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LGBT Activists
Call Democratic Platform Most Inclusive to Date

LGBT Activists
Call Democratic Platform Most Inclusive to Date

Democrats

The final version of the Democratic Platform is being hailed as the most LGBT-inclusive to date by queer activists and politicians alike despite the fact that the words gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender do not appear in the text of the platform, according to those who have read the document.

The final version of the Democratic Platform is being hailed as the most LGBT-inclusive to date by queer activists and politicians alike despite the fact that the words gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender do not appear in the text of the platform, according to those who have read the document.

Though the official platform has yet to be released to the public, LGBT advocacy groups say the wording that was adopted explicitly discusses adopting a national HIV/AIDS strategy, repealing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, and passing hate-crimes and comprehensive employment nondiscrimination legislation. The document reportedly also marked some historic firsts by including "same-sex couples" in the Democratic Party's definition of families, pledging to fight discrimination based on "gender identity" and opposing the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex partners who are legally married.

"This has been the most inclusive drafting process of a party platform in history," Rep. Tammy Baldwin said, noting the approximately 1,600 listening sessions that took place across the country to incorporate the ideas and concerns of average voters. Baldwin said the platform was far stronger on LGBT issues than the one adopted in 2004 because it went "from rhetoric to policy and substance and reflected the positions that have been championed by Senator Obama" throughout the campaign.

Jon Hoadley, executive director of the National Stonewall Democrats, said the exclusion of the words gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender had more to do with the inclusion of equivalent terms typically used in legislation. "Sexual orientation, gender identity, same-sex couples -- this is the type of language that appears in legislation and policy across the country," Hoadley said.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, also noted that the inclusion of transgender people in the platform never became a point of discussion. "Gender identity got put in the draft of the platform, and then there was never any serious debate about taking it out," she said, crediting all the grassroots work and education efforts taking place around trans issues.

Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Equality Council, said that after talking to both the Democratic and Republican parties about their platforms, she was particularly pleased with the outcome of the Democratic platform. "For the first time, we're not just talking about family values, we're actually valuing families in this platform," Chrisler said. (Kerry Eleveld, The Advocate)

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