The Progressive


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Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
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Task Force Leader Hand-Delivers Community Messages to President Obama at White House Pride Month Reception


National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea
Carey hand-delivered a binder containing messages from nearly 700
supporters of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights to
President Obama at the White House's Pride Month reception on June 29.

Late last week, the Task Force solicited the feedback from community
members, asking: "What would you say to the president if you had the
opportunity?" Many of the responses presented by Carey to the president
spotlighted people's stories of discrimination and hopes for equality.
Marriage equality, family recognition, nondiscrimination protections,
immigration, health care reform, hate crimes and abolishing the
military ban were common themes; while the topics were over-arching,
the stories were unique and personal.

"When President Obama and the First Lady stepped off the podium
following the president's remarks, I was among the first they met. I
knew I would only have a few seconds before he moved on. I held out the
binder that contained reflections on our lives, the words of our
community, and I said to him, 'Mr. President, these are hundreds of
messages to you from LGBT people, our friends and family across the
country. This is what they want you to know.' He looked at the binder
and thanked me," says Carey. "A number of people had asked me during
the reception about the binder and when I told them what it was, they
were moved by the words of so many being brought to the event.

"To know that the messages from hundreds and hundreds of LGBT
people, our friends and families - couples, parents, former service
members, federal employees, people lacking health care and jobs - are
now in the White House gives added meaning to our work to press for
ending government-sponsored discrimination. The real stories of our
lives, of the struggles we face and the ideas we have for change, can
help to shape public policy now and in the future.

"I was also pleased to hear a more emotional tone in the president's
remarks because one of the things we want is to know that he
understands the gravity of the issues facing our community - and we are
taking him up on his invitation to watch his actions."

Download a high-resolution photo

Read Rea Carey's introductory letter to President Obama that appeared in the binder.

To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.

The National LGBTQ Task Force advances full freedom, justice and equality for LGBTQ people. We are building a future where everyone can be free to be their entire selves in every aspect of their lives. Today, despite all the progress we've made to end discrimination, millions of LGBTQ people face barriers in every aspect of their lives: in housing, employment, healthcare, retirement, and basic human rights. These barriers must go. That's why the Task Force is training and mobilizing millions of activists across our nation to deliver a world where you can be you. Join us!