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After the DNC: A clear choice for the LGBTQ community and the country

Commentary: Guest Commentary

Will Rodriguez-Kennedy with Hillary Clinton at the 2016 DNC

The Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland and the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia have come and gone. In their wake there is a clear choice for the LGBTQ community and for the country at large. After seeing the doom and gloom being projected by the RNC, the “Midnight in America” convention, the DNC was a breath of fresh air, optimism and renewed hope for the future. Our community was well represented by over 600 LGBTQ delegates, of which 27 were transgender.

While Donald Trump struggled to say the letters LGBTQ, the equality of the LGBTQ community was mentioned by every single prime time speaker to the DNC and many more throughout the day.

While the RNC platform continues to oppose marriage equality, objects to transgender citizens using bathrooms according to their identity and supports dangerous gay conversion therapy, the Democratic platform supports the broad spectrum of LGBTQ rights and issues.

While the RNC made history allowing a gay man to speak to their convention, Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, the DNC had several LGBTQ speakers including the first transgender speaker to a presidential convention, Sarah McBride.

From the floor of the DNC, the inclusion, the diversity and the steadfast support of our issues was palpable. San Diego sent eight LGBTQ delegates to the DNC including Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins, DNC member Jess Durfee, Former Democrats for Equality President Andrea Villa, Former Democrats for Equality President Craig Roberts, Former Democrats for Equality President Larry Baza, Former UCSD Democrats President Daniel Firoozi, transgender delegate April Spilker and myself. You may have noticed us in the news coverage as we were the delegates wearing the rainbow leis.

While there was dissent on the floor over some issues like TPP and American involvement in foreign wars, there was unambiguous unity in support of the LGBTQ community and not just at the top of the ticket. At the Human Rights Campaign and Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund event for LGBTQ delegates we heard about the national fight to make sure that our community is at the table and not on the menu. At the Human Rights Campaign and Everytown for Gun Safety after party we heard about the growing partnership LGBTQ activists and gun reform activists are forming to fight proliferating gun violence in the United States and on the stage of the DNC on Wednesday we saw a moving tribute to the 49 victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla. delivered by Christine Leinonen, mother of Drew Leinonen who was slain alongside his fiancé Juan Guerrero.

For our community, there is a clear choice in selecting the next president of the United States. We can choose a candidate, Secretary Hillary Clinton, who has embraced the full spectrum of our equality and rights, whose campaign is led by the first openly gay man to lead a presidential campaign and who has proposed the most comprehensively pro-LGBTQ platform in American history or we can choose a candidate whose singular LGBTQ supportive act was to struggle to mention our community at the RNC and who has nominated one of the most anti-LGBTQ governors in the United States to be his running mate. The choice is clear.

The clarity, however, doesn’t stop there. While we have made major strides toward full equality with marriage equality we still have major fights against discrimination, violence, homelessness and religious intolerance under the guise of religious freedom. The Democratic platform supports federal protections for the LGBTQ community against workplace discrimination, applauds marriage equality and opposes anti-LGBTQ laws at the various levels of government. The RNC platform does not. The choice is clear.

With the General Election around 100 days away, if the DNC and RNC were any indication of how our community should vote, the choice is clear. There is no objective, nor honest argument that suggest that anyone in our community should cast their ballot for Donald Trump or any other Republican who follows their party’s platform. Secretary Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party are not only trailblazing in the area of LGBTQ rights they are also advancing an agenda that will build upon the progress of the Obama administration which brought an end to federal employment discrimination against the LGBTQ community, marriage equality and the end of the discriminative military policy “Don’t Ask, Don’t tell.” The choice is clear.

The central themes of the RNC were fear and hate but at the DNC they were “Love Trumps Hate” and that we are “Stronger Together.” The Democratic platform protects LGBTQ citizens, raises the wage for Americans, expands on the rights of every citizen to have access to health care, addresses rampant gun violence, protects our environment and promises affordable college education for our citizens so that we as a nation can “Rise Together” – another theme from the floor of the DNC. For our community, and our country, the choice is clear.

In solidarity.

Will Rodriguez-Kennedy


San Diego Democrats for Equality

Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=72804

Posted by on Aug 4, 2016. Filed under Around the City, Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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