On Thursday evening Hillary Clinton released a six point policy paper on how she will continue to fight for full equality for LGBT Americans. This is the most comprehensive position statement on this issue ever put out by a candidate for president. It is far reaching in its commitment to secure full civil and human rights for the community. Hillary has always been passionate about fighting for everyone's civil and human rights. From her work with the Children's Defense Fund to her courageous speech in Beijing in 1995 on Women's rights to her speech in Geneva in 2011 where she declared "Human rights are Gay rights and Gay rights are human rights, once and for all.
Anyone questioning Clinton's passion on this issue need only read what Mira Patel who served as special advisor on Hillary Clinton's policy planning staff at the State Department wrote in the Advocate. "What many people do not know is that Secretary Clinton had said that famous phrase a year and a half prior to Geneva, when U.S. diplomats gathered for the State Department Pride celebration in a stuffy, windowless auditorium. At this small and unglamorous event, the secretary ran through most of her prepared speech, but then paused and looked up, catching the crowd by surprise.
Going off script, she emphatically stated: "These dangers are not 'gay' issues. This is a human rights issue. Just as I was very proud to say the obvious more than 15 years ago in Beijing that human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights, well, let me say today that, "Human rights are Gay rights and Gay rights are Human rights, once and for all." Patel added "Prior to that moment, those words were not in any U.S. government policy papers or mentioned in a speech. They came directly from Hillary Clinton, whose leadership and commitment to championing equality was crystal clear. The echoes of this declaration became public December 6, 2011."
Clinton's policy statement is about more than her passion it is a statement about the American people when a presidential candidate can feel both proud and comfortable putting out such a paper. Clinton has always stood up for the community, both here at home and around the world, and this policy paper represents not only that passion and commitment but her understanding about the work yet to be done. She reiterated her commitment to stand with the community and fight with us "until every American can not only marry, but also live, work, pray, learn and raise a family free from discrimination and prejudice."
This policy statement also shows Hillary Clinton's belief the American people will support a President who is passionate about Fighting for full federal equality for LGBT Americans. One who recognizes that "in America nearly 65 percent of LGBT individuals report experiencing discrimination in their daily lives and nearly 50 percent report that this discrimination occurs in the workplace. Where LGBT youth are nearly twice as likely as their peers to be physically assaulted at school and 74 percent of LGBT students say they've been verbally harassed for their sexual orientation. Despite this discrimination, 31 states do not have fully inclusive LGBT non-discrimination laws. To this end Clinton has committed to 'Work with Congress to pass the Equality Act' which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and related statutes to add gender identity and sexual orientation to the list of protected classes such as race, sex, national origin, and religion."
Hillary puts her faith in the American people to support a President who says she will fight to "End LGBT conversion therapy for minors and who recognizes that studies have reaffirmed that conversion and reparative 'therapies' focused on sexual orientation and gender identity are ineffective and deeply harmful to LGBT and gender-questioning youth." Clinton adds she "will support efforts in Congress and in the states to end conversion therapy for minors."
Hillary trusts the American people are ready to support a President committed to Protecting transgender rights. "Who understands transgender people are twice as likely as the average American to be unemployed, and in a recent national survey, 75 percent of respondents said they had hidden their gender or gender transition to avoid discrimination. Who as Secretary of State made it possible for transgender Americans to have their true gender reflected on their passports for the very first time."
Hillary Clinton believes the American people trust her to lead and will support her positions on protecting LGBT youth at home and in the community. Ensuring LGBT seniors can live their lives with all the benefits and respect due to all older Americans. Hillary believes we can and must ensure those with HIV/AIDS can afford their medications and that gay and lesbian families are treated fairly in all aspects of their lives.
With this policy statement Hillary Clinton has made a commitment to continue to fight for equality and use the power of the Presidency to accomplish that goal. She is also putting her belief on the line that the American people will join her in that effort.