Does The Dem. Platform Need “LGBT”?

Almost everyone’s heard the proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Hell, Senator Hillary Clinton loves that saying so much, she used it for a book’s title – and in stump speeches! Well, if that adage proves true, then one could say it takes a nation to birth a party platform. And it may be as painful.

As we speak, operatives and politicos on both sides of the aisle are hammering out their final philosophy, the document that will guide them to November and, they hope, to the White House.

Rather than keeping the drafting internal, both party’s are trying to reach out to voters, the Republicans with a website and the Democrats with community drafting committees. These structures, set up by Barack Obama and spread across the land, give ordinary citizens a bit more say in the matter. But, as with all civil negotiations, everyone wants a piece of the political pie.

Too bad no one ever said democracy’s fair – or, if they did, had never heard of the Rolling Stones.

The Democratic platform has been suffering some gay growing pains as of late, and the National Stonewall Democrats yesterday held a conference call to discuss some of the progress that has been made and the issues that remain.

The first half of the call consisted of delegates like Patricia Todd and trans activist Diego Sanchez, as well as Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, lauding the party’s new platform as “historic” and “inclusive.” Baldwin, who sits on the drafting committee, celebrated the document’s direction thusly: “It’s not just the rhetoric that we’ve seen in weaker language in previous platforms. This platform is made particularly strong because we go from rhetoric to policy and substance.”

For example, the platform now whole-heartedly supports repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and explicitly includes the gays within its familial boundaries, “We support the full inclusion of all families, including same-sex couples, in the life of our nation…” The party also declares, “Democrats will fight to end discrimination based on race, sex, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age and disability in every corner of our country, because that’s the America we believe in.” One friend called these words “pretty damn comprehensive,” but not everyone agrees.

Some gay activists and journalists are wondering why the document never says the words “gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgender.” They would prefer breaking down the queer communities to ensure complete, fool proof inclusion. One activist wondered whether the tempered language represented a “new Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The queers are here, sure, but they’re meant to neither seen nor heard. A key component of the larger organ falls silent.

A reader wrote to us yesterday and asked if we were “outraged” by the perceived LGBT exclusion. And the answer, in short, is “no.” After reading over the platform – here’s a PDF – we’re particularly struck by a section entitled “Renewing The American Community,” which reads, in part:

We could all choose to focus on our own concerns and live our lives in a way that tries to keep our individual stories separate from the larger story of America. But that is not who were are. That is not our American story… Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation. Because thinking of yourself, fulfilling only your immediate wants and needs, betrays a poverty of ambition. Because it only when we join together in something larger than ourselves that we can write the next great chapter in America’s story.

It seems to us that it’s far more important – not simply as Democrats, but as Americans – to form a more cohesive unit. Think of it as some sort of civic orgy. We can all have our thing – gay, lesbian, bear, John Kerry, or whatever – but in the end we’re all getting off together. And, perhaps, moving into better digs.

On a seemingly unrelated note, all this talk got us to thinking about the Tom Tom Club’s classic track “Wordy Rappinghood,” covered here by Chicks on Speed…

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  • Lexy

    Call me a hick, but to me phrases like “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” encompass the GLBTQ communities.

  • Darth Paul

    The real question is “Does LBGT need Democrats?”

  • Tom

    Yeah, democracy sucks, but the alternatives are far worse. As for the people who want to see the words/letters GLBT, I have encountered people like that in various organizations before. They are generally narcissists who only want to hear the sound of their voice and see something that they have done. They give no thought to the broader objective, its only about their self-importance and attention given to them.

    The platform includes protection for and to end discrimination against same-sex couples and based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Read the Republican platform and see what it says to answer all other questions.

  • mark

    I want a SIMPLE platform one sentence long

    “Our candidates uphold the Constitution and treat ALL Americans EQUAL.”

    hell, they could print it on every damn balloon, and there’s nothing Independants or liberal Republicans would balk over, or make a negative 527 ad out of.

  • GoodBuddy

    A tepid platform document is going to inspire tepid support for the Democratic nominee. This might be a problem this year except that the Republicans have even less love for their nominee.

  • xylitol

    I agree with Lexy. The Dems mention “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”–which are extremely inclusive.

    Besides, many of the younger generation have already rejected LGBT as being too rigid for their fluid identities of gender/sexuality. But “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” include all labels, past, present and futue.

