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This is why Hillary Clinton’s presidential nomination is a big deal for gay people

This is why Hillary Clinton’s presidential nomination is a big deal for gay people

Hillary Clinton is our best chance of beating Donald Trump

Hillary Clinton is someone who has spent decades bearing the brunt of being a woman.

Every day of Hillary’s career someone has called her a slut, a whore, a cunt. The only way those people can fight back against her is not with deconstructing her arguments but by attacking her gender.

So with her the presumptive Democratic nominee to be president, she is breaking huge ground. She is the first woman that stands a good chance of being in the White House.

Remember: This is in the same country where, earlier this year, Indiana passed a law that forces women who get an abortion to pay for the unborn fetus’ funeral. A woman still earns 23% less than a man for doing the same job. A man just walked away with a paltry six month prison sentence for brutally assaulting and raping an unconscious woman.

So the fact that a highly qualified if a little flawed (but who isn’t?) candidate, who has healed the relationship between the US and the rest of the world as Secretary of State, is running for presidential office is incredible.

The ugliness, the sexism that many Bernie supporters showed is just one reason why many changed sides to vote for Hillary.

She is smart, dedicated, and at this point the only thing stopping the US from having a racist, sexist, blubbering idiot in the White House.

But why should LGBTI people, and let’s face it, especially gay men care about this?

The hatred and the fear of femininity is homophobia. Sexism and homophobia flow through the same veins. When a gay teen is being bullied, it’s often because they’re ‘sensitive’, ‘creative’, ‘weaker’ than the other boys.

When a boy is being bullied for liking pink, singing along to Broadway shows and begging his parents to buy Barbie dolls, sexism and homophobia go hand in hand. The bully doesn’t respect his femininity, because it is seen as lesser, weaker and stupid. Young girls who like ‘girly’ things are seen as lesser, weaker and stupid. What’s almost worse, those girls are repeatedly reinforced that being seen as lesser than a man is how they should behave. Think about what you’re hearing when the phrase ‘throw like a girl’ is uttered.

Gay men do the same thing. ‘Straight-acting’ is used to reinforce the idea of what ‘masculinity’ is. It’s a man saying: ‘I’m not what you think gay is! I’m not feminine! I’m not girly!’ The obsession drilled into us that femininity isn’t desirable makes gay men strive for acceptance, cling onto our manhoods and pretend that we’re something we’re not – ‘a straight man’. The only thing ‘straight-acting’ should mean is if you’re pretending you want to put your penis into a vagina. And that’s ridiculous. But instead using the term ‘straight acting’ highlights internalized homophobia, the internalized hatred of a femininity that may linger somewhere inside, because men have been taught gay = feminine.

I have lived my life knowing, when you meet me, you’ll probably guess I’m gay pretty quickly. A soft voice that often betrays a once-thought gone teenage lisp. An apathy to sports. A campness.

But my femininity is not my weakness. It’s not a strength either. It just is.

But it is often seen as weakness, and whether it’s linked to homophobia or sexism or both is up to the beholder.

Hillary’s genitals and her innate womanhood are a part of her, but they have nothing to do with why she was elected as New York Senator, then Secretary of State, and now presumed Democratic nominee for president. Her experience, her strategy, and her ideas got her there.

But what if she was made President of the United States? It would send a message that femininity doesn’t have to mean weakness: a woman can be strong. A woman can be a leader, a boss, a Commander in Chief.

It might make people progress past the idea femininity is inherently inferior. Studies have shown that if businesses have more women in executive positions, they are more likely to be LGBTI-friendly. Now, I’m not saying Barack Obama solved racism, but it undoubtedly changed the narrative of what a black man could achieve in the United States.

We have passed some, but not all, laws. It’s time to change hearts and minds. And until the day a president who identifies as LGBTI is sworn in, Hillary is the best shot we have at electing someone who can tell the world femininity isn’t inferior – it just is.

Joe Morgan is the editor-at-large at Gay Star News. He can be found on Twitter.