Lesbian. Gay. Bisexual. Transgender.

Is the ability to say these words in public before non-LGBT audiences a marker of true support for and comfort with the community? Blender Phil Attey noted that Hillary Clinton seems to have a problem saying any of the above words, whereas Barack Obama not only uses them, but places references to gays in speeches along with other traditionally oppressed groups. Perhaps even more challenging, he has chosen to discuss homophobia before potentially hostile audiences in the pews of the black church.

Perhaps there are factors at work:

* Generational: I think Clinton and Obama simply have different levels of comfort.

* Political self-protection: Clinton doesn’t want any footage of her saying “lesbian” lest the right wing make a tape loop of her doing so.

Let’s take a look at web presence then. The Obama site prominently features LGBT in its “People” section. I’m sure that for some voters, nothing can atone for the McClurkin debacle, but he has proven, in terms of campaigning on the national stage, that he isn’t uncomfortable saying lesbian or gay, nor has his campaign told him not to. Having an inclusive web hub is a strong boost for LGBT voters seeking more information on how the campaign is reaching out to the community.

So it was disturbing that I couldn’t find any LGBT section on the Clinton site. Does anyone know where it is? Considering the big LGBT donors she had in her pocket, and the considerable support she has in the LGBT community, this really makes no sense. I just find her reticence to be open about advocacy for advancing civil equality  (to the broader audience) confusing, since it’s pretty clear the GOP already targets the Democrats as the Homosexual Party. She’s marched in Pride parades. What is the downside of being proud of being on the right side of history and showing how the Republicans are obstructing progress in civil rights?

Is this a problem and what, if anything, do you think the ability to name us says about either candidate’s approach to advocacy if elected?  

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding