Tuesday afternoon President Obama made an important declaration. It is an announcement he has made every year that he has been in office, but this year seems more important than ever. With the passing of marriage equality last summer, and all of the coverage about bathroom equality, this is an important message for the nation to hear.
The address began with powerful words. “Since our founding, America has advanced on an unending path toward becoming a more perfect Union.” In recent years (even more recent months) it seems as though Americans are split into so many groups. Every issue turns into a heated debate, and even friends and families are splitting up over political debates. We must remember why this nation began: to avoid these exact problems. The United States of America is supposed to be a haven for all. Discrimination of any kind should not be tolerated, and President Obama reminded the entire country of that in his speech.
Something that many politicians and news reporters do not touch on is how certain groups of the LGBT community are targeted more than others. The President mentioned “gay and bisexual men and transgender women of color are at a particularly high risk for HIV, and we have worked to strengthen our National HIV/AIDS Strategy to reduce new infections, increase access to care, and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV.” This is a very refreshing thought when one recalls the horrible (lack of) reaction from the standing president during the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.
We are also very proud that President Obama and his Administration have taken steps in being advocates for the transgender community. We can only hope these steps will be followed when the next president takes office.