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LGBT Caucus #DNC2012

by Jeremy Hooper

Happening now.

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12:09: Brian Bond introduces Special Adviser Valerie Jarrett

12:10: Jarrett thanks LGBT delegates for efforts. Emphasizes fairness and respect.

12:12: Jarrett says we can't get complacent. Says we are more perfect under President Obama.

12:12: The room is expelling standing ovations like they are carbon dioxide.

12:13: Jarrett talking DADT repeal. Remembers most: When she saw, firsthand, LGB soldiers able to stand proudly in uniform.

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12:14: Jarrett talks safe schools work she is doing with Lady Gaga and mom Cynthia. Says bullying is not rite of passage. Amen.

12:15: Jarrett says there is a stark choice before the American people.

12:16: "Do we want a President who is going to fight for civil rights?" Room says yes, obviously.

12:16: Jarrett finishes; Crowd chanting "four more years!"

12:19: LGBT participants are here from all fifty states plus D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico

12:20: Chair of LGBT Caucus, Rick Stafford, pinpoints 1988 as year when LGBT delegates began sensing a shift in terms of respect.

12:21: Stafford talking accomplishments. Shepard Act, Ryan White Act, bullying efforts, dropped DOMA defense, transgender exec. orders, DADT repeal, etc. Oh, and marriage equality, obvs.

12:23: Stafford talks threats posed by Ryan/Romney, LGBT and not.

12:24: Crowd chanting "Fire it up, ready to go!"

12:25: Alejandra Salinas up now. Prez of College young Dems; introduced as a rising star. "Proud LGBT Latina."

12:25: Salinas introduces HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "She is making America a healthier, safer place to be [LGBT]."

12:26: Crowd on feet for Sebelius.

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12:27: Sebelius says there has been a lot of progress but much more to do.

12:28: Says accomplishments could be overturned in as little as thirty days of a Romney presidency.

12:28: "We have a couple of really important jobs to do."

12:29: Sebelius says younger voters are in favor of equality. Says they can't figure out why this stuff is at issue. However, "too many of them are not yet engaged in this election."

12:30: Sebelius shifts to healthcare. Talks up Pam Hyde, "fabulous LGBT health leader." Others.

12:31: Sebelius stressing domestic AIDS strategy. Says an AIDS-free generation is in sight. "Passage of Affordable Healthcare Act is most important" for LGBTs

12:32: Sebelius: "Romney/Ryan plan is to keep the status quo." Crowd hisses.

12:33: Sebelius: "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" Crowd: YES!!!!!!!!

12:34: Sebelius says LGBT delegates are "the choir." Urges them to roll up sleeves and get to work. Concludes remarks.

12:35: Chair Stafford back on. Says it's "Marriage Equality Day for our caucus."

12:36: Stafford introduces head of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten (an out lesbian).

12:37: Weingarten wanted to be here "not only as an out lesbian..but as a member of the platform committee where marriage equality passed with out any dissent." Crowd on feet. I have to admit I got some chills.

12:38: Weingarten stressed "incredible leadership" of our President. Applauds hard work of those in the room.

12:38: Weingarten remembers when party said "not yet." Says "yet" has come. Crowd back on feet.

12:39: Weingarten: "People in this room won the hearts and minds." "We are entitled, as is every other American, to the freedom and the dignity of our lives."

12:40: Weingarten says Dem platform is great and calls Romney/Ryan platform "terrible."

12:40: Weingarten says "their platform is the most repressive anti–human being, anti-teacher, anti-gay, anti-union anti-women" platform. (She might have included more but I couldn't hear over crowd).

12:41: Weingarten asks if we are going to re-elect. Crowd not on the fence.

12:42: Weingarten is essentially screaming her message at this point. She's passionate, that one.

12:43: Weingarten likes that this is all happening in state where Jesse Helms once helmed.

12:44: Weingarten closing: "Only way to [continue the march to equality] is to re-elect Barack Obama."

12:45: Stafford recognizes out, married NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn (in audience) as the next mayor of New York.

12:46: Minnesota state senator D. Scott Dibble reads the marriage language in the party platform.

12:49: Dibble says we are going to win in all four states where marriage is on the ballot.

12:50: Dibble: "Love will prevail."

12:51: NY politico Emily Giske (out and married) now speaking. Talking about marriage equality in NY and how we got it. Calls Gov. Andrew Cuomo her "personal hero."

12:52: Giske: "We are family. Together we need to work hard" to ensure rights.

12:53: Chair Stafford mentions passing of Frank Kameny before immediately turning attention to Congressmember (an Senate candidate) Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). Crowd chants "Tammy, Tammy!"

12:55: Mark Pocan, out candidate for Congress (WI-2), up to introduce Rep. Baldwin. If Pocan prevails, Wisconsin will be leading the way in openly LGBT reps.

12:57: Pocan says Baldwin is one of the best people you could elect to the U.S. Senate, period. Stresses Baldwin's compassion, sincerity, and charisma. Says Baldwin "has not changed a bit" throughout her career.

12:58: Baldwin started first Equality Caucus in Congress. Pocan calls baldwin a national treasure.

1:00: Pocan highlights Elizabeth Warren's Senate race (in Mass.) as one of the important ones this cycle.

1:01: Pocan: "I am proud to call Tammy a mentor and a friend, but I will be even prouder to call her my Senator." Crowd on feet for Baldwin.

1:02: Baldwin up, immediately returns the compliments to Pocan. Says he would be amazing member of Congress and is proud to have had him as her state. rep for the past fourteen years.

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1:02: Baldwin mentions Jason Rae, a delegate who got much ink in 2008 for being a young, LGBT super delegate.

1:03: Baldwin says sheer size of LGBT caucus is an example of progress. Platform, too.

1:04: Baldwin says an out LGBT member of U.S. Senate is still a glass ceiling we haven't cracked. Mentions that Wisconsin has never sent a woman to the U.S. Senate. "Having a seat at the table matters."

1:05: Baldwin: "If you're not in the room, they're talking about you." Says her Texan friend says that "if you're not at the table, that means you're probably on the menu."

1:06: Baldwin talks about letters from young LGBT people in "not too hospitable" communities.

1:07: Baldwin cites 1984 Democratic Convention as being a pivotal moment in her political life. Says it told her "I can do anything."

1:08: Baldwin says her constituents can't believe we are debating things like birth control. "Tammy, do your colleagues get it?"

1:09: Baldwin talks people's "real struggles." "People are hurting." Says people want someone who will fight for them rather than Wall Street, the big banks, etc.

1:10: Baldwin says Paul Ryan's selection helped crystallize America's choice. Connects it to choice between her and her opponent, Republican Tommy Thompson.

1:11: Crowd loudly hisses at mentions of Gov. Scott Walker, RNC Chair Reince Preibus, and VP selection Paul Ryan

1:12: Baldwin closes by saying that she, because of the people in this room, knows she is never alone

1:12–1:25: Mostly delegate business. Stafford honored.

1:26: Transgender delegates take stage. Melissa Sklarz, Meghan Stabler, Babs Siperstein, Dana Beyer, more.

1:30: Siperstein gives award to DNC/former White House staffer Brian Bond in honor of his T-specific strides.

1:31: Bond says election is not about President, "it's about us" (meaning us in the big picture, human sense).

1:32: Bond encourages delegates to "get to work."

With that, the room turns to delegate-specific fun and business (caucus roll call, etc). Half the room leaves. I'm out too (in both senses of the word).

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