Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Robin McGehee's Full National Equality March Speech to President Obama

Due to time constraints, Co-Director of the National Equality March Robin McGehee was unable to deliver her full speech, a plea to President Obama. The Examiner calls it the best speech at the march.

Thanks to Robin, Unite the Fight has the full speech posted below.

Representative Barney Frank – you may say that Marches don’t matter, I say, you are out of touch in the seat of power you are clearly enjoying, while we the people, know all too well that our brothers and sisters are dying from the self-hate, self-violence and hate crimes that come from a community and government that will not honor our right to live free and equal. And, we are here, to use our first amendment right to speak out against this injustice.

But, today, I bring a message to President Obama. Mr. President, I have dreamed of the day you would serve in the White House since watching you speak at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. When you spoke the words, “we are not a straight
American or a gay America, but the United States of America”. I fell in love with your persuasive rhetoric of inclusion and change. From that moment, I promoted you, I defended you – even choosing to campaign against a woman to become the first President of the US. And, now, I wait. Wait as people have claimed that we must give you time. Wait as I have watched you have time to overturn policies set in place by the Bush Administration and not use that same urgency to save my friend Lt. Dan Choi from discharge or to save my family from suffering the harms of discrimination.

Wait, while former Vice President Dick Cheney offers words of acceptance for same-sex marriage. But, we are past the point of wondering if you know how to speak about the rights we deserve. This is not a CliffsNotes test on what you know about LGBT struggles. It is time to take action, and speak against the discrimination that could happen in states like Maine and Washington, and possibly the District of Columbia, and happened recently in the state of California, and could happen again somewhere else.

I know that you are proud that you and the First Lady invited LGBT families to participate in the Easter Egg Roll at the White House, but I have to be honest and say, while our families are still not treated equally, claiming that ticket feels much like claiming a ticket for the back of the bus.

I need you to know that I am the type of mother that would just as much continue walking, than claim a promissory ticket that is never going to bring about real change.

Please, do not forget, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Pansexual, Intersex and others in this country’s movement were promised the same magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence that Dr. Martin Luther King spoke
about just across this mall.

I believed you in 2004, I believed you in 2007 – I will even be honest and say that I even fell in love with your beautiful persuasion last night as I watched you speak on CNN at the HRC National Dinner. But, we are past the point of wondering if you know how to speak about the rights we deserve. I know you can identify our struggles. You should receive an A+ on the cliff notes version of being able to identify the rights we are denied. But I want evidence that you are a FIERCE advocate for my children and for the LGBT community. I am tired of waiting – I want to know WHEN.

I have two young children that deserve the same dignity that Martin Luther King's children dreamed of in 1963. I am the type of mother that will raise my children to worship a president [holds up drawing one of her children did of President Obama] that they believe in ... and I am begging you, President Obama, to listen to the people that are speaking to you today, from the streets of activism to the suites of activism. We do believe in you. And I want you to produce the courage to change the weight of the fabric of this country that has been built to discriminate for far too long.

So, with all due respect President Obama and Representative Frank, I hope that you will think twice before using rhetoric that harms the souls of those that suffer the reality of our country’s discriminatory policies towards LGBT people. I still have hope, not because of beautiful dreams of equality, but because I find a group of committed individuals coming together to make change – very inspiring, galvanizing and powerful and MAYBE you should have come to our family reunion on the West Lawn, just to see how that feels.

Image: AP

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