Monday, May 14, 2012

"Our First gay President." Upcoming Newsweek cover. Update!

This according to the Huffington Post:

Newsweek is celebrating President Obama's endorsement of same-sex marriage on this week's cover, an image of which it released on Sunday. 

The cover features an image of Obama looking quite angelic with a rainbow-colored halo above his head (or as a HuffPost editor affectionately dubbed it—a "gaylo"). The image accompanies the issue's cover story, written by Andrew Sullivan, titled "The First Gay President." In his cover story, Sullivan argues that Obama's announcement has been years in the making. He also writes that the President has much in common with the gay community. 

“He had to discover his black identity and then reconcile it with his white family, just as gays discover their homosexual identity and then have to reconcile it with their heterosexual family," Sullivan writes.

While I can appreciate Andrew Sullivan's enthusiasm, I have to say I am put off by the declaration that Obama is the first gay president.

It is sort of reminiscent of calling President Clinton "the first black President" which resulted in a bit of awkwardness when Obama was elected, since that title had already been used.

Someday, it may not be anytime soon, but someday, there WILL be an actual "first gay President" and in my opinion this title should be reserved for that individual.

Besides it almost makes it sound, and I KNOW this is not Sullivan's intention, as if the ONLY way that Obama could truly empathize with the gay community is if he were gay himself.

The fact is that this is not so much an issue of gay rights as it is human rights. By saying that he believes that people of the same sex should be able to marry just like he and Michelle have done, he is essentially saying that he recognizes that the differences between himself and the gay community are far less important than are the similarities.

That does not require that a President share their sexuality, only that he shares their humanity.

Update:  Here is Sullivan's actual article which is now available online.


  1. Anonymous4:09 AM

    I am uncomfortable with that to, Gryoh, and for just the reasons you stated. And there are a couple of sites on the right that are now calling the President "outed." Just what they need, one more lie to spread about him, and courtesy of Sullivan. I liked the Time cover much better, with the colored pillars on the WH.

    1. Anonymous7:41 AM

      The only ones who will look at this as a negative would not vote for President Obama under any circumstances anyway. Those who always criticize and "make shit up" about the President are only continuing to push Independents and moderates like myself over to the "reasonable" side supporting Obama.

      I appreciate that Obama is taking a leadership position on behalf of a group that does not enjoy all of the rights that the rest of us have. After all, the President of the United States is the leader for everyone in our country, not just his political party. That narrow segment of the hard right wing that finds fault in every thing Obama says of does--- they are on the wrong side of history. Hopefully they'll change their ways over time, so I hate to make fun of them too much right now just because they behave like 3rd grade bullies that don't want to share the monkey bars with the 2nd graders during recess. Everybody has to grow up, eventually.

    2. Anonymous7:59 AM

      The RWNJ blogs that criticize Obama for taking the lead here will only appeal to "their own"; their narrow-minded audience is so far to the political right of Romney (that's why they hate Mitt, too) and won't shift to the left enough to vote for Obama anyway.

      If the Republican Party is not careful enough in distancing itself from those who think that calling someone gay is a slur, they're just going to further erode their base by losing the moderate Republicans who realize that Obama does not govern from the far left, but more in the center, and in fact, right of center on many issues.

      The right wing nut jobs will definitely help the President because most Independent voters and even moderate Republicans realize the inherent danger in the extreme ideologies of the far right.

  2. If I remember correctly, Andrew Sullivan is a Republican. I believe he has confirmed this several times on Bill Maher's show. Calling our President "Gay", could be a very calculated move.

  3. Anonymous4:49 AM

    I agree completely. Just think how this cover is going to be used in the coming months. Poor President Obama. Some thanks for doing a brave and decent thing.

  4. Anonymous5:00 AM

    Here's a snippet of the article, the entire article can be found at the link:

    Andrew Sullivan on Barack Obama: The First Gay President

    ...Barack Obama had to come out of a different closet. He had to discover his black identity and then reconcile it with his white family, just as gays discover their homosexual identity and then have to reconcile it with their heterosexual family. The America he grew up in had no space for a boy like him: black yet enveloped by loving whiteness, estranged from a father he longed for (another common gay experience), hurtling between being a Barry and a Barack, needing an American racial identity as he grew older but chafing also against it and over-embracing it at times.

