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Letters to President-elect Obama: Lorri L. Jean

Letters to President-elect Obama: Lorri L. Jean

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Open letters from 17 gay men and lesbians.

Dear President-elect Obama:

Congratulations! You have achieved your historic victory at a critical time for the nation. Your vision of what America could be has inspired and instilled hope in millions of us. I wish you unprecedented success with the many harrowing challenges that will assail you over the coming years. But today I focus on the very specific concerns I have on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

You've talked of creating unity in our nation -- not red states or blue states but United States. This is vital if we are to live up to the promise of America. Yet, I have to be honest -- I have wondered whether your vision fully includes my community of LGBT people.

To my great disappointment, you have contributed to disunity and anti-LGBT bias by opposing the freedom to marry and supporting a status that you seem to consider "separate but equal." Surely you know that such a thing is not possible. In California we fought a herculean battle over the freedom to marry -- a battle that would have been easier had you stood for full equality. Instead, you chose what you presumed was a politically expedient position in support of discrimination. As a result, you caused great confusion among your supporters and enabled proponents of Proposition 8 to use you as a tool of bigotry in their deceptive advertising campaign.

Now we need your leadership to heal these divisions. We need to see that you believe in us too. We need you to live up to your promise to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. We need you to increase funding for HIV/AIDS services and especially prevention, right here in the United States. And we need you to ensure that our relationships, whether legal marriages or some other second-class legal status, are afforded equal federal benefits, including equal immigration rights.

I want you to be a great president. My fondest dream for my community is that you will rectify your mistake of trying to walk an untenable line of discrimination. When the history of our civil rights struggle is written, I want you to be included among those political leaders who had the courage and integrity to do what is right. I know your heart is with us; we need your visible leadership as well.

Lorri L. JeanCEOLos Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center

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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