Tom D'Angora with Hillary Clinton at a rally. Photo courtesy of Tom D'Angora.
Tom D’Angora works two full time jobs. Both are passion projects, but only one pays the bills. In addition to a hectic and fulfilling life as a theater producer in New York City, D’Angora is Hillary Clinton’s LGBT Grassroots Outreach Coordinator, a job he does on a completely volunteer basis. “I do this because I love it,” he says. “I don't do it for any other reason. I work here full time because I believe in her.”
We spoke with D’Angora about his personal relationship with Hillary Clinton, her dedication to LGBT rights comes, and what he envisions for the future of LGBT politics.
Hillary is not a newcomer to the fight for LGBT rights:
"They were central in her ‘08 campaign. She was very outspoken. She was a champion of LGBT rights in the Senate and was the only candidate in the ‘08 primary to show up and speak at Human Rights Campaign. And then, of course, immediately when she started in the State Department, she did some incredible things for LGBT rights. As a diplomat, couldn't weigh in on marriage equality at that time—bipartisan diplomats are barred from weighing in on domestic policies—but immediately after leaving the State Department she came out in support of us. Her record is, in my opinion, impeccable."
Her participation in Pride celebrations has a long history:
"In 1999, Hillary was the first sitting first lady to ever march in a pride parade, in New York. This year, throughout Pride month, we made sure that Hillary had a presence at almost every Pride march around the country—we had surrogates and staffers and volunteers just everywhere."
On where her dedication to the LGBT community comes from:
"You know, in her book, Living History, there’s this really beautiful passage where her father—he was a lifelong Republican—was dying, and his gay neighbors sat with him and held his hand as he passed. I just remember that standing out so much to me. I think it shows how personally she takes it, how personally she takes the LGBT fight. You'll hear this from everyone who's ever met her: she just cares so deeply. She cares about the individual. That’s her thing. She cares."
On Trump’s claim that he’s better for “the gays.”
"[Laughs] I mean, I'm speechless. Wow. Just wow. You know, I'm a little old fashioned with my politics. I like the records to speak, and her record stands up to anybody's."
On what LGBT people could expect under President Clinton:
"I think we can expect to see a fighter. She's with us, we're with her. As much as President Obama has been a champion, I think Hillary is going to be even more of a fighter for us, and all the American people. I’m really excited, I’ve been waiting a long time for this. I think this is a great chance for the LGBT community. I want to hear 'the LGBT vote,' 'the LGBT vote,' 'We gotta get the LGBT vote.' I want us to be so present in this election, and so loud, that the nation understands that we are a voting bloc that counts. I’m going to do everything I can, to the best of my ability, to help organize us, help mobilize us, and make sure our voices are heard."