Press

Task Force leader hand-delivers community messages to President Obama at White House Pride Month reception

Date: 
June 30, 2009

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WASHINGTON, June 30 — National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey hand-delivered a binder containing messages from nearly 700 supporters of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights to President Obama at the White House's Pride Month reception on June 29.

Late last week, the Task Force solicited the feedback from community members, asking: "What would you say to the president if you had the opportunity?" Many of the responses presented by Carey to the president spotlighted people's stories of discrimination and hopes for equality. Marriage equality, family recognition, nondiscrimination protections, immigration, health care reform, hate crimes and abolishing the military ban were common themes; while the topics were over-arching, the stories were unique and personal.

"When President Obama and the First Lady stepped off the podium following the president's remarks, I was among the first they met. I knew I would only have a few seconds before he moved on. I held out the binder that contained reflections on our lives, the words of our community, and I said to him, 'Mr. President, these are hundreds of messages to you from LGBT people, our friends and family across the country. This is what they want you to know.' He looked at the binder and thanked me," says Carey. "A number of people had asked me during the reception about the binder and when I told them what it was, they were moved by the words of so many being brought to the event.

"To know that the messages from hundreds and hundreds of LGBT people, our friends and families — couples, parents, former service members, federal employees, people lacking health care and jobs — are now in the White House gives added meaning to our work to press for ending government-sponsored discrimination. The real stories of our lives, of the struggles we face and the ideas we have for change, can help to shape public policy now and in the future.

"I was also pleased to hear a more emotional tone in the president's remarks because one of the things we want is to know that he understands the gravity of the issues facing our community — and we are taking him up on his invitation to watch his actions."


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Read Rea Carey's introductory letter to President Obama that appeared in the binder.

To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.