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Letters to President-elect Obama: Jarrett Lucas

Letters to President-elect Obama: Jarrett Lucas

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Open letters from 26 gay men and lesbians.

Dear President Obama,

Right now I am on a bus in the South, proudly seated in the front. I am leading 15 of my peers on a journey called the Soulforce Q Equality Ride. For five weeks we have been traveling to academic institutions in order to champion diversity; in particular, folks who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. Interestingly, most of our advocacy comes in the form of conversations with religious believers who "disagree" with homosexuality and gender variance on the basis of doctrine.

Through such dialogue I have realized with astounding clarity that our fundamental difference is usually not a matter of belief. Rather, it is how we embody and understand common principles. And essential to closing that divide is the monumental task of establishing community, which requires that we heal ourselves and build relationships with those on the other side. Likewise, with your ascension comes a similar challenge. You must be patient and physician, representative and leader. Albeit to a much lesser degree, I am beginning to understand that dichotomy.

Lately I have been feeling increasingly more apolitical. That sentiment, however, is rooted in idealism, not apathy. I am a person of faith, and I dream of living in a land wherein the laws of government reflect the values of society. I am a person of color, and I wish to see an end to both systematic oppression and the personal prejudice that sustains it. I am a gay man, and I want my humanity and worth to be written into the intellectual constitution of my fellow citizens. I am a young person poised to inherit this world, and I want change. And by change I mean responsible betterment.

I do not envy your position, nor would I claim to have all the answers. Even still, to speak for the whole of our nation, you must hear the smallest voices. With that, here is all I ask. As you oversee the faithful execution of law, it is my appeal that you not put policy above people. As you yourself challenge the prescriptions of history, I challenge you to set progressive precedents for future generations. Before you make new rules, question the validity of those that already exist. In your aim to conserve the words of the Founding Fathers, please be willing to apply them to the lives of your children and mine. Finally, as you uphold the canons of leadership, have the courage to author new chapters and the integrity to erase unjust conclusions. Only then will all be able to trust in power and have a passion for democracy.

Warmly,

Jarrett LucasCodirector of the 2008 Soulforce Q Equality Ride

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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