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A Collective Catharsis: Obama Inauguration Brings Hope to LGBT Americans

Monday, January 19, 2009

WNYC Guest blogger: Michael K. Lavers

Michael K. Lavers
Michael K. Lavers

Does President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration on Tuesday mark the merciful end of an abusive relationship that has lasted eight tortuous years? The majority of my LGBT brothers and sisters would arguably agree with this assessment.

George W. Bush’s decision to use marriage for same-sex couples as a wedge issue to drive his socially conservative base to the polls in the 2004 presidential election remains an unforgiveable act of political cynicism. The Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006 almost certainly indicated this strategy backfired, but the Bush administration’s decision to use it proved yet again it was all too willing to throw gay and lesbian Americans under the bus in order to sustain its discriminatory and exclusionary ideology.

Bush’s opposition to nuptials for same-sex couples is one of a myriad of issues that activists within the movement for LGBT rights have described as his administration’s failures. These same activists have also criticized Obama and his transition team for a lack of LGBT cabinet members and most notably their decision to invite the Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural convocation.

The post-Proposition 8 reality in which we live only heightens these concerns. The fact remains, however, Obama’s inauguration will amount to a collective catharsis for LGBT Americans who have disproportionately suffered under the Bush administration’s discriminatory and highly divisive politics.

Michael K. Lavers is a journalist based in Bushwick, Brooklyn. A native of Manchester, New Hampshire, he currently edits EDGE New York and EDGE Philadelphia. His work has appeared in the Advocate, the Fire Island News, the Village Voice and other LGBT and mainstream publications.

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Comments [1]

Michael Rogers

Lavers is right. In the words of a Republican who looks progressive next to Bush, "our long national nightmare is over."

Specifically on Proposition 8.

"Prop-8" is no longer a term for a ballot vote in California, it's a term of self-victimization. "Pre-Prop 8" and "post-Prop 8" messaging out of California (and taken by the mainstream press to be 'the way it is') gives far too much power to the small majority that supported Proposition 8 (the vote, not the term).

The ballot vote was one step back in a march to freedom that moves forward every day. If the California LGBT community had spent half as much time volunteering to fight Proposition 8 as they do whining over their loss, we would have won, I genuinely believe that.

Where were the cries of anger from California when state after state locked my brothers and sisters out of the right to marry? Did Californian's contribute the same millions they expected their fellow citizens to send their way?

Color California jealous, perhaps? I am sure they can't be happy over not being the one to hit the grand slam (Massachusetts beat them years ago).

This week our nation puts today's presidency along with those of Lincoln and Washington. If we step back for a moment we will realize, we will win this war of freedom from our oppressors. And as for those newbies out west, well the original thirteen of us will get your back. In other words, don't worry California, the folks in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey will once again save your ass.

Jan. 19 2009 10:20 AM

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