Getting the President's ear
Toward the end of the Stonewall 40 celebration in the White House this afternoon, I spied Frank Kameny (whose guest I was at the event) sitting on an upholstered bench at the foot of the main staircase, and sat down next to him. I told him of a conversation I had just had: "So I said, 'Will you support the Uniting American Families Act Jerry Nadler's bill?' He said, 'I haven't read it yet.' I said, 'Please take a look at it,' to which he said, 'I will.'"
Frank asked, "Who said this to you?" I replied, "The President of the United States."
Now I realize that getting the President to tell you that he'll look at a bill is not the most earth-shaking development, but if John Aravosis thinks I am going to pass up a chance to get a few moments of input to the most powerful man in the world, he can kiss my you-know-what.
After I chatted with Frank, I walked over to gay White House staffer Brian Bond, to whom I described my conversation with the President. Now there were a couple of hundred people at the reception, and dozens of them spoke with the President. Talking with our President is not enough, to be sure, but it is better than not talking.
Earlier, as we were waiting for Barack and Michelle to arrive, I found myself standing across the aisle from former National Gay and Lesbian Task Force director Urvashi Vaid, so I said, "Urv, you're not going to get dragged out this time, are you?" referring back to 1990 when she interrupted a speech on AIDS by President George H.W. Bush by holding up a sign saying, "Talk Is Cheap, AIDS Funding Is Not," for which she was removed by police. Urvashi laughed and said, "No, but talk is still cheap!"
Urvashi is right. The President himself today said he expects to be judged on how he keeps his promises. We ourselves have much work to do to help see that he keeps them. But as Frank Kameny said to Deb Price in an interview after the event, "We have a friend in the White House."
By the way: Yes, I stood in the Blue Room and did my best Jackie Kennedy impression, telling people, "We decided to leave it just the way it was when President Blue lived here."
(Photos courtesy Bob Connelly)
Update: Being totally homosexual, I wanted to greet Reggie Love, the President's so-called body man, whose face is partially obscured in the upper right of the photo immediately above. Alas, every time I had a chance, there seemed to be a uniformed guard between him and me. So it was easier reaching POTUS than Mister Love.