IN HER July 17 op-ed, Fatimah Ali mistakenly advises Democrats that the surest way to bolster their chances to win the White House is to hide their support for gay rights. Proposing that it's still politically expedient to acquiesce to anti-gay bigotry, Ms. Ali is deeply out of touch with the reality that public support for gay rights is reaching all-time heights.
Ms. Ali admits she knows little about "gay issues." If only she'd done some research, she would know that "gay issues" are no different from those she urges the Democrats to tackle: health care, the economy, Social Security. Gay Americans simply seek the equal opportunity to protect, support and provide for their families in sickness and health. These are issues that resonate with all Americans
Indeed, it's evident that increasing numbers of Americans are relating to and supporting gay equality. A 2006 Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll found that 60 percent of respondents favored legal recognition for same-sex couples. More tangibly, the resounding defeats of many extreme anti-gay candidates in the 2006 election make it clear that gay-baiting politics produces ever-diminishing returns.
The reason that it fails while public support of gay rights climbs is because gay people like me refuse to take Ms. Ali's advice and be treated like we're invisible. We are coming out and educating our families and communities. We are calling on the media to fairly and inclusively represent our lives.
And we expect our elected representatives to listen to our voices. The conversations created through our heightened visibility are exactly what our democracy and the electoral process are all about.
Hearts and minds are changing precisely because we our visible. As a result, more presidential candidates are willing to speak up about their varying degrees of support for our families. In doing so, they represent far more Americans than Ms. Ali imagines.
Senior Director of Media Programs GLAAD, New York, New York