President Obama was visibly annoyed by ongoing heckling from an LGBT activist at the White House on Wednesday.
The US leader was giving his Pride Month address when Jennicet Gutiérrez, described as an undocumented transgender immigrant activist from Mexico, began to interrupt him.
“President Obama, release all LGBTQ immigrants from detention,” she shouted out, along with, “I am tired of the violence we’re facing.”
Obama became increasingly irritated with her heckling, which went on for around two minutes.
“Hey, you’re in my house. … You know what, it’s not respectful, when you get invited to somebody…” he said before Gutiérrez interrupted him again.
“You shouldn’t be doing this. Can we escort this person out,” said the president eventually. “Can we have this person removed please.”
The woman’s interruptions were at times booed at by others in the audience, many of whom were activists and members of the LGBT community.
“As a general rule, I am just fine with a few hecklers. But not when I am up in the house,” added Obama. “My attitude is if you’re eating the hors d’oeuvres, you know what I’m saying? And drinking the booze?”
Jennicet Gutiérrez (Pic: Twitter)
Gutiérrez, who was escorted from the room, later told The Advocate that she had not planned to heckle Obama but felt that she “just had to send a message” when he “started to get into his speech on how wonderful everything is and I couldn’t help but think about the conditions that my LGBTQ Latino/Latina, especially trans women of colour, are facing in detention.”
In a statement, she explained: “As I reflect on what just happened at the White House, I am outraged at the lack of leadership that Obama demonstrated.
“He had no concern for the way that LGBTQ detainees are suffering. As a transwoman, the misgendering and the physical and sexual abuse — these are serious crimes that we face in detention centres.”
Gutiérrez also slammed members of the audience who booed her. “It’s heartbreaking to see the LGBTQ community I am part of turning their back on me, and the LGBTQ people in detention centres: how can they tolerate that kind of abuse?”
Watch the exchange between Gutiérrez and Obama below.