A Democratic candidate has released a raw political ad opening up about his experiences of homophobia.
Rufus Gifford is one of ten Democrats seeking election to the US House of Representatives to represent the solidly-Democratic Massachusetts District 3.
Ahead of the party primary on September 4, Gifford has released a “groundbreaking” ad, focused on his own struggles as a gay man.While many LGBT candidates are keen to not focus too much on their own identity, Gifford puts it front and centre.
In the ad, he says: “Anyone who can look in the face of a gay kid who grew up in the 80s and tell them that they haven’t struggled a day in their life, is fooling themselves.
He adds: “As someone who has been called names, has been discriminated against, as someone who wasn’t taken seriously for a lot of his life because of this, it made me initially want to fight for the 15-year old version of me.
“I didn’t want to be judged for who I was, and I know I wanted to live in a world that was going to treat me equally. That’s what I want to fight for, always, every day.
“We’ve got to do everything we can to fight for people who are struggling.”
The ad “will appear on digital platforms targeting voters throughout the 3rd District through Primary Day,” according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which backs out candidates across the US.
Gifford is eminently qualified for Congress, having worked on Barack Obama’s two election campaigns, and having served as United States Ambassador to Denmark from 2013 to 2017.
The Ambassador was an unlikely household name in Denmark thanks to his fly-on-the-wall TV documentary series I am the Ambassador.
The show followed Gifford through his everyday work as a US ambassador as well as his personal life, including his Copenhagen wedding to husband Dr Stephen DeVincent.
The documentary later became a hit on Netflix around the world, though it naturally concluded when the political appointee was relieved of his post by the incoming Trump administration.
Annise Parker of LGBTQ Victory Fund said: “Rufus is running to push forward a positive and inclusive agenda for all Massachusetts residents – and this groundbreaking ad demonstrates where his social justice lens originated.
“The struggles and experiences he faced as a gay man provoked an intense desire for fairness and equal treatment of all Americans – and Rufus will take that commitment and fighting spirit with him to Congress.
“Both Rufus and this campaign ad embody what is sorely missing from much of our politics today: authenticity. We desperately need authentic, values-driven leaders like Rufus to be our voice in the U.S. Congress.”