President Obama’s State of the Union speech first to say transgender, but so what?
Last night’s address was the first State of the Union speech to directly reference lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans. President Obama has previously referenced transgender individuals in a speeches, making him the first president to do so. While the recognition is important, some trans activists wonder, “Where are the works that are going to dismantle structural oppression and end white supremacy?”
From the Huffington post:
President Barack Obama pushed for protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals Tuesday evening, making it the first time lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have ever been recognized directly in a State of the Union address.
“As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when we’re threatened, which is why I’ve prohibited torture, and worked to make sure our use of new technology like drones is properly constrained,” said Obama, adding, “That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. We do these things not only because they’re right, but because they make us safer.”
It’s important for President Obama to recognize transgender Americans in his public speeches, but he must go further than that in terms of policy. Being an ally is empty without providing real, sweeping protections for LGTBQ people and particularly, recognizing the unique struggles faced by LGTBQ people of color.
“So what Obama said transgender? It takes no effort at all to say the word transgender. All these fresh ally cookies they baked last night. Where are the works that are going to dismantle structural oppression and end white supremacy. What actions will be taken to end the physical violence we face everyday,” Lourdes Ashley Hunter, Black Lives Matter Leadership Team and National Director, Trans Women of Color Collective told the Black Youth Project.
The President’s recognition is important but it’s just a start, not an end point.
Read more at the Huffington Post