LGBTQ delegates: They’re here, they’re queer, get used to it

democratic-national-convention

Dawn Ennis

Here’s a cool fact: there are more of us in Philadelphia right now than at any Democratic convention in the party’s history.

LGBTQ delegates make up more than 11 percent of all delegates at the Democratic National Convention this time around, and NBC News reports this record number is no coincidence. “In order to increase the number of delegates from underrepresented communities,” reported the network, “veteran LGBT delegates established an advisory board to recruit new and qualified LGBT delegates from across the U.S. The newly appointed delegates span the LGBT spectrum and bring a variety of experience and fresh perspectives to the delegation.”

Most delegates, reported NBC, have at least two things in common: they support the Equality Act to enshrine anti-discrimination protections nationwide, and they share contempt for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Among those leading the charge this year is Sue Fulton, a West Point graduate and Army veteran who was one of the key leaders in the movement to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and most recently the end of the ban on transgender military service.

Fulton was named chairwoman of the Board of Visitors last year. She was part of the first West Point class to admit women. She was commissioned in the U.S. Army, served as a platoon leader and company commander in Germany, and was honorably discharged at the rank of Captain.

She was a founder of Knights Out, a founding board member of OutServe, and she currently heads SPARTA, an LGBT military organization.

Fulton and Penelope Gnesin were the first same-sex couple to exchange vows at West Point’s landmark Cadet Chapel in 2012.

On Tuesday, Fulton led the Pledge of Allegiance today opening the LGBT Caucus meeting in Philadelphia, and tweeted about both that honor and the equality political forum that followed, focusing on securing LGBTQ rights.

Read more from NBC OUT’s interviews with members of the LGBT caucus here. 

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