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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

State of the Union for Gays: Cannon Fodder Only!

Posted By on Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 1:34 PM

Obama speaks from the heart, but what about the gays?
​President Obama has a very special message for LGBT Americans: Sign up for military service.

That is all.

Actually, that message comes with a few asterisks. First, don't go to the recruitment office just yet. Don't Ask Don't Tell was repealed by Congress, but the military still enforces it -- with no end in sight. Even then, transgender citizens aren't invited to sign up.

But yes, in 2011 (presumably) gays can join the military. The president thanks us for all the fun we had together in 2010 as we fought to make this happen -- but the party is over.

He won't be blowing hot air up our skirts again until 2012.  


Don't get me wrong -- I'm not surprised by his speech last night.

It was rather long and boring and Obama repeated the lofty and down-home themes that we hear in EVERY state of the union address: "The America of the future must ride a bullet train to Mars built by small businesses staffed by people with community college degrees that sit around the kitchen table trying to make ends meet while praying to a vengeful god." 

-Blah blah blah...

(standing ovation)

In the days leading up to the speech, I could smell the bait that was tossed to the homos. The gay hero from the Tucson shooting, Daniel Hernandez, was invited to sit with Michelle Obama during the speech. That gesture (and a mini-editorial in the New York Times from Dan Savage) helped build anticipation and speculation that perhaps Obama would throw us a bone as he did in his 2010 SOTU speech. 

I listened to the speech (the text is available everywhere), and now that we have been delivered crumbs, with the potential ending of DADT, the LGBT population is, again, pushed to the background, the basement...or the closet.

The president spoke of the plight of undocumented workers and the need for immigration reform, yet he didn't bother to mention bi-national same-sex couples that are torn apart by the inability of gays to sponsor a partner for citizenship. The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), which is intended to help these families stay together in America, has been put on the back burner.

Obama spoke about the importance of education and public school reform, but he didn't make one mention of the crisis of LGBT student bullying or the need to address the heartbreaking stories of gay teenagers committing suicide. He didn't mention the Safe Schools Improvement Act as a way to help end the suffering of LGBT youth.

The president talked about jobs and training and development, yet he never found a way to promote the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) as a way to help all Americans get jobs, keep jobs, and gain skills.

And the president certainly didn't make even a veiled reference to the notion of the need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that allows the federal government -- and all states -- to ignore legal same-sex marriages.

Nor did he mention AIDS or HIV.

The good news: at some point, maybe this year, lesbian, gay, and bisexual Americans will be able to join the military.

Last night Obama said:  "We believe that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people; that we share common hopes and a common creed; that the dreams of a little girl in Tucson are not so different than those of our own children, and that they all deserve the chance to be fulfilled."

Maybe next year he will make the point that LGBT people are part of that country, too, and that we deserve the chance to experience fulfillment beyond bleeding and dying on the battlefield to protect the rights of other Americans to experience their full citizenship.

Patrick Connors is an uppity fag that wants to sit with Michelle Obama for the 2012 State of the Union Address - with his husband sitting between them.

Follow him on Twitter at @UppityFag and @TheSnitchSF 

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Patrick Connors


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