Friday, September 23, 2011

gay conservatives

There is a bit of a identity crisis going on within the gay military community. The military is a little more conservative than the population in general for various reasons (although, not as conservative as most people might think).  As such, the military gay population likewise has a larger share of conservative gays than your general gay population (this is all my observation, not scientific of course). 

After last night's Republican Debate, as we do after most happenings, we took to facebook to voice our opinions. Obviously, the video of someone in the audience booing a Soldier for asking about Don't Ask, Don't Tell caught our attention.  The first comments immediately were from the left about how the GOP is the anti-Christ, and then, after a short period, the more conservative block chimed in.

Some of you may wonder how the typical gay-conservative can hold his head high.  There are many ways, as I've outlined before, but here is some other justification that I wanted to discuss in more detail.  After being told that this was more than just one guy in the crowd, but was part of the GOP platform, the conservative member asked for "proof" it was platform. I linked to the 2008 Platform (the last online) and his response was the following (And, I apologize for sharing three quotes from what is, in essence, a flame war, but it's necessary):
That's the 2008 party platform, Adam. If I were a betting man, I'd say you won't see such language in the 2012 platform now that the policy has actually changed as is largely a non-issue as the economy continues to tank. As to your post, [X], all individual opinions, and answers to a hypothetical question as well. Not quite political dogma. Do we not remember that it was a GOP group, the Log Cabin Republicans, who succeeded in getting the injunction filed against DADT in the first place while Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and the rest of the Congressional Democrats played endless (and needless) political games trying to tie DADT repeal to an omnibus spending bill that guaranteed zero republican support? It wasn't until they made it a stand-alone that it was passed (with GOP support and co-sponsors such as Scott Brown and the ladies from Maine, btw). Come on guys, that was less than a year ago.
I responded with:
So the official platform as it stands doesn't matter... The position of the presidential candidate (whomever he/she is) don't matter, but a group w/ no recognition by the national party as well as the (admittedly courageous) efforts of very small minority of congressmen prove the republican party ISN'T homophobic or something? You asked for the party's official position. When provided it, you dismissed it.

his response:
No, you guys have valid points, and I'm not trying to paint the GOP as getting it acceptably right on the issue by any means, all I'm saying is that there are plenty of republicans (including more than a handful in this group) who do get it right and understand the party is defined by hundreds of issues. You cause more conflict in incessantly singling out this issue as if it solely defines national politics today. I would think reaching out to this "wing" of the party would be a more important consideration than trashing the party as a whole. We aren't all bad guys, I promise :-)

I share that because I think there are two things happening. There is the second response from him, which I think is where gay conservatives have a stronger argument--that civil rights are only one issue, and that if you feel more strongly about other issues, then it's valid to weight them more heavily. More importantly, those of us who are strongly advocating for LGBT change need to focus on getting those libertarian Conservatives actively on our side instead of grouping all conservatives together as "crazies".

However, the same people generally have an impulse to respond as he did at first--to simultaneously dismiss the fact that it was VASTLY attributable to the Democrats to have gotten DADT repealed, and to over-state the significance of the minority of Republicans who supported it.  Instead of admitting the party platform is wrong and say, "I disagree with this", they tend to say, "But Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe are Republicans, so Republicans aren't bad." 

I would venture to say that I think it's sad that when LGBT rights (or, more accurately, LGB rights) are achieved that a lot of those who fought for them will forget about the T and forget about women and other minorities basking in their new found freedom and forgetting those behind. But, from what I've seen, those who are gay-conservatives (other than a very few who tend to be Log Cabin Republicans) also tend to be the kind of gay who don't actively push for change AT ALL.  The status quo is fine for them. In that sense, it won't be too big a loss for civil rights groups or progressives at all when the conservative block leaves the LGBT caucus in politics--while they don't actively work against rights, they haven't really been actively fighting for them either.


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