    This is the gay experience: the discovery in adulthood of a community not like your own home and the struggle to belong in both places, without displacement, without alienation. It is easier today than ever. But it is never truly without emotional scar tissue. Obama learned to be black the way gays learn to be gay. And in Obama’s marriage to a professional, determined, charismatic black woman, he created a kind of family he never had before, without ever leaving his real family behind. He did the hard work of integration and managed to create a space in America for people who did not have the space to be themselves before. And then as president, he constitutionally represented us all.

    I have always sensed that he intuitively understands gays and our predicament—because it so mirrors his own. And he knows how the love and sacrifice of marriage can heal, integrate, and rebuild a soul. The point of the gay-rights movement, after all, is not about helping people be gay. It is about creating the space for people to be themselves. This has been Obama’s life’s work. And he just enlarged the space in this world for so many others, trapped in different cages of identity, yearning to be released and returned to the families they love and the dignity they deserve.

  5. Anonymous5:02 AM

    It's as unnecessary as calling Palin Wasilla's first "Christian" Mayor. When all eight previous Mayor's were Christian.

    What is it about titles?

    1. Sally in MI5:27 AM

      Well, "Muslim" hasn't stuck, "socialist" hasn't, "Commie", no, "kenyan" no, so it's time to call the President homosexual. The GOP will not stop until we stop them...with our votes.

  6. Anonymous5:17 AM

    Not to mention, it's pretty certain that James Buchanan was gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

  7. Anonymous5:30 AM

    Andrew Sullivan does not get to pick his titles. He's gotten shit for this before.

  8. Not What You Want to Hear5:33 AM

    I mostly agree with your take on this, Gryphen...but at the same time, I bet Obama burst out laughing when he saw the cover. Yeah, I'm sure some of his politicos are in a panic over it, but Obama just strikes me as someone who can see the humor in this.

  9. Cracklin Charlie5:40 AM

    I think Mr. Sullivan is just complimenting the President for a job well done. The right wingers are all wee-weed up about all the attention that last week's announcement has garnered the President. In my paper today, Kathleen Parker has written an op-ed about how the President's support of gay marriage is just so ho-hum.

    They seem to be changing their strategy from one of outright opposition to the President, to a strategy of..."Obama? Big deal, anyone could have done that".

    They are so weak.

  10. Anonymous5:52 AM

    Is it the weakness in Sullivan's article or the judgment of the magazine's Art Director and/or Editor? To choose just those words and just that image was not just an artistic, aesthetic choice, it was a political and social one.

    The cover art does not truly convey the meaning of the article. The cover art makes a cheap, sensationalistic claim that does not reflect the reality of the situation and is arguably using homosexuality as a negative while mocking our President's decision. To use a halo could be seen as mocking him as being overly righteous.

    Sadly, if the intent of the cover was to communicate the essence of Sullivan's article, it fails miserably.

    We seem still to be caught in the Murdoch era's tackiness - trying to grab attention with the lowest possible tactics possible. Dumbing down the viewer's perceptions, using manipulative subliminal messages without shame, and stepping away from ethical journalism.

    Sullivan's points were valid and sensitively stated. President Obama's statements were courageous and honorable.

    We need media dedicated to providing information we can trust in a way we can respect. I believe the American public deserves the best media has to offer, and there are sources which strive to do just that - but Newsweek is not one of those.

  11. wakeUpAmerica6:02 AM

    The Newsweek cover is just stupid. It would be far better to focus on the President's humanity in all areas.

    1. Bingo. This statement by the president is an extension of his belief in equality for all people.

  12. Anonymous6:04 AM

    My preference of mag cover pics is the New Yorker with the Whitehouse with the rainbow columns.

    I've not read Sullivan's writing or anything in the New Yorker. I'm just looking at the cover.

  13. Anonymous6:10 AM

    Well, I suppose is Clinton could be called the "first Black president"...

  14. Anonymous6:32 AM

    This is just Newsweek's answer to Time's provocative cover of the 3-yr old kid with a lip lock on her breast.

    Print media are dependent on newsstand sales and a cover that generates interest---or controversy--- is more of a promotional strategy to boost sales than a serious discussion of important issues.

    Unfortunately, in addition to the "See, I told ya Obama is gay" stand of some of the real nutters, Newsweek's cover also plays into the far-right's "Obama as the Left's Messiah" meme, which will have some of the low-info crowd yucking it up. But the anti-"anyone who is different" position is a losing proposition for the die-hard Repubs on the right.

