Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Gay, lesbian speakers added to Dem convention

A gay man and a lesbian have been added to the lineup of speakers for next week’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

California Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez,  the first openly gay person elected speaker of a state legislative body’s lower chamber in American history, will address his party’s confab, as will lesbian Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, who is attempting to become the first LGBT person elected to the U.S. Senate this fall.

“It is truly an honor to speak to my fellow Democrats in Charlotte to help re-elect our President, Barack Obama,” Pérez, 42, stated in a press release. “Throughout his time in office, President Obama has made restoring opportunities for working families and middle class Americans his most important priority. President Obama understands that restoring prosperity for all means restoring opportunities for all, and I am deeply honored to be able to share that message with the Delegates who will be helping to secure the President’s reelection.”

Last week, Pérez was elected president of the National Speakers Conference, making him the first Californian and openly gay person to serve in the position.

Convention planners  have yet to unveil when exactly during the program Pérez and Baldwin will be speaking or for how long. The 2012 Democratic National Convention will be held at Time Warner Cable Arena Tuesday, September 4 and Wednesday, September 5.

Former San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, now California’s attorney general, had already been announced as part of the lineup. The outspoken LGBT ally (seen to the left of Pérez in the photo at right) is thought to be a contender for a prominent post in Obama’s administration during a second term.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, chair of the convention, is also slated to speak. Hollywood actress Eva Longoria, an Obama campaign co-chair, is also part of the lineup.

President Obama will accept the Democratic nomination for President on Thursday, September 6 at Bank of America Stadium. The location is a repeat of sorts of his outdoor arena speech from 2008 in Denver.

Tuesday the Democratic Party is expected to adopt the most pro-gay party platform in the nation’s history. Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), vice chair of the congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, will present the document to the delegates along with Newark Mayor Cory Booker and retired Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, the first female to reach the rank of three-star general in the U.S. Army.

According to the National Stonewall Democrats, there are  at least 534 official LGBT participants, including a record 11 who identify as transgender. Four years ago there were a little more than 350 LGBT participants.

In terms of actual delegates, the Stonewall group has counted 486 or 8.15  percent of the total 5,963 delegates expected in Charlotte. There are another 43 LGBT alternates; 20 LGBT committee members: and 5 LGBT pages.

Three states are sending LGBT delegates for the first time: Mississippi, Arkansas and Alaska. For the first time, all 50 states set numerical goals for LGBT delegates and, in another first, there will be at least one LGBT delegate from every state.

“What an amazing and inspiring convention this will be,” stated Stonewall Executive Director Jerame Davis. “With over 530 LGBT participants identified for this year’s convention, we not only set a new record for LGBT participation in a national convention, we have sent the clearest message possible that the Democratic Party is the party of inclusion.”

The largest LGBT delegation is from California with 76 total LGBT participants. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee will be among those attending.

The state’s delegation is the largest in the country and the statewide Democratic Party released a video today to introduce some of the delegates.

The three minute video can be seen here.




— Matthew S. Bajko, August 31, 2012 @ 4:37 pm PST
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