in the cabinet and Rick Warren giving an invocation. We got a band and some great speeches while people kept on getting murdered throughout and a prominent trans-activist died on the streets.

There were gays in the Bush administration too.
There are gays working for the RNC, one of whom designed the tactic of using same sex marriage to polarise the nation on 00 and 04.

Bill Clinton talked a good game back in the day, in the beginning. George W. Bush talked about an end to nation-building and interfering in other people's conflicts, and fiscal responsibility....

Yes, I am going to continue to "whine" as you call it, Michael and Monica. Because we will only get change when we've said "enough" to all the pain that they inflict upon us, not picking and choosing which hurts and injuries we can endure.

There is nothing wrong with saying "enough." I've do it all the time. Sometimes, it works and sometimes it doesn't. There is always a point you reach in any situation where you realize that pushing further is not going to change the outcome. At that point, you step back to regroup or work on something else.

Albert Einstein once gave his definition of "insanity" as: "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." The constant screaming about Warren, thinking that we will get a different result has reached the level of insanity that Einstein was describing.

Now, all of you can continue hollering at Obama about Warren, thinking he will change the "result," or save your energy for a real fight. Me, I'm done with trying to point out the LGBT insanity that seems to be such an easy diesease to catch. This is now 2009, and I'm going to stop my insanity in thinking I'll get different results with all of you.

Hey, that Einsten dude was pretty smart.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | January 1, 2009 3:16 PM

I'm with you Monica. Enough of doing the same old things and bearing the same old grudges and expecting a different result.

I am committed to moving forward and working with people who are committed to moving forward.

There is a lot of work to do to win equal rights for LGBT people and I am spending my time and energy on winning the rights that our community so desperately needs.

Accomodating and adjusting our expectations to the prejudices of the age is not working effectively for our rights.

They offend, we respond.
No passes on anything from here on out.

We win by making opposing us too inconvienient and costlyy for them to continue.

And Patrick--well put as always.
I am sick to death of morning coat revolutionaries like the HRC dictating our responses.

Realistically, though, if NCLR was not there then Lesbians were not represented.

I disagree. Do you know how many lesbians are part of the 12 organizations? Do you know how many lesbians helped organize the commission or actively served to weed out candidates or push our agenda? I doubt it. I don't. You're making an assumption without prior knowledge, I'm guessing.

You can always write [email protected] to ask why NCLR wasn't part of the coalition. Kate Kendall is a contributor.

So which strategy is the one we have tried that failed so we can avoid contradicting Einstein?

Have we already tried demonstrating, resisting and ceasing cooperation with the status quo and that dissent failed?


Have we already tried working within the system, fighting for a seat at the table and compromising our goals to obtain an increment of what we are due and that hasn't produced desirable results?

What is the new, bold, path we are to follow here, oh wise leaders?

I suggest that instead of defensively rallying to the side of a politician that has yet to do anything to warrant our support we should not abdicate our responsibility to pay close attention to what we see today with a finger kept in the place of the history book to 1992 - the last great Democrat to take charge.


Politicians - that is all Obama is after all - do not do the right things because they are touched by gawd. They take the actions that are demanded of them by the people that don't give them another choice.

Keep waiting and holding your breath and giving them one more chance to redeem themselves...one more chance...this time they'll get it right...now what was it that Einstein said???

The time to do something different and trying a different approach is 19 days away. All the stuff you talked about was what has happened since 1992. In that year, the mindset of Americans was to avoid anything gay and to oppose everything gay. And the reaction from Americans when you mentioned "transgender people" would be a resounding "Huh?" The education level was low in the 1990s.

From 2001 to this year (in 19 days) we had an administration who wanted to not only use gay people as a wedge issue, but wanted to turn back the scientific clock to the 1600s. We knew we wouldn't get anywhere with Bush and Co, but we continued educating the American public the entire time.

Now, we have the better education level with the American people AND an adminstration who understands us (to a point) and that combination is something we have never had. Period. Americans overwhelmingly support our largests issues, but are still a bit weak on marriage rights.

