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Victor Lopez

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Walking the Plank: Out and Proud at the DNC 2012?

Posted: 09/05/2012 11:00 am

After years of the Democratic Party saying it wasn't the time to discuss LGBT rights, being out and proud during the Democratic National Convention is finally welcomed. I, for one, am thankful the party is advancing the conversation.

Pure energy filled room 203 at the Convention Center in Charlotte, NC as the LGBT Caucus met just a short while ago. The air buzzed with laughter and comments back and forth between delegates, LGBT caucus members and members of the press.

I kept looking around and then it finally hit me: we are at a pivotal point of history. We are one step closer to equality for LGBT rights in my lifetime.

Not only are delegates planning for a second time to elect our Nation's first African-America president -- they are also endorsing and pushing a LGBT equality plank.

The only openly gay state representative to serve North Carolina, Marcus Brandon, addressed the energetic crowd by invoking the words of the late Robert Kennedy, "for all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."

Of course Brandon's dream as an openly gay man is the same as mine: that every member of the gay community are no longer considered second class citizens by our own democratic government.

Much like the sit-ins that took place merely an hour away in the little big town of Greensboro, the queer community finds itself having a historic moment -- and we are very aware of this. The democrats are walking the proverbial plank.

Finally the LGBT plank is being accepted unopposed by the Democratic National convention. Finally the Democratic Party has said "no, hell no" and have decided to stand on the right side of history where LGBT rights are concerned.

North Carolina State Senator Deb Butler, the state's only open lesbian in the General Assembly addressed a room filled to capacity. Members of the caucus would often explode into applause enough to make a Baptist minister proud.

"The peace that is of the past will conquer the future. Like the civil rights movement, LGBT rights will happen," said Butler.

Butler, myself and many other members of the queer community fought extremely hard against Amendment One a few months back.

Speakers who addressed the caucus were connected on a local and national level. Those like Valerie Jarrett, Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls and Senior Adviser and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement spoke to the caucus and shared the president's devotion to civil rights issues.

Before attending this convention I wasn't sure where I fit in. I have been straddling the political fence for some time now, not exactly clear on Obama's devotion to the country.

I now know that my president cares deeply about his country and human rights issues. In contrast, the Republican Party platform promises to build bigotry into the constitution.

There has been little talk at this convention about how horrible Republicans are or about their harmful platform. Instead there have been talks about keeping the momentum going toward repairing our country, restoring the middle class and giving civil rights that are long overdue to the LGBT and other minority communities.

Knowing our president has everyone in mind when his administration moves this country forward is enough to guarantee my vote in 60 days. Is it enough to win yours?

 

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