little FYI for ya….

umm, I’m uncomfortable with some of the assumed prejudices in this article.  but it might be worth reading nonetheless.
please let’s continue the discussion despite our discomfort.

From the


Poll: Most Americans Would Support Gay Presidential Candidate

Following an Advocate article pondering the electability of an openly gay candidate for president, a new nationwide poll from Zogby International found that 65% of likely voters would support an openly gay person to serve as president of the United States if they believed he or she was the most qualified person for the post.

The results were similar for a vice presidential candidate, with 66% saying they would back a gay VP whom they believed had the right skill set, and 69% said they would support an out candidate for the U.S. Senate. More than 70% of respondents said they would support an openly gay person to serve as a cabinet-level secretary.

“These results prove that most Americans want to be fair to gay people,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute, a nonpartisan leadership development organization. “Our aspiration is to always see each other as individuals first, and though we may not always succeed at that, our underlying fairness and decency means that one day soon we will. This marks tremendous progress for our community and for the voting public.”

The poll of 1,089 adults, conducted August 13–15 for GLLI, had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points. (The Advocate)

also the article:

August 13, 2008
Pie-in-the-Sky Presidency?
The prospect of the nation’s first black president sparks the hope that a gay president is drawing nearer.
By Julie Bolcer

Four years ago, few voters outside Illinois knew who Barack Obama was, let alone imagined that a virtual newcomer like him could be poised to become the nation’s first African-American president. Yet, today, Obama’s historic and swift ascent toward the ultimate political prize now raises interest in another unprecedented scenario: When — and under what circumstances — might an openly gay person move into the Oval Office?

Roberta Achtenberg, former assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development, who in 1993 became the first openly gay person to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a cabinet-level position, has never truly entertained the possibility of a gay president — until now. And the fact that “I’m allowing myself to do so tells me that something extraordinary had happened in the past few years,” she says.

It’s taken the perfect combination of trailblazing and unimaginably fertile political and cultural circumstances to help get Obama to where he is today. Certainly L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia, who 18 years ago became the country’s first elected African-American governor, and public officials like former U.S. senator Carol Moseley Braun and secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice helped lay the path. That many people wanted Powell to run for the nation’s highest office in 2000 also helped set the stage for an Obama presidency.

“You’ve got to demonstrate that you’re a part of society and can work and perform just as well as anybody else,” says Marisa Richmond, a historian and the first openly transgender African-American delegate to the Democratic National Convention. “[Obama] has made his advances based on the successes of others who’ve come before him.”

There have already been plenty of gay political trailblazers. Since 1974, when Elaine Noble became the first openly gay candidate elected to public office (the Massachusetts house of representatives), the number of out politicians has steadily increased. According to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, 49 openly gay elected officials held office when the organization launched in May 1991; today, the group counts nearly 500. But there has yet to be a gay equivalent to Wilder, Braun, Powell, or Rice — an openly gay candidate who has won or been appointed to one of those statewide or national positions that are the usual launching pads for the White House. That’s one of several hurdles.

Another significant obstacle is the law. It’s not illegal for a gay man or woman to be president. But can you envision a commander in chief who couldn’t serve openly in the military? Or a president whose marriage isn’t recognized by the federal government? So “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act will have to be overturned first. And count on needing passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act too. After all, who would want a president who, while at work in the White House, couldn’t be guaranteed freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation?

Considering these difficulties, what are the chances of a leading gay presidential contender by 2016? Not very good, says Patrick Egan, assistant professor of politics at New York University. He points to a December Gallup poll in which only 56% of respondents said they would vote for a well-qualified candidate who happens to identify as “homosexual.” That was only 10 points higher than the number of respondents who said they would support that perennial nonstarter in U.S. politics, the atheist. “Those numbers look like the numbers for electing a black president did 40 or 50 years ago,” Egan says.

Yet as the Obama phenomenon attests, even the far-fetched can happen, particularly when a whole generation of voters turns a candidacy into a bona fide movement.

“I think the youth vote will be the biggest factor,” says gay superdelegate Jason Rae, who at 21 is the youngest person ever elected to the Democratic National Committee. He estimates that it will be about 30 years — when an older generation of voters will be replaced by younger ones — before a gay or lesbian presidential candidate will be viable.

