While it is clear that there is a bias in our community, particularly among our leaders, against gay conservatives, I do not think for one moment that we are victims in the sense that we require some kind of collective restitution or institutional protection. I just think that well-meaning individuals need to speak out and challenge the biases of our community. I know that I have not done enough, given that for several years, I refused to publicly identify myself as a Repubilcan.
That is one (of the many) reason(s) I am grateful to Bruce for inviting me to this blog. He has givne me a forum to express my views, an opportunity to challenge the negative stereotyping of gay conservatives.
While I have lost dates and even had men who approached me because they found me attractive walk away upon learning my politics, I have also encountered many gay liberals of good will. Indeed, it is in my interactions with these fine people that I have come to appreciate one of the advantages of being a gay conservative. It makes it easier for us to measure the caliber of our peers.
A gay leftist may never know if someone’s affection for him is based on similar political sentiments. When we come out politically, we can see if an individual evaluates us on our character or our politics. If that person rejects us because we are conservative, then we know that he would likely not be a very relible friend.
When I came out as a Republican in 2004 to my fellow Outfest Theater Managers, none of them gave me the cold shoulder; they just found something else to rib me about. 🙂 I was delighted to confirm the qualities of these good people.
One of them, a woman who has since left LA :-(, who learned about my politics when I responded to her e-mail encouraging me to see Michael Moore‘s film, first expressed shock upon learning that I was a Republican. Later, concerned that our political disagreements might affect our friendship, she wrote me one of the sweetest e-mails I have ever received, indicating her respect for my political decisions and offering praise for my qualities of character.
Interestingly, that lesbian handled my criticisms of Michael Moore’s film far better than did a straight female friend who had sent out a similar e-mail.
Since I began my previous post on the bias against gay conservatives with an anecdote from my undergraduate days, I’ll conclude this one by offering an anecdote involving one of those classmates who, as undergraduate, suggested I was Republican to cover up my sexuality.
Just before moving to Los Angeles, I went to New York to visit my sister (and the two most beautiful girls east of the Appalachians, i.e., two of the PatriotNiecesWest), I went into Manhattan to meet this classmate. It would be our first time together since I had come out (as a gay man). We had a great dinner at a wonderful restaurant on Eighth Avenue, got drunk off cocktails and wine and reconciled. It was a powerful moment. And proof that with good will — and persistence — people can overcome their biases.
While there is bias in our community against gay conservatives, if we see ourselves as victims, we may lose the wherewithal to take on this stereotyping. Perhaps, I’m naive, but I do believe that as we become more comfortable with ourselves, both as gay individuals and conservatives, we will be able to change attitudes in our community.
Not only will this make ours a better community, but it will present the gay community in a better light to our straight peers. And the social progress we have seen over the past quarter-century will only continue.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com