    We must stop devouring our own leaders. Good god, some LGBT folk need a Dexitrim. Or two. Or three.

  • mark

    Fortunately for every nit picky PC thought NAZI on the Left, there are three bat sh*t crazy theocrats on the Right who want no abortions for any reason, and queers burnt at the stake.

    remember all the planks in the platforms from 2004, 2000, 1996, 1992…yeah, neither does anyone ELSE.

  • Bonnie

    Xylitol makes a good point re the rigidity of LGBT and it is true that “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” are inclusive terms.

    Here’s what bothers me, though — WHY didn’t the platform committee choose to use the words “gay,” “lesbian,” et. al.? Given our past experience with politicos, we know that they easily make trade-offs and play fast/loose with other people’s lives. So I have to wonder whether there is some disagreeable back story to the absence of specific terms relating to us and ours.

  • Bob

    Why LGBT? I thought it was GLBT.

  • CPT_Doom

    Why LGBT? I thought it was GLBT.

    Well, there’s one reason not to use that language. But we also have to remember, we are not simply fighting for an end to discrimination against gay men and lesbians. We are fighting for all of us to be considered according to our individual talents and abilities, not irrelevant sub-groupings. That includes, of course, straight people too – who should no more be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity than any gay or lesbian person (or bi, or trans, etc. etc.) The laws that protect the transgender community should also prevent discrimination, for example, against the suburban dad who is straight but loves cooking, fashion and art.

  • Bill Perdue

    Putting it mildly, there’s been a less than ecstatic reaction to Obama’s platform. After gutting and ditching our entire legislative agenda – ENDA, hate crimes, repeal of DOMA, DADT- Obama now orders us purged. As if by order of the NKVD, all references to Gays, Lesbian, Bisexual and transgender/transsexual people have been ‘disappeared’ from Obama’s platform. (Uncle Joe must be smirking in his grave.)

    In exchange for our disappearance Obama will generously allow us to get mauled and killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. McCain says no to cannon fodder, Obama says yes. With Democrats like these who needs Republicans.

    Some continue to be gulled by the Democrats, or blindsided by the silly idea that the twin parties are different. They whimper in fear at what a McCain administration would be like, refusing to acknowledge that it’d be very much like an Obama Administration. Both will continue the war, cut our standard of living and pander to bigots. The difference is the Democrats will lie about and the Republicans don’t bother. Posing our choices as partisan choices is the alpha and omega of political error.

    The question is not about the Democrats and their chances for election. That’s simply partisan conceit! It’s about the needs of the GLBT communities, ending the war and securing an adequate and fair standard of living for working people.

    It’s about building mass sentiment and movements for change. That often compels the courts and politicians to give in. It was the US Supremes, with a 7-2 Republican majority who struck down sodomy laws and the Republican dominated Massachusetts and California Supremes who upheld the right to same sex marriage.

    Far more crucial, though, is that he lessons we learn by building and leading our own movements (free of partisan domination) prepares us for the day when we and our allies will make fundamental changes and implement the kind of program I outlined above.

    Most voters know that the parties are virtually identical and are really only in it for the money and power. They understand what most partisan Democrats and Republicans do not, that those parties are not opponents; they’re accomplices, accessories to war, attacks on our standard of living and pandering to bigots. That’s why most voters in most elections just sit it out, ignoring the hoopla and partisan frenzy.

    With Democrats like these who needs Republicans?

  • Charley

    As a gay atheist, I identify with the Democratic party but recognize a cold shoulder from them when I mention “Federal same-sex marriage rights”. The Dems are basically a party of the conventional middle class religious family. I don’t think it would be any better if I was a registered Libertarian or Green Party member and my being a Republican is completely out of the question.

  • mark

    “Why LGBT? I thought it was GLBT.”

    they can be used interchangably, one lists lesbians first the other lists gays first. there’s no magic in which is named first.

  • Landon Bryce

    I am surprised to see support for the platform’s tepid language here on Queerty, which has been posting Howard Dean’s deposition testimony. Listen to the way he justifies his lack of support for gay issues through the vague language of the past and then say this is okay.

    Call the DNC at 202-863-8000. Tell them that the new platform language is an improvement, but still inadequate. Let them know that the Stonewall Dem organization may be being good little soldiers for them, and that that may be the right thing to do, but that gays outside the Beltway remain disgusted by the work they are doing to make the Democratic party a more comfortable place for people who hate gays. Tell them that you are voting Democrat but your money is going elsewhere until the party reverses this trend.

