PHILADELPHIA — When the Democratic Party released an initial draft of its platform, a document that was composed this spring by a handful of presidential campaign and party appointees, LGBT people were mentioned 11 times.
But by the time a full platform committee — which had hundreds of people, including LGBT policy wonks — finished a final draft this month, LGBT people were mentioned more than twice as much, carving out the party’s boldest stance on LGBT rights to date.
On Monday, Democratic delegates are poised to formally adopt those planks with the full Democratic platform, charting a national agenda that ranges from expanding the legal interpretation of civil rights laws so that they protect LGBT people to defending their access to public spaces — a nod toward blocking anti-transgender bathroom regulations promoted by Republicans.
“This is certainly the most progressive LGBT platform in the party’s history and the most progressive platform overall,” Mara Keisling, a member of the platform committee who helped advance several LGBT amendments, told BuzzFeed News in an interview.
Keisling is also the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality but spoke in her personal capacity.
But the initial draft omitted LGBT issues that look like blind spots in the context of major current debates and policies advanced by the Obama administration.
Most notably, the first draft lacked mention of applying bans on sex discrimination — which were established by civil rights laws — to also ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.
While that matter may seem arcane, it has been among the handful of LGBT advances at the federal level while Democrats are outflanked in Congress. Federal agencies have aggressively advanced these views to protect transgender students and workers, including their access to restrooms — and Hillary Clinton’s platform has pledged to build on that legal strategy.
“I saw the first draft of the platform, and I didn’t think, “This pisses me off,’” said Keisling. “Instead, I looked at it and thought, ‘This is how we can fix it.’”
In May, the party announced a 15-member committee to draft the platform, allocating 75% of the committee’s seats to the presidential campaigns, awarding the seats proportionally based on Hillary Clinton’s and Bernie Sanders’ vote tallies.
That draft committee produced a version on July 1 that espoused several major LGBT goals, including stanching anti-transgender violence and blocking anti-LGBT bills in state legislatures while working to pass a federal nondiscrimination law.
Proposals to expand the platform the next week had only a few dissenters, said Keisling, who added, “These were not controversial votes.”
Keisling said that numerous delegates, including San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee, introduced amendments to expand the LGBT planks at a meeting on July 9 and 10 in Orlando, Florida. Among them was one addressing the civil rights law: “Democrats will fight for the continued development of sex discrimination law to cover LGBT people,” the final draft states.
The final draft also adds language about equipping the Census Bureau to track data on LGBT people and other historically undercounted populations. Another plank notes that “detention can be unacceptably dangerous” for LGBT people in regards to immigration enforcement.
Other new elements include reviewing records for soldiers discharged due to their sexual orientation, and, in foreign policy, considering LGBT rights as a matter of human rights.
The Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and Bernie Sanders campaign did not comment to BuzzFeed News about the final platform or elements not included in the first draft.
Leyna caught up with GOSEE to tell us about her story and how she was discovered.
Leyna knew at a young age that fashion and entertainment were her calling. “My personality was way to big for the Midwest” admits she. When the time was right she made a clear shot to the East Coast, arriving in New York and making her mark in The big Apple.
“Some say, I came too late, but I think I was right on time”, says Leyna. While undergoing the Transition into womanhood “I made sure I took the the time to discover my true and honest self. I knew I had all the tools to be a success, I just needed a break”.
Her break came in the summer of 2014. “It was the year that changed my life” - recalls Leyna: “I walked into a Soho gallery called Clic and was given a card of an amazing photographer and now friend by the name of Antoine Verglas. Soon after I was shooting with him - the same photographer who shot all my idols!” “Moments like this are worth the wait”, admits Leyna.
Here are some of the classic images of Leyna from her shoot with Antoine.
Spirit Halloween, a pop-up costume store, has made it well aware that they will be selling a Caitlyn Jenner Halloween costume this season. Spirit confirmed this costume by releasing an exclusive statement to Confidenti@l.
Although Spirit Halloween claims this to be a “heroic” act, we believe it’s distasteful and a jab at the transgender community. Being transgender is not a joke, nor should it be treated as a joke.
Transgender people face a much higher suicide risk. Analysis by the Williams Institute found 78 percent of transgender respondents who had endured physical or sexual violence had attempted suicide [Source].
According to research conducted by The Task Force, Fifty-three percent (53%) of transgender participants reported
being verbally harassed or disrespected in a place of public accommodation, including hotels,
restaurants, buses, airports and government agencies.
Sexual orientation and gender identity are different. A personʼs sexual orientation is related to whether
the person is romantically attracted to men, women, or both. Gender identity, on the other hand, is about the
personʼs own internal identification as male, female, or a gender in between male and female. Just like cisgender people, transgender people can be of any sexual orientation.
Here’s another way of walling yourself off from mainstream America. In a list of priorities straight out of the 1950s, the GOP formalized Donald Trump’s insane plan to build a Mexican border wall as part of its official party platform — while also doing away with LGBT rights and favoring Bibles in public schools.
Republican delegates gathering in Cleveland ahead of the party’s nominating convention approved a draft of language for the formal GOP platform that proposes a wall that would cover “the entirety of the southern border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”
The platform — a nonbinding document which still must be approved by delegates at the convention next week in Cleveland — also includes unusual, if not outright outdated, proposals apparently designed to appeal to the party’s socially conservative wing.
Among them is an amendment warning that pornography is a “public health crisis” — although guns are not, despite a string of mass shootings in recent years. It also includes measures that support the teaching of the Bible in public schools, lets states limit which bathrooms transgender people can use and pushes the use of coal as a “clean energy source.”
VH1 announced the show, TransAmerica, which will follow the lives of five trans women in Chicago. Produced by Tyra Banks featuring model Carmen, romantic-at-heart Giselle, cosmetic consultant Natalie, med-student Victory, and party girl Sydney. Each struggle with finding direction and peace with themselves and the stigma in their fields and relationships.
Inside Vanity Fair: Trans America, Our New Special Issue on Gender Identity and Expression
The edition, on newsstands this week, profiles cultural pioneers such as Caitlyn Jenner, Chaz Bono, and Reneé Richards, among many more. Their stories point both to the massive cultural shifts underway in America’s attitude towards its transgender citizens, and the life-and-death battles many of them still face.