BY MORGAN WELCH
A study by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) on contemporary US presidents’ use of the word “gay” in public speeches or statements found that current president Barack Obama has said it the most, with 272 instances in the five years since his inauguration in 2009 and has used the widest LGBT vocabulary; the report found that he said “lesbian,” “gay,” “bisexual,” and “transgender” 421 times in total. Second place went to Bill Clinton, who said “gay” 216 times while in office. He said it 46 times in reference to gays in the military and 80 times when discussing hate crime legislation. In 1998, during Clinton’s second term, University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard was beaten to death for being gay; his murder put anti-gay violence on the national radar and furthered efforts to enact laws against hate crimes.
In contrast, between 2001 and 2009, George W. Bush said “gay” only twice, and one use was to express disapproval of same-sex marriage.
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