Each week we will be profiling a political candidate to see where they stand on transgender issues. We have no interest in taking sides politically and will try to look at these candidates solely based on their intentions towards the transgender community.
This week: Democratic Candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton (born October 26, 1947 in Chicago, Illinois) served as the 67th United States Secretary of State under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2013. She is the wife of the 42nd President of the United States Bill Clinton, and was First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Clinton subsequently served as a United States Senator from New York from 2001 to 2009.
“Transgender people are valued, they are loved, they are us. They deserve to be treated fairly and equally” – Hillary Rodham Clinton
There has been much debate on where Secretary Clinton stands on Transgender issues. On October 3rd she spoke at a breakfast for the Human Right’s Campaign stating “Transgender people are valued, they are loved, they are us. They deserve to be treated fairly and equally.” But much of the debate centers around her previous stances on transgender issues. Her husband’s presidency was the era of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), though it has been documented since 2007 she has come out against both.
In a report on April 13, 2015 by Rhuaridh Marr of Metro Weekly he discusses how on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell the law directly contravened Clinton’s personal stance with regard to the rights of LGBT people (in 1999 she stated, “I don’t believe [it] has worked”). She has long advocated for equal rights in terms of employment and partner benefits. White House documents, reported by Politico, show that during Bill Clinton’s presidency, Hillary Clinton used the First Lady’s office to pressure her husband into taking broader steps towards embracing gay rights, including the potential introduction of an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.
So it appears Secretary Clinton has long been a supporter of gay rights. The question is could is it possible for her to have evolved on the transgender issue? She made it possible for transgender people to update their sex on their United States passports. “It was part of the overall effort to try to treat people with dignity and equality.” Secretary Clinton said, “I had the opportunity through executive action to recognize that there were barriers and vestiges to discrimination that had no place in a modern American workplace, and so I acted.”
In her HRC speech Secretary Clinton went on to say “Transgender people are still banned from serving. That is an outdated rule – especially since you and I know that there are transgender people in uniform right now. They’re just keeping this core part of their identities under wraps because they are so committed to defending our nation. They shouldn’t have to do that. That’s why I support the policy review that Defense Secretary Carter recently announced at the Pentagon. And it’s why I hope the United States joins many other countries that let transgender people serve openly.”
So it appears Secretary Clinton will keep transgender issues on the table if she wins the presidency. To date she is the most outspoken on the subject. It all comes down to if you feel she has truly evolved on the issue or if she is taking a popular political stance. She has been on record regarding the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) while she was in the Senate in 2007 where she shared a position adopted by many that adding gender identity to the bill would have certainly killed it due to the political climate at the time. So now that the climate is changing will Hillary Rodham Clinton be the champion for transgender progress if she wins the office? We would love to hear your thoughts.
As we always do, we reached out to the Clinton campaign for a comment and will post it if we receive a response.