June is Pride month. It’s a time to celebrate the impact that our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community have on this world. This time is also a constant reminder for me and my husband, Gabe, of the friends we have lost over the years and all the work that still needs to be done to ensure that each and every one of us has the opportunity to live our lives free from discrimination.
While the month is almost over, I couldn’t let it pass without sharing my thoughts about someone who has consistently stood by the LGBTQ community and who I have always counted as a dear, personal friend. That person is Hillary Clinton.
Hillary’s campaign has released a video called “Equal,” a touching mix of stories of the triumphs and tribulations of those in the LGBTQ community, alongside inspiring words of Hillary Clinton throughout the years as she has fought for progress for us all. Throughout her career in public service, Hillary has fought for LGBTQ rights, called for an end to discrimination based on sexual orientation, and worked tirelessly to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to fulfill their potential in this world.
Almost 25 years ago, Hillary Clinton met with some of my friends at AIDS Project Los Angeles, many of whom were suffering from HIV/AIDS. Hillary was one of the few public figures at the time to join our community in the fight against the spread of that deadly disease. Since then, I have followed her career as a public official and have watched her tackle issues that most politicians have long ignored.
In the Senate, Hillary fought to lift restrictions that blocked gay and lesbian couples from adopting children, she spoke out against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and she repeatedly called for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace.
More recently, as Secretary of State, Hillary championed LGBTQ rights internationally. Secretaries of State are not often agents of social causes, but Secretary Clinton used her role to highlight the human rights abuses and violations that LGBTQ people face in countries all across the world. What’s more, she fought tirelessly on the global stage for a comprehensive human rights agenda, including protections for LGBTQ people.
During her time at the State Department, Hillary Clinton made history as an advocate for the LGBTQ community, not just here in America, but throughout the world. At a speech in Geneva, Switzerland to celebrate International Human Rights Day, Hillary made a bold declaration that showed us in the gay community and leaders all over the world her true dedication to the cause: “Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.” Those words may seem simple, but they were historic and had a profound impact on me and the LGBTQ community, and they will continue to do so for years to come.
It’s been almost 25 years since she met with my friends at AIDS Project Los Angeles, and almost 15 years since I hosted an LGBTQ fundraiser for her first Senate campaign at my house in Los Angeles, and a lot has changed since then. Now Hillary Clinton is running for president, and there is no one better suited to take on the challenges faced by the LGBTQ community. There is no doubt in my mind that Hillary Clinton will build a better future for all Americans, free from discrimination and prejudice. That’s why I’m supporting her for president.
Bruce Cohen is an Academy Award-winning producer in film, television and theater. He is best known for producing ‘American Beauty,’ ‘Milk,’ and ‘Silver Linings Playbook.’ He has been a longtime advocate for LGBTQ rights and recently served as board president of the American Foundation for Equal Rights.