So my family took advantage of a political event (the Easter Egg Roll is, as any event at the White House is, a political event) focused on families, to help open up dialogue about this executive order and the impact it could have on thousands and thousands of families. It is not perfect, and it only covers federal contractors, but until Congress changes hands, it is an important and necessary step. We've received a lot of criticism about choosing to use this event for a political message. As I've said before, this is a political event from the start. If it weren't a political event, then for years the White House would not be in the habit of giving out tickets to organizations as either a thank you, or to make them "go away". That politicizes it, as does the fact that it takes place at the White House. What we did was take advantage of important press time to bring about awareness to this issue. When we actually went to the South Lawn for the Egg Roll, we did have our "We Can't Wait" shirts on, and discussed the issue with some other people, but were primarily focused on allowing our daughter to have a blast watching two of her favorite musicians perform!
Was it inappropriate to do what we did? Not at all! What better time than a family event to bring up the fact that with the stroke of a pen, President Obama could protect thousands of LGBT families and workers from discrimination. We were invited, we didn't "crash" the event, nor did we do anything that was in any way disruptive to the festivities or the White House. What we accomplished was a lot. Later that day, at the White House press conference, an NBC reporter grilled the Press Secretary about our visit and message, and asked several questions about the executive order. This was the first time mainstream media has questioned the Obama Administration about this executive order, so for me, that was a huge win!
Are we the "self-iportant" media whores many have accused us of being? Far from it. Sure, we got a lot of press, and even had a live interview on MSNBC, but honestly, I'm never comfortable in front of cameras. I'll do this as long as I have to for our equality, but to be clear, I don't do it to have attention directed at me. My intent is to direct attention to the issue at hand, not myself.
So what's next? Pressure needs to be kept on the President to get this order signed. He has signed at least 7 executive orders in the past 6 months, so it's not like we're asking him to step above and beyond his duty as President. We can all play a part in this. You can email, write, or call the White House asking that this order be signed as quickly as possible, we simply can't wait for job protections! Beyond that, we should be looking at our community and having discussions with one another about why so many LGBT people and our allies think it is still acceptable to sit back and wait for it to be politically convenient, or for public opinion to be in the "right place" for us to ask for, or demand our rights! I believe it is far from acceptable to continue to think and act this way. We may also want to ask ourselves how it is that we can see support for this issue on conservative christian sites, but on certain LGBT blogs the focus is almost completely about the color of someone's hair, which is a sad and petty commentary.