Charlene Strong acknowledged at White House pride celebration

Charlene Strong (L) and Audrey Fleming at the White House on Tuesday.

President Obama opened the White House doors last night to LGBT activists and leaders of state and local LGBT groups from around the country.

Among the attendees were friend of the Task Force Charlene Strong, whose tragic story about losing her partner Kate Fleming was recently made into the documentary “for my wife…”, and Kate’s mother Audrey Fleming.

The president acknowledged Charlene and Audrey’s presence during his remarks. He discussed the profound pain and distress that occur when hospitals deny LGBT people access to their sick or injured same-sex partners, and said:

Charlene Strong is here. She lost her wife, Kate Fleming — and Charlene is here along with Kate’s mom, who said on behalf of all mothers, thank you. Because we think it’s the right thing to do.

Earlier in the day, Charlene had the opportunity to meet with Obama directly. After the meeting, Charlene said:

Today President Obama looked me in the eye and took both my hands and said that he knew my story and was proud to stand with me. And I was proud to be a voice of victory, and what we have won in Washington state, and not only a voice of pain.

Audrey Fleming with Vice President Joe Biden.

Charlene’s powerful story was part of what influenced the president to extend hospital visitation and medical decision-making to same-sex couples. As we posted about earlier, Charlene has also used her story and become an influential activist. She’s a member of Washington state’s Human Rights Commission and endowed the Kate Fleming Memorial Internship in Movement Storytelling here at the Task Force.

Charlene’s story was recently made into the documentary film titled “for my wife…” which is screening tomorrow evening in Washington, D.C., as a benefit for the Task Force. More details and tickets are available here.