Come Out, Stand By Hillary Clinton (updated)
by grlpatriot, Mon Jun 02, 2008 at 12:49:18 PM EDT
I support Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party nominee and as the next President of the United States for reasons which I've expressed over the last 6 months. So, most of you here on MyDD know that I'm an ardent supporter of Hillary Clinton. But, you don't know that I'm like 1 in 10 Americans who many still refer to as a sinner, a sexual deviant, or as an abomination. So, today, in honor of Gay Pride month, I'm coming out of the closet on MyDD to share my very personal story why I will continue to support and stand by Hillary Clinton.
I grew up in a small town in central Virginia in the 1980's. Luckily, I passed. Passed? Passed as a heterosexual. It helped that I was popular and my quirkiness wasn't questioned. I wasn't subjected to the harassment, bullying, and teasing of which other tomboys or sissies became targets. But what happened to me was just as harmful. I hid. I hid from my family, my friends, and my community. In my last two years of high school, I was confused, alone, and becoming increasingly more depressed to the point of suicidal. By sheer will (and maybe a touch of grace), I made it to college. I started meeting people who were different, men and women who weren't afraid to express themselves outside of the norm, outside of social expectation, outside of heterosexuality. They didn't conform.
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Then, in 1991, a little known Governor from Arkansas running for President come out and openly expressed support for gays and lesbians. He spoke out, he validated -- on a national political stage -- my right to serve this country without fear of discrimination. Both Bill and Hillary challenged the heterosexual hegemony of this country and gave the LGBT community an opening in our national discourse. Bill and Hillary supported LGBT rights at their own political peril and against a huge backlash from their own party, Republicans, and religious organizations. They stood up for me and kicked the closet door open. Their strength encouraged me to make the long journey of coming out to myself, my family, my friends, and my community. Although the 1993 compromise policy, Don't Ask Don't Tell, fell short of what the Clinton's wanted, it started the country on the journey toward equal rights for LGBT Americans.
Even though that was almost 20 years ago, here I am today, coming out because (heterosexual) hegemony still exists. This country has much work to do to end employment discrimination and hate crimes against LBGT Americans, and establish equal rights, benefits, and marriage equality. Hillary has been and will continue to be a champion of civil rights, LGBT rights, and women's rights. She has faced the fire and brimstone and is still standing up. As President, Hillary will continue to work for and with the LGBT community to ensure we enjoy the same rights and protections as other citizens. June is the celebration of Gay Pride. In honor, Hillary released this statement:
As we begin Gay Pride Month, I join the LGBT community in celebrating an historic year in which our country continues to make progress towards the fair and equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. Still, we have so much work to do. I look forward to working with the LGBT community to make sure that all Americans in committed relationships have equal benefits and that nothing stands in the way of loving couples who want to adopt children in need. We need to expand our federal hate crimes legislation and pass a fully-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act. And finally, we need to put an end to the failed policy of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Courage, honor, patriotism and sacrifice - the traits that define our men and women in uniform - have nothing to do with sexual orientation.
To each and every LGBT American, I say this: You have done so much to help this country understand your lives by simply being open and honest about who you are and living your lives with dignity. Thank you for your courage. It is time that we recognize your hard work. I know that this country is ready for changes in the law that reflect the evolution in our hearts. You deserve a government that treats you with the respect you deserve.
America deserves a President who appeals to the best in each of us, not the worst; a President who values and respects all Americans and treats all Americans equally no matter who they are or who they love. That is truly the promise of America.
My connection to the Clintons runs deep and is very personal. In many ways, they saved my life. After I read Hillary's statement, it reminded me of where my journey began with the Clintons and why I will stand by Hillary as long as she is in this race. It's simple; Bill and Hillary stood up for me when it was the most politically unpopular thing to do. Hillary still stands by me, and as President, she will continue to stand by me, the LGBT community, and the American community -- all shapes, sizes, colors, creeds, and orientations -- all of us that make up this fabric of free citizens who have the right to live, love, and pursue happiness without fear of persecution, discrimination, and marginalization.
There, I've said it. It's done. I can't retract these words. I've left the safety of blending in. I'm out, I'm proud, I'm standing up for and standing by Hillary. Now, I leave you with a vid of Hillary Clinton speaking at the Human Rights Campaign about a year ago.Update [2008-6-2 19:55:24 by grlpatriot]: Thank you to everyone for putting this diary on the Rec list. I appreciate your support for the LGBT community and "coming out" for Hillary comments. I especially want to highlight something that Catilinus wrote in his/her comment: "...not all patriot struggles happen in battle, nor often in the company of allies...[LBGT] stories...should be celebrated in our school text books, along with others who fought their own lonely battle to make this country better than the one they inherited."
Tags: 2008, Bill Clinton, bisexual, civil rights, civil unions, Coming Out, Democratic Convention, Democratic Nominee, Democratic Party, Denver, don't ask don't tell, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA), gay, Gay Marriage, Gay Pride, hate crimes, hate speech, Hillary Clinton, human rights, Human Rights Campaign, lesbian, LGBT, presidential election, presidential primary, transgendered, women's rights (all tags)