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Sixteen years ago, when a second-year at the University of Virginia School of Law, I was the leading candidate to become the next president of the school’s chapter of the Federalist Society, an organization of “conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order.“Â While “out” to my closest friends and a member of the Gay and Lesbian Law Students Association, most members of the Society didn’t know I was gay.
I feared that if I had ome out, I might not have won election to the post to which I aspired.Â IÂ bought the notion, peddled then as it it today, that a group of conservative students would not choose a gay man as their leader.
Well, I became president and learned during my third year and after my graduation that it wouldn’t have mattered.Â Only one member of the Society, on learning I was gay, had any problem with my sexuality.Â And even after finding out, he continued to praise my leadership of and devotion to the organization.
As I recall that story, I need single out those liberal students, including the then-president of the Law Democrats, who knew I was gay, yet prevented a more radical student from “outing” me.Â I try always to remember their example when unhappy left-wingers comment to this blog, trotting out their standard prejudiced clichÃ©s about conservatives in general and their dishonest refrain about gay conservatives in particular, “self-loathing.”
This experience reminds me how broad-minded are so many of our ideological adversaries.Â And sensitive to the privacy concerns of their conservative friends.
What is it, I wonder today, as I’ve wondered longer than I’ve been blogging why some of their ideological allies, particularly their gay peers, must needs always define gay conservatives as “self-hating,” calling us the equivalent of Jewish Nazis or black Klansmen?
The comments to my post, Defining Opposition to Same-Sex Marriage as Hate Speech, offered quite a window into this particular left-wing worldview.Â Amusing how, when accusing us of self-hatred, they use such vilifying language.Â Maybe they assume we hate ourselves because they’re just so determined to hate us.Â And since they only see the world from their point of view, they’ve rationalized that since they hate us, everyone must hate us, including ourselves.
Or, maybe it’s because to them, they define “hate speech” as speech they don’t like.
Since they are so full of hatred themselves, they’re convinced that we, in the words of one man who has chimed in quite a bit to at least two threads on this blog, espouse “an ideology espoused by people who mostly hate you.”
They assume we’re closeted, yet dismiss (or outright ignore) our experiences of being openly gay in conservative circles.Â I have been out as a gay man at numerous gatherings and aside from a few raised eyebrows (actually two, both belonging to the same woman), have suffered no discrimination for such self-identifying.
As I often noted on this blog and elsewhere, “It’s easier to be gay among conservatives than it is to be conservative among gays.”Â Conservatives don’t vilify me when I come out as gay, but when certain gay liberals learn of this blog, they’re convinced I support a political party (and/or philosophy) made up mostly of people who hate me because of the nature of my romantic and sexual affections.
Simply put, our actual experiences don’t register to these people.
These guys seem to be living in a world which hasn’t changed since Harvey Milk rose to prominence, a time when there were almost no openly gay elected officials and when coming out as gay could compromise your career.Â No wonder they’re all so enamored with the film.Â And they accuse us of living in the past and having retrograde ideas.
Fifteen years ago, I learned that most conservatives had no problem with an openly gay fellow.Â Granted, things were not as rosy in the 1990s as they are today (a point which I hope to address in a subsequent post).
Yet, it seems that all too many of our critics (and denizens of the “netroots”) don’t write about real conservatives, but imaginary troglodytic ones.Â And once they’ve defined us as self-hating troglodytes, they rationalize they can dismiss our arguments, even as their own words reveal how false are the assumptions they make about us.
Well, at least, it provides us fodder for good sport and speculation, leaving us to wonder why they must define as hateful anyone who expresses an opinion at odds with their own.