Frank minces no words in support of Clinton

Former Congressman Barney Frank spoke to LGBTQ delegates at their caucus meeting in Philadelphia. Photo: Khaled Sayed
Former Congressman Barney Frank spoke to LGBTQ delegates at their caucus meeting in Philadelphia. Photo: Khaled Sayed

Former Congressman Barney Frank implored LGBTQ delegates at last

week’s Democratic National Convention to get their friends to vote for

nominee Hillary Clinton.

Frank, long known for his blunt talk, minced no words as he addressed

the LGBTQ Caucus July 28 at the Philadelphia Convention Center.

“I’m not going to tell you to vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump

because I’m assuming you already understand that,” he said as the crowd

responded with laughter and cheers for Clinton.

“One of Donald Trump’s promises is to protect us from a foreign

invasion,” Frank said. “As a gay man we have many things we are

concerned about, but the prospect of foreign invasion has never been high

on our list.”

Frank, who long represented Massachusetts in the House of

Representatives and was one of the first members of Congress to come

out as gay, urged people in the room to find their friends who are opposed

to voting for Clinton and try to convince them that voting for somebody

else is a vote for Trump.

“You have a responsibility to confront them in a polite way – I don’t

always do that but that is the goal – and insist that they take into account

our rights,” Frank said.

LGBTQ delegates

This year’s LGBTQ Caucus was especially large. There were 516

delegates who self-identified as LGBTQ, including a record-breaking 28

transgender delegates; that’s 11.5 percent of all delegates. To put it in

perspective, in 2008 the LGBTQ delegates made up 5.8 percent of all

delegates. In 2012 LGBTQ delegates made up 7.8 percent.

The LGBT Caucus heard from many high-profile politicians such as New

York Governor Andrew Cuomo; Congressman Mike Honda of San Jose;

and Senator Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin). Former NBA player Jason

Collins and his twin brother, Jarron, also made an appearance.

The meeting started with a moment of silence for the victims of the Pulse

nightclub shooting in Orlando.

Cuomo was greeted with protesters shouting “Free Palestine” after he

took to the podium. Other protesters held signs to stop the Trans-Pacific

Partnership. Anti-TPP protesters were very visible throughout the

convention.

“New York is 18 million people, people from across the globe,” Cuomo said. “We are the welcome mat for the nation. We had a

decision very early on that we have to find commonality, and the ethic of our culture has to be acceptance and non-judgmental.”

“This campaign on the other side talks about building walls, but we talk about building bridges, and how can we find ways to

connect people,” he continued. “That is what New York is all about. There is no secret why so many LGBT people went to New

York early on when they didn’t feel safe or comfortable in their home or their state; because in New York you are accepted. That is

what Stonewall is all about.”

Ted Jackson, a disability rights advocate who worked for the convention in its ADA and community engagement unit, believes that it

is extremely important to participate and attend the LGBTQ Caucus and be active in politics in general.

“Everything from the grassroots level starts with councils and caucuses and grows upward to the elected officials and delegates,”

Jackson said. “The Democratic Party isn’t just what you see on TV. It’s really grassroots of all people coming together from all over

the country who work in different caucuses to the national convention where we nominate every four years. So a lot of work goes

into it. It is important for the LGBTQ people – as a queer person myself – to know that the party recognizes my community by

holding these caucuses.”

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