Stonewall Democrats laud record LGBT participation expected at Democratic National Convention

San Diego Democrats for Equality sending 10 delegates to DNC

WASHINGTON -- National Stonewall Democrats (NSD) said today it has identified at least 534 official LGBT participants for the 2012 Democratic National Convention next week in Charlotte, N.C.

This record number of participants represents a marked increase in LGBT participation from four years ago in Denver where just over 350 LGBT participants were identified.

"What an amazing and inspiring convention this will be," said Jerame Davis, executive director of National Stonewall Democrats. "With over 530 LGBT participants identified for this year's convention, we not only set a new record for LGBT participation in a national convention, we have sent the clearest message possible that the Democratic Party is the party of inclusion."

"Dedicated activists including those at the DNC and National Stonewall Democrats, made this historic moment possible by doggedly insisting that LGBT people have a seat at the table and by demonstrating the strength our community can bring to party politics. We didn't sit around wishing for a better Party, we made the Party better for LGBT people," Davis said.

Pride in the Party, National Stonewall Democrats' program to increase LGBT participation at conventions and within the various state and national Democratic Party organizations, was launched in 2007 with director Rick Boylan at the helm. Boylan, who currently consults for the DNC, added some broader context to this year's record LGBT delegation:

"You cannot overstate the critical role presidential campaigns play in working with state parties and Democratic leaders to meet the demographic goals set by state parties," Boylan said. "The Obama campaign understands that the LGBT community is a key constituency in the 2012 election. Their support for the community and the issues important to LGBT Americans will help reelect the president and elect Democrats down the ballot in all states."

"An increase in the number of LGBT delegates is only the tip of the iceberg," Boylan said. "By ensuring an open and inclusive delegate selection process, state Democratic Party organizations are witnessing an increase in LGBT involvement in Democratic campaigns, as well as Democratic organizing and fundraising activities. As the Party has expanded its outreach to the LGBT community, the community has expanded its involvement in the Party. We are seeing better working relationships with elected officials and more interest in pro-equality legislation at all levels of government."

San Diego Democrats for Equality sending 10 delegates to DNC

San Diego Democrats for Equality will send 10 delegates to this year's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. from Sept. 3 to 6, the highest number of delegates the club has ever sent to the convention since its founding in 1975.

This comes on the heels of significant changes to the party platform, including the addition of a plank in support of marriage equality, and unprecedented support for the LGBT community from President Obama since he took office, including the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the withdrawal of support for the Defense of Marriage Act from his administration in the court system.

"A tremendous amount of progress has been made in the last four years under the leadership of President Obama," said Doug Case, president of the local Dems for Equality. "We are incredibly proud to be an active part of a party that has supported our community, and we will continue to work to ensure that the President gets re-elected."

The following is a partial list of Dems for Equality club members will be serving as delegates to this year's convention:

Matt Corrales
Suzie Ditmars
Jess Durfee
Toni Lopez
Don Mullen
Evan Parent
Craig Roberts
Michael Thomason
Andrea Villa

The club will also be co-hosting an Obama Watch Party with the San Diego County Young Dems on Thursday, Sept. 6, at 6 pm to watch President Obama's speech as he officially accepts the Democratic Party nomination at the convention. The event will take place upstairs at The Range, at its new location at 1202 University Ave. in San Diego. Admission is free and open to all.

2012 Democratic National Convention LGBT participation by the numbers

Total LGBT participants: 534

LGBT delegates: 486 (116.27% of goal; 8.15% of the 5963 total delegates expected in Charlotte.)

LGBT alternates: 23

LGBT Committee Members: 20

LGBT Pages: 5

Jurisdictions that met or exceeded goal: 38

Jurisdictions that missed their goal: 15

Jurisdictions that met or exceeded their 2008 LGBT participation: 44

Transgender participants: 11 (7 delegates, 3 committee members, 1 alternate)

Other notable facts

- Three states are sending LGBT delegates for the first time: Alaska, Arkansas and Mississippi

- For the first time, all 50 states set numerical goals for LGBT delegates

- For the first time, there will be at least one LGBT delegate from every state

- The largest LGBT delegation is from California with 76 total LGBT participants

- Six states are sending one LGBT delegate (Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, North Dakota and Vermont)

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