- by Rev. David E. Weekley, reprinted with permission -
My spouse and I enthusiastically and proudly watched the second inauguration of President Barack Obama on January twenty-first, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. As we listened we were amazed to hear the word “gay” and a reference to the Stonewall riots included in the President’s speech. We waited hopefully for another word and another community within the TLGBQIA alphabet to be included: transgender. That word was never spoken. Retired Congressman Barney Frank did mention transgender later in the festivities, but my spouse and I longed to hear our President include us as he spoke about the equality of all Americans, and the right of all citizens to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.
At one point in the festivities my spouse tweeted two transgender acquaintances we knew were somewhere in the honored crowd and asked simply if they had any comment about this omission. Only one responded, and she did so curtly. She said it did not matter if the word transgender was spoken or not, she felt her family was included in the “gay” reference. Well, she is a transwoman and a lesbian, so I understood her opinion. I also know many transgender friends and colleagues did feel themselves included in the President’s remarks regarding “gay” and Stonewall. I too, believe it is a large step forward. But, it was a remark tweeted by a gay transman on the thread of our acquaintance, that disturbed me most about the whole incident. One person said, “This is unwarranted bitching.” Really? I do not think so. In the first place, it was not bitching at all; it was a question. In the second place, transgender people deserve and need to be affirmed and named by this President and administration.