    Independents [where I guess I fit in since, as a moderate and historically Republican, we are considered pariahs as RINOS] understand that human rights and civil rights should be afforded to all U.S. citizens. Only a completely out-of-touch individual would argue that "Corporations are people" but still insist that "LGBT individuals are NOT deserving of all of the same rights as all other American citizens".

    Hey Mitt--- LGBT folks are people, too, my friend. And they deserve the same rights as you and me. Get over it and stand up for what's right and fair for everyone.

    On a related matter, here's a link to a revealing article I missed last Friday about Mitt's top political adviser and strategist, Eric Fernstrom, whose latest gaffe was his statements about the Romney Campaign's "Etch-a-Sketch" strategy. Fernstrom was previously a reporter for the Boston Herald, the Murdoch-owned tabloid that serves as a mouth-piece for right-wing smears.

    "According to a profile in GQ, in 1992,
    he(Fernstrom) outed recently-elected
    Massachusetts Rep. Althea Garrison (R)
    as a transgender woman, effectively
    ending her political career."

    The senior aides that Romney chooses as his top advisers tells me a lot about the character of the GOP candidate. Frankly, Romney is listening to and responding to the direction of some very bigoted advisers.

    While admittedly, the issue of Gay Marriage is not at the top of the list of concerns for most Americans during this election season, I feel that I can speak for a majority of us "in the middle" of the political ideologies in saying that we need a President who both cares about the lives and has empathy for ALL Americans, not just those from certain cookie-cutter segments of our society.

    I don't always agree with all of President Obama's policies, but I do feel he is doing his best to serve the greater good for our country, and his empathy for all segments of society best serves all of us as citizens. In this election, Obama should be a slam dunk choice for everyone other than the portion of the top 1% earners who vote solely to minimize their tax obligations.

    1. Cracklin Charlie7:07 AM

      Nice comment! I like your reference to the greater good, which is how I wish people would form their political viewpoints, as opposed to self-interest.

  15. Anonymous6:37 AM

    I think this is the first time I am going to have to politely disagree with you, Gryph. I love that he is being called the first Gay President just like Clinton was the first Black President. In my mind, it just shows that you are who, you are on the inside, in your ideas and beliefs. If Obama is going to be called a Gay President because he wants to make sure gay rights are a part of human rights (as they should be)then so be it. Too many people still use the word "gay" as a derogatory term. Perhaps, this is the first step in moving away from that. Just my thoughts.

    1. I would agree with you completely, IF we were in the middle of the second term.

  16. Anonymous6:43 AM

    I'm looking forward to reading the article. I find Andrew Sullivan work to be always insightful and balanced. Even in those instances in which I have a differing opinion with Sullivan, I always learn something relevant.

    Cover photo of Pres Obama is from an awkward angle, emphasizing the point at the top of his head. Yeah, he's a smart guy so some might think of him as a "geek" or "egghead", but there are definitely more flattering pics that could've been chosen by Newsweek.

    The bright rainbow colors on the halo are definitely eye-catching, which is a big factor in newsstand sales of periodicals.

  17. Anonymous6:46 AM

    This cover is easy, lazy and stupid.

  18. Anonymous6:48 AM

    obama is not gay
    he's bisexual
    ask anyone
    in chicago's
    gay community

    1. Anonymous7:35 AM

      Like Kevin "eyebrows" DuJan?


    2. Rover7:49 AM

      Don't believe it but even if it were what?

    3. Anonymous8:27 AM

      @Anonymous 6:48AM---

      I wouldn't know for certain if that's true because I am not a member of that community as you claim to be. But SO WHAT if he is gay, bi- or straight, for that matter?

      He's a great father, husband, and a thoughtful, empathetic human being in general. In fact, he's a helluva president who isn't afraid to stand up for others who have been labeled as "different" by those who exercise bigotry first instead of compassion and respect for other human beings.

      Only the narrow-minded would consider your claim to be a knock against the president, anyway. So you can be proud of your president, regardless of your own particular race, age group, gender, sexual orientation, or even political affiliation. Because President Obama is for all of us Americans.

    4. I have family that lives in chi-town and they never hear of him being called gay by anyone of significant. Its the people who don't like him who make up shit.

  19. Anonymous7:23 AM

    IMO, referring to Pres.Clinton as the "First Black President" wasn't really a slam or derogatory remark made against him. I always considered it to be an acknowledgement that Clinton "got it". You know, like he understood the importance of the POTUS being for all Americans, including those of color.

    Similarly, referring to Pres Obama as the "First Gay President" means to me that he is the first POTUS who has taken the lead in advancing the cause of elevating the rights of the LGBT community to the same level as everyone else in American society.

