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Letters to President-elect Obama: Jim Buzinski

Letters to President-elect Obama: Jim Buzinski

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Open letters from 26 gay men and lesbians.

Dear President-elect Obama,

Congratulations on making history--as the first 6-foot-2 basketball shooting guard elected president. It's nice to have a jock in the White House as our national "coach."

I hope the lessons you learned on the basketball court can provide a guide for how you will govern--play hard, play to win, play smart, but play fair and within the rules. And I hope gays and lesbians are integral parts of your new team, the United States of America.

We have been left on the bench for the past eight years, dragged out every election cycle as bogeymen to help rally the Republican base, while Democrats took our money but mostly stayed silent. We are allowed to give our lives fighting for our country under the unjust "don't ask, don't tell" policy but are denied the right to marry the ones we love. We still can be fired in many parts of the country simply for being who we are. Those of us in binational couples face a choice of breaking up or leaving the United States because of discriminatory immigration laws. In short, gays and lesbians have been the sporting equivalent of the Washington Generals, useful props but never allowed to play in meaningful games. This has to change.

What we want is a level playing field, a chance to compete fairly and be governed by the same laws that apply to our straight brothers and sisters. Make us visible, celebrate our accomplishments, and push legislation that is just, even in the face of political pressure. In short, include us as you seek to make this nation great again. Getting everyone on the team to contribute to victory is what a great coach does.

And don't be afraid to be seen with us, since symbols are important. About the only visible gay Republicans in the past eight years were caught in parks, chat rooms, or public toilets.

A good first step can come in your hometown of Chicago next spring. Each year, the Coady Classic brings together the best gay-oriented basketball teams in the country. I think any of the teams could find a bit of playing time for a lanky jump shooter, even one who just turned 47. Don't worry that you're not gay--players of every orientation are welcome, especially those that got game.

Sincerely,

Jim BuzinskiCEO and cofounder of Outsports.com

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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