Hi! I am both unabashedly gay and unabashedly #withher. Many of my straight friends think that because I never felt any Bern, I’ve basically been #HatingTheGays and subsequently #HatingMyself. To this I saw: Au contraire! Like Hillzy Clillzy in that fresh, white pant suit at the DNC, I’ve been #FeelinMyself and #FeelinPolitical. My response can be best expressed through three key areas:
During the primaries, I literally snapped my fingers and nodded my head along as I read this article mentioning “straight-splaining.” Like “man-splaining” to women or “white-splaining” to people of color, “straight-splaining” refers to a majority group (this case: heteros) speaking for a minority group (this case: queer folks) in a way that, regardless of intent, is inherently condescending. Like, “Thank you so much, hetero friend, for cluing me in on Hillary’s previous positions! My gay brain could never have Googled that. I’m SO lucky to have you!”
While straight people should absolutely engage in productive discussions surrounding queer advocacy, refrain from implying: “I have never shared the lived experiences of anyone within your community, but trust me, I know what’s best for ya, kiddo.”
2. Accepting/embracing queerness:
So here’s the thing: For many, many people who identify as part of the queer community, accepting, embracing, and loving their own queerness is something that takes time. Or takes a lot of time. Or maybe never even happens.
Similarly, while I’d love to have a president who popped out of the womb, crying Macklemore’s “Same Love,” I understand the reality that many people need time to fully embrace things that aren’t familiar to them. As an advocate for LGBTQ rights, my goal is not to shit on and shun everyone who has ever disagreed with or felt uncomfortable by the queer community. Instead, it is to turn all those who are anti-gay into allies. Sure, she was not always 100% for same-sex marriage (what the hill, Hill!?). But, today, she has grown into a strong, outspoken, and effective advocate for the queer community.
3. The meaning of equality:
This last point, for me, is the most important. There’s this odd thing that keeps happening in the US where people think marriage equality means total equality for queer people – as if the ability to get married is the only thing creating imbalance between hetero and queer communities. Rainbow cakes are great. Photos of two gay soldiers kissing are happy-cry-worthy. My future big fat queer wedding will probably be the best night of my life.
But marriage is not now, nor has it ever been, the central struggle for the queer community.
You want to talk about struggles faced by queer folks in the US? Let’s talk health care. Let’s talk housing discrimination. Let’s talk violence. Let’s talk people being fired from their jobs – or denied positions in the first place – solely because of who they love or how they identify. Let’s talk about the hundreds of thousands of queer youth who would love to play some Pokemon Go but are a little preoccupied dealing with homelessness. Let’s talk about the 17 trans* people murdered already this year. And don’t even get me started on how all of these issues disproportionately affect queer people of color.
To be frank, I couldn’t care less about how Hillary Clinton viewed same-sex marriage ten years ago, five years ago, or even one year ago. It is inconsequential, it does not hold weight, and it does not matter today. (PS in case you missed it: Same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide and Hillz is very much #withthat nowadays.)
More importantly, she supports things like The Equality Act and sensitivity training for law enforcement and increased funding for queer-friendly shelters and anti-bullying school programs and much, much more than a queer person’s ability to put a ring on it.
For me, when she added LGBTQ rights as a political priority is less important than the fact that it is a priority. This is obviously a whole lot more than we can say for that talking toupee trying to slip his way into the oval office.
Real talk: I know Hillary Clinton is an imperfect candidate. I know that no president is going to solve every issue for every queer person and/or minority group in the US. We’ve got a lot of issues with this system – but that’s an entirely different conversation. Additionally, you might see Hill’s evolutionary stance on LGBTQ rights as “dishonest” or “flippy floppy” or whatever else. Personally, I’m very okay with electing someone who is willing to shift their personal views in order to implement the changes that the American people want to see. I think that’s why we elect this person in the first place, right? Moral of the not-so-short-story: I’m proud to be a gay man in America. And I am equally proud to be a Hillary Clinton supporter. Let’s get her and our first “First Man” moved into Pennsylvania Ave already.