Obama to transsexual campaigner: You're in my house

Obama to transsexual campaigner: You're in my house
AWKWARD: US President Barack Obama told Ms Jennicet Gutierrez, who heckled during his speech at a reception in honour of LGBT Pride Month: "You're not going to get a good response from me by interrupting me like this."
PHOTO: AFP

US President Barack Obama would normally expect a warm welcome from gay rights activists, particularly at the White House, but that was not the case on Wednesday.

Hosting a reception to observe the lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender (LGBT) Pride Month in the East Room, Mr Obama was repeatedly interrupted by persistent shouts from Jennicet Gutierrez, a transsexual Mexican campaigner.

It was followed by a few awkward minutes before the president asked her to be ejected, AFP reported.

According to the woman who invited Ms Gutierrez, the heckle was pre-planned to raise awareness.

Ms Gutierrez shouted out that she was an undocumented immigrant and a transsexual and was "tired of the abuse" she claims immigration officials carry out on minorities, Mail Online reported.

Mr Obama tried to ask her to stop, but turned sour when she would not stop shouting.

He said: "Hold on a second. Okay, you know what? You're in my house.

"You know what, it is not respectful.

"You're not going to get a good response from me by interrupting me like this."

SHAME

When it became clear the protester would not stop, Mr Obama said: "Shame on you. You shouldn't be doing this.

"Can we escort this person out? Come on. You can either stay and be quiet, or we'll have to take you out."

She was escorted out.

The crowd chanted "O-Ba-Ma!" to drown out the shouts.

A visibly annoyed Mr Obama joked with the crowd: "As a general rule, I am just fine with a few hecklers. But not when I'm up in the house.

"My attitude is, if you're eating the hors d'oeuvres... and drinkin' the booze... anyway, where was I?"

Ms Angela Peoples, a director of the GetEqual LGBT activist group, told Mail Online that she had invited Ms Gutierrez as her guest to the event, which was a private reception followed by Mr Obama's speech.

She added that the two decided on their heckle plan to draw attention to the "urgent crisis" of transgender women being held in detention centres.

The two kept a low profile at the reception beforehand and did not speak to other guests or anybody from the White House, she said.

Ms Peoples added: "I think the president has an opportunity to deal with this. This is an urgent crisis for undocumented trans women - it warrants an urgent response."

She said that she left with Ms Gutierrez and that there was no struggle


This article was first published on June 26, 2015.
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