What have you done for me lately?

Helen G guest posts on Barack Obama’s record on civil liberties and human rights

The Bilerico Project (“Daily experiments in LGBTQ”) have posted an “open Letter from Barack Obama to the LGBT community” on their site – link here.

Even though it’s about current affairs in the US, it’s worth mentioning because it seems to me that what happens in the US today will happen here almost before you can sneeze…

So anyway, I’ve read the letter – and I’m confused.

Tell me, Mr Obama, just out of curiosity, what have you actually done for trans people like me. You say that “In Illinois, I co-sponsored a fully inclusive bill that prohibited discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity, extending protection to the workplace, housing, and places of public accommodation.” – yes, but has that bill become law?

You also say “And as president, I will place the weight of my administration behind the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act to outlaw hate crimes and a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act to outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.” Yes but, that’s for the future, if you’re elected.

“I will never compromise on my commitment to equal rights for all LGBT Americans.” Fine words, but the effect is rather spoiled by following it with this: “But neither will I close my ears to the voices of those who still need to be convinced.” In other words, you’re open to persuasion either way?

You see, Mr Obama, it seems to me that you haven’t achieved a single thing in support of the civil liberties and human rights of trans people, and aren’t exactly bursting with enthusiasm and Big Ideas to help us, either.

And the moral is? Why, never believe a politician, of course.

Plus ca change…