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Hillary Clinton Quote Comparing Gay Rights To Women’s Rights Unearthed By Wikileaks

by matt baume October 12, 2016


Dribs and drabs of interesting quotes keep coming out of the hack of the Hillary Clinton campaign’s emails. The leaks, probably orchestrated by Russia, have been mostly unsurprising but they do provide a bit of an insight into her thought process — including her thoughts on “gay rights.”

In an off-the record interview, a New York Times reporter chatted with her about … well, we don’t really know what, because it was off the record. That’s not unusual at all, but a few fragments of their conversation survive because the reporter circled back to the campaign to ask if they could use some of Hillary’s quotes from the talk.

Specifically, they were interested in publishing this: “gay rights has moved much faster than women’s rights or civil rights, which is an interesting phenomenon somebody in the future will unpack,” Hillary said.

That’s an interesting observation, worded awkwardly. It’s obvious what she meant — that attitudes towards LGBTs have moved much faster in the last 40 years than they have on women’s and racial equality. That’s quite true! And it’s an interesting point. But oh, the wording: “gay rights” is a bit of an old fashioned term, since gays don’t see special rights, just the same rights as everyone else.

And oof, it’s a little weird to put “gay rights” against “women’s” and “civil.” Of course, there’s a lot of intersectionality in there, since many queer people are women, and civil rights apply to all of us. These aren’t parallel tracks of liberation, they’re all happening together and overlapping. Given more time, Hillary could surely have formulated a much better statement that wasn’t prone to misunderstanding, but this was just an informal off-the-cuff chat, so of course the wording isn’t quite there.

Nevertheless — it’s nice to know Hillary’s paying attention to our struggle.

matt baume
matt baume


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