June 25, 2015
Dear President Obama,
I am writing to you about the treatment of Ms. Jennicet Gutierrez, @JennicetG, at last night’s White House event to celebrate L.G.B.T.Q. Pride Month.
Your presidency has done much for trans rights, and it is appreciated. The trans community has seen some tremendous advances in our great country under your administration and I appreciate your courage and support. Thank you.
While no one enjoys being interrupted during a speech, and I can only imagine the unique energy surrounding interrupting the President of the United States, it seems to me that the right thing to do when an activist speaks up at an event that at its heart celebrates activism is to engage with them instead of ejecting them. To do otherwise lays bare the essence of the event—a photo op.
The irony of a trans woman of color (TWoC) being removed from an event that exists only due to previous L.G.B.T.Q. activism that included interrupting previous residents of your house is not lost upon the community. That Pride celebrations ostensibly celebrate the Stonewall riots adds further cognitive dissonance because TWoC sparked them!
Trans people, and especially TWoC, bear outrageously disproportionate and horrendous discrimination, sexual abuse, and violence in this country when compared to others in the L.G.B.T. community. Trans people, and again especially TWoC, in detention face horrors that would be beyond imagination if they were not true.
That Ms. Gutiérrez, who has much to lose by stepping forward and speaking truth to power, risks the same terrors that she is calling attention to underscores the human magnitude of her cause.
I ask for you to direct Immigration and Customs Enforcement to either protect L.G.B.T.Q. people in custody or release them. To stand idle is to be complicit in denying the humanity of the detainees and a tacit acknowledgment that sexual abuse and violence against L.G.B.T.Q. in the custody of the United States of America is an acceptable state of affairs.