When former President Clinton referred to an openly gay Republican political consultant as “self-loathing,” he merely repeated a term used so often by the left to describe gay conservatives that it has become a clich?. Some may use the term “self-hating,” but few who do have any real psychological insight into the gay men and lesbians they are attempting to describe. These name-callers lack the imagination to understand individuals whose political beliefs (at least on the surface) don’t seem to correspond to their sexual orientation.
So often do those on the left brand us gay conservatives “self-loathing” that it seems to be the “default” reaction of liberals to a gay person who does not fit into the liberal view of what a gay person should be. In reality, all they’re doing is fixing a label on something they refuse to understand.
In my life, I have met a number of people who have struck me as “self-loathing.” And a few of them have been gays on the right. One man lived with his boyfriend, yet went out of his way to socialize with social conservatives, some of whom repeatedly bashed gays–even in his presence. This man was, however, one of the few conservative gays who appeared (to me at least) to be self-hating. Others who struck me as self-hating, including many gays, did not share his (or my) basic political philosophy. A number indeed were very liberal (often vocally so) in their politics.
Even as I write these words and these individuals (who struck me as self-loathing) come to mind, I wonder if I really knew enough about them to make that assessment. I mean, what exactly is a self-hating individual? Is he someone who does drugs to excess without considering their consequences? Or someone who regularly practices unsafe sex? Or is he merely someone who has just not fully integrated all the diverse aspects of his own personality into his understanding of himself?
Those on the left who describe us as self-hating make facile assumptions about the kind of people we are. They assume that we support the Republican Party — or are otherwise involved in conservative politics — because we are uncomfortable in our own skin. That by being active in a party which, they think, is entirely (or at least primarily) devoted to bashing gays, we might better be able to live a double life. Or some such nonsense.
To be sure, many gay conservatives do live double lives. But, so do many gay non-conservatives. Many of us are open both as gays within conservative circles and as conservatives within gay circles.
In the end, I really think that those on the left call us “self-hating” because they don’t want to take the time to understand our ideas. The very notion of a gay conservative destroys their image of what it means to be gay in America today. So, instead of trying to understand why we might be conservative, they dismiss us as self-hating.
Instead of defining gay conservatives, those who use this sterile clich? only succeed in defining themselves as having a narrow view of the world. And being blind to the intellectual diversity of the gay community.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com