“President Obama, release all LGBTQ immigrants from detention and stop all deportations,” undocumented transgender woman Jennet Eva Gutiérrez, called out at President Obama’s annual Pride dinner at the White House last night.
She repeated herself over and over again.
In response, Obama – who was busy building his reputation as a champion of the LGBTQ community – calmly ridiculed her for interrupting his party in his house. He asked her to be quiet. She refused.
Partygoers shushed her – an ironic gesture for members of a community that once embraced the slogan “Silence equals death” in response to the Reagan administration’s refusal to acknowledge the AIDS epidemic.
But AIDS hit the entire LGBTQ community; Obama’s immigration policy just hits undocumented people and their families. They’re a minority within a minority – one many LGBTQ advocates haven’t bothered to stick up for.
“Shame on you,” the president said to Gutierrez, before asking Secret Service to remove her.
But for Gutierrez and other immigration-rights advocates, the shame is on Obama.
“The White House gets to make the decision whether it keeps us safe, “ said Gutiérrez, in a press release from the immigration reform organization Not1More. “There is no pride in how LGBTQ and transgender immigrants are treated in this country. If the President wants to celebrate with us, he should release the LGBTQ immigrants locked up in detention centers immediately.”
Pride events often have been a space for LGBTQ people to voice their critiques of the community and allies. This year’s Denver Pride parade was disrupted by anti-racist activists decrying police brutality and advocating for the ouster of District Attorney Mitch Morrissey. Morrissey recently decided not to prosecute the two Denver police officers who fatally shot Jessica Hernandez, an unarmed 17-year-old, in December.
Watch these two videos to see Gutierrez’s action in the first and Obama’s response to her in the second.