Michael Crawford

Gays and the CNN/YouTube Debate

Filed By Michael Crawford | July 21, 2007 8:55 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media, Politics
Tags: Anderson Cooper, election 2008, gay rights, HRC

I am pretty excited about the upcoming CNN/YouTube debate that will be on Monday night. No, its not because there will be a chance to see Steve Grove, the cute head of News and Politics for YouTube. I saw him at a recent conference on the future of political communications and he is even cuter live vs on the interweb. I am excited about the debate because it offers another way for the often mentioned, but rarely listened to, American people to get engaged in politics.

Over the last few weeks, CNN and YouTube have been asking people like you and me to submit 30 second video questions to the presidential candidates. Somewhere between 25 and 40 questions will be chosen for the presidential candidates to answer. The debate featuring the Democratic candidates will be on Monday, July 23th and the debate featuring the Republican candidates will be on September 17th. While its true that the questions will be chosen by the powers that be at CNN and YouTube, this does represent a better chance for the questions that are on the minds of real people to be asked.

Which brings me to the gays. A number of the video questions submitted have raised issues about LGBT civil rights. Anderson Cooper, a gay man (ALLEGEDLY!), will be the moderator and hopefully at least one of the gay questions will be used. Here are a few examples and commentary - after the jump, of course.

That question from a kid in Oklahoma is a great example of how we can use online video as a way of talking about LGBT issues and educating people about our lives. It allows us to share our personal stories, put a face on the so-called homosexual lifestyle and can be a great way for LGBT youth to see real live (digitized) gay people who are out and proud.

In a recent post on the upcoming HRC/Logo presidential forum on LGBT issues, I said:

The candidates will be holding campaign events, rallies, town hall meetings etc in the various states that we live in. What is stopping any of us from gathering our friends and families and attending these events and raising the questions that we think are important? Want to know exactly why Clinton does not support marriage for same-sex couples? Show up at an event and ask her the question. Want to know what is Obama’s plan to repeal DADT? Show up and ask him. Want to know what is Richardson’s plan to improve the lives of LGBT youth? Ask him.

There is far too much at stake here to expect one organization to do all of the heavy lifting. We all have a role to play and frankly a moral duty to do everything we can to move towards LGBT equality. Don’t wait for HRC to raise the questions that you want answered. Raise the questions yourselves.

Just as bloggers like John Aravosis, Mike Rogers, Pam Spaulding and Bil and company here at The Bilerico Project are using blogs to raise critical issues and spotlight the diversity of the LGBT community, we can use online video in similar ways.

You have the power to create and promote the images of LGBT people that you would like to see. Its what these people did when the made their video messages to the presidential candidates:

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amberglow | July 23, 2007 4:26 PM

I bet Cooper stays away from them.

CNN has been pushing this whole thing relentlessly, and showed the conference room full of middle-aged white men who are picking the questions that will get asked--we'll see nothing new or different at all. This will be only the questions pundits and moderators would have asked anyway.

(great blog, btw) : >

amberglow | July 23, 2007 7:29 PM

A marriage question--i'm surprised.

The answers are the same as always tho.