That any potential nominee ought to be brilliant and charismatic goes without saying. But when breaking the bias barrier, minority candidates must also reflect their minority status in a “nonthreatening” way.

“For good or for ill, I think the Ellen phenomenon has made the domesticated lesbian more palatable,” says Lisa Moore, an associate professor of English and women’s and gender studies at the University of Texas at Austin. “I think it would be a partnered lesbian, probably someone with children.”

In fact, most of those asked predicted that the likeliest candidate would be a woman. “I think that women have more successfully bridged the ‘yuck gap’ with the public than men,” says Bob Witeck, CEO and cofounder of the Washington, D.C.–based marketing and PR firm Witeck-Combs Communications.

Still, there are some who discount the likelihood of a lesbian, particularly in the wake of sexism they say was on display in the recent primary season. “A lesbian candidate would have a double whammy,” says Holly Hughes, associate professor of art and theater at the University of Michigan. She envisions the ideal candidate as a man who benefited from the gay rights struggle but did not forge his identity in it, in the manner that Obama, born in 1961, connects with the civil rights movement: “It would have to be someone who, in that particular elocution, ‘happened’ to be gay.”

Obama’s success suggests that the optimal scenario for a gay candidate might ultimately require a convergence of factors that the candidate has no control over. For instance, would Obama’s image of change be so appealing on the tail end of eight years of national prosperity and peace? “I’m not sure if [Obama] shows us a new way of becoming president so much as he is an exceptional personality, with an exceptional biography, in an exceptional time,” says Jonathan Rauch, a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution. In other words, the perfect candidate with the perfect biography might be out there already — it’s just a matter of finding the perfect time. “By the time we’re ready to consider a gay president,” Rauch explains, “gay rights will have to have almost ceased being controversial in America.”

Come to think of it, that does sound like the perfect time.

Who needs primaries? We conducted an informal poll of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, and political insiders to bring you this list of likely, and surprising, LGBT contenders for the White House — for the next 24 years.

The Most Likely

David Cicilline, 47, mayor of Providence, R.I., and president of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors

Barney Frank, 68, U.S. representative from Massachusetts

Anthony D. Romero, 43, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union

Elizabeth Birch, 52, consultant; former Human Rights Campaign executive director

Tammy Baldwin, 46, U.S. representative from Wisconsin

Hilary Rosen, 49, political director of The Huffington Post

Kate Brown, 48, Oregon state senator

Matt McCoy, 42, Iowa state senator

Christine Quinn, 42, speaker of the New York City Council

Guy Padgett, 31, former mayor of Casper, Wyo., and current city council member

Rachel Maddow, 35, MSNBC political analyst and Air America Radio host

Jamie Pedersen, 39, Washington State representative

Jason Rae, 21, DNC superdelegate from Wisconsin

Elizabeth Duthinh, 17, freshman at Brown University; helped lobby to pass Maryland’s safe-schools law

Michael Tuso, 19, University of North Carolina at Greensboro freshman; first openly gay student body president in the UNC system

The surprising

David Geffen, 65, media mogul

David C. Bohnett, 52, technology entrepreneur

Tim Gill, 54, software entrepreneur and gay rights activist

Suze Orman, 57, financial adviser

Greg Louganis, 48, Olympic gold medal diver and motivational speaker

Michael Stipe, 48, lead vocalist of R.E.M. and activist

Patrick Guerriero, 40, executive director of Gill Action Fund; former head of Log Cabin Republicans

Dan Savage, 43, syndicated sex columnist


9 thoughts on “little FYI for ya….”

  1. Intersting stuff

    “65% of likely voters would support an openly gay person to serve as president of the United States if they believed he or she was the most qualified person for the post.”

    I think that definition assumes alot. Ask two people who’s better qualified between Obama and McCain, and one person will cite McCain’s 30 yrs experience and the other will talk about Obama’s plans for change.

    Homosexuality is a strange label because it deals exclusively with someone’s sexual preference. dur. But when you think about it, when ‘so in so is gay’ comes up in conversation, you are directed to spend a moment considering that person’s sexuality. Straight candidates (well, maybe not Palin) can go throughout the entire race without their personal sexuality and preferences coming up in conversation. When I imagine a gay person running, I imagine all the lewd macros and gross jokes that will go along with that.

