Apr 27, 2012 5:35 AM GMT
"I just left the White House after a very interesting afternoon with eleven other individuals from the Champions of Change program. Of the twelve of us who met with the President today, I was (as far as I know) the only person from the LGBT community and the only one living with HIV. We met briefly in the Old Executive Office Building with White House staff and then met David Plouffe and Valerie Jarret, senior advisors to the President.
We then walked over to the White House and met with President Obama in the Map Room. We each had a few minutes, I used mine to emphasize two points:
1. Now that we know that people with HIV who are being successfully treated can't transmit the virus, the President must do everything in his power to eliminate all barriers to accessing treatment for people living with HIV everywhere. In the absence of a vaccine, treatment is even more important to not only save the lives of those already infected, but to reduce new infections.
2. Many in the LGBT community are deeply disappointed by the President's decision to not issue an Executive Order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. While we appreciate what he has done for us already, we will continue to push him to do more until we achieve full equality under the law. I told him that workplace discrimination remains pervasive and asked him to reconsider his decision.
I greatly appreciate the hundreds of messages I received via Facebook, email and text, especially from those who recounted their own experiences with workplace discrimination. We selected 40 examples of those examples, had them printed up in a binder and gave them to the President."
- Cleve Jones