PGN Exclusive: Democratic presidential candidate addresses LGBT equality
By Hillary Clinton
Editor’s Note: The following op-ed was written by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for Philadelphia Gay News, which has made the content available to Dallas Voice and other LGBT news publications. PGN reached out to both Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump, giving them the opportunity to discuss LGBT issues in advance of next month’s election. Clinton provided PGN this exclusive op-ed detailing her LGBT-rights record and her goals for future LGBT-equality efforts. The offer remains open for Trump. This is the first time a major-party presidential candidate has written an op-ed for an LGBT newspaper. Dallas Voice endorsed Clinton for president in September. It was the first time in the paper’s history that we have endorsed a political candidate.
More than half a century ago, at Independence Hall, participants at the first Annual Reminder march picketed, chanted and sang. They did this to show their fellow Philadelphians that the LGBT community lacked fundamental civil rights.
In the decades since those protests, our country has come a long way. Marriage equality is the law of the land. This year, the last state law prohibiting same-sex couples from adopting was finally struck down. And President Obama signed an executive order protecting federal workers from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
We should celebrate that progress.
But the simple truth is that even now, in 2016, there are still too many states in America where LGBT people can be fired or evicted from their home because of who they are or who they love. Pennsylvania is one of them. Here, you can get married on Sunday and fired on Monday, just for being gay or transgender. [Editor’s Note: The same is true in Texas.]
That goes against everything we stand for as a country.
We need to act on the federal level to take on discrimination in all its forms. That’s what I’ll do as president — with your help.
But first, we have to win this election.
Donald Trump must not be elected president. He would rip away so much of the progress we’ve made. He would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn marriage equality and rescind many of President Obama’s executive orders — including those protecting LGBT people.
It’s not just Trump’s policies that reveal the kind of president he would be. So does his choice of running mate. Mike Pence is one of the most anti-LGBT public officials in America.
As governor of Indiana, Pence supported a bill that legalized discrimination against LGBT people. As a member of Congress, he voted against expanding the definition of hate crimes to include sexual orientation and gender identity. He opposed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” saying doing so would be “social experimentation.” And he’s said that homosexuality would bring about “societal collapse.”
That’s why the stakes in this election are so high.
If I’m fortunate enough to be elected president, I’ll protect the progress we’ve fought so hard to achieve — and I’ll keep fighting until every American can live free from discrimination and prejudice.
That means working to pass the Equality Act. It would finally provide LGBT people full federal nondiscrimination protections in housing, employment and so much more.
I know that differences of opinion on LGBT equality still exist in the hearts of some Americans, but they should not exist under our laws. As president, I’ll be your partner in bringing about the vision of the inclusive nation that advocates, activists and allies have been seeking for decades.
I also believe we must address the ongoing issue of violence against the LGBT community. LGBT people are now more likely than any other group to be the target of a hate crime. America saw the effects of hate in Orlando, with the attack on the Pulse nightclub — the deadliest mass shooting by a single person in our history.
The danger is compounded for LGBT people of color, who face intersectional pressures and dangers, particularly transgender people of color.
Last year, more than 20 transgender women were killed in America. Recently, three were murdered right here in Philadelphia.
We need to stop the violence and save LGBT lives. We need to collect more data around gender identity and sexual orientation in hate crimes, so we can stop them in a smarter, more effective way. And we need to finally pass common-sense reforms to address the gun violence epidemic. Along with the vast majority of Americans, I believe that we can protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners while still making sure that guns don’t fall into the wrong hands.
Finally, we need to continue our fight to achieve our goal of an AIDS-free generation. HIV and AIDS still disproportionately impact gay and bisexual men, communities of color, transgender people and young people. We need to increase research, expand the use of effective prevention medications like PrEP, cap out-of-pocket drug costs and reform outdated HIV-criminalization laws.
Like many, I’ve lost friends and loved ones to AIDS. We owe it to them — the people we love and miss, and the people whose names we’ll never know — to continue this fight.
As first lady and senator, I fought to significantly expand funding for AIDS research. As secretary of state, I changed the rules so that State Department employees in same-sex relationships were treated the same as their colleagues and so that transgender Americans could obtain passports that reflected their true gender identity.
So these fights aren’t new to me.
And as president, I’ll keep fighting for LGBT rights, because — as I told the world in one of the most important speeches I gave as secretary — they are human rights. And I won’t quit until all our laws reflect that basic reality.
The story of Hillary Clinton’s PGN op-ed
Editor’s Note: The following is an explanation by Philadelphia Gay News publisher and owner Mark Segal on how his newspaper obtained the op-ed piece by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, reprinted with permission in Dallas Voice, and why he chose to publish the piece on the cover of PGN this week.
Philadelphia Gay News has always sought participation from the presidential candidates in our election coverage. We ask both the Republican and Democratic candidates to participate (usually it’s only the Democrat who takes up the mantel).
We’ve been doing this going back to 1976 with the Jimmy Carter campaign. That year we received a signed letter from Carter about his LGBT positions. Four years later, when he was challenged for the nomination by Sen. Ted Kennedy, Kennedy sat for a Q&A with this paper.
A lot of back-and-forth happens before something of this importance finds its way onto the front page. The first step is that we make the ask of the candidate and his or her staff. Then, we figure out what format the piece is going to take. Usually it’s an interview or we’ll submit written questions. Those were options this year as well.
It should be noted that PGN has a history of communicating with both Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton, so navigating the perils of a campaign were understood by both sides. At the same time the campaign was deciding what form this piece would take, we at PGN were being asked to join various coalitions, all of which we felt we could not do while this process was in formation. It made for a stressful time.
At that same time, we were also in contact with senior campaign representatives for Donald Trump. Again, these connections were made from people we came to know over the years. We offered space to allow Trump to express his views in these pages, but we made it clear that in the end, we most likely would be supporting Clinton. We just wanted to be fair and allow the Republican candidate to express views for our readers.
Here’s the point: Trump claims to be the candidate of change. Clinton moved the needle with this op-ed, while Trump did what almost every other Republican usually does: refuse to speak directly to the LGBT community.
Note the year when Democratic candidates for president began to speak to the LGBT community: It was 1976.
Republicans seem to be stuck in the 1970s, and that is not change. “Make America great again” by taking us back to the 1970s, a time we had no rights? That said, we and other LGBT publications will continue to ask to hear Trump’s views. That is our job.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 7, 2016.