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Obama ‘very proud’ of Collins for coming out

President says NBA player’s decision will help struggling gay youth

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Barack Obama, gay news, Washington Blade
Barack Obama talked about Jason Collins during a news briefing on Tuesday (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

President Obama talked about Jason Collins during a news briefing on Tuesday (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

President Obama said on Tuesday he “couldn’t be prouder” of Jason Collins for coming out as gay and cited the NBA player’s announcement as an example of the recent progress the country has seen on behalf of the LGBT community.

Obama made the remarks during a news conference with reporters in the White House briefing room after reporters called him back to the podium to respond to Collins’ decision to come out.

“I’ll say something about Jason Collins,” Obama said. “I had a chance to talk to him yesterday. He seems like a terrific young man, and I told him I couldn’t be prouder of him. One of the extraordinary measures of progress that we’ve seen in this country has been the recognition that the LGBT community deserves full equality, not just partial equality, not just tolerance, but a recognition that they’re fully a part of the American family.”

Obama added the decision of Collins — who’s considered the first male player to come out as gay in a major league — is particularly important “given the importance of sports in our society.”

“For an individual who excelled at the highest levels in one of the major sports to go out and say, “This is who I am, and I’m proud of it. I’m still a great competitor. I’m still 7 foot tall and can bang with Shaq, and deliver a hard foul,” for, I think, a lot of young people out there who are gay or lesbian who are struggling with these issues to see a role model like that who’s unafraid, I think it’s a great thing,” Obama said.

Obama concluded, “And I think America should be part that this is just one more step in this ongoing recognition that we treat everybody fairly, and everybody’s part of the family, and we just people on the basis of their character and their performance, and not their sexual orientation. So, I’m very proud of him.”

Obama’s affirmation that he spoke with Collins on Monday is consistent with a Blade report on Monday that he reached out to Collins to express support and say he admired the courage of the player.

Watch the video here (courtesy Talking Points Memo)

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. peter rosenstein

    April 30, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    I had assumed Chris that you called him back to the podium. But so much of the reporters focus on LGBT questions comes from your persistance with Jay Carney. Keep up the great reporting.

  2. Enriqueta Duarte

    May 1, 2013 at 4:49 am

    Mr.President when will gay Marriage become legal in TX so want to get married someday to someone that means the world to me so could u make TX legal marriage next. Thank u u .From ENRIQUETA MENA. MERCEDES TX

  3. Engjell Mehmetaj

    May 1, 2013 at 8:30 am

    An old chinese theory says all the flowers to thrive.

  4. Sienna Chavez Felices Mauleon

    May 6, 2013 at 8:57 am

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA'S ADDRESS A CALL FOR EQUALITY..IT IS GREAT THAT OUR GREAT ATHLETES ARE COMING OUT TO SOCIETY OF THERE LIFE STYLE..I KNEW HE WAS AND SO GLAD HE IS GAY..IF SOME1 IS GAY, THAT DOESn't MAKE THEM LESS OF A PERSON BETTER YET IT MAKES THEM MORE OF A PERSON TO COME OUT & ADMIT IT..BEING GAY OR LESBIAN IS NOT A DISEASE..FOR YOU JASON COLLINS, DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY..BE PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE TO HELL WITH EVERYONE ELSE THINKS OF YOUR PREFERENCE THEY DOn't HAVE TO LIVE YOUR LIFE..LIFE IS NOT BASED ON THE MONEY YOU EARN OR THE SUCCESS YOU ACHIEVED..ITS ALL ABOUT BEING HAPPY WITH WHO YOU ARE AND WHO YOU ARE WITH..THE REAL LIFE IS NOT THE OUTSIDE OURSELVES BUT WITHIN..STAY TRUE AND BE YOU..BE PROUD OF YOURSELF AND WELCOME TO OUR LGBT COMMUNITY..SPEAK LOUD AND STAND PROUD..LGBT SALUTES JASON COLLINS AND HATS OFF TO YOU PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, LETS SHOW OTHER PEOPLE THAT DISCRIMINATION CANT BRING US DOWN..THANKS PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA YOU STLL FIGHTING FOR EQUALITY AND FAIR TREATMENT FOR LGBT COMMUNITY..NO TO BIGOTRY..PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, GOD KNOWS YOU HAVE A GOOD HEART..LGBT DESERVE EQUALITY WITHOUT PREJUDICE.. =)

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Exclusive: Biden briefed on transgender deaths breaking record in 2021

At least 46 people killed in grim milestone

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President Biden was briefed on Nov. 18 on anti-transgender violence the year, a White House official said.

