Ask any of my coworkers and you will quickly realize how enthralled I am with President Barack Obama. During the swearing in ceremony of Barack Obama, I was glued to my computer at work. I watched it live on a few websites and twitter, and let me tell you, it was New Media Chaos!
Just prior to the swearing in of President Obama, there was a blessing by Pastor Rick Warren. Pastor Rick Warren has received much publicity in some circles of America. Attention not for his views on Climate Change or the Global Economic Meltdown, but for his views on homosexuality. Rick is very anti-gay.
With the current political climate in America, it is very interesting that President Obama would choose such a pastor to address the world. Why did he choose Rick? This question has been circling my group of friends in Kingston without much of a good answer.
Now that this portion of the event has come and gone, we can all look forward. For Kingstonians and Canadians alike, we can envision a future that includes a good relationship with America once again. Perhaps we will see the wave of American tourists we once had prior to 9/11. Change is coming. But what about my fellow queer people in America? Are they going to see change for the better? Or will they see the same old same old?
Putting Equal Marriage (Gay Marriage) aside, there are many opportunities for Barack Obama to fight for equal rights. Just by checking out a few maps on the Human Rights Campaign website, one may notice startling evidence of missed equal rights opportunities. Believe it or not, there are many states in America where there are no laws protecting a person from being fired by their employer solely because of their sexual orientation. That’s right, a person can get fired for being gay. Can you imagine that happening here in Kingston today? There’s more! In some states, on top of the zero employment protection, there is no housing protection. Hence, people can be evicted because they are gay. How is that possible?
Only in America, the land of the free, can you be so cruel. In Canada, I have it good. In contrast with some states in America, my coworkers, peers, and employer accept me. I even remember an amazing apartment hunting story a friend shared with me. My friend saw an apartment with his boyfriend. The landlord was upfront and said he was concerned about renting to two bachelors. When my friend assured the landlord they weren’t bachelors but actual lovers looking for their first apartment, the landlord was falling over backwards trying to get them to sign the lease. Apparently couples of any type are well sought after. Stories and experiences such as this make me thankful for living in Kingston, because it has welcomed both my friends and I.
As I watched the inauguration ceremonies of President Barack Obama on my computer screen, I got teary eyed. I hope that he can do more to move equal rights forward for everyone in his country, his land of the free. I also hope that he lives up to the world’s expectations. Or at least, please live up to mine.