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Obama and the Gays: A Political Marriage Paperback – September 12, 2010
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From the Back Cover
About the Author
Tracy Baim is publisher and executive editor at Windy City Media Group, which produces Windy City Times, Nightspots, and other gay media. She co-founded Windy City Times in 1985 and Outlines newspaper in 1987. She has won numerous gay community and journalism honors, including the Community Media Workshop's Studs Terkel Award in 2005. She started in Chicago gay journalism in 1984 at GayLife newspaper, one month after graduating with a news-editorial degree from Drake University. Baim is the editor of Out and Proud in Chicago: An Overview of the City's Gay Movement (2008, Agate), the first comprehensive book on Chicago's gay history; Where the World Meets, a photo book about Gay Games VII in Chicago (2007, Lulu.com-Baim served as co-vice chair of the Gay Games board); and Half Life, a novel about lesbians in the military, which was adapted for the Chicago stage and performed at American Theater Company in 2004. Baim was executive producer of the lesbian feature film Hannah Free (2008, Ripe Fruit Films), starring Sharon Gless. She was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1994 and was named a Crain's Chicago Business 40 Under 40 leader in 1995. Baim is a native Chicagoan and has been with her partner, 20-year Air Force veteran Jean Albright, for 16 years.
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Coming from Chicago, home to historically infamous political machines, the young politician had to say the 'right' things to get elected. He began courting the GLBT community--and their votes in his bid for the IL Senate.
And then more careful politicking around the issues of same sex marriage and gays in the military brought him to the White House. This was accomplished through improving his voting record on issues important to civil rights groups. He had to have the perfect voting record.
Obama was helped by David Geffen, who previously had backed Hillary Clinton, moving over to his campaign. By the time of the Denver convention Obama obtained the party nomination--and support of the community.
Alluding to his own discomfort with same sex marriage, the African American presidential nominee also inferred that he understood discrimination. Convention delegates believed in a concrete version of 'change' which would transform how the country granted civil rights based on civil rights and gender identity.
The administration's first major stumble was inviting notoriously anti-gay pastor Rick Warren to inaugural festivities. It seemed a particularly inappropriate message for the new president's 'inclusive' America--and ironic in light of the volunteer hours which GLBT people and their allies had donated to his campaign. Inviting Warren to this historic event undercut Obama's image of being a defender of the underrepresented and disenfranchised which the campaign had worked to cultivate.
Adding gender identity and lifting HIV travel bans in addition to appointing openly GLBT elected officials, and lifting don't ask don't tell, the administration has yet to support the repeal of DOMA. Arguably better than his predecessor, it therefore still falls short of what federal and state groups had ideally hoped for with the new president.
This book is a combination. It review's the president's political career involving the GLBT community. But it also contains interviews with people from and involved with the community. And the information contained within appears fairly balanced, it is not gushing over the man claiming him the greatest thing to walk the earth. But it is not trying to paint him as a radical socialist (whatever that is) either. So it is an important work to own for people interested in researching the presidency and public policy.
From his days in the Illinois State Senate, up to May 2010 in his still unfolding Presidency: numerous essays, interviews and pictures tell the story of this unprecedented era in LGBT history.