An activist who heckled President Obama and was ejected from a White House reception wrote in an op-ed published on Thursday that she finds the president’s actions on transgender immigrants disheartening.
Jennicet Gutiérrez wrote in the Washington Blade that her protest on Wednesday evening is justified, given Obama’s past inaction on helping transgender immigrants.
“Last night I spoke out to demand respect and acknowledgment of our gender expression and the release of the estimated 75 transgender immigrants in detention right now,” Gutiérrez wrote.
“It is heartbreaking to see how raising these issues were received by the president and by those in attendance,” she wrote in the article titled, “I interrupted Obama because we need to be heard.”
“I stood for what is right,” she added. “Instead of silencing our voices, President Obama can also stand and do the right thing for our immigrant LGBTQ community.”
Gutiérrez additionally argued that Obama could not claim he defends gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) rights given his actions toward illegal immigrants from that community.
She said LGBTQ immigrants were often subject to discrimination and sexual abuse upon crossing America’s borders.
“There is no pride in how LGBTQ immigrants are treated in this country and there can be no celebration with an administration that has the ability to keep us detained and in danger or release us to freedom,” she wrote.
Gutiérrez frequently interrupted Obama’s remarks on LGBT Pride Month at the White House on Wednesday night.
She repeatedly called out the president’s name before he became frustrated and snapped back.
“No, no, no, no. Listen, you’re in my house,” Obama told her.
“You’re not going to get a good response from me by interrupting me like this,” he added.
Gutiérrez, a transgender woman living in the U.S. illegally, would not stop interrupting Obama despite his reprimands and boos from the assembled crowd.
She was then escorted out of the event by White House security personnel.
Gutiérrez is an activist for the Not One More campaign, an organization that opposes the Obama administration’s deportation policies.