Transcript after the jump.
While I’m happy Hillary is supporting the “It Gets Better” campaign, something about this rang a little hollow to me. As a top-level government official, she’s in a fundamentally different position than celebrities or everyday folks who have made similar videos. I, too, have a message: To all of the people in the Obama administration who are aware of the bigotry and hate faced by LGBTQ Americans and the hurt caused by discrimination, PLEASE DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. You have the power to actually change the policies that alienate queer Americans and relegate them to second-class citizenship.
As one of the other Feministing contributors pointed out, while the Obama administration in general sucks on LGBTQ issues, the State Department under Hillary Clinton has been better than any other federal agency. She has extended domestic partner benefits, simplified and clarified gender changes on passports, and generally rocked the fuck out. (Yes, she even wore purple yesterday in solidarity! Check out this picture of her in the situation room.) Still, I was disappointed by the passivity of her message. I wish she had pledged to push her boss — who has dragged his feet on changing policies while many major gay-rights battles have played out in the courts instead — to increase opportunities for LGBTQ Americans. After all, Hillary has much more political power than most people contributing to this video campaign. While she can claim some successes, there’s still a very long way to go toward ensuring that it does, in fact, get better.
Like millions of Americans, I was terribly saddened to learn of the recent suicides of 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’ve lost many young people over the years to suicide. These 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. There’s so much waiting for you both personally and professionally. There’s so many opportunities for you to develop your talents and make your contributions. And these opportunities will increase because the story of America is the story of people coming together to tear down barriers, stand up for their 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. 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’m 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, 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.