So, we get a chance to no longer needing to try the same things over and over to get the same results. We have new doors that are opening up in front of us to try things different and get satisfactory results. Patience is a vertue, one trans people have been forced to endure because of being left behind so often by their gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. Now, we are telling you the same thing we've been told. "Your time will come."

I'm sure you are absolutely right, Monica.

Since the so-called marriage equality movement is a failure, then that must mean that the transgender equality movement is on the rise.

I have no doubt that Obama will help our transgendered friends by encouraging the passage of ENDA and I certainly hope he does that first - before he ends DADT and repeals DOMA.

It is your time to rise Monica. I will do as you ask and keep my mouth shut and will refuse to complain or demonstrate against any real or perceived slight delivered by the Obama administration because I wouldn't want that disobedience to get in the way of your undoubtedly overdue moment of glory.

Let's face it - Obama is the man that will champion the cause of the transgendered and I am going to steer clear of impeding this progress.

You with me Michael?

Who knew that Obama was such a fierce and loyal friend to the transgendered?

Thanks for the illumination, Monica. I should have been listening to you all along.

Please don't keep your mouth shut. We need people like you and Maura. The only thing I ask of people to see the Warren issue for what it really is and where is sits in comparison to the issues that really matter to all LGBT people. If it has been shown that Obama hasn't changed his stance on LGBT issues, then his "hands across the aisle" should be just that.

I'm sure Obama will speak with and work with many people certain Americans will hate. If he acted differently, then he would be no better than Bush, who didn't work with anyone but his base. Is that what you want from Obama, a closed mind? Some people on this list seem to insist upon it, meaning they are acting no better than Bush's base. Sorry, but I want Obama to work with everyone.

I see Warren as, amongst other things, someone advocating a war crime.

You know who I work for currently, Monica.
The symbolism of the action of given him first place is terrible to the Eurpopeans, and to the impression that it gives that Obama has no more respect for interntaional law than Bush does.

Further, he defends justifies the actiona of Akinola against Muslims and against LGBT's
The action against Muslims was inciting the deaths of 700 people.

I cannot swallow it.
If I could, I would unfit for my current work.
If I could, I would be unfit as a human being.

You are not wrong about Warren. You never have been. What he advocates is not what Obama advocates. Painting Obama with the sins of Warren is unfair to Obama. If you are demanding that Obama drops Warren because you don't like him for whatever reason, it's the same type of demands the Religious Right made on Bush for eight years. Gays are to the Religious Right as is Warren is to us. Are you going to be Obama's radical left, making the same demands on him as the radical right did on Bush? I thought we were better than the Religious Right. Apparently not. Don't bring yourself down to their level. It's so easy to sink. So much for change.

Obama can only do so much. He has no real power to change the economy. His Clinton administration advisors are inept and got us in this mess. To study what happened in the big depression and apply it today with a New Deal policy is naive and ludicrous. The majority in the 30's were uneducated laborer and could build a road, construct a house, and weld a beam. Can white collar workers get up from the computer leave the welfare line and go out and work on crumbling schools, repair sewer lines and build bridges ? Different times and people are too arrogant always wanting a handout from the government. The more that's handed out the less the dollar is worth on the world market. The Euro continues to strenghten against the dollar.
Obama and crew are in for a bumpy ride. Forget about entitlements to LGBT's. Just keep safe in your state, because hate crimes against us are getting to be epidemic. Transgender and effeminate men are the most targeted.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | January 2, 2009 11:32 AM

I am committed to not sitting on the sidelines complaining and will instead spend my time and energy focused on making positive change.

For far too long, too many of us have sat with arms crossed spouting cynicism. That's gotten us nowhere.

We have a chance to make true progress on LGBT issues. We won't realize that possibility if we don't engage.

For far too long, too many of us have put blind faith in elected officials to care about us after they get into office. That's gotten us nowhere.

We've got to continue to put pressure on Obama from the left, because otherwise the only pressure on him will be from the right, because those folks aren't going to stop complaining.

