A Transgirl’s Perspective of the First Day of the DNC

Those of you who know me know that I am very interested in politics. I have lost many an hour watching MSNBC, reading a wide range of bi-partisan or non-partisan articles, keeping a finger on the political twitter pulse. Heck, I once called off a date to sit at home and watch the Republican primaries (luckily, the guy was a good sport and ended up coming and watching with me). Being a bit of a politics junky, I faithfully tuned into the coverage of the Republican National Convention last week.

The RNC featured vitriolic rhetoric about how terrible the president is and how we need to go back to the good old days. There were also several humorous observations, such as most of the speakers forgetting to mention Mitt Romney till more than half way through their speeches, and Clint Eastwood talking down to a chair with his hair looking like he just rolled out of bed. However, the planners of the convention did do their job well. Many of the speakers were women, and there were even a few Latino speakers. The RNC put forth a face of diversity. However, when the camera panned to the audience, there was NOT much diversity in the crowd. The vast majority of the people there were white, mostly middle aged and up, many men (though there were a good deal of women), a very uniform looking group.

The DNC (Democratic National Convention) started today, and being a liberal, I was incredibly moved by the energy, the passion, the pride, and the hope each of the speakers displayed. Tonight’s keynote speaker was Michelle Obama, the First Lady, and her speech was exceptional. It was personal, moving, made a strong connection to the people, humanized the president, etc etc etc. Lots of good things! However, what really struck me was when the camera panned to the crowd to see their reactions. There, at the DNC, perhaps the most public and broadcast platform the Democrats will have, the crowd itself was incredibly diverse. There was no overwhelming majority in skin color of the audience; there was a good mix of all the minorities. There was no overwhelming majority of age, or even gender. In fact, it was the gender thing that really struck me. During Michelle Obama’s speech, the camera panned to a woman who was clearly (to me at least) an African American Transsexual woman, literally in tears, since she was so moved from the speech. This was the nationally broadcast coverage shown from coast to coast, and there was the reaction of a real transsexual person, not as an activist or a cause, but as a person. It was just a few seconds of air time, but that alone highlighted EXACTLY what the difference between the RNC and DNC is, and what the election is really about.

I know, to most viewers, this was an insignificant few seconds, but to this transsexual activist, this “Up and Coming LGBT Leader,” this showed what the Democratic party is becoming more and more every day. The Republican party is largely concerned with the rights and privilege of a specific set of Americans, in very broad strokes, upper middle to upper class Caucasian people. The Democratic party is the group of everyone else, and of the ones who chose to work with the ‘other’ rather than just protecting themselves. The Democrats are FAR from perfect, but on this point at least, I am just wowed.

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