DES MOINES, Iowa — Video bloggers (“vloggers”) and staff reporters from the new ImGay.tv, a fledging video site for the LGBT community, said they were surprised to find themselves ignored or shut out from covering caucus events by campaign workers and supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
“I’m really disappointed,” said Michael Freincle, one of seven staff reporters with ImGay.tv who filed reports on the Iowa caucus in Des Moines, on his vlog. “[Clinton] has supporters who don’t support all Americans, and yet Hillary’s trying to govern all Americans.”
Cate Colgan, an internet entrepreneur who founded ImGay.tv in the summer of 2007, decided in mid-December to take a crew to Iowa to track the gay side of the caucuses.
“As far as we know, we’re the only gay medium that can do this kind of coverage” Colgan said from the Des Moines Convention Center. “We do the interviews, videos or vlogs and post them that day. You don’t have to wait for the paper or the evening news, and we’re covering what’s important to the GLBT community.”
But ImGay.tv staff said getting campaign workers and supporters to talk to them and participate in interviews and discussions about LGBT issues was difficult, especially within the Clinton camp. “We really didn’t expect this from the Hillary campaign,” Colgan said.
College students Freincle and Dayna Firth (pictured) volunteered to cover the caucus with ImGay.tv during their winter break. Their initial vlogs highlighted the struggles they encountered. “The crowd is kind of looking at us like we’re not really supposed to be here,” Firth reported in her Dec. 31 vlog.
Firth, who is straight, is president of her college’s LGBT and Democratic student groups. She jumped at the opportunity to go to the caucus with www.ImGay.tv
“It’s kind of concerning to me, that we weren’t turned down by anyone at the Obama campaign,” Firth continued, “but then coming here to see Bill Clinton, there were many more people who didn’t want to see us here.”
Writing in his blog on the ImGay.tv website, Freincle said, “We found the real reason for our problems! The next few attempts were met with negative responses to our being from a gay website. It seems Hillary and Bill supporters are not welcoming to gay people, which I find intriguing.”
In a video interview with “power women” Clinton supporters, ImGay.tv staff asked Elizabeth Birch, former Human Rights Campaign executive director, why she supported Clinton when the senator does not support marriage for same-sex couples.
“Every viable candidate for the presidency is not for marriage being extended to gay couples,” Birch explained, “I want civil marriage to be extended to gay people over the years. Matrimonial law has always been at the state level. It would be highly unusual for any president to wave a magic wand and say we’d extend marriage to anyone at the federal level, but what Clinton can do is give us the same rights and responsibilities of married couples.
“I think that Hillary Clinton will be clever enough and smart enough to be able to fashion something that can create a bundle of rights for us at the federal level. I trust Clinton to have an honest and intellectual debate.”
The ImGay.tv staff plans to continue covering the primaries using video interviews, vlogs and blogs to spotlight the issues LGBT Americans consider important this election season. They encourage individuals to submit video questions for candidates and post their own videos related to the primaries and the presidential race.
When all was said and done, Sen Barack Obama topped out over Sens. John Edwards and Hillary Clinton. Obama received 38 percent of the Democratic Iowa Caucuses, while Edwards garnered 30 percent and Clinton come in third with 29 percent.
www.imgay.tv or www.ig.tv