Keith Edwards Has a Few Questions for Bill Clinton’s Gay Former Adviser, Richard Socarides

What happens when you combine a chipper, optimistic young gay with a thoughtful, politically seasoned gay who’s been around and knows the score?

You get Keith Edwards‘ interview with Richard Socarides (former adviser to President Clinton and son of stridently anti-gay psychiatrist Charles Socarides).

Keith’s a vivacious personality — perhaps you’ve seen his work on Logo? — and Richard’s one of those people who’s fascinating the moment he starts talking. Keith explains his nifty interview thusly:

There are a lot of short, funny videos on the web, but I was hard pressed to find anything thoughtful being shared through this new medium. [Editor’s note: WHAT! I resemble that remark.] I’m hoping to change that. I started this “Four Minutes With ______ ” series in hopes of inspiring and teaching people through the use of new media.

Though I have focused mainly on gay men, I hope to interview anyone passionate about what they do and willing to share their life experience on video.

Richard Socarides, who’s interviewed here, has been longtime friend of mine who I first met through a mutual friend a few years back. He’s been a real mentor to me and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to share some of his wisdom with the world.

We’re looking forward to sharing more of Keith’s interviews in the future, but if you simply can’t wait until then, here’s his site, which is not at all self-promotional. Also, here he is with his shirt off. This is Queerty, after all.

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  • John

    Why are we not equal in 2011? Well, because we have “leaders” who feel no shame having worked for bigots like Bill Clinton. So, you got a great job! We got DADT and DOMA. So long as queers give permission to the Democrats to treat us like shit, they will.

    Come out. We have. In the millions. So many of us have come out over the last 42 years since Stonewall that we have shifted public opinion overwhelmingly in our favor. The advice that we gave each other in 1974 is not the same advice we need to be giving each other in 2011. It’s a reflection of how conservative the self-appointed gay leadership is that this is the same advice they give. Millions of us are out. We are out in 99% of US counties according to the last census. Now we want civil rights.

    Don’t listen to this professional apologist. Listen to the late great historian Howard Zinn:

    Because we are citizens, and Obama is a president. Obama is a politician. You might not like that word. But the fact is he’s a politician. He’s other things, too–he’s a very sensitive and intelligent and articulate and thoughtful and promising person. But he’s a politician. We have to remember that. Lincoln was a politician, and Roosevelt was a politician.

    If you’re a citizen, you have to know the difference between them and you–the difference between what they have to do and what you have to do. Although there are things they don’t have to do, if you make it clear to them they don’t have to do it.

    We shouldn’t be easily satisfied and say, “Oh well, give him a break.” Obama deserves respect. But you don’t respect somebody when you give them a blank check. You respect somebody when you treat them as an equal to you, and as somebody you can talk to and somebody who will listen to you.

    So what I’m saying is that Obama has a lot of wonderful qualities and seems to be a decent man, but he’s a politician. And worse, he’s surrounded by politicians. And some of them he picked himself. He picked Hillary Clinton, he picked Lawrence Summers, he picked people who show no sign of breaking from the past.

    We are citizens. We must not put ourselves in the position of looking at the world from their eyes and say, “Well, we have to compromise, we have to do this for political reasons.” We have to speak our minds.

    This is the position that the abolitionists were in before the Civil War, and people said, “Well, you have to look at it from Lincoln’s point of view.” Lincoln didn’t believe that his first priority was abolishing slavery. But the anti-slavery movement did, and the abolitionists said, “We’re not going to put ourselves in Lincoln’s position. We are going to express our own position, and we are going to express it so powerfully that Lincoln will have to listen to us.”

    And the anti-slavery movement grew large enough and powerful enough that Lincoln had to listen. That’s how we got the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th and 14th and 15th Amendments.

    That’s been the story of this country. Where progress has been made, wherever any kind of injustice has been overturned, it’s been because people acted as citizens, and not as politicians. They didn’t just moan. They worked, they acted, they organized, they rioted if necessary.

    They did all sorts of things to bring their situation to the attention of people in power. And that’s what we have to do today.

  • J.

    Keith is yummy.

  • Danny

    The events leading up to World War II taught the world that policitians will sacrifice other people’s human rights for their own political ambitions. And that the notion of “majority rules” without human rights protection for all leads to genocide against groups. Just look at the USA, all the dead gay kids in Minnesota did not stop politicians there from passing legislation aimed at violating the human rights of millions of people. Evil corrupt genocidal politicians are the same in any time era.

  • Right Wingers Are Socioptahs (John From England)

    Socarides is the reason the gay community is where it’s at in the US. The guy is a self serving creep who has done NOTHING for you guys.

    What exactly has media matters succeeded in apart from get this guy on tv?

    Sad times. Look to the UK for strategy folks!

  • Tallskin

    Is anyone else finding new Queerty boring as fuck? I search for interesting items to read and comment on, and mostly fail to find anything

  • Mike in Asheville

    What interview? What questions?

    This was much more like: Intro yada yada yada … Socarides blather blather blather … Conclusion: Socarides “I love you” blather blather blather.

    Socarides is hardly different than the GOP’s version of him, Ken Mehlman: work at the highest levels of national government (Socarides in the Clinton White House, Mehlman at the Bush campaign and then chair of the GOP), show no backbone to stand up for gay civil rights, and then whine about the plight of THEIR own troubles. Troubles, of course, caused by the anti-gay legislation and policies they helped write and direct.

    What good, Richard Socarides, and the fawning Kieth Edwards, is all that hype about being out, open, proud when you acquiesce the rights of fellow LGBTs down the toilet for your own personal gains to remain White House insiders?


    @John: While your comments about Socarides are fine as personal opinions go, as my comment also reflects my opinion about Socarides, though more as a fellow gay than politician. That’s fine.

    BUT, your history of political examples is sooo off base.

    Lincoln was an amazing man, leader and politician. However, his many flaws are too often glossed over to make for happy history and political points. Your retelling of how abolitionists made Lincoln act on their demands is beyond wrong and misleading. In the more than 4 months between Lincoln’s election and inauguration, secession was already in motion; Lincoln’s drive was not, even with abolitionists pushing their agenda, to end slavery, it was to preserve the union.

    The Emancipation Proclamation was a POLITICAL decision, not a humanitarian decision — almost 2 years into the war! The abolitionist movement wanted such a declaration from Lincoln’s first days in office. Other grotesque political decisions by Lincoln were suspending habeas corpus and enacting new sedition laws where some of his political opponents were arrested for their opinions — both of these actions were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

    Like Jefferson and his brilliance to draft unto God/Creator and not to religion or the Bible, that “all men are created equal” was contrasted by Jefferson the slave owner, Lincoln had many shining moments contrasted by moments of political expediency.

    BTW, while the 13th Amendment was introduced under Lincoln, he was 9 months dead when it was ratified; the 14th ratified 3 years and the 15th 5 years after Lincoln’s death.

  • Armand

    @John: Respect Obama?!

    I almost choked on my ice tea.

Comments are closed.