President Biden, in a year when the killings of transgender people are at the highest number in recorded history, has been briefed on the grim milestone of anti-transgender violence, the Washington Blade has learned exclusively.

A White House official confirmed via email to the Blade on Monday that Biden was briefed Thursday, Nov. 18 on the number of transgender and non-binary people killed in 2021, which was the same week as the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

In response to a follow-up inquiry from the Blade on which principals were in attendance at the briefing, the White House official had nothing to share.

At least 46 transgender and non-binary people have been killed, which is the highest number since efforts to record those deaths began. The violence has consistently had a disproportionate impact on transgender women of color.

The Blade first posed the question about whether Biden was briefed on anti-transgender violence to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Nov. 12. At the time, Psaki said she was unsure whether Biden was briefed, but said deaths were “terrible, heartbreaking” to hear.

Biden’s briefing on the anti-transgender violence is consistent with the statement he issued on Saturday recognizing the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which decried the deaths of the 46 transgender and non-binary people killed in 2021.

“Each of these lives was precious,” Biden said in the statement. “Each of them deserved freedom, justice, and joy. Today, on Transgender Day of Remembrance, we mourn those we lost in the deadliest year on record for transgender Americans, as well as the countless other transgender people — disproportionately Black and brown transgender women and girls — who face brutal violence, discrimination, and harassment.”

Biden, who has called transgender rights “the civil rights issue of our time,” is credited with being a transgender advocate in the White House, having issued policies such as a rollback of former President Trump’s transgender military ban and signing an executive order requiring federal agencies to implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling against anti-LGBTQ discrimination to the furthest extent possible under the law.

The Biden administration announced in June an interagency task force charged with making the U.S. government as transgender inclusive as possible, which the White House says is ongoing.

The year 2021 reached a new record for anti-transgender murders upon the death of Marquiisha “Quii” Lawrence, a 28-year-old Black transgender woman who was shot and killed in her home in Greenville, S.C.

Biden and other transgender advocates marked the Transgender Day of Remembrance this year with the solemn acknowledgment of the 46 transgender and non-binary people lost in 2021.

Biden as a 2020 presidential candidate highlighted ongoing anti-transgender violence, including its disproportionate impact on transgender people of color. In his comprehensive LGBTQ platform, Biden repeatedly pledged he’d take steps to protect LGBTQ people from violence.

In fact, Biden predicted the killing of transgender people would end if former President Trump were voted out of office, telling attendees at the Human Rights Campaign dinner in 2019: “The fastest way to end it is to end the Trump administration.”

Democratic National Committee chair Jaime Harrison and LGBTQ Caucus chair Earl Fowlkes issued a joint statement, saying each of the lives lost “represents a family broken, a friend forever changed, or a community in mourning.”

“Today, we mourn the lives lost due to senseless violence,” Harrison and Fowlkes said. “Tomorrow, we reaffirm and rededicate ourselves to enacting the change necessary to create a future where no one is forced to hide or live in fear.”

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Biden recognizes anti-trans violence on Transgender Day of Remembrance

2021 deadliest year on record for transgender people

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President Biden recognized the deaths of 46 people on the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

President Biden issued on Saturday a statement recognizing the Transgender Day of Remembrance, noting an estimated 46 transgender and non-binary were recorded as killed in 2021 in a horrific milestone of the most violent year on record for the transgender community.

“This year, at least 46 transgender individuals in this country — and hundreds more around the world—were killed in horrifying acts of violence,” Biden said. “Each of these lives was precious. Each of them deserved freedom, justice, and joy. Today, on Transgender Day of Remembrance, we mourn those we lost in the deadliest year on record for transgender Americans, as well as the countless other transgender people—disproportionately Black and brown transgender women and girls — who face brutal violence, discrimination, and harassment.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, in response to a question from the Washington Blade last week on whether Biden was briefed on anti-transgender violence reaching a new record in 2021, called the grim milestone “heartbreaking to hear,” but said she was unsure if Biden was briefed on the issue.

The Biden statement implies he was briefed on the deaths because it referenced 2021 being the deadliest year on record with 46 deaths, although the White House hasn’t responded to the Blade’s request to comment on whether he was briefed on the violence.

