For Immediate Release
View Online: http://lgbtde.ms/NAWX8E
August 28, 2012
Contact: Jerame Davis
National Stonewall Democrats Laud Record-Smashing LGBT Participation at 2012 DNC Convention
Washington, DC - National Stonewall Democrats (NSD) announced today it has identified at least 534 official LGBT participants for the 2012 Democratic National Committee Convention in Charlotte, NC next week. This record number of participants represents a marked increase in LGBT participation from four years ago in Denver where just over 350 LGBT participants were identified.
"What an amazing and inspiring convention this will be," said Jerame Davis, Executive Director of National Stonewall Democrats. "With over 530 LGBT participants identified for this year's convention, we not only set a new record for LGBT participation in a national convention, we have sent the clearest message possible that the Democratic Party is the party of inclusion."
"Dedicated activists," continued Davis, "including those at the DNC and National Stonewall Democrats, made this historic moment possible by doggedly insisting that LGBT people have a seat at the table and by demonstrating the strength our community can bring to party politics. We didn't sit around wishing for a better Party, we made the Party better for LGBT people."
Pride in the Party, National Stonewall Democrats' program to increase LGBT participation at conventions and within the various state and national Democratic Party organizations, was launched in 2007 with director Rick Boylan at the helm. Boylan, who currently consults for the DNC, added some broader context to this year's record LGBT delegation:
"You cannot overstate the critical role presidential campaigns play in working with state parties and Democratic leaders to meet the demographic goals set by state parties," said Boylan. "The Obama campaign understands that the LGBT community is a key constituency in the 2012 election. Their support for the community and the issues important to LGBT Americans will help reelect the president and elect Democrats down the ballot in all states."
"An increase in the number of LGBT delegates is only the tip of the iceberg," continued Boylan. "By ensuring an open and inclusive delegate selection process, state Democratic Party organizations are witnessing an increase in LGBT involvement in Democratic campaigns, as well as Democratic organizing and fundraising activities. As the Party has expanded its outreach to the LGBT community, the community has expanded its involvement in the Party. We are seeing better working relationships with elected officials and more interest in pro-equality legislation at all levels of government."
2012 Democratic National Convention LGBT Participation by the Numbers
Total LGBT Participants: 534
LGBT Delegates: 486 (116.27% of goal; 8.15% of the 5963 total delegates expected in Charlotte.)
LGBT Alternates: 23
LGBT Committee Members: 20
LGBT Pages: 5
Jurisdictions that met or exceeded goal: 38
Jurisdictions that missed their goal: 15
Jurisdictions that met or exceeded their 2008 LGBT participation: 44
Transgender participants: 11 (7 delegates, 3 committee members, 1 alternate)
Other notable facts
Three states are sending LGBT delegates for the first time:
- For the first time, all 50 states set numerical goals for LGBT delegates
- For the first time, there will be at least one LGBT delegate from every state
- The largest LGBT delegation is from California with 76 total LGBT participants
- 6 States are sending 1 LGBT delegate (AK, ID, KS, MS, ND, VT)
History of LGBT inclusion in the Democratic Party
Beginning with the 1988 Democratic Convention, the Party’s Delegate Selection Rules specifically prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the conduct of Democratic Party affairs. In addition, “lesbians and gay men” were one of the groups for which each state party was to develop and submit outreach programs for recruitment, education and training to achieve full representation in the delegate selection process and at all levels in the party.
In 1992, the Delegate Selection Rules included more generic language about the outreach programs developed by the state parties -- requiring plans for recruitment, education and training of “groups that are significantly underrepresented in our Party’s affairs.”
In 1998, Congressman Barney Frank and a few LGBT Democrat activists from around the country founded National Stonewall Democrats, which quickly grew to 120 affiliated clubs across the country.
Since the 2000 convention in Los Angeles, National Stonewall Democrats has advocated, supported, and organized increased LGBT inclusion in the state delegations sent to national conventions. In that year, the DNC recorded 161 LGBT delegates and 210 official LGBT participants.
In 2004, the DNC GLBT Caucus hired Rick Boylan to administer LGBT delegate recruitment efforts in coordination with the DNC, the John Kerry presidential campaign, and NSD. This was the first organized effort of any Democratic constituency, not just LGBT, to actively recruit delegates, alternates, committee members, and pages for representation at the convention. These efforts paid off with an increase in LGBT delegates to 183 and total LGBT participation of over 260.
Our work in 2004 brought to light a real need for a stronger stance from the DNC on LGBT inclusion. In the lead up to the 2008 convention, NSD and LGBT DNC members advocated for a rule change that would require all states to adopt and implement an "inclusion plan" as part of their delegate selection process and in all party affairs in order to achieve the full participation of the LGBT community as well as other groups that have historically been under-represented in the Party.
Through the hard work of NSD and DNC activists, the inclusion rule was adopted in 2006 and in 2007 we launched our Pride in the Party program. The project was created to increase LGBT participation in all levels of the Democratic Party, but particularly at the national conventions. Because of these efforts, we saw another significant increase in LGBT participation at the convention with a record of over 350 LGBT participants in Denver in 2008.
National Stonewall Democrats is the national voice of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied Democrats, with more than 80 local affiliates across the nation. Stonewall Democrats works to elect more pro-equality Democrats regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity - and to improve the Democratic Party on issues important to LGBT Democrats.