This June, I have a lot to be thankful for.
Growing up wasn’t easy. Repetitive insults were constantly thrown my way. “Being me” made people “uncomfortable.” But this country has come a long way in accepting LGBT Americans like myself—and President Obama is at the forefront of that change.
When then-Senator Obama kicked off his campaign in 2007, I saw a man who understood and empathized with the struggles of minorities like myself. From repealing "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" so patriotic men and women don’t have to hide who they are to serve the country they love to extending hospital visitation rights to same-sex couples and supporting marriage equality—his record in the White House is bar none.
The accomplishment of President Obama's that I'm most proud of is the Affordable Care Act. When I was 13, my family relocated from Ohio to Michigan. My father had found a better job—but a six-month probationary period left my family without benefits. A couple months in, my appendix exploded, requiring surgery and a week-long stay in the hospital that left us with a costly bill. Add the four years I had without insurance until I could get on my parents’ plan this past January, and you have a set of circumstances that no longer have to be faced thanks to the President’s commitment to affordable health care for all.
I volunteered in 2008 because I believed in the President’s vision for the future. And I’m not going to let all of the progress we’ve made on equality and health for all Americans slip past us. I hope you’ll join me at Kalamazoo Pride this weekend to talk about the President’s accomplishments, or at a Pride Month event near you.