2015 SOTU First To Say “Lesbian,” “Bisexual,” “Transgender”

No president had ever said (or written) these words in a State of the Union address before. Other firsts: “ironic,” “hype,” “fake,” and more.

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

In this year’s State of the Union address, Barack Obama used dozens of words that had never been mentioned in any previous SOTU address. Some highlights, from the remarks as prepared for delivery:

3. “lesbian” / “bisexual” / “transgender”

That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

4. “newlywed(s)”

Seven years ago, Rebekah and Ben Erler of Minneapolis were newlyweds.

5. “incarceration”

Surely we can agree it’s a good thing that for the first time in 40 years, the crime rate and the incarceration rate have come down together, and use that as a starting point for Democrats and Republicans, community leaders and law enforcement, to reform America’s criminal justice system so that it protects and serves us all.

6. “ethnicity”

I said this because I had seen it in my own life, in a nation that gave someone like me a chance; because I grew up in Hawaii, a melting pot of races and customs; because I made Illinois my home  —  a state of small towns, rich farmland, and one of the world’s great cities; a microcosm of the country where Democrats and Republicans and Independents, good people of every ethnicity and every faith, share certain bedrock values.

7. “innovator(s)”

I intend to protect a free and open internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks, so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world.

8. “eBay” & “Tesla”

But there are also millions of Americans who work in jobs that didn’t even exist ten or twenty years ago  —  jobs at companies like Google, and eBay, and Tesla.

9. “Instagram”

In two months, to prepare us for those missions, Scott Kelly will begin a yearlong stay in space. Good luck, Captain  —  and make sure to Instagram it.

10. “ironic”

How ironic, they say, that our politics seems more divided than ever.

11. “fake”

A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues, and values, and principles, and facts, rather than “gotcha” moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people’s daily lives.

12. “hype”

Look, I’m the first one to admit that past trade deals haven’t always lived up to the hype, and that’s why we’ve gone after countries that break the rules at our expense.

13. “checklist”

So tonight, I want to focus less on a checklist of proposals, and focus more on the values at stake in the choices before us.

14. “Beijing”

In Beijing, we made an historic announcement  —  the United States will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and China committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions.

15. “Putin”

Last year, as we were doing the hard work of imposing sanctions along with our allies, some suggested that Mr. Putin’s aggression was a masterful display of strategy and strength.

16. “stereotype(s)”

It’s why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims  —  the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace.

17. “unstoppable”

In some patients with cystic fibrosis, this approach has reversed a disease once thought unstoppable.

18. “superrich”

But for far too long, lobbyists have rigged the tax code with loopholes that let some corporations pay nothing while others pay full freight. They’ve riddled it with giveaways the superrich don’t need, denying a break to middle class families who do.

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Jeremy Singer-Vine is the data editor for the BuzzFeed News investigative unit and is based in New York. His secure PGP fingerprint is E2B0 63DB 0601 D634 1E9E F9AE 9F24 768F 9B4A EFB0
Contact Jeremy Singer-Vine at jeremy.singer-vine@buzzfeed.com.

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