Two DNC events talk importance of LGBT candidates


Transgender delegates gathered July 28 at the LGBT Caucus at the Democratic National Convention. Photo: Paige Cooperstein, Philadelphia Gay News

When LGBT activist Laura Esquivel heard the Democratic nominee for vice president speak Spanish at the party’s convention Wednesday night, she didn’t find it “tokenizing.”

“He has lived with Latinos,” she said. “He has lived and worked in Honduras.”

Esquivel observed Tim Kaine at work as governor and later senator of Virginia from her position in Washington with the Hispanic Federation. She called Hillary Clinton’s running mate “as authentic as they come.”

“Yes I’d rather see a Latino up there,” she added, “but until then I’m happy to have someone not just pay lip service to Latino issues. He doesn’t have to be educated.”

Kaine was chosen as vice president over a few others being vetted, including Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.

Esquivel spoke at the LGBTQ People of Color Briefing held July 28 at the William Way LGBT Community Center. It covered descriptive representation and analyzed the state of American democracy.

“The biggest problem with our democracy right now is not enough people participate in it,” Esquivel said. “Imagine what would happen if the people who were impacted by policies got involved?”

Aisha Moodie-Mills leads an organization called Victory Fund in an attempt to remedy that.

Victory Fund helps LGBT candidates run for office. Moodie-Mills referenced Park Cannon, the Georgia state representative who spoke Wednesday night at the Democratic convention.

Cannon described herself as a queer black woman, and said, “I represent the rainbow of voices that too often went unheard in our state’s capital.”

Victory Fund helped elect Cannon, who filled the seat vacated by Simone Bell, a black lesbian.

“The fact that we have a black queer legacy seat in Georgia is amazing,” Moodie-Mills said.

At the LGBT Caucus meeting July 28, Misty K. Snow introduced herself as a candidate for the U.S. Senate from Utah. If elected, she would be the first transgender senator.

“I am a voice for the LGBT community,” Snow said, but added she had other progressive values too.

“I actually work at a grocery store,” she said. “I think I can be a voice for the working class.”

Openly gay Congressmen Mark Takano of California and and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin also addressed the caucus.

“When the public got to know us,” Pocan said of the LGBT community, “…that’s when we really started to have success in state after state after state.”

Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, an open lesbian, told caucus attendees about a new LGBT Advisory Board, started late last year as part of the Democratic National Committee.

Parker co-chairs the board with Rev. Jose Roman, an HIV/AIDS advocate.

The board aims to share information between LGBT constituents and the Democratic Party. For more information, visit http://www.democrats.org/page/duties-of-lgbt-advisory-body-members.

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