Scroll To Top

LGBT Voters on Why They Support Clinton, Sanders

LGBT Voters on Why They Support Clinton, Sanders

bernie sanders, hillary clinton

Ahead of the Washington and California primaries, emotions remain high on both sides.


Bernie Sanders has faced criticism from liberal pundits and figures within the Democratic Party for staying in the presidential race, despite lagging nearly 700 delegates behind Hillary Clinton. He says he's not going anywhere until all the primary votes are counted.

Sanders has been outspoken about his plans to contest the Democratic National Convention in July. On Monday, the same day that Sanders spoke at a rally in east Los Angeles, the presidential candidate told the Associated Press that the Philadelphia convention could be "messy" because "democracy is not always nice and quiet and gentle."

On Thursday, Hillary Clinton told CNN, "I will be the nominee. That is already done."

Both candidates are prepping for Tuesday's primary in Washington and primaries June 7 in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota; North Dakota holds a caucus on the same day. At Sanders's east L.A. rally, The Advocate spoke with several LGBT supporters of the Vermont senator and on May 5, The Advocate spoke with various LGBT supporters of former U.S. Sen. and Secretary of State Clinton at her east L.A. rally.

Koelen Andrews, 34, a self-described "slacktivist," has phone-banked for the Sanders campaign. He has "felt the Bern" for nine months, and he supports Sanders because he has had a "track record for 30 years for being for LGBT rights," said the 34-year-old. When asked why he does not support Clinton, Andrews called her a "flip-flopper." "She was the last one to sign on board for LGBT marriage," said Andrews, echoing a complaint of many queer Sanders supporters. In December, Clinton told NBC's Meet the Press, "On same-sex marriage, like a lot of people, including our president, I did evolve."

At a Clinton rally in L.A. on May 5, 25-year-old Carmen told The Advocate that as a queer millennial she supports Clinton because "she is a strong ally to the LGBT community and always has been, especially LGBT women." When asked about the criticism Clinton has faced for not supporting marriage equality until 2013, Carmen said that one of the qualities she looks for in a presidential candidate is willingness to "evolve."

"The work that LGBT people do is work that's based around the idea that we want progress," she said. "We want people to evolve, to grow, to be able to listen and open their minds. Having a leader who's willing to do that and not just stay with the same position for years and years, even though it's wrong and tired, is actually a really good quality for a president."

Steve Chavarria, 23, a nonbinary trans Latinx at the Sanders rally who uses "they" as a pronoun, said they support the Vermont senator "because he has been involved in civil rights movements and was advocating for LGBTQ rights, as opposed to Hillary, who was actually in office with someone that was creating legislation against LGBT people." Although Clinton changed her position on marriage equality, Chavarria said they could not support her "because Hillary continues to support multibillion-dollar corporations that advocate for anti-queer legislation."

Patrick Macias Johnson, 29, a Clinton campaign volunteer, brought up President Obama's position on marriage. Democrats continued to support him, Johnson said, despite the fact that he did not support marriage equality until 2012. He recalled a famous speech that Senator Clinton gave at the U.N., where she said, "Gay rights are human rights." "She was the first First Lady to march in a gay pride parade," Johnson pointed out.

After the Associated Press asked Sanders if the convention could be "messy," the Vermont senator replied, "So what? Democracy is messy." Meanwhile, Clinton has said that when she dropped out of the running against now-president Obama in 2008, she endorsed him. "Whatever differences we might have, they pale in comparison to the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party. Name an issue you care about, domestic or international, and we are closer, Sen. Sanders's supporters and mine, than either of us is with Donald Trump," Clinton told CNN Thursday.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Yezmin Villarreal

Yezmin Villarreal is the former news editor for The Advocate. Her work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Mic, LA Weekly, Out Magazine and The Fader.
Yezmin Villarreal is the former news editor for The Advocate. Her work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Mic, LA Weekly, Out Magazine and The Fader.