“I’m both honored and excited to have the opportunity to travel to our nation’s Capitol for a once in a lifetime event. Also the chance to bring my father along for his first trip to Washington, D.C. The State of the Union is a pivotal moment because it is our opportunity to find where we are and where we will be going as a nation in this upcoming year,” Hernandez said.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ hero intern, Daniel Hernandez, will be seated next to the First Lady Michele Obama in the gallery box for honored guests at the State of the Union address tonight.
Daniel is a young gay man in a state and nation that vilify and fail offer full citizenship to young gay men. Daniel is a young Mexican American man in a state and nation vilifies and plays scapegoat policy games with the lives of Mexican Americans.
Tonight he will be seated in a prominent place and his presence certainly will inspire commentary. And somewhere tonight some younger person will see this young man on television or hear about him on the radio or see him via the internet. Someone will look at Daniel’s face and see a version of themselves with a new-found pride.
And the world will change.
Somewhere in Des Moines or San Antonio there is a young gay person who all the sudden realizes that he or she is gay; knows that if their parents find out they will be tossed out of the house, their classmates will taunt the child, and the Anita Bryant’s and John Briggs’ are doing their part on TV. And that child has several options: staying in the closet, and suicide. And then one day that child might open the paper that says “Homosexual elected in San Francisco” and there are two new options: the option is to go to California, or stay in San Antonio and fight. Two days after I was elected I got a phone call and the voice was quite young. It was from Altoona, Pennsylvania. And the person said “Thanks”. And you’ve got to elect gay people, so that thousand upon thousands like that child know that there is hope for a better world; there is hope for a better tomorrow. Without hope, not only gays, but those who are blacks, the Asians, the disabled, the seniors, the us’s: without hope the us’s give up. I know that you can’t live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. And you, and you, and you, and you have got to give them hope. – Harvey Milk