    Call the Stonewall Dems at (202)625-1382. Ask them to do a better job of standing up to the DNC and representing gay anger at the shit being thrown at us by our supposed friends.

  • lyssa

    Its like “Alien V Predator” if you are trans.

    Whoever wins, we lose.

  • M Shane

    Mark BTW, it seems usually to go LGBT because the Lesbians want to Administrate everything while the gay men “just want to have fun” apparently. Most lesbians seem to obcess on running businesses etc. like thier dads. that’s an aside.

    The real clear fact about the U.S. is that there is only one primary Party Rep or Dem: the Corporate Party; it’s all right wing from there. Unlike the rest of the world there is no Party which represents the working people or the poor . We have been so thoroughly and stupidly propagandized into thinking that there is something just aweful about Social Deomocracy or Communism despite thier unequalled sucess throughout the world in bringing democracy, health and education to the majority of Societies that we come off as real dumbells to everyone else. Since WW2 and even befor , because the Corporations run the Media we have no Notion that we are the closest thing to a Fascist government anywhere inthe world. We don’t have a two party system. If you know beans about politics economics or sociology you know that in the U. S. people are a bunch of brainwaskhed ninies. The choices are very limited if you have only one party: the Corporate party.

  • Bill Perdue

    Excellent strategy, Nevill, er Landon.

    Call and tell them you’re miffed and vexed because they’re bigots but assure them of your vote anyway. They’re counting on people like you.

    You sound a lot like [Chamberlin] getting off the plan from Munich holding up the letter from ‘Herr’ Hitler guaranteeing the rights of the Czechs and the peace of Europe.

    Politically, we need to be a bit less like Chamberlin and a bit more like [Zhukov]. Appeasement is for losers.

  • Landon Bryce

    And Bill, as always, you are the Joker: no room for any improvement or action. All you want to do is watch the world burn. You have nothing to suggest, nothing to say except “Both sides suck.”

    Yeah, they do.

    But I refuse to sit on the sinking boat and do nothing but jack off. I wish you would put all that rage in some positive direction rather than just sniping uselessly and pointlessly.

  • Bill Perdue

    “It’s about building mass sentiment and movements for change. That often compels the courts and politicians to give in… Far more crucial, though, is that he lessons we learn by building and leading our own movements (free of partisan domination) prepares us for the day when we and our allies will make fundamental changes.”

    Anything, even jacking off would be more useful than weakening the GLBT agenda by voting for its enemies like Obama and the Democrats or McCain and the Republicans. We’ll have to build those movements I mentioned to clean up the mess made by clueless stonehead Democrats and loghead Republicans.

    We’re starting the process again by organizing antiwar demonstrations at the conventions of both war parties in St. Paul and Denver. Those who oppose the war are welcome to join us. The others can go in the hall and cheer Tweedledum or Tweedledee.

    Oh, and it’s not rage. It’s a reality based analysis. No blinders, no illusions, no foolish belief in election promises, no silly projection of my goals onto frauds who don’t give a rat’s ass what the GLBT communities think or need. And it’s a determination to fight, not appease.

    Appeasement is for losers because it’s surrender without even the pretense of struggle. I wish people like you wouldn’t just abjectly surrender; it makes it all that much harder on the rest of us.

  • Landon Bryce


    All the crackpots standing outside and protesting did loads to stop us from going into a was that has done nothing for America, didn’t it? People pointed and laughed, and felt less silly eating their freedom fries. You will again hurt the anti-war cause by looking it make like it is the provenance of loonies. Please consider staying home and engaging in the political process rather behaving like a spoiled brat who, when losing, wants to flip over the checkers board and proclaim that checkers is a dumb game, anyway.

    As a member of a sexual minority, I cannot advocate for revolution: when the streets run red it tends to be ours.

  • lyssa

    Show me a group that has a *proven* track record on trans rights, and I’ll show you a vote. Ted Kennedy re flushing us down the crapper does not qualify.

    Until then, I could give a flying fuck about gay guys and dykes pushing us down to get theirs. Maybe in some future time, when gays have all their special rights they will be less inclined to use transpeeps as human shields, and we can crawl out of the rubble to claim ours.

    Sorry, but, what’s in it for me besides the heel of your boot?

