The LGBT delegate lunch has become the hot ticket for queers attending the Democratic convention here in Denver. The room is overflowing with delegates from all over the country and several organizational spokespeople told me about getting dozens of "Can you get me in?" requests.
So many members of Congress are attending the Secret Service had to sweep the room before anyone was allowed inside. You can see them standing on the guidelines keeping guard.
Jerame is videotaping the speeches, so hopefully we'll have some good video of the event to share with Projectors.
I'll keep updating this post below the fold as it happens.
Rep Frank is absolutely hilarious and has had the room in gales of laughter with one-liners.
"We should base our agenda off of this: What would Dick Cheney do? Then do the opposite."
"People talk about the homosexual agenda. What's our agenda? We want to join the Army, get married and get a job."
Next to speak is Rep Tammy Baldwin, the first and only lesbian elected to Congress. Her speech is very political as versus Rep Frank's LGBT-focused short speech. She has hit McCain hard on his health care, LGBT rights, women's rights and anti-choice stances while pounding on how good Barack Obama will be on progressive issues.
"These glimmers of hope that I mention from the 2008 election can be extinguished or fanned. We come here filled with hope because of this leader, this senator, this soon to be nominee for president and his message of change and hope. The stakes have never been higher for our community and I can't wait to work shoulder to shoulder with you through this election."
Next to the stage is Jared Polis, congressional candidate from Colorado.
"My two passions are business and politics. I always worried that my sexual orientation would provide a barrier to my political ambition."
"Race is now not a barrier to become President of the United States. That's what makes this country special. I look forward to working with the current members of Congress. When you're growing up, you think 'Can I do this?', but every young person interested in politics knows the stories of Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin. Sexual orientation is not a barrier any longer."
Joe Solmonese of HRC is the next to take the podium. Joe and I had a short chat outside in the lobby before the event; Joe's partner, Jed, came up and introduced himself and told me how much he enjoyed the blog. Both were very gracious; I invited Joe to rejoin us on Bilerico Project and assured him that he would be treated with the same amount of respect that all other contributors are given.
Joe has spoken of the hate crimes legislation and how moving it was to watch Judy Sheppard as the vote was taken. He mentioned a meeting with Congress members before the vote was taken:
I was pulled aside and the Congresswoman told me, "These members of Congress might have disappointed you today. They might have disappointed the LGBT community. But they will not disappoint Barney Frank." That's the point of having Congress represent the faces of America.
Joe also gave a shout out to Diego Sanchez, Jared Polis, Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin and the LGBT delegates. While I was furiously typing, taking pictures and blogging, I didn't hear him mention ENDA.
Bilerico Project contributor Chuck Wolfe is the next to take the stage. He is obviously incredibly intelligent and articulate. I'm impressed.
"The Victory Fund will keep supporting you and more and more like you to make sure America is truly a representative democracy. Being gay should not be a stumbling block to running for office. This week the Dem Party stands united behind a candidate who has broken through those barriers. But the work is not over after the election."
I didn't catch the name of the next speaker, because I was sitting here thinking how impressed I was with Chuck's speech. I'd really like to get a copy of it; I hope he posts it to the site. He hit several good points that I didn't have time to type out since I was working on the photo. Well, and I stopped doing most things just to listen. For most of the speakers, I've been working furiously. I actually stopped to listen to Chuck. Hopefully Jerame got him on video tape.
Michelle Obama has come to the podium now. Jerame is videotaping the speech while I try to take pics from the back of the room. The reporter from the Orange County Blade is a jerk and keeps jumping in front of all of my shots and knocking my arm though, so it's not working out too well for the pics. This is the best I could get.
I have to admit, I'm not getting any quotes because I can't take my eyes off of Michelle Obama. She's a powerful speaker in her own right. She's funny, articulate and makes a real connection with her audience. Let's hope Jerame's video is good. :)
Michelle just mentioned gender identity for our trans readers who will want to know if it was brought up. She made sure to say that Barack was in favor of a fully inclusive ENDA.
I'll say this though, after Michelle Obama spoke, about half of the press walked out the door. So did a good portion of the delegates. A mayor who's name I didn't catch had the unfortunate luck of following Michelle. No one is listening and no one knows who he is.
Jerame and I are taking off too; we've got plenty of other work to do still and I'd like to get the video up ASAP.