An undocumented transgender woman interrupted the White House LGBT Pride celebrations last week, highlighting a rift between those who praise President Barack Obama’s accomplishments after two terms in office, and those who see a decline in freedoms and a rise in inequality as the real legacy he’ll be leaving behind.
The division between the perception of Obama’s achievements and the reality extends far beyond immigration and the LGBT community. Obama’s presidency has seen destructive Bush-era policies grow more entrenched, and new forms of repression have been added to American life.
With the Supreme Court legalizing marriage for all regardless of gender, many perceive an increase in equality for LGBT people as one of the main legacies of Obama’s presidency. But last Wednesday, Jennicet Gutiérrez interrupted Obama at one of the White House’s annual Pride Month festivities to demand better treatment for an overlooked portion of the community.
“President Obama, stop the torture and abuse of trans women in detention centers!” shouted Gutiérrez, who is an undocumented transgender Latina immigrant, before continuing: “President Obama, I am a trans woman. I’m tired of the abuse.”