A Collective Catharsis: Obama Inauguration Brings Hope to LGBT Americans

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.