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Secretary of State Clinton Speaks Directly to GLBT Youth: Tomorrow Will Be Better

October 19, 2010

This is really, really moving and I give her major props for doing this. The recent wave of suicides by gay youth/young adults is tragic, as is the hate speech issuing forth from conservatives who are trying to use this as a wedge issue.

It’s amazing that such a high-level government official would do this. It is INCREDIBLY important. I can’t think of any one else in this administration who would speak not only with this much feeling and honesty, but speak directly to kids. Anyone who is gay knows how tough it can be during youth and adolescence to feel isolated not only from friends, but in some cases, also from family.

ps. Thanks to Rachel for the head’s up about the video!

Here is the transcript:

Like millions of Americans, I was terribly saddened to learn of the recent suicides of several teenagers across our country after being bullied because they were gay or because people thought they were gay. Children are particularly vulnerable to the hurt caused by discrimination and prejudice and we have lost many young people over the years to suicide. These most recent deaths are a reminder that all Americans have to work harder to overcome bigotry and hatred.

I have a message for all the young people out there who are being bullied, or who feel alone and find it hard to imagine a better future: First of all, hang in there and ask for help. Your life is so important—to your family, your friends, and to your country. And there is so much waiting for you, both personally and professionally— there are so many opportunities for you to develop your talents and make your contributions.

And these opportunities will only increase. Because the story of America is the story of people coming together to tear down barriers, stand up for rights, and insist on equality, not only for themselves but for all people. And in the process, they create a community of support and solidarity that endures. Just think of the progress made by women just during my lifetime by women, or ethnic, racial and religious minorities over the course of our history —and by gays and lesbians, many of whom are now free to live their lives openly and proudly. Here at the State Department, I am grateful every day for the work of our LGBT employees who are serving the United States as foreign service officers and civil servants here and around the world. It wasn’t long ago that these men and women would not have been able to serve openly, but today they can—because it has gotten better. And it will get better for you.

So take heart, and have hope, and please remember that your life is valuable, and that you are not alone. Many people are standing with you and sending you their thoughts, their prayers and their strength. Count me among them.

Take care of yourself.

26 Comments leave one →
  1. Tovah permalink
    October 19, 2010 6:33 pm

    This is so amazing. Incredibly heartfelt!

  2. Steve permalink
    October 19, 2010 6:45 pm

    As the father of a gay teen, this brought tears to my eyes.

    • October 20, 2010 8:36 am

      Well, he’s lucky to have you as a dad. Some aren’t so lucky to have supportive parents and that can be devastating, as you know.

  3. HillaryFan permalink
    October 19, 2010 7:10 pm

    I agree Stacy, the hateful rhetoric coming from the GOP is incredible. That they hide behind religion when they do it just makes it worse whether it’s Palladino in NY trying to woo conservative Jews or the evangelical right who constantly obsess over gay people and try to marginalize them further.

  4. SpfcMarcus permalink
    October 19, 2010 7:50 pm

    Very cool. Now if she can just get Obama to stop fighting the repeal of DADT and DOMA we’ll be all set. She also needs to lean on her friend Gates. I think that dude is a bit uptight.

    I don’t see what the big deal is with repealing DADT- I know tons of gay people that serve with me and no one really gives a shit. The greatest military commander/strategist of all time was gay- Alexander the Great. If they hadn’t let gays in the military back then he wouldn’t have conquered the entire known world. In fact, he probably wouldn’t have even had enough guys left for a military😉

    • October 20, 2010 8:36 am

      Too funny Marcus about Alexander the Great.

    • October 20, 2010 9:54 am

      In earlier eras in history, and even now in some other countries, people often weren’t labeled “gay” or “straight”. Gay behavior was just that – behavior. Modern US culture seeks to label people – we see it reflected in our census forms and in the media…

      • October 20, 2010 1:29 pm

        Yeah, and in ancient times in Greece and Rome (particularly pre-Christianity), bisexuality was the norm for men (not so much for women) and it was almost considered abnormal for men not to have sexual/intimate relationships with other men. So, there is an element of social construction of sexuality at play in my opinion.

  5. Terry permalink
    October 19, 2010 8:33 pm

    Leave it to Hillary to do the right thing. Obama could have done something like this, and why didn’t he? It would have shown real moral leadership. I’ll be interested to read the comments you get on Facebook about this as well.

  6. Thain permalink
    October 19, 2010 8:50 pm

    Hillary is the best!

    Can u see Obama doing this? Of course not! Condi Rice? Of course not! The fact is, Hillary obviously gives a damn about gay people and wants to make things better for them.

    Go Hillary!