Is that the ONLY path to take in all of this? The ones who complaing the loudest wins? I don't see that as the most sensable way to do activism, and this is coming from a person who has done that for years and didn't get anywhere. You learn activism from the school of hard knocks. Have you enrolled, Alex? Will you be lobbying with us in DC?

I disagree Monica. Patiently and quietly waiting our turn got us nowhere. It was only when we began actively protesting and being covered in the media that things began to change in any real way.

Nothing changes in DC unless those in power feel it needs to change, and that means political pressure needs to be applied strongly and consistently.

Most of Congress hasn't felt the need to go out on a limb politically for transpeople until now. I believe that a big reason why things are changing (besides the Obama factor) is that Congress has now realized that we're not alone anymore. We have an almost united community behind us as well as the support of mainstream progressives and organized labor now. There aren't a lot of Dems who want to risk pissing off organized labor (as with the Mayor of LA backing out of the SF HRC dinner so he wouldn't have to cross a union picket line).

The fact is that the protests are doing exactly what we need them to do. Now is not the time to calm down, now is the time to turn the heat up to maximum and keep it there until we get what we want and need.

No retreat, baby, no surrender.

Out on the street protesting is not what is being discussed here. All that you said is right on the money, but the Warren issue is the "horse of a different color." Too many LGBT people are making the same demands on Obama that the Religious Right have made on Bush.

Are we that calous to act like the very people who have supressed us for decades? Are we so unintellegent to not come up with more creative ways to make the same point, without wanting to sink the livel of Foucs on the Family and Rick Warren himself?

They scream. We scream. (But no ice cream.) And it acomplishes what? I refuse to act like the low-lifes in the RR, and if that means giving Obama a pass this time on the little piss-ant Warren for a 2-min prayer, then I will. There are bigger issues in the future and I will be loud when needed there.

At 58, I am starting to see the wisdom in picking my battles, and this Warren thing doesn't even rank at the same level as a roudy chess match. By screaming about him this much, he's gotten more than the alloted 15 minutes. We can thank you all for elevating Warren to the Brittney Speares fame level.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | January 2, 2009 8:48 PM

This is a joke, right?

Can anyone be so befuddled that they think drifting up and down the halls of Congress hat in hand beseeching bigots for concessions is a winning tactic? Especially if it’s done by a sorry collection of self appointed GLBT ‘leaders’ like those of HRC and No on 8. Get real. Aside from being futile, except for bureaucratic career building, it’s nothing less than collaboration. The simple truth is that politicians have no ‘principles’ except those printed on currency and they prefer higher denominations. Congress members will smile, shake your hand, kiss your babies and address you as ‘Mr’, ‘Ms’, and ‘Mrs’. But as soon as that door closes your status reverts t0 ‘freak’, ‘dyke’ and ‘faggot’.

Our fight for equality can only be advanced by focused mass action movements that can compel change. Lobbying is at best an optional adjunct of a mass action campaign and only effective when lobbyists are elected and directed based on the needs of the movement expressed by democratic decision making. Movement lobbyists have to memorize the phrase “We won’t take no for an answer.” Democrat lobbyists, especially HRC careerists, will take no for an answer. They always have and they always will.

Sorry, Alex. There are no leftists in the Democrat Party and precious few left centrists like Kucinich. Your party is a right centrist party moving further right under the impact of the war and a failed economy. People who support that are right centrists and should have no illusions about being part of the left.

The left, working through vehicles like the antiwar movement and a quickly radicalizing trade union movement, will be doing it’s best to advance our agenda with a mass action perspective. Right centrists are of course welcome and encouraged to take part in demonstrations and etc.

In the meantime those whose loyalty is limited to Obama's cult of the personality, to partisan politics for either party or who are simply blind about how change occurs can continue to go through the motions; talking about hope and change coming from an open bigot like Obama, bemoaning their increasing isolation and carping about the bitterness of activists. It's not as if anyone expected anything different from them.

post rick warren, how would this truly feel?

like yet another insincere publicity stunt!

re rick:

I wonder how the gays in Obama’s inner circle feel about this curious selection? It is akin to joining the Congressional Black Caucus, only to find that David Duke has been selected as the keynote speaker for your induction!!!

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