View From the Hill

President Obama's first 100 days showed great potential for LGBT advances, but both he and our LGBT leaders will ultimately be judged by what they accomplish on behalf of our movement.

BY Kerry Eleveld

May 02 2009 12:00 AM ET

Without dissecting the details of either argument, Garry rightly notes in her piece that patience does not come naturally to equality activists. As many in our community warn, no marginalized group has ever made gains by standing silently in the corner.

I would add that playing the inside game is also an uncomfortable space for a movement that has been lobbing grenades from a bunker for so many years.

The uncharted territory in which we find ourselves is both fertile and disorienting. President Obama, in my opinion, has set the stage for possibility, even if the deliverables have yet to emerge. But with so many challenges facing the nation and the gay-issue residue that undoubtedly hovers over high-level staffers like Rahm Emanuel (who had a front-row seat for President Clinton's early LGBT missteps), our commander in chief will most certainly need consistent and persistent nudging along the path to LGBT equality.

That nudging may look and feel altogether different than it has in the past, leaving us with no time-tested, silver-bullet approach. I would urge LGBT activists working on both the inside and outside of this administration to continually second-guess their first impulses and then proceed to act with caution. Sometimes, lobbing that grenade yields nothing more than collateral damage, and other times settling for soothing reassurances is simply a dead-end road to complacency. As President Obama says himself, he will be judged on what he delivers. And so will the LGBT leaders who head our organizations during this critical time, whether they are whispering in his ear or shouting from behind the White House gates.

Tags: Politics

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