  7. Carolyn-Rodham permalink
    October 20, 2010 9:34 am

    All that claptrap from Obama in the Sunday NY Times magazine section about how his administration is doing the politically unpopular thing because it was the right thing to do?! Hog wash. Then why is his administration appealing the CA federal judge’s order barring the military from expelling gays who serve openly? It just makes no sense when the Pentagon is telling recruiters they can process applications from openly gay candidates. I’m sorry, I’m trying to hang in there with Obama, at least through the midterms, because the alternative is simply too depressing to contemplate, but actions like this smack of sheer hypocrisy, and if there is anything I can’t stand, it’s a holier-than-thou hypocrite.

    • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
      October 20, 2010 9:38 am

      And Hillary’s statement, of course, stands as a shining contrast. She didn’t have to say it but it was the right thing to do. It was heart felt, and compelling, and will no doubt be of great comfort to gay and lesbian kids struggling to hold their own emotionally against the Carl Paladino’s of this world.

    • October 20, 2010 10:02 am

      Because Obama is a coward and everything about his body language (not to mention his verbal language) indicates he is extremely uncomfortable with the whole idea of gay rights. He is trying to drag this on as long as possible, knowing that he will likely not have to do anything about it if the GOP takes over even one house of Congress.

      He’s pretending like this has nothing to do with him, suddenly he is just this powerless president- too bad he’s arguing the exact opposite in every court that will listen – he’s been arguing that he has expansive authority to do any damn thing he wants with little to no oversight when it comes to anything impacting military/national security matters.

      Reading the [Obama DOJ] government brief defending DADT really brings this all home- the arguments are right out of the homophobe playbook- allowing gays in the military will hurt morale and unit readiness thus implicating national security, they argue for likely segregation based on sexual orientation, they throw out a bunch of old homophobic stereotypes, soap on a rope type stuff- in other words, it reads like the family research council wrote it. Of course, all this will be used against Obama if he ever were to actually move on this in any meaningful way- all the GOP has to do is turn around and say “but YOU argued that allowing gays in the military is a threat to national security, so were you lying to the courts?”

      Never mind that a bunch of other countries have allowed gays to serve openly with out all this hand-wringing and pearl-clutching. And has the sky fallen? Nope. It hasn’t hurt their ability to be lean, mean fighting machines or anything else. And that’s because it all comes down to leadership, something which Obama is sorely lacking.

  8. October 20, 2010 10:33 am

    One more thing- the question is, when will gay rights groups like Human Rights Campaign (HRC) stop kissing Obama’s back side even though he is clearly not keeping his promises and using the gay community for some easy votes? I ended my membership in HRC over a decade ago because they had become too addicted to getting access to Democrats in power and then they would refuse to criticize those democrats even when they fell short on gay rights. The Democrats message to gay folks has always been “you HAVE to vote for us because we’re better then THEM.” That’s getting old.

    I am seriously considering voting for third party [Green] candidate Jill Stein in the MA governor’s race and voting to re-elect Democrat Barney Frank because he’s my rep. and b/c the GOP candidate is scary. I don’t want these Tea Party loonies to take over but at the same time, I feel like the dems have become rather entitled when it comes to the gay vote. Being thrown under the bus by every successive democratic POTUS is getting a tad old.

    • Steve permalink
      October 20, 2010 10:43 am

      I agree. no other group would tolerate this kind of treatment only to then be lectured by the Democrats about how they essentially deserve their vote. That the Democrats still don’t support gay marriage is unacceptable. MOre and more they seem like watered-down republicans. It’s a civil rights issue and their refusal to take a stand smacks of zero leadership not to mention a discriminatory bias.

      It was fun watching/hearing about Hillary and Bill celebrating their daughter’s wedding and how proud they were. But I couldn’t help but think, as a father, why can’t my son have that same right? He could get married in a few states or have a commitment ceremony or something like that but it won’t be recognized as equal to my marriage to my wife under federal law. And lets be honest, it’s also treated very differently by society. That’s simply not fair.

      • rachel permalink
        October 20, 2010 11:54 am

        I will get in trouble for admitting this, but back when I was in highschool college I really was kind of indifferent to gay marraige, maybe I bought in the bit about the sanity of marriage forget about equal rights. However as I got older and listened blowhards like Rush, newt talk about the sanity of marriage as they marry multiple times and our society who gets a kick out shows like the bachelor and bchelorette it just makes no sense to continue to deny people who love each other the right to get married and it simply never did.

    • October 20, 2010 12:46 pm

      Latinos are also feeling taken for granted. This morning, I saw a clip for an ad in which the voice tells Latinos to not vote in November. The rationale is that the Dem leadership had apparently promised to act on immigration reform in Obama’s first 2 yrs, and it hasn’t happened although they had majorities and the white house. So they are feeling taken for granted and want people in favor of immigration reform to stay home on Nov 2!

      It’s interesting how so many in the media still don’t seem to get why so many people are dissatisfied with Obama. They claim he is so bi-partisan and open to compromise. Watering down your policies in order to ostensibly avoid a fight is not equivalent to compromising on certain issues in order to achieve your primary goals…

      • October 20, 2010 1:31 pm

        I thought I heard that that commercial aimed at Latinos was the work of the GOP or some conservative group? That it essentially was an attempt at voter suppression? I was watching TV last night but not really paying attention and I kept hearing the phrase “voter suppression” thrown around with respect to that ad and the GOP.

