Obama Encourages LGBT Activists To Support Economic Justice For Others

CREDIT: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Speaking to the Democratic National Convention’s LGBT Gala in New York Tuesday night, President Obama hailed the many recent victories for LGBT equality. For the first time since the White House’s announcement on Monday, Obama confirmed his intention to sign an executive order protecting the LGBT employees of federal contractors, “because in the United States of America, who you are and who you love shouldn’t be a fireable offense.”

The President acknowledged that there is still work to be done, both for LGBT equality and for the many others who experience inequality throughout the country for various reasons. Noting that the “story of America” is that “if you work hard and you take responsibility, you should be able to make it,” he encouraged the audience to be allies to other groups who are also continuing to fight for a fair chance in society:

That’s why this community has to be just as concerned about poor kids, regardless of sexual orientation.

That’s why this community should be fighting for workers who aren’t getting paid a minimum wage that’s high enough.

That’s why this community has to show compassion for the illegal immigrant who is contributing to our society and just wants a chance to move out of the shadows.

That’s why this community should be concerned about equal pay for equal work, straight or gay.

That’s why this community has to be concerned about the remaining vestiges of racial discrimination.

If you’ve experienced being on the outside, you’ve got to be one to bring more folks in even once you are inside. That’s our task. That’s our job. That’s why we’re here tonight.

Watch the full speech:

The Williams Institute estimates that there are at least 267,000 LGBT-identified adult undocumented immigrants living in the United States, who are particularly vulnerable to hate violence. Married same-sex couples have substantially lower family incomes than different-sex couples, and their children are more likely to live in poverty as a result. And a recent study of violence against LGBTQ people and people living with HIV found that 90 percent of all LGBTQ homicide victims in 2013 were people of color. In fact, people of color were twice as likely to require medical attention as a result of hate violence than their white counterparts.