Democratic Candidates get Queer

or not . . .

watch the entire Logo Forum here

the shorts:

Clinton – opposes gay marriage but supports civil unions and economic and health care rights – outlined some of the legislation she wanted to amend or repeal, wants to get rid of don’t ask don’t tell but admits to not doing so from her position on the committee in congress that is charged with such legislation because she thinks it would be defeated by the Republicans (she did not mention that Clinton signed that rule into law but did take time to defend it), signed the DOMA act based on “personal reasons” and launched into a convoluted and factually inaccurate depiction of state’s rights which she was called on.

Obama – gave no concrete answer to gay marriage but pointed to voting for upholding state gay marriage initiatives, pointed to record with LGBTQ community in general, refused to create a hierarchy of oppression or be bated into saying it is ok to use black civil rights to make points about gay civil rights but rather called it like it is: Oppression, unique to each group, equally important, and oh yeah Oppressive, also fielded questions about the “homophobia of the black community” that no one else had to answer ( ie homophobia in the white community, homophobia in the Latino community, etc.) and again rose to the challenge by saying “the black community has a diversity of opinion” and to expound on the fact that we are no more or less guilty than anyone else.

Edwards – supports universal health care with the same rights and benefits to GLBTQ couples, supports GLBTQ inclusive grade school education, supports GLBTQ adoptions, supports trans worker’s rights, apologized for being opposed to gay marriage and critiqued the idea that Civil Unions are equivalent, wants to repeal don’t ask don’t tell, apparently did not know about the GLBTQ youth who are homeless because of homophobia, says he believes in God but also in the separation of the Church and State as evidenced by the consequences of failing to do so in the Republican leadership.

Richards – Admitted to “making a mistake” when calling GLBTQ people the derogatory term”Maricon,” does not believe gay marriage is achievable but believes in civil unions with full marriage rights, eliminate don’t ask don’t tell (didn’t vote for it) and support gay troops, repeal DOMA (admitted he voted for it), Revamp No Child Left Behind to include GLBTQ issues, claims he is working hard to “push civil unions” in NM but ignored how he helped defeat civil union and marraige rights bills in NM for the last several years

Kucinich – supports gay marriage, reviewed his record with LGBTQ issues with specific references to events and policies (unlike Obama), supports the Workplace Non-Discrimination Act to ensure rights for GLBTQ workers

Wrap up:

I find most of the candidate smarmy at this forum.  With the exception of Kucinich, they all seemed to talk in circles and commit to very little with regards to equality for GLBTQ people.  There commitment to some rights and not to others showed a fundamental disregard for the definition of equality, something Kucinich spoke on clearly.

The forum also, once again, showed the racism of N. America and the mainstream GLBTQ community as their questions for Obama were all centered on race in some form or another.  They consistently tried to vilify the black community and phrased questions in such a way as to make Obama have to choose vilification or look like he was anti-gay. He was clearly “the black man” first and always, “the black man whose culture hates us [read white]” second, and I’m not quite sure he was ever really a presidential candidate . . . Every other candidate was asked about their record and their policies.  The difference was startling. Worse it was recreated by the video clip captions you will see on Logo’s page. Racism is not new. Racism in the GLBTQ community not new either.  But how is it that mainstream, white, GLBTQ people can enter a forum asking for equality while they clearly cannot think along the same lines for other groups? Putting a black gay man in charge of the debate in no way countered their behavior. Shame on them.

Edwards was the only one asked a question about transgendered issues.  The question made me wish there was some level of consistency in the questions, ie that certain issues were asked of every candidate so that we could get a uniform picture. All though he seemed more flustered than he should have been in this forum, he seemed to show a sense of learning and growing and being willing to keep that up and that is a commendable quality for any human being.

