President Obama faced a heckler in the audience at the White House while hosting a reception to observe LGBT Pride Month Wednesday afternoon.
The crowd in the East Room was cheering when he entered, but about a minute into his speech, a protester in the audience could be heard jeering him, although her words were unintelligible. Mr. Obama and the protester talked over each other, and the president told her, "Listen, you're in my house - it's not respectful when you get invited to somebody - you're not going to get a good response from me by interrupting me like this." The protester continued to yell at the president as the crowd began to chant "Obama! Obama!" to drown out the yelling.
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The president then waited to resume his speech until the protester was escorted from the room.
Mr. Obama told the audience, "As a general rule I am just fine with a few hecklers but not when I'm up in the house, you know my attitude is if you're eating the hors d'oeuvres, you know what I'm saying, and drinking the booze..."
Shortly after the event, a group called GetEQUAL released a statement about the protester, identifying her as an undocumented transgender woman named Jennicet Gutiérrez, who was shouting "President Obama, release all LGBTQ immigrants from detention and stop all deportations." Her complaint, the release said, was that "she could not celebrate while some 75 transgender detainees were still being exposed to assault and abuse in ICE custody at this very moment."
After Gutiérrez was taken out of the room, the president resumed his remarks celebrating the accomplishments on behalf of the LGBT community. He said, "Together we've been able to do more to protect rights of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Americans than in any other time in our history," citing the end of don't-ask-don't-tell and the passage of a hate crimes bill named in part for Matthew Sheppard."
The president went on to note that there is still more to be done. "There are still battles to wage more hearts and minds to change as long as there is a single child in America who is afraid to be who they are, we've got more work to do," the president said.