    So, implicitly, this says that Obama is the first president FOR gays (along with all of the other identifiable groups of U.S. citizens). This isn't about "party politics". He's OUR president. We're all Americans. But more importantly, we're all human beings. And to me, Pres Obama understands this and isn't afraid to be the leader for all of us.

  20. O/T but sort of related, Brancy (h/t genius IM commenter) has a new post up about how she's been bullied by Hollywood about the gay marriage post.

    Oh, the humanity!

    1. Looks like the victim card runs in the family.

    2. Anonymous9:44 AM

      Knucklehead of the week: Bristol Palin
      The nation’s best-known young mom has a problem with President Obama’s family values.
      More precisely: How much the president values his family’s opinion.

      I guess she is bullied in New Jersey, also, too. Poor Brancy as Sarah.

  21. hedgewytch7:44 AM

    I have one deep problem with Sullivan. He seems to be such an apologist for his political party. He is openly gay, yet supports a party that is openly trying to take any and all rights away from him. He continually tries to portray the Republicans as something which they haven't been in quite a few decades, if ever.

    If Andrew can be so disingenuous about how the Republicans treat those of his own demographic, much less other groups, what else is he being blind about?

    1. Anonymous9:11 AM

      And since Sully is open about being HIV positive, how could he not support the party that champions quality health care for all?

    2. I agree with you.

      Also I never ever considered Ex President Clinton to be anywhere near Black. Playing a sax doesn't make one Black.

    3. Anonymous1:00 PM

      I think the meaning about President Clinton was the fact that the blacks supported him!

    4. Anonymous4:29 PM

      Sully is a conservative and a Tory. He has never been a "Republican" and has made his disgust with the current GOP very clear.

      He has explained the differences many times. I buy it. He is a man of contradictions which IMO makes him more interesting, genuine and intellectually honest.

  22. The pic of President Obama with a rainbow halo is worthy of a Mad magazine cover. This is how low these mags have come.

    I agree with you G.

    1. Anonymous12:59 PM

      I'm totally turned off by that photo of our outstanding President!!!

  23. G, did newsweek do something to the top of President Obama's head? It looks as if he has a faux mohawk or whatever they call that hairstyle.

    1. Anita Winecooler10:02 PM

      I thought the same exact thing! Must be to enhance the gravitational pull of the "halo"?

      Whatever it is, it's wrong.

  24. Anonymous10:55 AM

    I don't get it- he's not gay. He supports the rights of all Americans; he's the first to say he won't exclude gay people. The first gay's president maybe? I like the gaylo. Can I ware one too even though I'm not gay?

  25. Anonymous11:27 AM

    This morning on the View, Elizabeth Hasselbeck slammed Bristol Palin for Obama gay marriage comments.

    BTW Bristol has posted she has received death threats, WTF....

    1. Anonymous12:57 PM

      Bristol is 'playing' the exact same roll as has her mother, Sarah Palin, throughout the years! Both have jumped in and said assine things - get the media to cover it and then cry 'foul' when discord comes their way!

      She, Sarah and Todd deserve every bit of crap they receive.

      Check the idiot Sarah Palin's record - hollering her girls had rape threats in Juneau (which there were never any indicated by the Juneau Police!) - and on and on. Look at Sarah's threats in Tucson that ended up having people killed - for which she took no blame, of course!

      The Palin crowd is one evil bunch!

  26. Anonymous11:28 AM

    Elizabeth Hasselbeck Slams Bristol Palin For Obama Gay Marriage Comments--Video

  27. Anonymous4:10 PM

    Sullivan doesn't write the headlines. He writes the article. Tina Brown decides on the headline. The cover and the headline are designed to get readers.

  28. Anita Winecooler9:57 PM

    I'm with you as well. Newsweek isn't what it used to be. It's manufacturing this image of our President is wrong, because he identifies himself as a heterosexual black man. The halo is also inappropriate, it implies he's "holy" and the right is going to run with it.

    We elected him President, not Jesus. He doesn't portray himself as Sanctimonious. This cover is propaganda and just muddies the issue.

    I understand Andrew's enthusiasm, and excuse the title of his great article, but the magazine's cover is misleading.

    I always hoped for a female president, why not a Lesbian?

  29. Anonymous10:48 PM

    That headline is pretty skewed.
    The first gay president?

    So I guess if I endorse equal rights for blacks, I'm black too?


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