Since the moment I first starting publicly dealing with my sexuality, I have experienced the narrow-minded attitude of many gays toward Republicans. It seems some believe it’s a rite of passage in coming out for those who were once Republicans not merely to change their partisan affiliation, but also to prove that by becoming viciously anti-Republican.
When I hinted to some of my undergraduate friends about my feelings for men, they told me that I had become a Republican to cover up being gay. They pressed me both to come out publicly and to publicly renounce my partisan affiliation. Instead of helping me open the proverbial closet door, their words led to my slamming it ever more tightly shut.
As an undergraduate, I had discovered conservative and libertarian ideas and read widely, strengthening the intellectual foundation of my political views. And I had grown to love the then-incumbent President of the United States, Ronald Wilson Reagan, coming to appreciate his noble vision. That my friends could tell me I was a Republican to hide my sexuality indicated that they dismissed the very basis of my commitment to the GOP — and the time I had taken to develop my mind.
With that experience in mind, I gain a greater appreciation for all that Andrew Sullivan went through in the 1990s. As the first openly gay “public intellectual” to challenge the gay orthodoxy, he was subject to a level of abuse that makes his latest rants against the president seem tame by comparison. Not only did gay writers attack him viciously in print, but other activists threw drinks at him at bars and I’ve even heard that one person spit in his face at a dance club.