Last night the President addressed the Human Rights Campaign’s dinner. From the director of HRC:
“Tonight, President Obama told LGBT Americans that his commitment to ending discrimination in the military, in the workplace and for loving couples and their families is ‘unwavering.’ He made it crystal clear that he is our strongest ally in this fight, that he understands and, in fact, encourages our activism and our voice even when we’re impatient with the pace of change. But these remarks weren’t just for us, they were directed to all Americans who share his dream and ours of a country where “no one is denied their basic rights, in which all of us are free to live and love as we see fit.”
“And we heard unequivocally about the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: ‘I am working with the Pentagon, its leadership and members of the House and Senate to end this policy. I will end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. That is my commitment to you.’
“Finally, we heard something quite remarkable from the President: ‘You will see a time in which we as a nation finally recognize relationships between two men or two women as just as real and admirable as relationships between a man and a woman.’
“This was a historic night when we felt the full embrace and commitment of the President of the United States. It’s simply unprecedented.”
Today is National Coming Out Day. Tomorrow I’m even attending a speech at my workplace in honor of this day about bringing your whole self to work. Indeed, my employer has received national recognition for its commitment to equality, including supporting ENDA and opposing state initiatives to constitutionally define marriage as a heterosexual arrangement. It’s not just that they won’t fire you for being gay, something which is legal in much of this country, but that they don’t want you to have to censor yourself. Someone who doesn’t feel free to post pictures of his significant other in his cubicle or talk about his home life with coworkers just isn’t going to be as comfortable at work and therefore won’t be as productive.
That’s not to say everyone is ‘out’ at work. It’s not like my college experience, where students felt they really could be themselves. But at least it’s not Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell!
What if you couldn’t be yourself?