AIDS Interfaith, DFW Sisters to join Barack for National Day of Service

DFW Sisters will participate in the National Day of Service.

We got a very formal email from our friend Travis Gasper at AIDS Interfaith Network inviting us to participate in President Barack Obama’s National Day or Service — and a very casual, friendly one from Obama, signed “Barack.”

“Dozens of Dallas residents are answering President Barack Obama’s call to action and participating in the National Day of Service on Saturday, January 19 as the kick-off to the 57th Presidential Inauguration,” Gasper wrote. “Volunteers will spend the day at AIDS Interfaith Network (AIN), serving meals to HIV-positive homeless and low-income people. They join hundreds of thousands of Americans across the country in volunteer service.”

Then we received this from “Barack”:

“This Saturday, Michelle and I are heading out to events as part of the National Day of Service — and I hope you’ll join us.”

—  David Taffet

President Obama issues memorandum on protecting LGBTs abroad

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Four days in advance of  Human Rights Day on Saturday, Dec. 10,  President Barack Obama today issued a presidential memorandum “to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons,” according to a statement just released by the White House press office.

The statement sent out by the White House includes these comments by the president:

“The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States commitment to promoting human rights.  I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world — whether it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations, or killing men, women, and children for their perceived sexual orientation.  That is why I declared before heads of state gathered at the United Nations, “no country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere.”  Under my Administration, agencies engaged abroad have already begun taking action to promote the fundamental human rights of LGBT persons everywhere.  Our deep commitment to advancing the human rights of all people is strengthened when we as the United States bring our tools to bear to vigorously advance this goal.”

The memorandum from Obama directs agencies to combat the criminalization of LGBT status or conduct abroad; protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers; leverage foreign assistance to protect human rights and advance nondiscrimination; ensure swift and meaningful U.S. responses to human rights abuses of LGBT persons abroad; engage international organizations in the fight against LGBT discrimination, and report on progress.

I give the president credit for issuing the memorandum at the same time he’s gearing up for what will likely be a tough re-election campaign during which opponents will no doubt use his stance and actions on LGBT issues against him. But I still have to point out that we as LGBT people still face discrimination and inequality right here in the good old U.S.-of-A:

• Our marriages are legally recognized at the federal level and they aren’t recognized in the VAST majority of state and local jurisdictions. We want the Defense of Marriage Act repealed and local and state ordinances and constitutional amendments prohibiting recognition of our relationships need to be overturned.

• There is still no federal protection against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and/gender expression and gender identity. Congress needs to pass — the president needs to sign — the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

• Even though there is now a federal hate crimes law that includes LGBT people, as well as similar laws at many state and local levels, those laws are not well enforced.

Anti-LGBT bullying remains a deadly problem in our schools and our workplaces and on the Internet. We’ve made progress in combating such bullying, but not nearly enough. Dedicate the resources necessary to address the issue effectively.

So let’s applaud our president for the steps he has — and is — taking. There’s no doubt Obama has been more open than any other president about addressing LGBT issues and we have seen great strides forward toward equality during his administration. But there’s a long way to go yet, and we need to make sure that the president — and all our elected officials — know they can’t just rest on their laurels.

—  admin

Gay Inc. Chose Not to Hear Barack Obama Is Going To Change His Mind On Marriage

In his first meeting with a single member of the LGBT press since being elected, President Barack Obama dropped this doozy of a message: he's "evolving" his views on gay marriage. What, no applause from the Human Rights Campaign?


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—  admin

The Politician Calling On Barack Obama Not To Appeal DADT Is a Republican?

Gary Johnson, the anti-tax crusader and former New Mexico governor (until 2003), is a big giant Republican. (I hear some people are born with it.) But that's not keeping him from lashing out against Don't Ask Don't Tell and insisting the White House let Judge Phillips' "ruling stand and move on. … Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has always been wrong and it is still wrong." As with any Republican willing to open his mouth, Johnson's name is being floated as a potential 2012 president candidate, but he'll have to get through Ron Paul first.

