Here are the LGBTQ first night highlights from the DNC convention
Long gone are the days when the Democratic National Convention slated only a token openly gay person on its pre-primetime schedule. Monday night, the first day of the DNC’s four-day 2020 convention, openly LGBT people were everywhere: in the opening video, in conversation with the nominee, leading conversations with health care workers, and sharing stories of loss from the COVID epidemic.
Some of the convention’s LGBT speakers Monday night were well-known: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and international soccer champion Megan Rapinoe.
Just 30 minutes into the convention broadcast, the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden appeared in a staged “conversation” with five people, including Lightfoot. Biden asked Lightfoot how she prioritizes all the things she has to do as mayor to tackle systemic racism. Lightfoot said “it’s really all about economic empowerment.”
Later in the broadcast, Rapinoe served as moderator for a conversation with four front-line health care workers, including a male nurse.
State Delegate Danica Roem, the first transgender person to be elected to office in Virginia, appeared in an opening video.
One of the convention’s Day One speakers was Kristin Urquiza, who drew national media attention in June when she wrote an obituary for her 65-year-old father who died of COVID-19.
“He had faith in Donald Trump, he voted for him, and listened to him,” Urquiza said of her father. When Trump and Arizona’s Republican governor told people it was OK to go back to pre-COVID activities, said Urquiza, her father believed them. But soon after going to a karoke bar, her father came down with COVID and, after “five agonizing days,” died.
“The only pre-existing condition” her father had, said Urquiza, “was trusting Donald Trump.…”
As Urquiza spoke, the convention saw photos of her and her parents and her partner Christine Keeves, chief of communications for the San Francisco LGBT Center. Urquiza and Keeves started an organization Marked by COVID to promote prevention activities related to the corona virus pandemic.
Prior to the prime-time broadcast, the party held several virtual and streamed meetings of caucuses, including the Women’s Caucus met. One of the featured members of the Women’s Caucus was Rosemary Ketchum, a transgender woman who was just this year elected to the City Council of Wheeling, West Virginia.
The party’s 80-page platform denounces the Trump administration’s actions aimed at allowing discrimination in health care against LGBT people.
“Democrats will reverse this rulemaking and restore nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people in health insurance,” states the platform. “We will also take action to guarantee that LGBTQ+ people have full access to needed health care and resources, including by requiring that federal health plans provide coverage for HIV/AIDS treatment and HIV prevention medications like PrEP and PEP, gender confirmation surgery, and hormone therapy.”
The platform also commits the party to “fight to enact the Equality Act and at last outlaw discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in housing, public accommodations, access to credit, education, jury service, and federal programs.” It also commits the party to programs to help LGBTQ+ youth and those needed mental health and suicide prevention services.
Tuesday at noon EDT, the party’s LGBTQ+ Caucus will meet. During the prime-time convention activities, viewers will see openly gay convention Secretary Jason Rae direct the roll call votes. And in a new format for a prime-time speech, 17 speakers, including three openly LGBT officials, will participate in delivering the “Keynote Address,” at 9 p.m. The three are Long Beach, California, Mayor Robert Garcia, Pennsylvania State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, and Georgia State Rep. Sam Park.
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