Thursday, November 15, 2012

Obama nominates gay black man for federal court

Obama makes history for both the African-American and gay communities:

The White House announced on Wednesday that President Obama has nominated Judge William Thomas, an out gay man, to serve on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Thomas would be the first out LGBT black man to serve as a lifetime-tenured federal judge. In a statement, Obama noted the diversity of Thomas and six other nominees, saying, "They ... represent my continued commitment to ensure that the judiciary resembles the nation it serves." He added, "These individuals have demonstrated the talent, expertise, and fair-mindedness Americans expect and deserve from their judicial system. I am grateful for their willingness to serve and confident that they will apply the law with the utmost impartiality and integrity. Too many of our courtrooms stand empty. I hope the Senate will promptly consider all of my nominees and ensure justice for everyday Americans."

Thomas is the first out LGBT black judge to be nominated by Obama, but, if approved by the Senate, he would be the second out LGBT black judge. The first, Judge Deborah Batts, also was the first out LGBT federal judge. She was nominated by President Clinton and sat on the Southern District of New York bench. She took "senior status," a near retirement, earlier this year. 

 Yes this is a big #^@ deal, particularly to THIS black gay man and others who are like me because rarely do we see lgbt of color role models. It's not as if they aren't out there. It's just that very few folks focuses on them.

Certainly Mr. Thomas will not be seen as the "black gay judge" and Obama did not pick him because of those designations. However, in a world where gay black men have little visibility either sometimes by accident (by the gay community) or sometimes deliberately (by the African-American community), it's nice to see a spotlight on one of us who is successful.

And speaking of those of us who are successful:

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