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.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | 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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