    I think it’s really sad that in this day in age, having someone other than a straight white Christian man running is ‘groundbreaking.’


    1. Re: Intersting stuff

      well said, colorful heart. Britain, Germany… uhh… other countries I can’t think of right now cause I just woke up, have had women Prime Ministers. Rigoberta Menchu. (sp. & God rest) Benazhir Bhutto. Indira Ghandi.

      we, the united states, are behind in this matter. it should not be groundbreaking that a person of color (or more, accurately, a bi-racial person) is running for the white house, nor should it be revolutionary that the only women who have ran for the White House I can actually name: Hilary Clinton; Geraldine Ferraro; Shirley Chisolm; and now this Palin from Alaska.

      it kind of comes around to what we were talking about yesterday: the stranglehold of power in this country, who owns that power (mostly straight white males of the upper-upper class, and mostly via their huge corporations).

      regardless of the outcome of this election, and (god forgive me for saying so), barring assassination attempts, at least there will be one glass ceiling broken.

      love, anna


      1. Re: Intersting stuff

        I think no matter the outcome of this election, there will still be a very solid glass ceiling there for black Americans. White people are very afraid of losing power, there are people who think that Obama will create some kind of ‘black supremacy’ in the US. (Honestly I think they’re afraid he’ll create some kind of black equality but are too afraid to say that.)

        I think the masses can accept one black man (after all he is the very first, he’s the proof that America’s not racist anymore) but if a second black candidate was to run I think the real racism would come out. I hope I’m wrong though. I think my generation (I’m 20) is better about race than older people. Definately not perfect, but better.


      2. Re: Intersting stuff

        also, well said.

        not to be overly contrary, I’m not really sure that america has “accepted” Obama. all the nonsense about him being a Muslim, even after the flap about him going to Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church… that’s just awful fear-mongering – “all Muslims are TERRORISTS to be feared!” etc etc.

        I think the racism has already come out, and I’m afraid it will only get worse as the election nears.

        I think that my generation (I’m 36) AND Future generations (you’re 20), are much better about race than our forebears. And, I also think that there are many people, like Ralph Reed (gawd he’s in his 40’s now), are just as rabid as conservatives as there ever were… I think, however, that there are more favorable representations of people of color on tv and also in the public sphere. also, there are more bi-racial and “racially mixed” for lack of a better term, in this generation than ever before.

        After all, the first kiss on tv of a black woman and a white man was on Star Trek in 1966, of all things.

        so… I have hope for our country, I do, more as a default option than based on any political rhetoric. I believe that there’s more people who are less willing to swallow the bullshit spin that the current president is spinning…

        hopefully, with hope, our country will become what it can be.


      3. Re: Intersting stuff

        I didn’t grow up during the civil rights movement, so maybe I’m just really uneducated about this. But it seems like 40 years ago it was okay to talk about racism and sexism. Now it seems like any mention of race differences or racism is percieved as being ‘reverse racism’ or ‘playing the race card.’ I can imagine alot of racial issues coming up in the future because discrimination is still going on but it is taboo to talk about it.

        I used to watch the old Charlie’s Angels show when it was on during the day (not anymore, sadface.) In lots of episodes they would talk about sexism openly. Like they’d ask a guy, “Did you underestimate me because I’m a girl?” etc. I don’t think it was an extremely femenist show or anything like that, but at least there was a dialogue going on. If we had that today things would be so much better.


      4. Re: Intersting stuff

        I’ve read a lot of about the civil rights movement (thank you grad school!)

        If I may, I think you’re describing I would call “covert racism,” or even just “racism.” Not because reverse discrimination doesn’t exist, but rather – because even though it may be called reverse racism, it is still white people who hold the power of privilege in this country… they can get all bent outta a shape because people who are not white are claiming their right that they deserve a fair shake… but that is the very ideal upon which this country was founded. everybody deserves a fair chance at success. of course, the founding fathers in their infinite wisdom and prejudice, defined only landowning males as “people.” since then, the definition of “persons, people,” even perhaps “human beings” has been ever expanded (and rightly so) to include women, people of color, people who come from different cultures or speak different languages, and now, the debate has reached the gay and lesbian community.

