Harry Reid’s lesbian niece

I know, some will say “so what if Harry Reid has a lesbian niece?”  But one of the quickest way to overcome being “the other” is for people to get to know that the other, particularly a gay one, is a member of their family.

It’s one of the advantages the gay rights movement has had over other movements, of late at least.  We can come out and shock our families into tolerance and acceptance.  No one comes out to their family as black.  But you can come out as gay, or trans even, and certainly surprise the heck out of your family.  And while, for gay people, it means we risk losing family and friends by coming out, it also means that we might just win some converts to the cause.

And while it might be said that African-American kids already have family that are converts to the cause, so gays are still at a disadvantage here, the same might not be true of strangers.  Meaning, you get to know someone, they get to like you, then they find out you’re gay.  I wonder if that experience hits people differently than meeting someone who’s black, and getting to know and like them, all the while, of course, knowing that the person is black.

Sometimes I wonder if being gay, and people not always knowing we’re gay, doesn’t help us get the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent of friendship first, permitting us to then drop the g-bomb later.

Not sure.  But we do know that coming out is our number one weapon in the gay civil rights arsenal.  Used to quite effect by GOP Senator Rob Portman’s son recently, when Portman announced he was endorsing gay marriage as a result of his son being gay.

It also helps for other Senators to learn that their friends, and leaders, have gay relatives.  So that when you vote against the gays, you’re voting against Harry Reid’s niece, and Rob Portman’s son.  And when you demonize gays, even worse.


Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)

So, while Harry Reid was already excellent on our issues – the Human Rights Campaign congressional scorecard gives him a perfect 100 – there’s something to be said for zeal.  And knowing you have a relative personally affected by particular legislation – in this case, Reid spoke of his niece in the context of the need to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, legislation that would make it illegal under federal law to discriminate in employment against someone simply because they’re gay or trans – certainly helps, or hopefully helps, to make it more of a priority for you.

So kudos to Harry Reid, and to Harry Reid’s niece for coming out at all, let alone to her powerful uncle.  And to Rob Portman’s gay son, Will – it’s not easy coming out to any dad, let alone one who has previously voted against your humanity.  And to every other kid or adult who finds the courage to come out.

It matters.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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13 Responses to “Harry Reid’s lesbian niece”

  1. karmanot says:

    True, I went to school there for a semester and was housed in Irene’s Bird Motel, so my knowledge, is arguably, limited. :-)

  2. UncleBucky says:

    I did not know all that. You can’t look everything up! :) LDS oughta be re-evaluating many things, including their basic Joe Smith Mythology. It goes without saying that their stance on anything not tall white male “storekeeper” stereotype is going down in flames. They are increasingly living in a shell of denial.

  3. Naja pallida says:

    Yeah, but the economy of Tucson isn’t entirely based around the antithesis of what the Mormon faith claims to be.

  4. karmanot says:

    If anything came out of the plague it was the knowledge of the great diversity of the GLTBQ community which literally touched the lives of hundreds of thousand of families bereft by the suffering and death of loved ones.

  5. karmanot says:

    The same in Arizona. They founded Tuscon.

  6. karmanot says:

    Maybe they will create a new category: sister brothers and/or brother/sisters.

  7. karmanot says:

    She is banned from being a celestial sister wife on Kolab.

  8. Naja pallida says:

    The LDS has bankrolled the mob in Nevada since there was nothing out there but a whole lot of dirt. He’s just following that proud tradition.

  9. nicho says:

    And Reid’s LDSness didn’t stop him from climbing in bed with the mob in Nevada. So I’m not sure this is a big deal.

  10. MyrddinWilt says:

    Reid was a convert so his niece is likely not LDS. But regardless, they can’t crap on Reid when he is by far their most prominent member.

    LDS also seems to be re-evaluating the hate thing. One reason that marriage equality has swung so fast is that they stopped raising money at the rate they had.

    I suspect that in the wake of the Romney fiasco they are re-evaluating their political stance. Hurts the profit margins if you drive people away from the church. They flipped on the racism thing in the 70s and they will flip on the gay hate. At least in name.

  11. UncleBucky says:

    So what does the LDS say about this? :-/

  12. BeccaM says:

    Being out and public and, most of all, boringly normal is the surest way to win over the fearful and the uninformed.

    It’ll take much longer, if ever, before we manage much progress with the bigoted haters and those who’ve embraced the lifestyle of willing ignorance.

  13. S1AMER says:

    Yep. As long as no one knew one of us (or, rather, knew that they knew), it was easy to fall for the horror stories about civilization-destroying monsters put forth by the religious right. Now that most people know that their families, friends, workplaces, neighborhood, TV shows all include us as familiar and beloved faces, all the fears go away.

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