Openly gay producer/director Paris Barclay was honored on Wednesday, Feb. 22, by his peers at the Director’s Guild of America. He’s a smart, compassionate man who has contributed considerably to non-profits that benefit LGBT people and people with HIV/AIDS. He is also political and has known Barack Obama since 2004. In a short interview at the DGA, I asked him how coming out impacted his career and the way he directs – and about his friend Obama and what he thinks of the Republican presidential field.
I’m not close friends with Barack Obama and frankly, I’m disappointed with him now. I saw him briefly at the White House in December but we didn’t get a chance to talk about substantive issues. I’m hoping that in the second term, free of the shackles of having to run for re-election, we’ll see the man that I know is really there – who is really quite a progressive. I think he is probably doing his political calculus and knows he can’t win by being who he really is. I believe if he is re-elected, we’ll see who he really is and we’ll be very pleased.
I mention that I was really disappointed in the State of the Union address because, while the President talked about jobs, jobs, jobs, he didn’t talk about doing anything about the job discrimination against LGBT people. I asked Paris if he could pull Obama aside and talk to him about that, what would he say:
I’d say, I’m counting on you and I’d say I’m counting on you and millions of Americans are counting on you to be the man that we thought we were electing when we first elected you in 2008, who is a really progressive, intelligent, constitutional scholar who understands that the laws of the land are the laws of the land. You need to defend them for all of the people of America. And I’m hoping that means that you’ll turn this tide of discrimination the opposite way – you have the power to do that. So I’m counting on you.
I also asked what he thought about the Republican field:
I’m so happy with the Republican field, I, couldn’t tell you! In fact, I’m thinking of moving back to Wisconsin or Michigan so I can vote for Rick Santorum. I’m so excited!