On November 6, 2012 was the first time I voted as a member of a political party. In past elections for the last 40 years I was non-partisan. I would’ve liked to be called an Independent but there was, now and then, an Independent Party that was never in line with what I believed so I remained non-partisan until this year. Why would I change and join a political party? Because the Democratic Party changed.
As a member of the LGBT population and being an advocate for the same long before I revealed to the world that I was transgedered, I never felt there was a party that aligned with my very deep held beliefs. That changed when the sitting President said he supported same sex marriage. Wow. I guess I was waiting for a President who had something to lose to affirm that core belief that no one, especially not the US government, should stop people from loving one another. In front of God he calmly and with complete conviction said the words I have been waiting to hear for at least thirty years. I had heard ad nauseam the other position.
Opposing same sex marriage on Biblical grounds is bogus and shows a person’s ignorance masking their intolerance and in some cases downright hatred. Opposing the freedom to marry was an anathema to everything I believed. When a sitting President with an election in front of him stated his solidarity with gay and lesbian people, it shook me to my core. I didn’t know that it would resonate so fully with me. I honestly didn’t. Still I did not change to being a Democrat that day or any day shortly after that. It wasn’t until the DNC that I really started to think about it.
In the National Democrat’s party platform they stated the same thing. A major political party put in their platform in writing that they supported same sex marriage. I was astonished. I know that party platforms are just guidelines at best but still they didn’t have to write it down. They could have inferred it. They could’ve danced around it and almost say it but they didn’t. The Democratic Party without equivocation stated their support of everyone’s right to marry whom they want. That was enough for me to want to be a Democrat.
I’m coming up on what will be my last vote. Time is not on my side. I hope I live another 20 years but (to skewer a line from The Hunger Games) “the odds are not in my favor”. I want my vote to count and I want to be part of a larger group that believes like me about other issues as well. On all most every other major issue I find myself very comfortable with the Democratic Party’s position.
Still the one issue that pushed me over the edge to join the party was their support of gay marriage. In the end, it didn’t seem to matter that they did it. Maybe that’s what they calculated. It couldn’t hurt them and might even help them. At least they were now consistent. They had opposed DADT so it made sense to support its resultant consequence. One more thing I must make note of is something that no one knows the real answer.
While we know that the population of people of color will continue to grow what do we really know about the actual size of the population of the LBGT population? 10% we hear from folks that are in the psychiatric and medical community but the real number is unknown. Many of us have been living in plain sight with sometimes NO ONE knowing that we are gay, lesbian, bisexual and especially transgendered. We have suffered in silence while our “friends” made pejorative and other hurtful comments about LGBT people. You just stayed quiet because to declare who you were could be, depending on your surrounding situation, a disaster. To be honest and “come out” could destroy your life and perhaps the lives of your immediate family, friends and co-workers. Until the day finally comes and all of us who are LGBT are certain we are full citizens with all the rights and protections as all other citizens no matter where we live in the United States, no one will know how many of us there really are. While we celebrate the great strides that have been made over the last few years in attitude and now some states actually approving same sex marriage, by no means do we in the LGBT amalgamation feel safe to be ourselves. I imagine when that day comes and the real population is known, it will be larger than 10%. Until then I remain a proud Democrat. They have made me feel welcome. That’s means a lot to a growing population.