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—  John Wright

Tweet Of The Day – Barack Obama

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

We have a fierce advocate. It’s Lady Gaga, not Barack Obama

Kerry Eleveld’s latest column provides an update on the impending Senate vote to end the GOP filibuster of the Defense bill, which contains the DADT language. It’s not good. There’s a standoff between the Democrats and Republicans. And, there’s no sign that the White House is lobbying on behalf of DADT. Think about that. If this is such a priority for the White House, why haven’t we heard a peep from Obama. The Republicans are filibustering a defense bill while we’re fighting two wars. And, nothing.

But, there is one voice out there speaking out. And, she’s speaking to many of those young people who elected Obama. It’s Lady Gaga:

One would think the White House has a stake in making sure this legislative effort doesn’t die since they seem committed to defending the constitutionality of every antigay law on the books. Even more to the point, if the bill’s defeated, President Obama is facing a 2012 election scenario in which his only legislative accomplishment for the LGBT community would be passing hate crimes. I wonder how many LGBT Americans would call that fierce.

Meanwhile, Lady Gaga has been a more visible force for DADT repeal than almost every politician in Washington combined. Trust me when I say that this reporter – who suffers from severe pop culture deficit – initially discounted her. But after having discharged soldiers escort her to the Video Music Awards, exchanging tweets with Reid’s office about the vote, tweeting an explanation of a filibuster and instructing her “little monsters” to call their senators, Lady Gaga penetrated my Beltway myopia.

The YouTube video she posted Thursday advocating for repeal already has nearly a million views [NOTE: it’s well over 1.2 million as of 8:00 a.m.], and yet not a single statement urging passage of the legislation from the White House.

At last year’s Human Rights Campaign dinner, which featured appearances by both President Obama and Lady Gaga, the president joked, “It is a privilege to be here tonight to open for Lady Gaga.”

While Obama’s performance may have given Gaga a run for her money that night, he is clearly being upstaged by her now.

Last night, Lady Gaga tweeted a message about all the responses to her videos and tweets from the “lil Monsters”:

To @SenJohnMcCain and everyone on Twitter I received an overwhelming amount of videos responding to DADT, please watch:


—  John Wright

DREAM Now Letters to Barack Obama: Lizbeth Mateo

Originally posted on Citizen Orange.

The “DREAM Now Series: Letters to Barack Obama” is a social media campaign that launched Monday, July 19, to underscore the urgent need to pass the DREAM Act. The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, S. 729, would help tens of thousands of young people, American in all but paperwork, to earn legal status, provided they graduate from U.S. high schools, have good moral character, and complete either two years of college or military service.  With broader comprehensive immigration reform stuck in partisan gridlock, the time is now for the White House and Congress to step up and pass the DREAM Act!

Dear Mr. President,

My name is Lizbeth Mateo and I am undocumented. On May 17th, on the 56th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, I, along with Mohammad Abdollahi, Yahaira Carrillo and two others, became the first undocumented students to risk deportation by staging a sit-in inside Senator McCain’s office in Tucson, Arizona, to demand the immediate passage of the DREAM Act. As a result of that sit-in we were arrested, turned over to ICE, and we now face deportation
I came to this country when I was fourteen-years-old from Oaxaca, Mexico.  It was the late nineties and Mexico was, and is still, facing one of the worst socio-economic and political periods in recent history. For my parents – a taxi driver and a stay-at-home-mom that were struggling to make ends meet-  it was clear that they would have to choose between seeing their children starve and get sick, or risk it all, leave everything behind and relocate the family to Southern California with hopes of a better future. In 1998 we moved to Los Angeles and have lived here, since. 

Their choice and sacrifice paid-off.  I didn’t only become the first one in my family to graduate from high school, but a couple of years ago I became the first one in my family to graduate from college. I graduated from California State University, Northridge and I am currently in the process of applying to law school. My dream is to become an attorney and defend the most vulnerable in the courts of law.

Life as an undocumented student has not been easy, it’s been filled with tough choices and a lot of uncertainty. At one point I felt like the only way to fulfill my dream of higher education was to leave my family behind and go back to Mexico. But California had become my home and so I chose to stay despite the uncertain future ahead. Against all odds I enrolled in college, and it was there that I first learned about the DREAM Act. From the moment I heard about this piece of legislation I decided to work hard and advocate for its passage. It’s now been seven years since that day and the DREAM Act has yet to become a reality.

