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After ObamaAfrican American Politics in a Post-Obama Era$
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Todd Shaw, Robert A. Brown, and Joseph P. McCormick

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781479807277

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479807277.001.0001

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Moving the Needle?

Moving the Needle?

Obama, Targeted Universalism, and the Black LGBTQ Community

(p.170) 6 Moving the Needle?
After Obama

Ravi K. Perry

NYU Press

In this chapter, I discuss the evolution of the Obama administration’s policies that effected the lives of Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) communities. I discuss the dilemma—the inclusionary dilemma—that for all the ways President Obama and his administration may have moved the needle on American public opinion and the embrace of LGBTQ civil rights and marriage equality, there was less movement in terms of African American attitudes and, in turn, relatively less progress for Black LGBTQ communities. Having said this, however, I believe the targeted universalism of the administration still mattered in improving the lives of Black LGBTQ families. As I explain, targeted universalism is a policy approach whereby a policy that is crafted to appeal to and positively effect a very broad constituency—i.e., healthcare insurance and American uninsured families—has a positive ancillary effect upon the well-being of a specific constituency. I examine this main question principally by discussing how Obama and his administration slowly shifted not only the public discourse about same-sex marriage but legal interpretations and administrative guidelines relating to LGBTQ civil rights and healthcare. In turn, these actions prompted at least modest positive changes for LGBTQ and Black LGBTQ persons.

Keywords:   Obama administration, Black LGBTQ, targeted universalism

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