Sunday, October 11, marks the 27th annual National Coming Out Day, which is an annual civil awareness day that is observed all around the world.
It is a day meant to recognize members of the LGBTQ+ community by allowing for an open discussion and awareness raising about issues that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning people face.
It seems that Hillary Clinton is coming out as a strong LGBTQ ally. Speaking to the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C. last week, the Democratic presidential front-runner discussed the way LGBTQ people are treated, not only in the U.S., but also around the world.
This is a shift from the track record of not only herself but that of her husband, former President Bill Clinton. There is a love affair between the Clintons and the LGBTQ community in America, yet, during his eight years in office the 42nd president introduced the military’s disastrous Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell policy in 1993. He also furthered the ban prohibiting HIV-positive travelers from entering the U.S., failed to pass the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, and showed questionable leadership in easing approval for crucial HIV medications.
If that weren’t enough, Clinton signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented same-sex married couples from receiving federal benefits and recognition. Indeed, the New York Post wrote that Clinton will go down in history as the only president who signed federal laws mandating discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans.
If Hillary Clinton is elected president, she’ll have a number of promises to keep to LGBT voters, thanks to a lengthy agenda of protections she pledged to push for in her major speech to HRC constituents. The Advocate summarized the Clinton campaign’s top ten promises. Here’s just a quick glance:
- End injustice against LGBT Americans “once and for all.”
- Advocate for and sign the federal Equality Act into law.
- Cap out-of-pocket expenses for people living with chronic illnesses, including HIV and AIDS.
- Upgrade the discharges of all LGBT veterans dismissed under “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the earlier military ban on homosexuality.
- Support the Pentagon’s current review of the long-standing ban on military service by out transgender Americans, who “shouldn’t have to … [keep] this core part of their identities under wraps.”
- Cut off federal funding for adoption agencies that discriminate against LGBT parents.
- Stand up against anti-gay school policies.
- Protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for transgender people, especially trans women of color.
- Defend LGBT rights abroad, including bailing out jailed LGBT activists.
- End anti-LGBT discrimination completely; “at home and abroad.”
Of course, Clinton is not the first and only politician to flip flop on an issue. Even President Obama changed his position on same-sex marriage by his second term in office from when he was newly elected. But he did so at a time that was pre-DOMA, the ruling that made the federal same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s most recent decision: making same-sex marriage a legal right nationwide.
Should Hillary Clinton become the Democratic nominee for president and, if she wins the 2016 race, will she make good on her promises? At least she has a platform on key LGBTQ issues. Only time will tell, on both sides of the party line.