“For decades it has been beyond dispute by health professionals that homosexuality is a normal, natural and positive variation of human sexual orientation,” the Democratic platform says. “Similarly, it is clear that a person’s gender identity — one’s inner sense of being male or female — is deep-seated and cannot be changed.”
Jeff Strater, a gay delegate, was elected to serve on the state Democratic Executive Committee from Senate District 23. He said he was overwhelmed by Democrats’ response to the Republican platform.
“LGBTQ mentions are peppered throughout the platform,” Strater said, adding that each plank in the platform was passed by the entire convention.
“There were no holdouts,” he said. “No cranky ‘no’s’ from East Texas.”
Strater is not the first gay man elected to the executive committee from District 23. Gary Fitzsimmons and Buck Massey held that seat in the past.
Former state Rep. Glen Maxey said he was impressed by the planks submitted by the trans community that passed just as easily as the others. Those planks would make it easier for a person to change information on their state identification.
While LGBT is mentioned elsewhere in the platform, one whole section is devoted to “personal security and equal protection for LGBTQ Texans.”
Had Texas Republicans not made so-called “reparative therapy” an issue by calling for it in their state party platform, Strater said, most Democrats would likely not have given the concept a second thought. But with the GOP platform making headlines on the subject, reparative therapy ended up being included in the first section in the Dems’ platform relating to the LGBT community. Democrats want to ban the practice — referred to as “quackery” in their platform.
Strater said U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro reflected the sentiment of the convention when he addressed delegates on Saturday: “Gov. Perry, if you believe gay people need repairing, then I would suggest your soul needs repairing,” Castro said.
Jay Narey, president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, said, “Democrats stand in stark contrast to Republicans — like day and night.” He said the reparative therapy issue was just the obvious contrast, but positive platform planks on issues affecting everyday life in the LGBT community’ were passed overwhelmingly.
Other planks Democrats adopted dealt with marriage equality, trans-inclusive employment nondiscrimination and personal security that call on “social, health care and public service professionals to seek out and adopt best practices in the delivery of services to all Texans.”
Narey also pointed out that while Log Cabin Republicans were not allowed even a small table at the GOP convention, the Stonewall Caucus was so large, it met on the main convention floor while other caucuses were assigned meeting rooms.
Narey said he had no idea how many people attended the Stonewall Caucus because there was no controlled access to the convention floor. Hundreds of people — and all but one statewide candidate — attended the caucus. He estimated at least 300 LGBT delegates participated, but hundreds more allies also participated in Stonewall events.
“There’s been a dramatic shift on our issues over the last four election cycles,” Narey said. “State Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa is extremely supportive of the LGBT community. He’s largely responsible.”
Strater said he was energized and motivated as a result of the convention and made quite a few new contacts that he’ll call on through the campaign. His only negative comment about the weekend concerned the Ladybird Johnson breakfast: “When [anti-gay Dallas City Councilwoman] Vonceil Jones Hill was introduced to give the prayer, there were gasps from the audience,” he said.