From Secretary Clinton:
Like millions of Americans, I was terribly saddened to learn of the recent suicides of several teenagers across our country after being bullied because they were gay or because people thought they were gay. Children are particularly vulnerable to the hurt caused by discrimination and prejudice and we have lost many young people over the years to suicide. These most recent deaths are a reminder that all Americans have to work harder to overcome bigotry and hatred.
I have a message for all the young people out there who are being bullied, or who feel alone and find it hard to imagine a better future: First of all, hang in there and ask for help. Your life is so important—to your family, your friends, and to your country. And there is so much waiting for you, both personally and professionally— there are so many opportunities for you to develop your talents and make your contributions.
And these opportunities will only increase. Because the story of America is the story of people coming together to tear down barriers, stand up for rights, and insist on equality, not only for themselves but for all people. And in the process, they create a community of support and solidarity that endures. Just think of the progress made by women just during my lifetime by women, or ethnic, racial and religious minorities over the course of our history —and by gays and lesbians, many of whom are now free to live their lives openly and proudly. Here at the State Department, I am grateful every day for the work of our LGBT employees who are serving the United States as foreign service officers and civil servants here and around the world. It wasn’t long ago that these men and women would not have been able to serve openly, but today they can—because it has gotten better. And it will get better for you.
So take heart, and have hope, and please remember that your life is valuable, and that you are not alone. Many people are standing with you and sending you their thoughts, their prayers and their strength. Count me among them.
Take care of yourself.
Melisssa Bell at WaPo’s BlogPost reports that “The campaign to tell teenagers ‘It Gets Better’ received huge political backing Tuesday when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took to YouTube to address teen bullying and tell them: ‘Hang in there.'”
From CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty — “Hillary Clinton tells bullied gay teens: ‘Hang in there and ask for help‘”:
Clinton has been in the forefront of the Obama administration’s efforts to expand rights for gay and lesbian government employees. She instituted equal benefits for same-sex partners of State Department employees, a move that encouraged President Barack Obama to authorize such benefits for gay men and lesbiasn throughout the federal government. The State Department also has made it easier for transgender people to change their passports and, for the first time, the agency’s “equal opportunity statement” includes gender identity and sexual preference.
From Tammye Nash at the Dallas Voice, “Secretary of State Clinton joins the ‘It Gets Better’ effort“:
Most of the celebrities joining the “It Gets Better” campaign and posting their videos online are openly LGBT people. But now, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has added her voice to the call for LGBT young people contemplating suicide to hang on because brighter days are ahead.
Here’s Secretary Clinton’s video, “Tomorrow Will Be Better.” Now I wonder when we will see a video from President Barack Obama, or perhaps from First Lady Michelle Obama? The president is our “fierce advocate,” after all.
That’s a good question, but I think the infamous “Nobody” who could have predicted the disasters of the last decade knows better than to sit around waiting for that Fierce Urgency of Maybe Someday from brand Obama.
What do y’all say? Will Hillary’s example EVER rub off on Obama? Or, will he just keep relying on Hillary’s public service to fill the void left by his inability to lead?
That arc of the moral universe that he’s so eager to walk all over on a rug keeps on bending toward justice, but Obama has yet to be fired up and ready to go when it comes to bending with it. Here’s the latest on that sad pattern from our supposedly Democratic White House… from USA Today, “Military to accept openly gay recruits“:
WASHINGTON — Openly gay recruits can now join the military as a result of a federal court ruling striking down the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, but they are being warned that they can still be discharged if the ruling is overturned.
Cynthia Smith, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said the suspension of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is in response to the Sept. 9 decision of a central California federal judge that ruled the law implemented under President Clinton in 1993 was unconstitutional.
The judge, Virginia Phillips, on Tuesday denied a government request to delay her order, the Associated Press reported. The Justice Department said the Obama administration will appeal to the appellate court in San Francisco.
And, from the Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld:
Lopez later told The Advocate that the recruiters didn’t seem to know of the injunction.
“Any changes in policy hadn’t been disclosed to them, so they had to turn me away,” Lopez said, adding that they suggested he shouldn’t trust everything he reads in the media. “They said, you should wait for an actual order form the president saying the policy’s been lifted.”
Lopez’s case, first reported in The New York Times Thursday morning, prompted Log Cabin Republicans attorney Dan Woods to send a letter to the Department of Justice just before 2 p.m. Eastern time Thursday.
“Please let us know immediately what steps the government has taken to communicate the terms and requirements of the Court’s order to military personnel, including field commanders and military recruiting offices, who are in a position to violate the requirements of the injunction under the cover of ignorance of its terms of existence,” he wrote.
If the reports were true, Woods continued, “the Department of Defense would appear to be in violation of the Court’s injunction and subject to citation for contempt.”
Around 2:30 p.m., White House press secretary Robert Gibbs assured reporters at the briefing that the Pentagon would be addressing the matter of DOD compliance with the injunction shortly.
“The Department of Defense is working on the guidance for the entire chain of command that should be out soon,” he said.
Pentagon spokespeople informed the press just before 4 p.m. Eastern that the staff JAG had sent an e-mail to all service branches informing them that the military would “abide by the terms in the court’s ruling.”
Where is President Obama on any of this? Where is his Audacity to speak up on behalf of doors opening up for LGBT like never before? For all Obama’s talk of change, his silence is deafening when real change is actually happening in spite of him, with its genuine advocates having to fight his fierce resistance.
Since Obama is a Nowhere Flim Flam Man, we just get to hear some gobbledy gook through the buffer of his buffoon press secretary. And, yet our very moral president has the “audacity” to speak of being guided by some kind of a North Star? (link goes to his Rolling Stone interview from last month, although I recall he spoke of a North Star in his Nobel accepatance speech as well).
Sadly, for Obama it’s all about him, and it always has been. His audacity to hope, his audacity to run, his audacity to win. He has not paid any of that forward to the ordinary people and their audacity to survive. Since he won in 2008, President Obama’s north star has only ever pointed in the direction of his 2012 re-election prospects. It seems like aside from Hillary, there is no one in the room looking out for actually getting something done and governing.
I’d like to close with these words from my Hill-blogging pal stacyx, who says it well and speaks for me in a post called, “Secretary of State Clinton Speaks Directly to GLBT Youth: Tomorrow Will Be Better“:
This is really, really moving and I give her major props for doing this. The recent wave of suicides by gay youth/young adults is tragic, as is the hate speech issuing forth from conservatives who are trying to use this as a wedge issue.
It’s amazing that such a high-level government official would do this. It is INCREDIBLY important. I can’t think of any one else in this administration who would speak not only with this much feeling and honesty, but speak directly to kids. Anyone who is gay knows how tough it can be during youth and adolescence to feel isolated not only from friends, but in some cases, also from family.
Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Human Rights, LGBT rights, obama administration | 39 Comments »