Incoming GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios Statement on White House Event to Commemorate Stonewall

New York, NY, June 29, 2009 - Jarrett Barrios, incoming President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), today joined fellow lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocates as well as President Obama and Mrs. Obama at a reception to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969 -- when patrons at a New York city gay bar fought back against police brutality and harassment and set in motion a wave of activism.

"It was an honor to take part in this important event for the gay and transgender community with fellow advocates and my 17-year old son," said Jarrett Barrios, incoming President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and former Massachusetts state Senator. "Today's event, the first time that Stonewall was commemorated by the White House, was a symbol of the fact that the administration recognizes our community at a time when there has been growing frustration about his administration's seeming reticence to follow through on campaign promises."

"During his speech today, President Obama said that the road to equality is not only about changing laws, but about changing hearts. Indeed, legal advances are vitally important, but full equality requires us to move our culture - through conversations, living openly in our communities, and through media representations- to a place where gay and transgender Americans are accepted and understood.

"Our community will continue to advocate and will be watching closely to ensure Obama makes good on the promises he discussed today and during the campaign. At the heart of the issues discussed today are everyday Americans who want the same chance as everyone else to earn a living, be safe in their communities, serve their country, and take care of the ones they love."