Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pity the Poor Gay Conservative

I really used to believe that if you present someone with the facts, they would be persuaded to see another person's viewpoint as valid.

Case in point: I used to believe that if I showed my liberal friends that one can be a gay Republican and be out and proud and also show that there are a number of conservatives out there that don't have an issue with gays, they would see gay and gay-friendly Republicans as their allies in the fight for gay eqaulity.

How silly of me to believe this.

What I've come to find out over time is that no matter how hard one tries, it makes no difference. Gay Republicans are still viewed as tragic figures or anomalies, no minds are changed.

I've been reminded of that after reading David Link's post today at Independent Gay Forum. Link is talking about the recent revelations of California State Senator Roy Ashburn, an anti-gay senator that turns out to be gay. He uses this post as a way to talk about the sad state of the GOP and how they oppress gays and lesbians. I don't have an argument with that, but then he makes this statement:
That is what his party not only demands of its followers, but seems to prefer – the willing (if not mandated) suspension of disbelief. No GOP candidates can ever be (openly) homosexual.

The confines of that small parenthetical contain the entire culture war over gay rights. Of course some GOP candidates and elected officials are homosexual. Of course GOP voters are, as well. But that observable and unavoidable fact can’t be honestly and straightforwardly talked about in the party. Log Cabin and now GOProud keep trying, while the party leaders and voters put their fingers in their ears and shout “Lalalalala!” as loud as they can.
While there is some truth to all of this, he seems to ignore some changes that have been made. He didn't read a Christian Science Monitor article that talks about the openly gay Republican in Virginia that is running against a Democrat, or the openly gay Republican running for Lt. Governor in Massachusetts. He forgets the growing list of conservatives who are in favor of same sex marriage. He discounts groups like Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud, that work and support gay and gay friendly candidates and have made a difference in changing the minds of many a Republican.

Link then goes on to heap praise on the Democrats, showing how open-minded they are. Yea. The thing is, the reason the Democrats are where they are is because of political action. Gay Democrats got active and worked to change hearts and minds. Gay Republicans are taking a page from that book and are working to change hearts and minds in the GOP as well. It's a long road, but I see more progress than Link does.

In the end, all that a gay or gay-friendly Republican can do is keep to keep plugging away, working for social change and ignoring the David Links of the world who will never see the changes taking place.

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