Friday, October 14, 2005

It’s Time for Gay Conservatives to Come Out

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Released October 14, 2005 by Log Cabin Republicans Op Ed by Patrick Guerriero, President This critical moment in the history of the LGBT movement's fight for equality demands that a new generation of Americans come out of the closet—gay conservatives. Now is the time for closeted gay conservatives to find the courage and personal strength to stand up and be counted. Now is the time we can really make a difference. If every gay conservative came out of the closet today, the journey to full equality would be over in years instead of decades. It would soon become ineffective to use gay and lesbian families as wedge issues in campaigns. The cynical efforts to amend our federal and state constitutions would eventually stop. The hypocrisy of anti-gay political tactics being used by way too many Republicans and some Democrats would be finally exposed. One of the biggest un-kept secrets in Washington, DC is that closeted gay Republicans are everywhere—the White House, Republican Party organizations, the halls of Congress, the most influential law offices, and the most powerful lobbying firms in our nation's capitol. Some of those who remain closeted have chosen to be either passive bystanders or, in some cases, active critics of our movement while comfortably partaking in the fringe benefits of our community work—all the while sipping the finest martinis in our trendiest gay bars. Coming out is an intensely personal journey. As someone who struggled long and hard with how and when to come out of the closet, I unequivocally oppose outing. I am unaware of a single forced outing that led to passage of a single piece of pro-LGBT legislation. Coming out on one's own terms, with free will, and with personal courage is a positive catalyst for change. Forced outings don't advance our movement because they're motivated by vengeance. Over the years, many closeted gay Republicans have discreetly and impressively helped advance equality. In spite of attacks from too many on the partisan gay left, some gay conservatives work behind the scenes to pass equality legislation, increase funding for HIV/AIDS, offer vital counsel to LGBT groups, and help defend us against anti-gay legislation. These gay conservatives have quietly come out to their bosses and colleagues—changing some into gay allies and challenging others to soften their positions over time. These individuals have been quiet heroes, not asking for or wanting public credit. Other gay Republicans, however, simply have failed to stand-up—more concerned about keeping their title, their paycheck, their chance for promotion, or their chance to attend another White House cocktail party. During this moment in the culture war, we face a fight that will determine how LGBT Americans are treated for decades to come. Those who choose to be missing in action are running from the most critical fight of our generation. During these historic times, the closet is not only a place which suffocates personal dignity, it is also a place which suffocates the powerful force of personal integrity that can change the hearts and minds of even the most conservative Americans and most conservative politicians. Coming out doesn't have to mean putting a sticker on your car, flying a rainbow flag from your front porch, or marching in a parade. Coming out means different things to different people. It may be as simple as putting a picture of your partner on your desk at work, sharing your personal story with your boss, or speaking up when someone says something anti-gay. For others, it may be as difficult as offering a letter of resignation instead of implementing or assisting with an anti-gay campaign strategy. For many conservatives, coming out will come with real and profound sacrifice. Thankfully, we can find role models in and inspiration from a new generation of Log Cabin members who are coming out in some of America's most conservative places, joining new Log Cabin chapters in places such as Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Kentucky, New Mexico, and the Carolinas. They are coming out to family members who sometimes turn them away from the Thanksgiving dinner table if they insist on bringing their partners, in towns where they're the only openly gay person, in traditional churches where they've heard intolerance from the pulpit, in high schools without gay/straight student alliances, and in workplaces where there are no protections that prevent them for being fired for simply being gay. They are the real heroes of today's LGBT movement and they need and deserve to be given a helping hand in the days ahead. That helping hand needs to come from gay conservatives. We hold the key to changing the hearts and minds of fellow Republicans, conservative Democrats, and people of faith. In the not too distant future, the history books will record who had the courage to come out of the closet and lead us to victory when it mattered most. Only with the help of gay conservatives can our movement achieve victory over the radical right. Only with the help of gay conservatives can we prevent the radical right from hijacking the Republican Party. Only with the help of gay conservatives can we defeat the voices of fear and intolerance that are feverishly working to deny any and all civil recognition for gay families. The history books will note not only those who had the courage to stand up, but sadly also, those who remain silent. The time is now. Source: http://online.logcabin.org/news_views/reading-room- back-up/its-time-for-gay-conservatives-to-come-out.html ====== Now I need to clarify, just so my LGBT liberal peers, friends and colleagues don't get upset: I am NOT a Republican and I am not a member of the Log Cabin Republicans. I am a Democrat, just one that tends to lean a little conservative on some, but oh Lord, no where near close to all, issues. Just like every person, I will never 100% agree with the Democrats or Republicans. I just thought this was a good op-ed. :)

4 Comments:

Hi Matt,

Here's what I don't get. There are people who despise the gay lifestyle. They think gays can be "reporgrammed" to be straight, they beleive that homsexulaity is a sin, they believe that their interpretation of the Bible should dictate the secular laws that apply to homosexuals and that means limitations on gays' civil liberties.

Thoese people find a home in the Republican party, where their views are coddled, cultivated and advanced -- against you, in my opinion. Those people aren't going anywhere. The Republican party will always be their home. Their influence may wax and wane, but it will be a blue day in Alabama before the Republicans put gay rights on their agenda and marginalizes the homophobes.

So I wonder, why support them? I suspect your answer will be that you are conservative in other ways. Fair enough. (Although, traditional fiscal conservativism and smaller government have gone out the window for the Republicans.)

The challenge you have is to try to work for some monumental change. Either the impossible task of changing the minds of people who share your conservative views but reject your humanity, or the less difficult task of working with people who accept you as a person, who advance your civil liberies in their policies, but perhaps need some pursuasion to represent your views in other areas.

I won't argue in favor of the Democratic party, I'm unafilliated myself. But it does seem to me that you might consider whether you and young gay Republicans like you are going to see any effectual change come about by working through the Republican party. Are sowing your garden in the rockiest soil on the farm? Wouldn't you be more effective by looking at your choices without regard to party?
Hi,

Like I said below the op-ed, I'm not a Republican. I am a Democrat. I just tend to be conservative on some issues. I support the Log Cabin Republicans on one level because I can agree with them on many issues ranging from gay rights to some of those conservative ideals of mine. I support them also because they are fighting for the same thing as me: equality.

I support the Stonewall emocrats in the same ways: They are fighting for equality. I also agree with the Democratic Party ideals, although not all of them.

No person will ever agree with either party 100%.

But don't get confused... I am a Democrat.
Ooops. I did get confused. Sorry about that.
*cough*karlrove*cough*