Queer ‘rising stars’ of the Democrat Party set to make history with unprecedented convention platform
Three gay Democrats will jointly deliver the Democratic National Convention keynote address on Tuesday (August 18) — becoming the first LGBT+ people ever to do so.
The trio of rising stars are Pennsylvania representative Malcolm Kenyatta, Georgia rep. Sam Park, and Long Beach, California mayor Robert Garcia.
Usually the keynote speech is delivered by a single individual, but this year Kenyatta, Park, and Garcia will be among 17 Democratic trailblazers to share the address, offering “a diversity of different ideas and perspectives on how to move America forward”, a DNC spokesperson said.
By speaking in one of the most prestigious slots at the convention the three LGBT+ members will break new ground for queer representation in politics, but they already boast several historic firsts between them.
Park is the sole LGBT+ Asian-American lawmaker in the Georgia General Assembly. He regularly braves open homophobia as he works to pass progressive legislation in the Conservative stronghold state, including a bill to bring healthcare access to low-income households.
“It’s important for us to introduce and work on passing legislation we think would benefit the state to at least demonstrate to those we represent what exactly it is that we are fighting for,” he told NBC News.
“Being in the minority, it’s difficult to pass legislation, but that still doesn’t mean you can’t do it.”
Democratic National Convention 2020 keynote to also platform queer Latino and Black politicians.
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Garcia, who is Latino, is the youngest mayor in Long Beach history as well as the first LGBT+ person ever to hold the position. Over the past few months he’s been leading the fight against coronavirus in his city, even as he lost his mother and stepfather to the deadly virus.
And Kenyatta is the first gay Black man to be seated in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
“As somebody who inhabits all of these intersections, growing up in an incredibly poor neighbourhood to a working poor family, as one of only two openly LGBTQ members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the only one that’s a person of colour, I see all the different ways that frankly our systems are broken,” he told LGBTQ Nation earlier this year.
Kenyatta predicted the conference is going to be a “huge historic moment across the board”.
“Being a young person, a Black person, and a queer person — all those different intersections bring a certain perspective,” he told the Pennsylvania Capital Star.
“And I think it’s important because this president has tried very hard to divide folks up along race, class, gender and economic status. He is actively working to make life more difficult for the people he has sworn to serve. So all of the intersections that embody us are people Trump has gone after.”