Political Unity (Is It Possible?)

One of the most important groups formed at the turn of the last century was the Political Advocacy Coalition; a “PAC-PAC” created to provide the LGBT community of Broward County with non-partisan, political representation. Headed by a diverse board of seasoned activists, the PAC-PAC sent out questionnaires to state and local candidates and made endorsements based on the results of those questionnaires. At one time the PAC-PAC joined forces with the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Greater Fort Lauderdale (now the Pride Center); the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN); Gays United to Attack Repression and Discrimination (GUARD); and the Broward Log Cabin Club of Florida to host a candidates forum. Interested politicians worked the crowd, spoke to the assembly, and answered questions from a panel representing the five sponsoring groups.

I was a board member of the PAC-PAC. Like my colleagues, I hoped this group would present a united front on behalf of Broward’s sexual and gender minorities. But this was not to be. The PAC-PAC disbanded soon after the 2000 elections, as did GUARD. Other political groups also folded as they achieved their stated goals. Today there are only two LGBT political groups in Broward County: the Dolphin Democrats and the Log Cabin Republicans. Though both groups are important and effective in their own way, they reflect the division that plagues our communities, here and elsewhere. They do not attempt to unite our community, the way that the PAC-PAC tried to do or that the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council or Miami-Dade County’s SAVE now seek to achieve.

I am a proud and unabashed Progressive Democrat; and an officer of the Dolphin Democrats. I believe that the Democratic Party is the only one of our two major parties who supports equal rights for LGBT Americans, especially after Donald Trump and Mike Pence captured the Republican Party. At the same time, I respect the rights of the Log Cabin Republicans to speak on behalf of LGBT’s in the GOP, however much I might disagree with their views. However, while we continue to disagree, I believe we can still work together on behalf of the common good, on issues that we can agree on, however difficult this might be.

The undeclared civil war that is currently tearing this country apart has destroyed many friendships. Thus I am happy to report that one of my oldest friendships is with Andy Eddy, a fellow member of the PAC-PAC who serves as Communications Director of the Log Cabin Republicans of Broward County. Though Andy and I disagree on many things, we share a mutual affection and respect for our LGBT community and for those activists who came before us. I hope the day will come when Andy and I are able to work together again, as difficult as it might be. Is political unity possible? We will see.

Jesse’s Journal
by Jesse Monteagudo


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