Biden moved early on during his administration to act on transgender rights, reversing President Trump’s transgender military ban and signing an executive order directing federal agencies to implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision against anti-LGBTQ discrimination to the fullest extent possible.

The Biden administration has announced an ongoing created an interagency task force charged with making the U.S. government as transgender inclusive, which is the White House says is still ongoing.

Read Biden’s full statement below:

November 20, 2021
 Statement by President Biden on Transgender Day of Remembrance
 This year, at least 46 transgender individuals in this country—and hundreds more around the world—were killed in horrifying acts of violence. Each of these lives was precious. Each of them deserved freedom, justice, and joy. Today, on Transgender Day of Remembrance, we mourn those we lost in the deadliest year on record for transgender Americans, as well as the countless other transgender people—disproportionately Black and brown transgender women and girls—who face brutal violence, discrimination, and harassment.
 
In spite of our progress strengthening civil rights for LGBTQI+ Americans, too many transgender people still live in fear and face systemic barriers to freedom and equality. To ensure that our government protects the civil rights of transgender Americans, I charged my team with coordinating across the federal government to address the epidemic of violence and advance equality for transgender people. I continue to call on state leaders and lawmakers to combat the disturbing proliferation of discriminatory state legislation targeting transgender people, especially transgender children. As I have said before, these bills are nothing more than bullying disguised as legislation, they are un-American, and they endanger the safety and well-being of our children. I also continue to urge the Senate to swiftly pass the Equality Act so that all people are able to live free from fear and discrimination.
 
Transgender people are some of the bravest Americans I know. But no person should have to be brave just to live in safety and dignity. Today, we remember. Tomorrow—and every day—we must continue to act.
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House resolution introduced to recognize Transgender Day of Remembrance

2021 deadliest year on record with 47 recorded deaths

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Reps. Marie Newman (left), Pramila Jayapal (center) and Jennifer Wexton have introduced a resolution to recognize the Transgender Day of Remembrance Photos of Newman and Jayapal public domain; Washington Blade photo of Wexton by Michael Key).

On the eve of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, a trio of House Democrats have introduced during a year with the highest recorded deaths of transgender and non-binary people a resolution that would officially recognize the annual occasion.

The measure was introduced by Reps. Marie Newman (D-Ill.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.), who are known as vocal transgender advocates and members of the Transgender Equality Task Force, as part of group of 62 members of the U.S. House, according to a statement from the LGBTQ Equality Caucus. The resolution would commemorate Nov. 20 as the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Newman, who’s been open about having a young transgender daughter, said in a statement violence against transgender Americans, particularly Black and Brown transgender women, has become a “national epidemic.”

“With this resolution, we are not only recognizing the far too many souls lost to violence this year but also honoring their memory with a commitment to fight against anti-trans hate, rhetoric and violence,” Newman said. “Transgender Americans face hateful and disgusting attacks — verbal and physical — every single day just for simply existing in the world, and each of us has a fundamental obligation to speak out against it.”

The Transgender Day of Remembrance comes with 2021 having the highest number of recorded killings of transgender and non-binary people in a single year. A total of 47 deaths have been recorded, according to the LGBTQ Equality Caucus.

Wexton said in a statement the ongoing deaths of transgender people are “cannot be overlooked or ignored,” calling 2021 the deadliest year on record.

“Our trans friends and neighbors face greater threats of violence, bullying, and discrimination in nearly every aspect of their lives, and they deserve justice and equality,” Wexton said.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, under questioning from the Washington Blade last week on whether President Biden was briefed on 2021 being the deadliest year on record for transgender people, said the grim milestone is “terrible and heartbreaking” although she said she was unsure on whether Biden was briefed.

The White House hasn’t responded with any update on whether or not Biden has been briefed as of the eve of the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Jayapal, who in addition to being a transgender advocate has been the face of the $1.75 trillions Build Back Better plan approved recently in the House, said in a statement the names of each of the transgender dead should be spoken aloud, the action should follow.

“Our resolution acknowledges this truth as we continue our dedicated work to strengthen hate crime laws, pass the Equality Act through the Senate, and ensure that every transgender person is able to live freely as themselves,” Jayapal said.

An LGBTQ Equality Caucus spokesperson didn’t respond Friday to the Blade’s request to comment on whether House leadership gave the sponsors of the legislation any indication the resolution would obtain a floor vote.

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