The Texas 22
On this first convention day, Steve joins the history-making number of GLBT delegates and proudly counts himself amongst the TX22.
By Steve Rivas,
12:40AM, Tue. Aug. 26, 2008
SPECIAL GUEST BLOGGER TO THE DNC
The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered (GLBT) Caucus convened at noon today with a true spirit of unity inside the Four Seasons Ballroom at the Colorado Convention Center. Seating was provided for nearly 400 people. The opening remarks provided an amazing history between the DNC and the caucus. The GLBT movement within the DNC began in the 1970s without the official recognition of the party. In 1972, a caucus of five people convened as gays and lesbians. There was no official GLBT caucus in 1980. Then in 1984 the DNC certified the GLBT caucus only to later decertify it as a "special intrest" group. It wasn't until 1996 that the DNC officially recertified the GLBT caucus.
Today the official number of GLBT delegates from states, territories, and commonwealths was announced as 360+ strong. That's a 41% increase in GLBT delegates from the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Texas alone boasted 22 GLBT identified delegates during today's caucus roll call.
Growing up in West Texas, I found it easy to identify with some of the personal stories shared by speakers at the caucus. I recall how alone I felt as a gay youth. There were no GLBT youth organizations at school in Midland/Odessa during the early 1990s. And the Internet, which since its emergence has transformed the way GLBT Americans communicate, was in its infancy. Back then, it was difficult for people to comprehend same-sex relationships; there was no Will & Grace on television.
Look at where we are today. Most GLBT youth have access to a wealth of resources on the Internet to seek help and get answers to difficult questions. In a letter to GLBT delegates, Senator Obama writes:
"This caucus has a rich history of pushing our party and our country to achieve equality for all Americans. It is encouraging to see more and more LGBT people getting engaged in the political process."
On Wednesday morning, the Human Rights Campaign will host a panel discussion titled, "Issues in 2008: What a Difference Four Years Makes". Afterwards, the GLBT Caucus will reconvene with Governor Howard Dean and U.S. Representative Barney Frank as guests speakers.