Despite overwhelming support, Congress has been unwilling to pass the DREAM Act. It is because of that inaction that earlier this year I had to decide whether committing civil disobedience would be worth the risk of being forcibly separated from my family, and deported to a place I no longer consider home. I made a choice, forced in part by the lack of courage from our leaders in Congress and inspired by your call to change, the “change [that] will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time.” Just as I had chosen to work on your campaign inspired by what you said, that “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek,” I also chose to face my fears, to risk it all, to seek that change, and sit-in so that the DREAM Act could stand alone.

Some say that destiny is not a matter of chances but one of choices. My life and that of my fellow Dreamers has been filled with tough choices, some made by us and some made by others on our behalf. Two months after five of us chose to risk it all for our futures, because we knew that without the DREAM Act we had no future, twenty-one others chose to risk it all for a dream that belongs to us as much as it belongs to our families, our communities, and our home – the United States of America.

I firmly believe that we have made the right choice – to stand up for what we believe in and to try to fulfill the promise of the great American Dream that brought us here in the first place. I firmly believe that we, the undocumented youth, are standing on the right side of history. Now I ask that you stand with us by making the right choice. Help us pass the DREAM Act immediately. Help us free our DREAMs, which have for too long been held hostage to political rhetoric and insensitive choices by a few that have yet to recognize the potential that we have as young, educated people.

Mr. President, staying strong and facing my challenges with courage and dignity while I wait patiently is no longer an option, it’s no longer a choice I can make because I played the last card I had, and my time is running out. I put my life on the line in order to have a chance at a future out of the shadows. Now the DREAM Act is the only chance I have to stay home. Please help us pass the DREAM Act so that no more youth have to risk it all by putting their lives on the line.

Lizbeth Mateo

The “DREAM Now” letter series is inspired by a similar campaign started by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.  The letters are produced by Kyle de Beausset at Citizen Orange with the assistance of America’s Voice.  Every Monday and Wednesday DREAM-eligible youth will publish letters to the President, and each Friday there will be a DREAM Now recap. 

Approximately 65,000 undocumented youth graduate from U.S. high schools every year, who could benefit from passage of the DREAM Act.  Many undocumented youth are brought to the United States before they can even remember much else, and some don’t even realize their undocumented status until they have to get a driver’s license, want to join the military, or apply to college.  DREAM Act youth are American in every sense of the word — except on paper.  It’s been nearly a decade since the DREAM Act was first introduced.  If Congress does not act now, another generation of promising young graduates will be relegated to the shadows and blocked from giving back fully to our great nation.

This is what you can do right now to pass the DREAM Act:

  1. Sign the DREAM Act Petition
  2. Join the DREAM Act Facebook Cause
  3. Send a fax in support of the DREAM Act
  4. Call your Senator and ask them to pass the DREAM Act now.
  5. Email kyle at citizenorange dot com to get more involved

Below is a list of previous entries in the DREAM Now Series:

Mohammad Abdollahi (19 July 2010)
Yahaira Carrillo (21 July 2010)
Weekly Recap – Tell Harry Reid You Want the DREAM Act Now (23 July 2010)
Wendy (26 July 2010)
Matias Ramos (28 July 2010)
Weekly Recap – The CHC Has To Stand With Migrant Youth Not Against Us (30 July 2010)
Tania Unzueta (2 August 2010)
Marlen Moreno (4 August 2010)
Weekly Recap – The Ghost of Virgil Goode Possesses the Republican Party (9 August 2010)
David Cho (9 August 2010)
Ivan Nikolov (11 August 2010)
Yves Gomes (16 August 2010)
Selvin Arevalo (18 August 2010)
Weekly Recap – Latino, LGBT, Migrant Youth, and Progressive Bloggers Lead For the DREAM Act (20 August 2010)
Carlos A. Roa, Jr. (23 August 2010)
Myrna Orozco (25 August 2010)

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Why Won’t The White House Let Us Ogle Barack Obama’s Man Cleavage Anymore?

This is the official White House photo from Pete Souza, the administration's photographer, and the only one you'll see of President Obama shirtless on his Panama City Beach family holiday over the weekend. How come?


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—  John Wright