Brett Abrams

White House Entry

Filed By Brett Abrams | February 09, 2009 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, community organizing, HRC, NGLTF, politics, White House

In this week's Washington Blade, a front page article declares the sudden access accorded representatives of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to the White House. The supposition is a return of GLBTQ people and issues to the White House after eight years of the wilderness during the Bush Administration.

Certainly, gay and lesbian groups described the situation under President Bush as no access. But are they exaggerating when they say that the situation with President Obama is virtually an open door policy?

So far, the HRC's legislative director has been to the White House twice and the President of the organization attended a bill signing.

The excitement from some of the membership of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) is noteworthy as well. One blogger refers top the Obama Presidency as "we now live in a country with a community organizer in chief."

The list of expected legislative actions and executive decisions to create, or in the case of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," to overturn, are long from both of these GLBTQ rights organizations. Yet, the sense of the possible is strong.

However, I was intrigued by the reactions of several DC-area GLBTQs to the change in the White House. The focus for most of the people that I have spoken with is on the economy, whether because they recently were laid off from their jobs, or simply because of the hit their retirement savings suffered.

In the column known as Bitch Session, a thread discussed a gay-themed dinner party at the White House. Let your imaginations run wild with imagery of what that would be like.
Here's what one person concluded drag queens, drag kings, male strippers, cynical gay and lesbian comedians at the table. No, just imagine how the Christians and conservatives would react.

The political lobbyists and organizations have their sense of the open door. They have their laundry list of activities. But where are the heads of the people on the ground, supposedly behind them?

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steve tabarez | February 9, 2009 11:37 AM

More. Forget the list of activities. Where are is the all the list of legilation that needs to be drafted,enacted, and signed by our new president? And where are the timelines, benchmarks, and enactment dates so that Obama knows and understands that parties, and mere appointments for a few under this LGBTQ community is not all that we are demanding for our continued support and money? I hope those that are able to walk thru that more open door, remember the ones still outside.

I am happy for the G's, L's, and B's that the HRC now has some access to the White House, but I hope that people that truly represent transgendered people and our interests have access as well.

If our fate is left in the hands of the HRC...

We can not let that ever happen again!

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | February 9, 2009 3:45 PM

I find it remarkable that even with such an amazing shift in the political culture of our country that some remain mired in cynicism. Yes, there is still and incredible amount of work to do to get LGBT legislation past and yes, there will be moments when we are disappointed by President Obama, but we have the best chance ever of passing federal protections for LGBT and we can't afford to have anyone truly committed to equality sitting on the side lines.

Well, we'll see on this one. Obama's also doing cocktails with George Will and Bill Kristol, so access doesn't mean capitulation.

steve tabarez | February 10, 2009 8:51 AM

Cynicism or being prepared and not losing sight of the goal? I'd like to think the latter is what's being advocated here. That, and just questioning if some of the prolclomations of OUR TIME HAS COME is justified. In the end it is about what Obama does or does not do in regard to the lists of actions these groups want him to take action on. It is only practical and prudent to look for timelines and benchmarks as indicators of his committment and support. And to have action plans when he does disappoint us. And yeah, they should probably let him know that.