  • Bill Perdue

    Landon, “when the streets run red it tends to be ours”?! Have a drink, Landon, or take a pill, Take a deeeeep cleansing breath.

    Then, checking to make sure the gutters aren’t running with blood run, don’t walk right past those nasty demonstrators. Make sure to point and laugh while you munch your Mcfreedom fries so no one will question you paytriotic credentials.

    It’s OK, Landon. Really, you’re a Democrat. No one expects any more from stoneheads or logheads who support candidates like Obama or McCain. They’ll both extend the war and fiddle while the economy crashes and burns. Tyhey both pander to bigots, but the polls show that Obama’s better at it. That’s SOP for reactionaries.

    Like I said. we’ll just clean up the mess afterwords. LBJ was one mess driven out of office by an antiwar movement and Nixon was another. Bush2’s replacement will join the list. “Hey, hey O ba ma, how many kids did you kill today?”

    And the Iraqis will win. Just like the Vietnamese did.

  • Landon Bryce

    Silly, silly Bill. LBJ was not a mess driven out of office by the anti-war movement. Name a president other than Lincoln that did half as much for civil rights as Johnson, who famously chose not to run for what would have been a third term.

    And I’m not the one screaming for revolution- that’s your game. I do think it is unrealistic to believe that the type of systemic change you believe is the only option for improvement would not be disastrous for sexual minorities.

    There is ground between drinking the Kool-Aid and throwing Molotov cocktails. That’s where I stand, and anyone who wants to is welcome to join me.

    And for what it’s worth, Lyssa, I’m just a gay white guy, but I am with you on trans people. No one has ever stood up for you. The entire gay agenda- marriage, DADT, hate crimes, ENDA- lacks urgency when compared with the needs of the trans community. I would give up hate crimes protection for gays to get it for you in a heartbeat. You need it more. Larry King was not killed because he was gay. He was a young person of color who wore makeup and high heels. No one else is America needs protection more than kids like Simmie Williams and him.

    I write people letters that say things like that, too. I think if more people did that, things would be better for you.

  • lyssa

    Fuck you, Bill. You obviously don’t hang with any transepole.
    Just fuck you.

    Because I have seen too damn much red on the ground with trans women getting wasted.

    So, I guess only gay blood counts. Thanks for showing your true colors.

    @Landon: Agreed. Just be glad that you are not a lesbian. Saying that kind of stuff has a nasty way of getting you ostracized from the community.

    It probably doesn’t win you many social calendar points with vanilla fags either.

    But then again, saying and doing the right thing has never really been a social winner with the G and L crowd has it?

  • Michael

    “They would prefer breaking down the queer communities to ensure complete, fool proof inclusion.”

    Well, as soon as we rid ourself of this absurd, ever-growing alphabet soup… As Lyssa pointed out, we’re really not all in this together. To some extent, maybe, but not enough that we need to keep wearing the Hello My Name Is: GLBTQISPMZY!@4+ sticker on our lapels. This aggregate identity is probably more of a detriment than anything else since it muddles our faces and waters down our identities and we come across as all the odds and ends that were tossed together in the clearance bin of society.

  • Landon Bryce


    I think doing the right thing can be social suicide with any group, not just homosexuals. Your use of the term “vanilla fags” is offensive and unwise. I understand the anger, but it is not fair to expect white gay men to stand up for equality for you when you are so clearly bigoted against us. Still love you, still on your side.

    Michael, that’s a pretty disgustingly selfish attitude. I have a hard enough time understanding why all persecuted minorites cannot hang together. If gender variant people had more political clout than gays, we would rightly be furious if they failed to expend it to support other sexual minorites.

  • lyssa

    I think doing the right thing can be social suicide with any group, not just homosexuals. Your use of the term “vanilla fags” is offensive and unwise. I understand the anger, but it is not fair to expect white gay men to stand up for equality for you when you are so clearly bigoted against us. Still love you, still on your side.

    Agreed on the social suicide thing. Its just that the intensity of L and G exclusion of transpositive folks is rarely seen elsewhere. That makes it special and worthy of being singled out.

    As far as expecting white gay dudes to stand up for my rights, HA! My positive expectations for that crowd are toast. After two decades of getting shat on by gay men (up to and including physical violence) for being openly femme genderqueer like King was, I have learned that being gendervairiant around gay guys is simply a bad idea.
    They refuse to learn that hated and violence towards us is not right. And it is not bigotry to return fire to this crowd. They richly deserve to be called out on their hate.
    As far as my use of “fag,” I trust that you call out gay and lesbians just as fast when they use “tranny.” Or is my use of this term “special” simply because I am after your sacred cow?

