Fred Karger is one of the bravest activists that our LGBT community has. He is the first openly gay presidential candidate from a major political party in American history, in the most homophobic presidential race this country has ever seen. He was on the GOP ballot in New Hampshire and Michigan and has received confirmation that his name will appear on the ballot in California, New York, Maryland, North Carolina, and Puerto Rico. Fred was the first to announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, on March 23, 2011. Karger says he'll stick around through the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August. Throughout his career, Karger has worked on nine presidential campaigns and served as a senior consultant on campaigns for Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Gerald Ford. He retired after 27 years and has since become an activist for gay rights, especially through his organization, Californians Against Hate (now Rights Equal Rights), which investigates the campaigns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) against marriage equality in California and Maine, respectively.
When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights, Karger stated:
Well, as someone who struggled so much as an adolescent and through my teen years, someone who went to psychiatrists when I was in college to try and switch, because it was the early '70s, it sounded viable; you thought there were options. Fortunately, the three different ones that I went to, which was a trial to see which one I would go to, I asked all three about switching. Fortunately, each said, "Sorry, we can't do that. We can work with you, but it's impossible." So I'm glad I had some very good help and advice back then, when I was 21. Actually, I met somebody named Dan Brewster when I was 21, and he was just this great role model, and I realized that it was OK to be gay. You could be like Dan Brewster. There wasn't even a word "gay" back then; it kind of evolved, like everything else. I had to struggle and live a double life. I didn't tell my parents until I was 41, or my sibling. I really didn't come out publicly or professionally until I was 56 years old. And while I had a healthy gay life, it was very limited, and it was a terrible existence to have that double life. So now I'm into my 60s and have absolutely no hang-ups, obviously, as running for president. I really want to let that message resonate throughout the country, and as it happens, through all the international coverage I've gotten, through the world. If you happen to be gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender or queer, you can do anything you want to do. You can even run for President of the United States.
For more information on Fred Karger, visit fredkarger.com.
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