        The problems with the discussion of “covert racism,” “unspoken racism,” and the like, is that, although racism still *exists* – certain (disgruntled) folk may argue that it does not, along the lines of: “look at affirmative action,” or “a biracial black man is running for president,” or “there have been women and black supreme court justices,” “a black man was secretary of state,” “a black woman was national security advisor and is now secretary of state,” and on and on.

        here’s a few examples of Racism in Action:

        * I personally can’t talk about Hurricane Katrina’s devastating affects without mentioning racism: if rich, white millionaires’ houses had been threatened, the Bush administration would have personally flown them out *days* in advance. (the bush admin showed its contempt for the poor in that moment.)

        * there is a widely disproportionate persons of color population in our prison systems.

        * how school systems are financed is fundamentally unjust: school monies come out of property taxes. so the wealthiest neighborhoods have the best school facilities, the broadest array of programs and extracurricular activities, and the greater likelihood of sending on graduates to colleges. the poorest neighborhoods have the most awful facilities, the least experienced teachers, etc etc. Read “Savage Inequalities” by Jonathan Kozol. it’s right there.

        all of that stuff — is still racism. plain and simple. the Jena 6 – racism, pure and simple.

        what happened after the civil rights movement was that racism became *taboo.* it simply wasn’t okay to spout hateful bile anymore. e.g. George Wallace.

        the unfortunate after-effect of this taboo is that while racism still exists, in these large scales, *institutions* rather than *individuals* have become responsible for bearing the brunt of the blame. how do we blame the American Public School system for being racist? where does that argument start? and what effective action becomes possible, then? change property tax/school funding laws? that would be a start. but it would cause a mutiny along the lines of “white flight” in the 50’s and 60’s.

        separate but equal failed. integration has failed. what now?

        I don’t really have a whole lot of answers, but I’m enjoying the discussion.

        have you read any biographies of Martin L. King? or Malcolm X? May I suggest to start with “The Death and Life of Malcolm X.” which is a truly beautiful book, and well-written.

        also, “Eyes on the Prize,” for documentaries, also brilliant. and you can check it out from your public library for free.

        thanks, anna


      5. Re: Intersting stuff

        Thanks for the book recommendations!

        I live in Chicago, and the past few days there’s been protests by public school kids and their parents because of the uneven funding for schools. They went to a rich private school in the burbs and symbolically tried to enroll. (They couldn’t cuz they’re not in the district. Got some rich people worried about it though.)

        In my oppinion property tax should not = money for education. Besides all the things you mentioned, it also encourages city planners to build fewer and bigger homes, contributing to suburban sprawl.

        The school I went to was funded by the rich white kids’ families, but there were also lots of black kids who attended the same school. Unfortunately better funding doesn’t mean no racism though, the administration was horrible about discriminting against black kids.


    2. Re: Intersting stuff

      also, the public conversation about sexuality in our culture, in my opinion, really only happens when somebody messes up. Jim McGreevey, Eliot Spitzer, and here in Spokane, Jim West… all skewered because they made a mis-step. two were the odd category of “gay with wives” and Eliot Spitzer. I could just smack him in the face. I was in New York when he got elected governor – I think I even voted for him! can’t keep his #%& damn junk in his pants. Same problem with our Bill. I really like the job that Bill Clinton did as president – I really do – except for the bombing of the only hospital in Sudan, that was ill-thought-out. But an INTERN? who keeps the dress with your splooge on it? that’s just DUMB dumb dumb.

      until the national conversation on sex and sexuality becomes more healthy, we will be stuck with a lot of scandals… remember Jocelyn Elders? I do.

      very sad about her. some of the things she said in this article are quoted, I’m sure, out of context… but really, in 1994, with no clue about AIDS after it’s ravaged so many? Masturbation is a great choice… in my opinion. it still is!

      hope you’re well, anna


      1. Re: Intersting stuff

        You’re right, the only time a straight person’s sexuality comes up is if they’ve done something illegal/unethical. So if we start talking about a gay politician’s sexuality, it’s implied that it’s unethical. Or at the very least taboo.

        I feel for Jocelyn Elders. One levelheaded statement and she’s fired. Fucktastical.


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