    That said, I have found that it is a great tool for exposing internecine hatred. It works. Bystanders ask why I would use the word. Others stop and take notice, or offense, as you have.

    Either way, the conversation turns to what needs to be done. IMHO, this is a good thing

  • Landon Bryce

    Hey, Lyssa-

    I am really sorry you have had such a rotten time with gay guys. I wish I thought your situation was unusual in that regard.

    I have not called people out on the use of the word “tranny,” although I certainly would if I heard it used in the Christian Siriano way. I promise you that I use the word only when refering to Trannyshack. Frankly, I think that SF insititution has kept some of the sting out of the word for me. But you certainly have a point. I would nonetheless ask you not to use homophobic language, just as I would anyone else who is using it to demean and express hostility toward gay people to stop it.

  • Bill Perdue

    Landon, you rarely hear of anyone making the arrogant partisan claim that LBJ, a Texas redneck and the Democratic/Dixiecratic Party had anything to do with the Voting Rights Act and similar laws except to reluctantly pass them and sign them under pressure.

    It’s rare because the history is pretty clear – they were passed because of the irresistible pressure of a civil rights movement that transformed in large part into a left nationalist movement in the course of the struggle, threatening the stability of the system along with the antiwar movement and the generalized youth radicalization.

    It’s typical of the partisan blindness of Democrats to ignore the efforts of SNCC, SCLC, the NAACP, CORE, the Urban League, Malcolm X, the Panthers and a host of other groups and leaders and tens of thousands of African American activists. Many were beaten, gassed, hosed, jailed and some were murdered before the Congress and LBJ decided to try to defuse the situation with some (tepid) civil rights’ laws.

    LBJ and the Democrats are totally and solely responsible for the genocidal mass murder of more than a million Vietnamese and the deaths of over 55,000 GI’s. The antiwar movement pinned the label of mass murderer on LBJ so firmly it drove him out of office. After January 20th, 2009 the slogan will change to “Hey. Hey, O ba ma (or John Mc Killer) how many kids did you kill today.”

    Get used to it.

  • Landon Bryce

    LBJ responded to prssure correctly on that issue and incorrectly in regard to Vietnam. He also acted _against_ tremendous pressure on all civil rights legislation. The Democrats are absolutely responsible for Vietnam, but I think LBJ has historically gotten a bad rap. People blame him rather than Kennedy for Vietnam, which I think has more to do with wanting to make Kennedy a faultless hero. Johnson was a jerk who has been justly pilloried for many things. However, no president has ever done as much for civil rights. I would not claim that he contributed as much any of the groups or individuals that you list above. Of course not. But he signed all of that legislation rather than vetoing it. Name another president who would done that. It got to his desk because people knew they had a shot with him. It it shockingly shortsighted and ignorant to give him no credit for it.

  • lyssa


    You have a deal. You can start by going to the MANY gay blogs that toss hateful language about trans women and write a nice post explaining how shitty the language is. Watch how quickly the gay and lesbian folks there poop all over you. Because trans hate in the LGB is a-OK. And, you can rethink your calling out of the word “tranny.” If you let it slide, and call me out on fag, what does that make you again?
    Seriously, gay and lesbian folks need to stop shitting on us. The culture of transhate needs to die. And that starts at home. Because frankly, a community that assaults its own deserves only contempt.

    Now, I need your help on something…

    As a two decade plus vet of the gay male community, I have er I mean had a lot of ties to gay men. Because of this…I get referred to by them as “fag hag.”

    Given your statement, and their insistence on using the word, what would you recommend I do?

    That said, I understand homophobia as the _irrational_ fear of same sex etc.
    Given the history of gay/lesbian on trans hate fear and exclusion, I cannot help but feel that my fear is compelling. Put bluntly, it makes damn good safety sense.
    And yes, I have been raped at knifepoint by a gay man to “convince” me not to transition. Along with a lot of other fun stuff that you simply do not want to know.

    Don’t even get me started on the decades of lesbian hate speech.

    Now, show me a “homophobe” with this history, and I’ll show you a transperson who isn’t going to take it anymore.

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