      • October 20, 2010 1:51 pm

        You’re right, Stacy. Looks like that ad is a GOP attempt to suppress Latino vote. I just saw the ad clip on CSpan this morning for the first time, and I don’t think they mentioned the suppression angle. Apparently, Univision is refusing to air the ad. it’s a clever ad. I wish the GOP showed as much creativity in running the country as they do in winning elections!

  9. October 20, 2010 12:26 pm

    Rachel- I think a lot of Americans have slowly come around, as much because of the fact that as more people come “out” it gets harder to justify discrimination against friends, family members, etc.

    Of course everyone has a right to their own views and many still oppose gay marriage based on their religious beliefs and ideas about the sanctity of marriage. I guess a counter-argument to that is that other people’s religious beliefs shouldn’t stand in the way of other people’s civil rights. As you mentioned, policing the “sanctity of marriage” is a slippery slope. If there is any threat to heterosexual marriage and its sanctity it has nothing to do with gay people and it seems like the people that are the most sanctimonious and self-righteous about their marriages and sexual morality are the ones who usually end up being revealed to be huge hypocrites.

    In general, the idea that affording groups civil/equal rights will take away some privileges of the dominant group is just not the case but nonetheless that perception has been something we’ve battled against with almost every oppressed group since the beginning of time.

    • rachel permalink
      October 20, 2010 1:08 pm

      You said it very well stacy.

  10. Thain permalink
    October 20, 2010 2:06 pm

    I’ve never understood what the big deal is. People freak out about homosexuality and you gotta wonder what their deal is. Iceland has a lesbian president. Germany has a gay foreign minister and the US can’t even talk about gay issues without thinking lightening is going to strike. We’ve had one or two openly gay members of Congress but that’s about it. Why are people so obsessed about what other people are doing in their private lives? Are they so miserable in their own lives that they have to judge other people?

    • Susan permalink
      October 20, 2010 5:52 pm

      Well Thain, I think you’ve nailed it. People who are secure about themselves- about their sexuality and their own marriages, don’t need to disparage others and be so judgmental. I used to think way back when that marriage should just be for heterosexuals but I’ve evolved over time. And now I actually am ashamed of how I, and other heterosexual married people like me, have essentially sat back and not demanded real change. Sure a lot of us now support gay marriage but how many of us really DO anything about it? We have to support gay people in a very vocal way because they are fighting an uphill battle and they shouldn’t be expected to do it on their own.

      What is depressing is how the Democratic party steadfastly opposes gay marriage. Even Hillary wouldn’t/won’t say she supported it. I just think that such a blatantly discriminatory policy is reprehensible and the Democrats should be ashamed. More and more people are coming around on this issue and it would be nice if the Democrats for ONCE showed some leadership on this issue instead of constantly taking polls and waiting until about 70% of people approve. Can you imagine if that had been the case with women’s rights or civil rights in general? Lyndon B. Johnson gets a lot of flack for things and rightly so but he showed real leadership when it came to civil rights. Had he kicked the can down the road and refused to act by saying something along the lines of “but a lot of people don’t agree with it” the Civil Rights Act might never have been signed.

      I really think if Hillary would just come out and throw her support behind full marriage equality other Democrats would fall into line.

  11. October 20, 2010 6:11 pm

    I can’t believe that some in the GOP (Tea Party) have said that gay rights groups are using the suicides to promote “the radical gay agenda.” Do they have any compassion at all. And of course, most of the ones claiming this are Evangelical Christians. As someone who was raised a Christian (Episcopalian- not quite the same as an evangelical of course :)) I don’t see the Jesus-like compassion in anything that comes out of these people’s mouths. They hide behind their religion to avoid criticism of their views.

    I think the hardest thing for gay kids/teens is the total lack of support- unlike with kids who are bullied at school because of their race or religion, gay kids don’t generally go home and tell their parents what happened because they think they won’t understand and because they are afraid their parents will turn against them, stop loving them, be disappointed in them, or in some cases disown them or even act violently towards them. Most gay kids don’t have gay parents who can relate to what they are going through. I’m not saying the only way parents could understand is if they themselves are gay, but it sort of makes it harder because it just reinforces to young people the sense of isolation and the sense of being “different.”

    That’s why this video Secretary Clinton did is so important- she’s straight, she’s a mother and she’s telling them they matter and that if they need help they should ask for it- that’s a message a lot of these kids haven’t heard before.

    • ProudAmerican permalink
      October 21, 2010 5:38 pm

      Sounds like you are speaking from personal experience? Boo hoo. So your parents weren’t nice to you. Grow up.

Trackbacks

  1. Hillary to LGBT Youth: “It gets better… take care of yourself.” « The Confluence

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