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Andrew Sullivan In Newsweek: “Obama Learned To Be Black The Way Gays Learn To Be Gay”

Barack Obama had to come out of a different closet. He had to discover his black identity and then reconcile it with his white family, just as gays discover their homosexual identity and then have to reconcile it with their heterosexual family. The America he grew up in had no space for a boy like him: black yet enveloped by loving whiteness, estranged from a father he longed for (another common gay experience), hurtling between being a Barry and a Barack, needing an American racial identity as he grew older but chafing also against it and over-embracing it at times.

This is the gay experience: the discovery in adulthood of a community not like your own home and the struggle to belong in both places, without displacement, without alienation. It is easier today than ever. But it is never truly without emotional scar tissue. Obama learned to be black the way gays learn to be gay. And in Obama’s marriage to a professional, determined, charismatic black woman, he created a kind of family he never had before, without ever leaving his real family behind. He did the hard work of integration and managed to create a space in America for people who did not have the space to be themselves before. And then as president, he constitutionally represented us all.

I have always sensed that he intuitively understands gays and our predicament—because it so mirrors his own. And he knows how the love and sacrifice of marriage can heal, integrate, and rebuild a soul. The point of the gay-rights movement, after all, is not about helping people be gay. It is about creating the space for people to be themselves. This has been Obama’s life’s work. And he just enlarged the space in this world for so many others, trapped in different cages of identity, yearning to be released and returned to the families they love and the dignity they deserve.”

—Conservative writer/blogger Andrew Sullivan in “The First Gay President” in the May 21 issue of Newsweek. Photo: Trey Ratcliff

By:           Dan Avery
On:           May 14, 2012
Tagged: , , ,
  • 15 Comments
    • me
      me

      Jeez, Andrew, fawn much do you? After I stopped gagging at Mr. Sullivan’s sickening “love letter” to this inept politician who only “evolved” — or, rather, devolved — back to his original position in 1994 of supporting marriage-equality and then, only after recently sinking in the polls among his party’s progress youth vote and losing the big bucks from his wealth GLBT donors — only then must one realize how very stupid he must think people really are when he said, very clearly, “let the states decide” on basic civil rights. Yes, very much not in the tradition of President Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson — but closer rather too Lester Maddox and George Wallace. Oh, how grateful we must be to have our “saviour” uphold the very essence and horror of Jim Crow and bring it back to life in the 21th Century.

      May 14, 2012 at 7:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh
      Josh

      Is this a joke? Am I being punked?

      May 14, 2012 at 7:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • doug105
      doug105

      I would wait to see is conservative’s can evolve into to human being’s, but I just wont live that long.

      May 14, 2012 at 7:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1equalityUSA
      1equalityUSA

      Lose the bitterness. Use all that energy to fight for equality. Republicans need to suffer for years and years for being our oppressors. Your bitterness should be reserved for those who diminish you as equal Americans. Yes, Obama is a politician, we all know that. He didn’t sign a NOM pledge. He didn’t fall onto the wrong side of history. He didn’t cave in to the haters.

      May 14, 2012 at 8:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      Andrew Sullivan is a twit. He’s been known to attend White House functions. I’m certainly not abiding by the victimology of Andrew Sullivan.

      May 14, 2012 at 8:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Pete n SFO
      Pete n SFO

      Sullivan seems a bit histrionic; his experience is not my own so I won’t diminish it. Perhaps I simply had an easier time. Still, there’s no taking away the power of the POTUS on the world stage making such a statement, or the strength & determination it likely provides for closeted people or people living in less welcoming communities. It is huge.

      I still bristle at the President saying, “for me personally,” but, as with the comment about States deciding, I recognize this completely as strategy. I’m used to driving, but in this case, I think we all have to let go of the wheel a while.

      May 14, 2012 at 9:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daez
      Daez

      Why do people seem to stop listening when it gets to the state decide part and totally gloss over the part where Obama condems DOMA because it violates state rights?

      May 14, 2012 at 9:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Marie Cohn
      Marie Cohn

      Waw Muscle Gwutes just made me fwow up.

      May 14, 2012 at 9:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ousslander
      ousslander

      he is not the first gay president. The first gay president would be GAY.

      May 14, 2012 at 11:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chris
      Chris

      James Buchanan was the first gay president, and yes, he was actually gay.

      May 14, 2012 at 11:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Oh, ok
      Oh, ok

      @me: Jim Crow? Really? The audacity of pretending you went threw such things while sitting in the lap of luxury. How do you even sleep at night constantly lying to yourself and others knowing full well a nation actually lived it?

      May 14, 2012 at 11:47 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • freddie
      freddie

      Andrew Sullivan does write some real crap sometimes

      May 14, 2012 at 6:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scott
      Scott

      Indeed he does Freddie. Obama is not black, he’s bi-racial. Nobody should take Andrew “Milky Loads’ Sullivan seriously he’s a tool and a Republican.

      May 14, 2012 at 11:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • me
      me

      @Oh, Ok…

      Because I LIVED through it you fucking moron! JIM CROW was alive and well in my state during the first two decades of my life. Also, it is REALLY nice how you can take your head out of your ass long enough to use your psychic powers to determine how “rich” someone is and how they’re living in the “lap of luxury” based on nothing but your ridiculously paranoid anti-white bigotry.

      By the way, I am, like Obama, mixed race. Stop making assumptions about the race and the economic status of other people who comment here. You sound like a fool when you do.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JTKlaus
      JTKlaus

      Kind of like how Black gays learn to be Black gay right? *eyeroll*

      May 15, 2012 at 9:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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