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Letters to President-elect Obama: Daniel Tammet

Letters to President-elect Obama: Daniel Tammet

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Open letters from 26 gay men and lesbians.

Dear President Obama,

The 2008 election has reminded people around the world of some of America's best qualities: the exploration of different ideas and alternative points of view, the call for optimism, the respect for and celebration of unity in diversity, and the belief that everyone, no matter their background, should have the opportunity to freely contribute their talents in the service of others.

Not so long ago it would have seemed unthinkable that a woman or a black man might run for or be elected to the presidency of the United States of America. Society seemed to believe that its biggest thoughts and best ideas came only from a certain kind of mind--one embodied by a single gender, color, and creed. America has moved on, in part because of the growing realization that talent comes in all shapes and forms.

All of this matters because our world today is more complex and more interconnected than ever before, promising unprecedented challenges and opportunities for all of us in the years to come. Solving such problems will call for ways of thinking, perceiving, and imagining that are different from the ways that created them.

Statistics suggest that there are more than a million Americans living today, as I do, with Asperger's syndrome or other forms of mild, high-functioning autism. Though many have heard of the difficulties these conditions can pose, few are as aware of the many strengths that can also accompany them, including high intelligence, boundless curiosity, detail-rich perception, and original problem-solving skills.

Frustratingly, many Americans with high-functioning autism lack the means to participate in society as they would wish or are otherwise able to. Programs that support college and university students with high-functioning autism remain rare, and employment opportunities are extremely limited.

Helping these individuals to realize their potential will reinforce America's reputation as an inclusive nation that draws without prejudice on the abilities of all its citizens. It will as well give hope to the young boy or girl with Asperger's living somewhere in the United States today, who may just one day like yourself gracefully parry the preconceptions of others and use his or her uniqueness to inspire a nation and the world.

Sincerely,

Daniel TammetAuthor of Born on a Blue Day

More Letters to the President-elect:Tammy Baldwin, Democratic member of Congress from Wisconsin

Daniel Tammet, author of Born on a Blue Day

Evan Wolfson, Executive director of Freedom to Marry and author of Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry

Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign

Melissa Etheridge, singer-songwriter

Michelangelo Signorile, radio host and author of Queer in America

Tammy Bruce, radio talk-show host and author of The New American Revolution

Kenji Yoshino, professor at New York University School of Law and the author of Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights

Vestal McIntyre, author of You Are Not the One and the forthcoming Lake Overturn

Jarrett Lucas, codirector of the 2008 Soulface Q Equality Ride

Michael Lowenthal, author of Charity Girl and Avoidance

Suzanne Westenhoefer, comedian and star of the documentary A Bottom on Top

Jim Buzinski, CEO and cofounder of Outsports.com

Perez Hilton, blogger, radio host, and television personality

Carole Midgen, former California state senator

Pam Spaulding, Durham, N.C.-based blogger

Paris Barclay, Executive Producer/Director HBO's In Treatment

Lorri L. Jean, CEO, Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center

Jeffrey Prang, Mayor of West Hollywood

Jorge Valencia, Executive director and CEO of Point Foundation

Mark Leno, California assemblyman

The Reverend Doctor Troy D. Perry, founder and moderator emeritus, Metropolitan Community Churches\

Mara Keisling, Executive Director, National Center for Transgender Equality

Donna Rose, transgender activist

Peter Tatchell, LGBT human rights campaigner and spokesman for OutRage!

Rachel B. Tiven, Executive Director, Immigration Equality

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