Tag Archives: State of the Union

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner watch as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 20, 2015.

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 20, 2015. Larry Downing—Reuters

 

There were over 6,000 words in President Obama’s State of the Union address, but he made history Tuesday night when he used just one of them: transgender.

@tcberenson

In a section of the speech in which he noted that Americans “respect human dignity,” Obama included the word along with lesbians, gays and bisexuals:

“That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. We do these things not only because they’re right, but because they make us safer.”

People immediately took to Twitter to note that Obama was the first President ever to use this word his State of the Union. His mention of transgender people in the widely-watched annual address comes at the end of a year that raised unprecedented awareness, leading TIME’s Katy Steinmetz to wonder if American culture has arrived at the “transgender tipping point.”

Obama’s use of the words “lesbian” and “bisexual” were also firsts.

This is not the first time Obama has made history with the words in a major speech. He was the first president to address gay rights during an inauguration during his second inaugural address and the first to support same-sex marriage.

What It’s Like to Be the President-in-Waiting on the State of the Union Night

By ERIN DOOLEY  World News President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Jan. 28, 2014, at the US Capitol in Washington. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images Almost all our nation’s leaders, from … read more