On January 21, 2013, President Barack Obama will be sworn in for his second presidential term. The fact that it coincides with Martin Luther King Jr. Day is quite fitting, as King opened doors for civil rights and African Americans, helping President Obama get to where he is today. What is also fitting is that President Obama is honoring civil rights by choosing gay Cuban poet, Richard Blanco and Latino LGBT supporting priest Luis Leon to attend Obama’s special day.
Richard Blanco, who decided to write a new poem for the event is a former civil engineer turned full-time writer. He has penned three collections of poetry, including “Looking for the Gulf Motel,” a work that discusses family, touching on their feelings about looking queer. Blanco has also written “City of a Hundred Fires” and “The Trouble Ball.”
Setting a precedent, Blanco is the first Latino and out LGBT man to serve as a poet for a president’s inauguration. Blanco, who lives with his partner in Maine, expressed his thoughts on the invitation.
“Since the beginning of the campaign, I totally related to his life story and the way he speaks of his family, and of course his multicultural background,” Blanco told the NYT, as stated on www.colorlines.com. “There has always been a spiritual connection in that sense. I feel in some ways that when I’m writing about my family, I’m writing about him.”
Luis Leon, an Episcopal priest who supports LGBT rights, will also speak at Obama’s inauguration, delivering the Inaugural Benediction. A leader of St. John’s Church, Leon and his church welcome the LGBT community, including transgendered individuals, and also support gay marriage and partnerships.
Leon is replacing Reverend Louie Giglio, a pastor in Atlanta who chose to drop out of President Obama’s Inauguration, prompted by an anti-gay sermon delivered in the 1990s that has stirred up controversy.
Commenting that LGBT issues "has not been in the range of my priorities in the past 15 years,” Leon briefly explained his withdrawal, as stated on www.huffingtonpost.com.
Impact on Gay Parenting
How do Richard Blanco and Luis Leon help LGBT parenting? When our president supports LGBT individuals and people who advocate for gay rights, it sends the message that being gay is okay and an acceptable sexual orientation. As out nations sees the LGBT community participating in such an important event, it helps other people see being gay as a normal way of life, who are capable and entitled to do other normal things. These normal things include adopting children, serving as foster parents, and starting their own families. When we live under a leader, such as President Obama, that accepts the gay community, there is a greater chance that discrimination, homophobia, bullying, and hate crimes will decrease.
How do you feel about President Obama's choices? Please leave a comment below.