Ed. Note: Watch this event streamed live at 4:25 at WhiteHouse.gov/live.
As a gay kid growing up in rural Missouri – I never thought I would end up helping to organize an LGBT Pride event in the White House. Then again, I never thought I would ever realize my dream to work in the White House. But thanks to the historic election of Barack Obama, today I am honored to be working here.
To me, today’s event is more than just a reception honoring LGBT Pride month. It is an opportunity for the Administration to provide the world with a snap shot of the real heroes across the country that do the day-to-day work fighting for equality. People like State Representative Patricia Todd in Alabama to Sheriff Lupe Valdez in Dallas, and many other local LGBT elected officials that will be here today. And it’s people – ordinary families – that by simply living their lives openly are changing hearts and minds. It is also an opportunity to welcome the people upon whom shoulders we stand, people like Frank Kameny, as well as Phil Wilson, Bishop Robinson and Ambassador Hormel, who I know personally, and those who stood up to bigotry at Stonewall. I really wish people like Bayard Rustin could be standing here with us today. He would be up for the fight ahead of us and proud of the place we now stand.
People may not know this, but there hasn’t been a significant event since the President took office that hasn’t included the LGBT community -- discussions on the economy and the recovery, or health care -- but this event is special to me and to many of the people that haven’t been here for many years.
We have a lot of work ahead of us. We will work together to pass Hate Crimes and ENDA and to end DADT and DOMA, but today is an opportunity to celebrate who we are and affirm who we are as Americans. But the truth is that in this White House we do this every day. With over 60 out appointees working in this Administration already, we are free to be ourselves. But not everyone is in this country is able to do the same, and we are here to help change that.
I am here because I know the President and this Administration believe that too and are committed to fighting for equality – yes it will take time, and yes we should be pushing and yes you should too. We are all in this together and I am equally proud of both my President and my community.
I will take a little time out today to celebrate the diversity and depth of our community with my President. And we will get back to work. Everyone in this building is very clear -- from the President on down -- are committed to equality. So for a young, ok for a now aging and balding gay guy from rural Missouri, this is my way to celebrate Pride month and our community’s importance in the American fabric.
Brian Bond (bio) is Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement