LGBT

The Letter "Q" Was Kept Off Democratic Party's LGBT Platform

There was a push at the Democratic Platform Committee this month to explicitly represent queer people.

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Before Donald Trump stunned TV viewers last week by not only mentioning LGBT people in his Republican nomination acceptance speech, but adding a carefully enunciated "Q" — representing queer people — some Democrats were fighting to include that letter in their own party's platform.

One of Q’s loudest advocates was David Braun, a platform committee member from Oakland, California, who told BuzzFeed News that he made a case at the committee meeting this month in Orlando, Florida.

“I stepped to the mic at one point and said it was absolutely preposterous that we don’t have the Q,” he said, “Everybody clapped, and they said we will get that done one way or another.”

The committee co-chair, Gov. Dannel Malloy of Connecticut, indicated the Q could be added at some point in the future as a procedural fix, according to Braun and another committee member, Mara Keisling.

“It is very unfortunate that queer people have to fight to be identified properly by a party that is supposedly paying lip service to our community.”

“I think there was supposed to be a post-meeting conversation about it, and I think that never happened,” Keisling, a transgender woman, told BuzzFeed News. She said "Malloy suggested that the conversation would be best handled behind the scenes" due to time constraints. "It seems like we as a platform committee may have forgotten to get back to it."

"I certainly would have welcomed that conversation," Keisling added, noting the platform is the most progressive on LGBT issues in party history. She did not think leaving out the Q should be interpreted as discomfort with queer people.

But Braun is upset.

“We submitted countless emails calling attention to it,” he said, adding that other platform members brought it up several times at the committee meeting on July 9 and 10.

“The idea that we can self-identify and name ourselves is very important,” said Braun, who identifies as gay. “It is very unfortunate that queer people have to fight to be identified properly by a party that is supposedly paying lip service to our community.”

Within hours of the party platform being formally adopted Monday night, Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek invoked the Q when she called for "justice for the LGBTQ community" and warning that "LGBTQ rights are under attack."

The week before, Trump deployed the letter when he pledged to “do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.”

Both Gov. Malloy’s office and the Democratic National Committee referred questions about why the Q wasn’t included in the platform to a spokesperson at the Democratic National Convention, who did not respond to emails from BuzzFeed News.

Dominic Holden is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Dominic Holden at dominic.holden@buzzfeed.com.

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