Here is what waymonhudson posted at Pam's House Blend:
Yesterday, President Obama hosted a "celebration of Stonewall" at the White House, the first of its kind. While it may have been the first time a President spoke on LGBT rights in the White house for 20 minutes, I couldn't help but be surprised by the reaction of the cheering crowd and by people online.In fairness, there are usually always at least two sides to every story. For another perspective on the day read: Welcome to Your White House, by Cathy Renna posted on The Bilerico Project Facebook page.
The speech wasn't anything really different from his campaign promises: repeal DADT and DOMA (legislatively), we need respect for each other, we're all equal, etc. It was more words with very little action to back it up.
Yet part of me was moved by the President speaking these words from the White House, acknowledging us and our struggles. That's when I realized this reaction was part of what has given cover to our political leaders for years now, allowing them to lag behind the general public in regards to our rights and equality.
There was time when that speech might have been enough, but that time was years ago- before out elected officials, marriage equality in some states, employment protections from top companies, and a general trend towards inclusion.
It was a speech for 1999, not 2009.
The title of this post is one of the first things President Obama said yesterday at the Stonewall commemoration at the White House yesterday. Were there cocktails? Yes. But this was not a typical cocktail party. Were there many "A-listers?" Yes. But this event should not be easily dismissed as an "A-list gay event."
In the past few weeks, there has been a firestorm of debate and discussion about how we move our community forward under the current leadership. I have personally been very vocal about how our impatience should be a motivator, something to be channeled in a smart, assertive and effective manner.
Yesterday was another opportunity to do that the best way I could, so I did. Want to get past the sounds bites and headlines, as well as what I think is the less productive intra-community attacking that is happening? [...]
I had the singular honor or working with some of the White House staff to secure some Stonewall veterans for this event. Through our firm's work with SAGE and other groups and individuals, we have spent the past few months doing a lot of work related to the 40th anniversary. We were fortunate and thrilled to have two real Stonewall veterans step forward and attend - Jerry Hoose and Tommy Lanigan-Schmidt.
They are decidedly not A-listers, but got treated better than the A-listers and with tremendous respect by all.
Their contributions were recognized by the President - along with others like Dr. Frank Kameny, who was also present.
Leah and I were even asked to take them back to meet with the President and First Lady prior to the speech.
It was, in the words of Jerry (pictured with me on the left), "one of the most exciting things I have ever done in my life."
For someone who helped get this pioneer and still involved activist - who by the way got into the White House using his government-issued Food Stamp ID - it meant a lot to us to be part of helping make that happen.