This past June we were invited to the White House to celebrate LGBT Pride Month. It seemed like a dream that only became reality when we entered the White House gates. Each turn brought a new adventure and a chance to talk to amazing people who are on the same journey. We hugged strangers, shared and heard inspirational stories that will never be forgotten.
In awe, we walked hand in hand proudly into the East Garden Room. Each step was memorable. We saw national treasures that we never thought we would see and I watched my most precious treasures, my children soak in every detail, enjoying each interaction as they walked the halls of the White House. As we entered the rooms filled with history, experiencing every second of American tradition, I imagined how this day might build their character. I could see new dreams in their eyes and in my heart I believed that every second they were in this special place they were healing and growing.
A couple from Virginia and a family from Utah told us about their struggles and I thanked them for their courage and support. I told them that when we were at our lowest and we had nowhere to turn, the LGBT community came to our aid.
Our friends at the Gay and Lesbian Advocacy Defenders (GLAD), our local community and our state stepped up to say this is not right. I told everyone we met how proud we were to live in Maine and that working together we can continue to move forward.
Moving forward is not happening fast enough for me, but I have a great deal of faith that our nation will continue to change, because I have changed and I am watching others who I thought could never change do the same. That day President Obama recognized the LGBT accomplishments of his administration and the people visiting the White House. I felt a sense of relief and delight and I saw the joy in my children's eyes.
As I listened the tears rolled down my face, tears of pain and happiness. Because I know from experience what our LGBT youth face and the courage that they demonstrate everyday. I listened to each word and I could feel the capacity for change that our President and our nations capital have accessible to them when they have the courage and tools to act.
I was in awe when we arrived in Washington, intimidated by its size, beauty and energy. I was not comfortable approaching our leaders to ask for change, or confident that we had tools that could help, but sometimes you have to go beyond your comfort zone. We learned quickly that our nation's leaders are just people, who have families and friends facing the same problems and challenges that we have. They are not just political robots cranking out policy, laws and programs. We learned first hand that they have big hearts, warm souls and if you can get their attention they have the skills needed to move mountains.
During each interaction we stressed that we need more partners for change, more medical facilities and more protections for our children. Each discussion was short but powerful, because they listened and they cared.
As our White House visit ended I thought about the time spent with our nation's leaders. Reflecting on the discussions, I realized that we had expended a great deal energy and emotion over two days. Family energy that has been hard to come by the past few years, but I am hopeful that sharing our inner most feelings and fears might help advance change.
As I watched my daughter taking her last pictures, her twin brother asked, "Dad, should I go get her?" His instinct is to still to protect her. I hugged him and told him again how proud I was of him for doing so. He has been her shadow since he was seven years old, watching, worrying and stepping up to say no. She turned back our way and I saw her beaming, she was beautiful, happy, content and very tired.
We walked down the steps soaking in the last moments; I watched her run down the sidewalk, trying to delay her departure, hoping that her day would never end. At that instant I thought about how best to say thank you. Thank you to an amazing President and thank you to our nation's leaders for supporting all children. I was at peace for the first time in many years.
On the way home we talked about how important it is to support the things that we believe in and to vote for whom we believe in. After listening to our President and watching my children blossom was all the proof I needed to verify what we believe is the right path. You are creating a better future for all youth. A future that embraces differences; promotes equality and creates partnerships so our nation will grow as one.
As we move closer to election day the intensity of my worries increases. When it comes to politics I try to keep it simple, trying to digest the complex concepts and multiple solutions, while also trying to identify the core values of each candidate is mind-boggling. You made it easy, you have demonstrated your core values. Clearly showing that our nation must protect all American's, to ensure that future generations have the same rights as their coworkers and classmates and that all of our children should have the same opportunities for growth.
I want to thank you for helping us teach our children that this core value still exist and that your administration is working hard to guarantee a better world for all youth. I thank you for your vision and your courage to move our nation forward. I will be forever grateful. I have little to offer in return for your hard work, but you have my deepest respect and my vote for as long as you need it.