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President Obama Didn’t Fold Trans People Into The American Family

If we are honest with ourselves we’ll admit that there are too many who do not yet know in their lives or feel in their hearts the urgency of this struggle. That’s why I continue to speak about the importance of equality for LGBT families — and not just in front of gay audiences. That’s why Michelle and I have invited LGBT families to the White House to participate in events like the Easter Egg Roll — because we want to send a message. And that’s why it’s so important that you continue to speak out, that you continue to set an example, that you continue to pressure leaders — including me — and to make the case all across America.

~President Barak Obama, Remarks by the President at Human Rights Campaign Dinner, October 11, 2009 (emphasis added)

President Obama doesn’t speak about equality for transgender people in front of LGBT audiences; it follows then that he doesn’t speak about equality for transgender in front of audiences that are not primarily LGBT. President Obama certainly didn’t mention trans people in his second inaugural speech in the way he mentioned gay people and Stonewall in that speech:

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.

These statements in the President’s second inaugural speech comes months after Vice President Biden (who famously was three days ahead of President Obama in coming out in support of marriage equality) stated during the campaign that transgender discrimination is the “civil rights issue of our time.”

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding