At a gay pride month LGBT event at the White House on Wednesday, 24th June Barack Obama told a heckler, “Listen, you’re in my house,” when he was interrupted during his speech.
Obama was halfway through delivering a talk about civil rights for lesbian, gay and transexual Americans when one of the guests, Jennicet Gutiérrez, an undocumented immigrant and transsexual Mexican woman and campaigner, tried to speak over him. Gutiérrez was trying to get the point across that she was “tired of the abuse” that she claims immigration offers were carrying out on minorities and that he needs to stop the detention and deportation of gay, lesbian and transgender immigrants.
As Gutiérrez continued to speak Obama responded, “Hold on a second,” which did not silence the heckler, so the President spoke again while wagging his finger and shaking his head, “Okay, you know what? No, no, no, no, no,” repeating the word numerous times.
As the crowd start chanting Obama’s name he tells Gutiérrez, “You’re not going to get a good response by interrupting me like this.”
Obama asked for Gutiérrez to be removed from the reception and concluded by saying, “As a general rule, I am just fine with a few hecklers. But not when I’m up in the House… My attitude is if you’re eating the hors d’oeuvres and drinking the booze …you know what I’m saying.”
During Obama’s speech he also praised the work of LGBT activists and spoke of how he was closely watching the decisions the high court will be making over the coming days, including a case that will possibly affirm the right for gay couples nationwide to legally wed. Obama also said that there has been an undeniable shift regarding gay marriage right across the country.
Obama explained, “When I became president, same-sex marriage was legal only in two states. Today it’s legal in 37 states, and the District of Columbia,” continuing, “Together we’ve been able to do more to protect rights of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Americans than in any other time in our history.”
Barack Obama also pointed out that the biggest progress needs to be made with regard to the discrimination that transgender Americans face, especially “transgender women of colour.” Obama said in his speech, “That kind of ugliness simply doesn’t belong in America, that’s not who we are.”
Jennicet Gutiérrez spoke exclusively to the Washington Blade about her reasons for interrupting explaining, “The violence my trans sisters face in detention centers is one of torture and abuse.”
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Youtube Screenshot