BY Michelle Garcia
January 26 2010 5:55 PM ET
As President Barack Obama makes his final preparations to address Congress and the nation on his accomplishments in office and the year ahead, Indiana business owner Trevor Yager is making preparations of his own to head to Washington, D.C. Yager will be in the crowd for the president's first State of the Union address, where Obama will outline his plans for the economy, health care reform, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is expected to address the military's ban on openly gay troops.
Yager is a principal of Indianapolis's TrendyMinds, a marketing and advertising agency with several national and local clients. In the past year Trendy Minds has grown 200%, doubling its number of employees, gaining 15 new accounts, and renovating its space to accommodate such growth. The company is certified as a gay-owned business by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, which suggested TrendyMinds be acknowledged by the White House.
Yager talked to Advocate.com about how being an openly gay business owner in a conservative state can make him a little nervous and exactly what he thinks of Obama's progress on gay rights.
Advocate.com: How did you find out that you were invited to attend the State of the Union address?
Trevor Yager: We're a member of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and they have a long-standing relationship with Obama. He invited them to the White House one week after he became president. So the White House reached out to them, and said, "We would like to profile some of your members." So they reached out to various groups, and we were one of them. We wrote a three-paragraph statement on our company and what we've been doing over the last year and sent that on to NGLCC, and they took it up the ranks and over to the White House. The White House liked it, and they asked for more information from me. They asked for my name, date of birth, social security number, and then I didn't hear anything. So we were just kind of waiting, and then I got a call from [White House staffer] Brian Bond on Friday night, saying that the president and first lady had extended an invitation for me to come out to Washington. It's been neat to be a part of it and to gear up to go.
Do you know where you'll be sitting?
I'm going to be seated with the first lady in the box, but I don't know where.
We've been informed that the president will likely address "don't ask, don't tell" during his address. What else do you expect to hear from him on Wednesday night concerning gay issues?
I don't know — if we look at what's happening right now, across the playing field, we know that the economy is going to be a major focus. As far as the other things, I'm not sure if he is going to address that or overarching civil rights issues, and more than just "don't ask, don't tell." We're all fighting for equality and equal representation, so it's hard to say — I think it's impressive that we do have a president in office who does care about us, despite what some may think as far as the speed with which some things are happening.
Just looking at the relationships that the White House has built with NGLCC should show that they definitely care about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. It's a big deal. With everything, things do take time. I can't imagine the job that he has, as far as moving everybody forward and getting so many different things done. Sometimes things going forward may not be quick enough for some.
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