Last Tuesday, many Australians set their clocks for unheard-of hours of the morning to watch that long awaited moment when George Bush exited stage left care of Air Force One and Barack Obama took centre position in the world’s spotlight.

For the queer community there could have been few who didn’t hope that it marked a decided turning point which would be of consequence to GLBT people everywhere.

Now, not even a week in, the Obama administration has already made public its defined agenda for the future of the United States which, along with many other objectives for improving civil rights and lifting America’s humanitarian record, includes a stated commitment to provide support for the GLBT community.

On the list of strategies is a commitment to expand the US’s hate crimes statutes and to repeal the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

It has also flagged more comprehen-sive AIDS prevention schemes, which will include the development of a national AIDS strategy and a commitment to promoting sex education and the use of contraception. It is a far cry from Bush’s -˜ABC policy’ which only listed condoms as a third place after abstinence and being in a committed relationship.

Gay political commentator Doug Pollard said while the intentions were clearly good, the real proof would be judged via delivered outcomes.

The hype surrounding -˜the first black president’ is immense, he said.

The presidential package looks enticing. Within minutes of taking the oath the White House website displayed a huge list of pro-gay initiatives supported by America’s new leader.

We may very well fall out of love with this president faster than we fell in if it turns out that this alluring presidential package is mostly padding.

For Australians there will be much interest in the outcome of Obama’s commitment to expand adoption rights and to pursue civil union rights for same-sex couples and to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which, if it was to go ahead, could place further pressure on the Australian government to update its own policies.

info: To read US President Barack Obama’s entire agenda head to

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