June 24, 2009
Even with mounting criticism of his foot-dragging on LGBT rights—or perhaps because of growing fears of a gay mutiny—President Obama has invited several LGBT advocates to a White House cocktail party next Monday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion,the 1969 Greenwich Village demonstrations that myth says gave birth to the modern gay rights movement. I say “myth” because the truth of the matter is the Gay Liberation street movement started in San Francisco months earlier. I should know, as I was there! Several New York activists later told us our militant actions, via the Gay Guerilla Theater and the Committee for Homosexual Freedom, in the Bay Area inspired and helped spark the riots in their own city. I in no way belittle my New York sisters and brothers’ foray into the movement. I’m just saying it didn’t start there. Visit my author website for more details.
Many prominent gay leaders around the country have received either telephone calls or written invitations to the soiree, and were told the President will speak.
Some of those invited are openly critical of the Obama Administration. “What’s going to change the way the community is feeling is seeing the introduction of a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (and) Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,’’ Jennifer Chrisler, Family Equality Council (formerly Family Pride Coalition) Director, a Boston LGBT group, told the New York Times. “Gay rights advocates want to see a president who is fulfilling the promises he made on the campaign trail.’’ Chrisler was among several LGBT families who attended the April 17 Easter Egg Roll at the White House.
Just last week, when Obama announced domestic partnership benefits for federal workers, several “powerful” GLBT political leaders attacked him, saying the initiative was a token effort that included benefits already on the books, albeit “supervisory optional” ones. Chrisler, who was present for the signing of the memorandum, said she was disappointed by the ‘’limited benefits’’ Mr. Obama offered. She‘s hoping Monday’s rendezvous will provide “an opportunity for us as a community to highlight again to this president and this administration that real lives are impacted by his decisions.’’
Whether or not Mr. Obama will listen to complaints at the reception is not known. The White House is calling the event a “celebration,” comparing it to St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo. (more info on the cocktail party after the following related article and the SLDN video)
Photo of SLDN member Darren Manzella, who was fired from the Army June 2008
In an associated note, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) announced yesterday they intend to protest another upcoming White House affair, the Democratic National Committee's LGBT Leadership Council money raising event, scheduled for this Thursday, June 25. They issued this statement:
"SLDN will be outside boycotting the DNC LGBT event in Washington this Thursday. SLDN will be calling upon the President to end his silence on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." We will be wearing and handing out buttons with the number 265, representing the number of service members who will have been discharged this week since President Obama was sworn in. We do not, nor would we want to, dictate how members of our board or our Military Advisory Council make their political views known. However, I understand that two board members are attending the DNC event. I also understand they will be making their own spirited and creative statements once inside the room."
Watch the following video put out by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network:
The "embargo" continues to grow. Along with many other high profile gay organizations and bloggers, the
National Black Justice Coalition just announced they won’t attend the fundraiser.
In an apparent move to silence those who say the commemoration party was hastily drawn together to counteract the fundraiser boycott and LGBT critics in general, Shin Inouye, a White House spokesperson, said, “Next Monday’s event is a chance for the White House to recognize the accomplishments of LGBT Americans. Invited guests include families, volunteers and activists, and community leaders. This event was long planned as a way to applaud these individuals during Pride month.”
I personally think it’s wonderful that President Obama is recognizing and reaching out to the GLBT Community. A White House reception for gays was unheard of a year ago, if you recall how we were treated by George W. Bush and his cronies. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Let’s give the President more time to get things done. I truly believe the man’s heart is in the right place. Read the New York Times complete article here.
Funnest Line Ever: Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List Season 5 Monday night on Bravo, while preparing to attend the Grammies: “I even put makeup on my vagina. Just light makeup. I don’t want to go overboard.”
Photo of Dianthus Superbus Crimsonia from the author's free flower photo website http://www.freefishcaretips.com/photos90
Also visit http://www.galechesterwhittington.com/ for free humor, short stories, poems, and book excerpts from the award-winning gay author