I am a Woman and a Lesbian
July 12, 1972 — Democratic National Convention, Miami Beach FL
I am a woman and a lesbian, a minority of minorities.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you. Twenty million Americans are grateful and proud of the Democratic Party.
We are the minority of minorities. We belong to every race and creed, both sexes, every economic and social level, every nationality and religion. We live in large cities and small towns. But we are the untouchables in American society. We have suffered from oppression — from being totally ignored or ridiculed to having our heads smashed and our blood spilled in the streets.
Now we are coming out of our closets and on to the convention floor — to tell you, the delegates, and to tell all gay people throughout America that we are here to put an end to our fears. Our fears that people will know us for who we are, that they will shun and revile us, fire us from our jobs, reject us from our families, evict us from our homes, beat us and jail us. For what? Because we have chosen to love each other.
I am asking that you vote YES for the inclusion of this minority report into the Democratic platform for two major reasons:
First, we must speak to the basic civil rights of all human beings. It is inherent in the American tradition that the private life and life styles of citizens should be allowed and insured, so long as they do not infringe upon the rights of others. A government that interferes with the private lives of its people is a government that is alien to the American tradition and the American dream.
You have before you a chance to reaffirm that tradition, that dream. As a matter of practicality you also have the opportunity to gain the vote of 20,000,000 Americans that would help in November to put a Democrat in the White House.
Secondly, I say to you: I am someone’s neighbor, someone’s sister, someone’s daughter. A vote for this plank is a vote not only for me but it is a vote for all homosexual women and men across the country to peaceably live their own lives.
I wish to remind you that a vote for this plank may now or someday be a vote for your neighbor, your sister, your daughter or your son.
We ask for your vote and we ask because our people have suffered long and hard. That you reaffirm for every human being the right to love.
Source: Dr. Madeline Davis LGBTQ+ Archives of Western New York, Buffalo State, the State University of New York.
Copyright 2022 by Wendy Smiley. Used by permission. All rights reserved.