Photograph by Emillo Flores
Dear Mr. President,
Do you remember the “It Gets Better” project?
The It Gets Better Project’s mission is to communicate to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth around the world that it gets better, and to create and inspire the changes needed to make it better for them. Grown-ups basically put themselves out there with video so there is a huge collection of wonderful, moving real-stories to help kids feel less alone.
These grown-ups are people who grew up not sure who they were. Wondering if they would go to hell because they are a boy…and love boys. Or were born a girl but always felt like a guy inside. Or maybe just weren’t sure what their label should be, but they simply felt more comfortable in girls’ clothes. These are people who got stuffed into lockers, ridiculed, ostracized for being different. Who thought maybe their parents wouldn’t love them anymore if they told anyone their truth.
Oh. You don’t remember this project? That makes sense… because if you did, or if you ever tried to empathize with anyone – truly – there’s no way you would have signed your directive reinstating a ban on transgender individuals from serving in the military.
In the last few years, the world seemed to open up for LGBT kids and grown-ups – thanks to President Obama.
When President Obama was in office, he started out saying he was not sure about gay couples getting married, but that they should have equal rights. In 2011, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was repealed – so that service members could be openly gay without fear of abuse, discrimination, or discharge. President Obama put in place protections to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in all federal employment.
And then – THEN, the Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is a nationwide right. That all individuals have a right to marry the person they love.
I will never forget the rainbow-colored White House. I was so inspired that I even wrote in my journal that I was going to bed full of joy and gratitude. Facebook profile pictures across the world were filtered with gay pride flags. In this often harsh and unfair world, people came together for love.
And now, yet again, you crush the goodness.
You started out considered as a “gay-friendly” Republican candidate. It was one of your saving graces in my mind. Yet you are not only not opening your mind to those different from you. You are casting your mind’s door with iron and slamming it shut.
With your campaign promises, you bring scary, life-altering threats to the LGBTQ community. Opening windows for insurance companies to discriminate against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation—placing gay or lesbian spouses at risk of losing coverage. Signing the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA)—federal legislation that would bar all federal officials from punishing an individual or entity that acts on their “religious or moral belief” that marriage “is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.”
And now. How dare you? How dare you insult the brave women and men who are putting their lives on the line for our country? They are brave enough to volunteer to protect us. They are brave enough to know who they are and live their truth.
How brave are you? Flat-footed, were you?
And you have the audacity to act like we don’t need every single service member who volunteers (while at the same time making you “fire and fury” threats). I for one am so very thankful for our service members. I care that they are people. They are Americans. And they love our country enough to dedicate their lives to it, to us. How dare you even try to impart judgement on these brave human beings?
Here’s a timeline on how it’s gotten better for our youth…but I wonder – what will your section of the timeline say? Is it a coincidence that the timeline ends shortly before the election?
The only thing I can hope is that the timeline will one day show that the country stood up for these kids when you wouldn’t.