One of the most heartfelt moments in the forum was Melissa Ethridge’s question to Hilary about “all the promises that were made” (to quote U2) and “being thrown under the bus” (to quote M.E.). She asked Clinton how she would be different now as opposed to then.  It was a moment, like the Elizabeth Edwards moment a few days ago, to be brave, bold, and claim the space to be a true leader in the elections.  Her overly cautious and substanceless answer was slightly saved by the true concern she seemed to have for the emotion Melissa introduced.

The most surprising thing about it all for me: Kucinich is my new hero.  He was passionate about all of the issues, including bringing up the war, health care, and other mainstream issues.  He spoke clearly and eloquently about equality.  He used specific examples to support his claims about his record and his intentions. I don’t think he can win, but I found myself wishing he could.

8 thoughts on “Democratic Candidates get Queer

  1. Thanks for the highlights. I’ll have to pay more attention to Kucinich now. So the GLBTQ c0mmunity present reduced Obama to the “black guy” huh? Now, if THEY, supposedly liberal and a minority-based group, can’t get over his blackness, I suppose others won’t either. I’ve been cautious about his prospects for quite some time, and this report has shown I had every right to be.

  2. Thanks for the recap. A part of me really wants Obama to let people have it: yes, he can speak about issues directly affecting black communities but he is running for US president, not the president of the NAACP or the Urban League. It’s another ploy that pisses me off. (Maybe I am projecting here.) I know he can’t say half of what other candidates can say. One racial slip can derail him for good. If they are going to ask “racial” questions, then all the candidates should have to talk about the racial group they “represent”. Clinton should have to speak for the white community, for white women, calling them “white” women. I’ll stop now because I am getting more and more pissed.

  3. I LOVE DENNIS KUCINICH. I campaigned for him in 2004 and he’s got my vote now. He’s consistent, unafraid to stick to what he believes in and he’s the only candidate who doesn’t disappoint me and make me wonder what s/he’s really in favor of. Go, Dennis!

  4. hey all! :DABW & BW – I feel and share your frustrations. No one is a spokesperson for any group and the fact that some are forced into that role and others flaunt it like they actually do speak for everyone in that group when they don’t (and can’t) is really tainting the whole thing for me.Irn – thanks for calling me on the Gravel thing, especially since in his own words he has been “cut out” of so many events. I had serious issues with his “the gays” comment over and over, when Kathy Griffin says it, it sounds like insider speak and I let it slide, when Gravel says it, I feel the ick crawling up my back, even tho they are both straight. He also just kind of creeps me out in the way he tries to appear hip, things like “it’s luv” really . . . yuck, it comes off like your gp listening to snoop in the car to get you talk to him. I would much rather see him speak as himsellf, he would sound more comfortable and far less out of touch and catching up. Clearly, he wants equal rights and he wants to N. America to get it right, but something about the act undermines my ability to believe him, at least in this forum. Look at the copies of his interview for the forum – when he is speaking in his own voice about marriage in the clip “why gays should fight for marriage” was salient, gave a good example of naturalized disparity, and made a solid point. It is a radically different voice than the clips that precede it.Most of his time was taken up with gay marriage. Two problematic things about the rest of his time – he kept equating everyone to “human beings” which is one of those liberal things that seems great when you say it “we are all human beings” but quickly turns into talking about the white straight male able bodied middle class experience as universal and leaving the rest of us behind, and the idea of “you all have to start exerting your rights” which again puts the onus of oppression on the oppressed. He did say, very late, that he would support people who were asserting their rights but from question to question the idea that gay people were responsible for ensuring gay rights kept coming up and that deeply concerns me. Oppression is about actively keeping people from rights, safety, and equality, it is about dehumanizing them to the point they are irrelevant, can be enslaves, or killed. The onus is on the system and the people who uphold it. Gay people have been asserting their rights that is why there was a forum in the first place.Gravel recap – he supports gay marriage thinks Civil Unions render inequality concrete, he supports health care reform but did not answer the specific question about HIV asked nor give concretes on the reform, he supports legalizing and monitoring all drugs through the medical system.

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