Why Long-Lived Lesbians Are Voting For Hillary (Although We Like Bernie, Too)


Why do voters pretend to be gender-blind?

In a good Salon.com open letter to older women voting for Hillary Clinton, Allison Glennan, a self-defined “Millennial Woman Feeling the Bern,” asserts that “Asking women to vote for Hillary based on her gender rather than policy is sexist.”

And I, a long-lived lesbian NOT feeling the Bern, agree. Yes, if we were voting purely based on gender, it would be sexist. But we’re voting for Hillary’s mind, heart, and gender: the three are inseparable.

I respect Bernie Sanders and his supporters. Megan Friedman in (yes) Cosmopolitan.com quotes college students who like his economic justice platform (including student loans, minimum wage, and health care – as if Hillary hadn’t been the first person in the White House to develop a plan for federally subsidized health care). I wouldn’t be alarmed if he won the nomination (or the election).

But I’m voting for Hillary, though I’m not voting primarily for her female-ness.

We, women 55 or older one of the largest segments of Clinton’s supporters, have solid, policy-based reasons why she should be the 45th president of the US:

  • As Secretary of State, Clinton has experience in world affairs;
  • She has long advocated for affordable healthcare and measures to curtail gun violence;
  • She works for human rights, including LGBT rights;
  • She supports reproductive justice – and was the only Democrat to mention Planned Parenthood in the debates.

Bernie Sanders’s supporters have a similar list of reasons to vote for him (although his record on gun control is weak, and he lacks experience in world affairs). I considered voting for Bernie, but the deciding factor for me is that Hillary’s female. Am I supposed to be ashamed of that? I’m not – I’m proud and delighted to have the opportunity to support a woman for the nation’s top job. Is that sexist? I say it’s feminist.

I wonder why so few others come out and say, “I’m voting for her because she’s a woman.” Of course, nobody says, “I’m voting for Trump/Cruz/Sanders because he’s a man,” either, but gender is part of any politician’s identity. Why do so many voters pretend to be gender-blind?

It’s not the only reason, but the ultimate reason I choose Hillary over Bernie is that she’s a woman, and I want a woman in the White House – not as first lady, but as world leader. Hillary’s gender isn’t the most important thing, but it is a factor in her favor.

Hillary has experienced sexual discrimination as she grew up in the USA, went to law school, and served in public office. Now, running for the nation’s top job, she’s been unfairly treated, but she’s tough and flexible enough to withstand it. And with that personal experience, as our next president, Hillary Clinton will continue by her actions to support equal rights for all people – including healthcare (which radical innovation, a few Millennials might not have noticed, was First Lady Hillary Clinton’s radical new initiative in the 1990s, when she was first lady).

By her example, President Hillary Clinton will help improve the standing of women around the world. I want the USA to join the approximately 20 other countries (including Germany, Norway, Chile, Central African Republic, Poland and New Zealand) who currently have an elected female leader. It’s not what’s between her legs that matters; it’s what’s between her (female) ears.