|Jose Manuel Reyes, Christin Meador, Rev. Pat Baumgardner, Mark Pabon and Rob Lassegue|
Dear President Obama,
My name is Christin Meador. I am an American citizen, and today is my 27th birthday. When my parents were in labor back in 1984, they had no idea what kind of child I would be. They didn't know whether I would be a boy or a girl. They didn't know whether I would have brown, green or blue eyes, whether I would have red or brown hair. They didn't know whether I would have the fair complexion of my Anglo-American father or the darker complexion of my Puerto Rican mother. Would I be right or left-handed? Tall or short? Would I be gay, straight, bisexual, transgender? These are among the many questions that run through parents' minds as they anticipate the arrival of their child. One thing was for certain with my parents. They would love me no matter what. And so here I am, a redheaded, green eyed, left-handed, fair skinned, bicultural, straight woman.
My parents and my nation taught me one important thing - we are all created equal.
I love the date of my birthday because it falls between two holidays that represent values very close to my heart - Valentine's Day for its message of love and President's Day for its focus on leadership. Today, in our America, we need leadership to ensure the right to love freely. This Valentine's Day my boyfriend and I were at the Marriage Bureau of Lower Manhattan advocating for marriage equality for the LGBT community. As President's Day approaches, my birthday wish is for you, the leader of our great country, to take true leadership in ensuring the equality of all Americans. The current state of affairs is unjust and un-American.
I grew up in the south, where my grandparents and parents fought for the full equality of black Americans. Without the support of allies, we may have never seen the signing of the civil rights bill. We as Americans may never have experienced the historic moment of your inauguration. It is the history of the civil rights movement, the women's rights movement and my fundamental belief in equality that inspire me to fight every day for the rights of my LGBT brothers and sisters.
I don't know if you have ever attended a LGBT rally or protest. I can tell you from experience that it is devastating to witness people having to fight so tirelessly to defend the person that they love and the rights they are allegedly guaranteed in our democracy. I take action because I'm not willing to live in a country where my brothers and sisters are treated as second class citizens. Today I write to you to ask, will you do the same? Will you take action? Will you deliver a speech about the equal rights of LGBT Americans? Will you be more transparent in your plan for LGBT equality? Will you stand beside the people who campaigned for you? Will you be on the right side of history?
This is not a hard battle to win when we are arguing on Constitutional grounds. Our opponent's opposition to equality is largely if not entirely rooted in religion and the flimsy notion of "traditional marriage". I ask you to stand up and make the argument that we've yet to hear from our politicians. We live in a secular nation, with separation between church and state, and religious beliefs should have no bearing on policy and law. Do you have a Constitutional reason why these rights are denied? If not, can you stand up and say so?
While I understand the political position you are in, I can't help but wonder: Wouldn't you rather serve one term as President and go down in history as the one who delivered full equality to our nation? I know I would. This is your opportunity to make America the leader in human rights that she claims to be.
I am not someone in the inside circle of Washington, and I have nothing to lose when speaking my mind. This kind of engagement is something you advocated for in your campaign, and so I hope you will hear my words. I have nothing to lose, no direct ties to Washington, no insider information. I am simply an active citizen making a plea to you to fight for full equality.
There is a quote from a gospel tune that goes like this - "Lord don't move my mountain, just give me the strength to climb". The community of LGBT activists is a strong, loving and fearless bunch. And we will continue to hold you accountable. We will reach the top of that mountain because it is not in the spirit of the American people to be bystanders. We are upstanders. And we are here to say - love is not a special privilege. Will you join us?