This woman was called a ‘heckler’ by President Obama – here is her story
This trans woman who was ejected from a White House LGBT event after being branded a “heckler” by President Obama, has spoken out to tell her story.
Barack Obama was celebrated by some after he hit back at a heckler during a White House reception for LGBT Pride Month.
The US President and Vice President Joe Biden were hosting an annual Pride reception – which this year comes ahead of an anticipated Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage – when the incident occurred partway through his speech.
Jennicet Gutiérrez, however, has a story to tell, and says she felt like she was on the cusp of collapsing when Obama addressed her.
She had shouted during the President’s speech in an attempt to draw attention to trans people who are detained in men’s immigration centres.
For the two minutes, a snippet of which was caught on camera, Gutiérrez shouted: “Release all LGBTQ immigrants from detention.”
Speaking to Fusion, she said: “What pushed me to continue to speak out were the stories I‘ve heard from my fellow undocumented trans women.”
“I’m a person with a message and this is a message that has to be heard,” Gutiérrez continued.
Cotninuing, she says: “It’s 2015 and the LGBT community is suppose to have all these advancements and new rights, but trans women continue to face violence inside and outside of immigration detention centres.
She says she has never been in a dention centre herself, but that she fears the risks involved.
“Not having access to health care, employment, not having housing, there’s lot of risks,” said Gutiérrez,
In an op-ed for the Washington Blade in June, Ms Gutiérrez, who says she is an undocumented Mexican immigrant, has claimed there can’t be Pride until LGBT immigrants are free.
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The activist wrote: “I was fortunate to be invited to the White House to listen to President Obama’s speech recognizing the LGBTQ community and the progress being made. But while he spoke of ‘trans women of colour being targeted,’ his administration holds LGBTQ and trans immigrants in detention. I spoke out because our issues and struggles can no longer be ignored.”
She continued: “Last night I spoke out to demand respect and acknowledgement of our gender expression and the release of the estimated 75 transgender immigrants in detention right now.
“There is no pride in how LGBTQ immigrants are treated in this country and there can be no celebration with an administration that has the ability to keep us detained and in danger or release us to freedom. It is heartbreaking to see how raising these issues were received by the president and by those in attendance.
“In the tradition of how Pride started, I interrupted his speech because it is time for our issues and struggles to be heard. I stood for what is right. Instead of silencing our voices, President Obama can also stand and do the right thing for our immigrant LGBTQ community.”
Watch the video below: