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Letters to
President-elect Obama: Reverend Troy Perry

Letters to
President-elect Obama: Reverend Troy Perry


Open letters from 26 gay men and lesbians.

Dear President-elect Obama:

I am pleased to add my warm congratulations to those people of goodwill across America and around the world on the occasion of your election to the presidency of the United States.

Over the past two years you and your campaign have inspired America, registered millions of new voters, brought millions of first-time participants in the political process, turned red states into blue and purple states, and inspired hope during these very difficult times.

Now the hard work begins.

Let me suggest that, ultimately, nothing will prove more important to your administration's success and America's revitalization than these two things: keeping alive the hope you inspired throughout your campaign and assuring that all citizens have equal standing before our government and under our laws.

You assume office at a difficult period in our nation's life. We've gone seriously off track. Too many of our people are hurting. We're wracked by a faltering economy and mired in a war with no end in sight. Faith in our institutions, including the White House, the Congress, corporations, financial institutions and, yes, faith communities has declined precipitously. Immigrants, once welcomed as the strength of our nation, are now too often the targets of frustration and resentment. Millions are uninsured or under-insured.

Your task of inspiring and sustaining hope is all the more challenging because we've been disappointed too often. In 1968, the year I founded Metropolitan Community Churches, Candidate Nixon campaigned on the theme "Bring Us Together." President Nixon's administration left us divided and disillusioned. Candidate Clinton promised to end the ban on gays in the military. President Clinton failed to deliver. And the current occupant of the White House promised to be a "uniter, not a divider." That's more than a violation of the truth-in-advertising laws--it's yet one more broken promise by our nation's leaders.

Mr. President-elect, here's my advice: Fight with all your might to fulfill your promise to renew hope in our land; settle for nothing less and fend off the thousand daily tugs and nudges that would deflect you from bringing hope to our people, especially those who have been most deprived of it: the poor; minorities; urban youths; immigrants; our gay and lesbian citizens, who still are denied full equality under our nation's laws; and even more so, our transgender brothers and sisters, who are the too frequent targets of violence, hate crimes, and even murder that goes underreported by the media and underprosecuted by law enforcement.

In 1977, I was a member of the first delegation of gay rights leaders invited to meet at the White House to advise the president and his administration. I have never forgotten what I felt on that day. It was a different time--it was legal to discriminate against LGBT people with impunity. Psychiatry labeled us sick; churches called us sinners. Even our private, intimate love was criminalized. But on that day in 1977, I walked the halls of the White House as an openly gay man and a guest of the president of the United States. My nation welcomed me into that place, and it was a powerful experience: I knew I had a right to be there, and I felt at home in the symbol of our democracy.

Mr. President-elect, I am convinced that history will judge you and your administration a success if you conduct your presidency so that our nation's people feel what I felt and know what I knew on that day in 1977. Let this be the measure of your success: Whether at the end of your term, you have left citizens from every walk of life knowing that the White House is once again truly the people's house and that the government is the government of all our people; that all people have equal standing there and are treated equally under the law.

As you prepare for your new duties, please know that millions of us are wishing you the very best, and holding you in our prayers, and cheering you on.

With all good wishes, I remain:

The Reverend Doctor Troy D. Perry Founder and moderator emeritus Metropolitan Community Churches

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

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

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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