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Seeing gay people as individual human beings rather than defining us by group stereotypes

In a post on ice skater’s Johnny Weir’s comment in coming out as a gay man about “pressure” being “the last thing that would make me want to ‘join’ a community“, Ann Althouse gets at something that many, particularly gay activists, in conversations on coming out:

Some people think of themselves as, above all, individuals, and when others think the most important thing is their membership in a particular group, they resist. They don’t want to be defined by a single quality, especially when it’s a quality that makes other people see them in terms of the group stereotype, and not personal uniqueness. 

There is a lot in which this diva says, so I recommend you both read her post and ponder these words.

It often seems that the gay rights’ movement pursues the notion of group rights rather than individual ones.  That is is why I believe we need develop a conservative message on gays, independent to that developed by the left-leaning gay groups, organizations which are helmed by men and women who with a background in Democratic politics and liberal ideologies seem beholden to statist theories of rights.

Hopefully more on this anon, much more in the coming year.

Well said, Ann. (H/t: Reader Leah)

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43 Comments

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  2. it’s true what she says. by self identifying with a group a person forgets how unique he is and begins to think in terms of his group needs and desires rather than his own particular needs and desires.

    liberalism depends upon it to promote their ideas.

    Comment by The Griper — January 9, 2011 @ 1:11 am - January 9, 2011

  3. “…I believe we need develop a conservative message on gays, independent to that developed by the left-leaning gay groups…”

    So far, B. Daniel, you’re off to a bad start. You hypocritically advise Republicans to be silent on gay issues while you continue to push for the Left’s position on SSM and DADT. You’re contemptuous of social conservatives. You want to disassociate the Right from the affirmation of traditional values. I don’t see the independence from the gay Left, there. All I see is an attempt to promote the agenda of the gay Left without sounding or looking like a Leftist.

    It’s not working.

    Comment by Seane-Anna — January 9, 2011 @ 3:46 am - January 9, 2011

  4. Actually, Seane-Anna, you read in my posts what you what you want to find, but find things that just aren’t there.

    I do not push the left’s position on SSM. You’d know that if you read my post. I believe marriage should be based on monogamy and have said so on numerous occasions on this blog.

    When you quote me as you do above, you provide no evidence to back up your assertion that my words above are odds with my words elsewhere on this blog. I oppose “Hate Crimes” Laws, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and the entire notion of “Equality” as propagated by the gay left organizations.

    I support freedom, including the freedom of evangelical churches to preach the gospel as they define it and to live according to that gospel.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — January 9, 2011 @ 9:30 am - January 9, 2011

  5. Daniel,

    Let her go. Seane-Anna is just doing what she usually does: rage impotently.

    Comment by Greg T. — January 9, 2011 @ 9:41 am - January 9, 2011

  6. When Althouse says that most gays are just individuals and many reject stereotypes, I say “You go, girlfriend!” (snap)

    “Coming out” doesn’t mean coming to terms with the fact you’re gay–it means publicly identifying yourself so the Gay Police can find you and kidnap you into the Gay Borg. It’s easier for the Gay Police to round you up if you believe that Flyover Country is hostile to gays to you move to a Gay Urban Area. Then, the Borg can save expenses for rounding you up since you jumped into the pen voluntarily.

    For me, the process of accepting my sexuality meant rejecting the gay community because they didn’t offer a model for sexual behavior which had anything to do with my values. All of my friends are straight since my core identities are masculine, Christian, etc. Gay is way down on the list. I am glad that many gays are refusing to join the Borg, even if it means sacrificing the toaster.

    Comment by Ashpenaz — January 9, 2011 @ 10:31 am - January 9, 2011

  7. Daniel, excellent points. I don’t know if you read Larry O’Connor’s piece on Breitbart.com entitled, “Broadway Less Tolerant of Gay Diversity than GOP” but it was well thought out and written in my opinion.

    I just find it interesting that a segment of our country that seeks tolerance, is in so many cases, intolerant. I’m afraid they are following down the same path of the NAACP.

    Comment by NebraskaPatriot — January 9, 2011 @ 11:55 am - January 9, 2011

  8. It often seem that the gay rights’ movement is devoted to the notion group rights rather than individual ones.

    Dan, that’s because LEFTISM is devoted to the notion group rights rather than individual ones. It is fundamental to collectivist ideologies.

    Constitutionally protected individual rights are an IMPEDIMENT to the left’s socialist agenda — as Barack Obama complained, the Constitution tells us what government cannot do to you, it doesnt tell us what government must do on your behalf — and they HATE that the Constitution limits government instead of empowering government, so they are working very hard at every level to undermine individual rights and replace them with group rights.

    Gay leftists, for the most part, are just part of the left’s useful idiots in this regard.

    I believe we need develop a conservative message on gays, independent to that developed by the left-leaning gay groups…

    Our message should be one that has already been coined:

    the smallest minority is a minority of one.

    Comment by American Elephant — January 9, 2011 @ 12:40 pm - January 9, 2011

  9. The one thread Auntie Entity hasn’t spammed. I think you fried her circuits.

    Comment by V the K — January 9, 2011 @ 3:16 pm - January 9, 2011

  10. When you allow yourself to be defined by the group and never as an individual it makes it very easy for any government to treat you as such. You can be discarded as easily as yesterdays news. Whereas a government that only sees you as an individual must weigh who and what you are against all others AS individuals. Quite frankly the only minority rights ANY of us should be concerned about is the minority of ME.

    Comment by Delusional Bill — January 9, 2011 @ 4:09 pm - January 9, 2011

  11. I honestly don’t think people are persecuted for being gay, per se. I think people are persecuted on how they CHOOSE to express their sexuality. When I am being myself, when I’m being authentic, then nobody cares. When I want to be transgressive and exotic, then people get annoyed.

    Comment by Ashpenaz — January 9, 2011 @ 4:30 pm - January 9, 2011

  12. B. Daniel, you believe that gay marriage shoud be legal, that it should be recognized by the state like traditional marriage. That IS the position of the social Left on SSM and it’s also your position.

    You are contemptuous of social conservatives, as evidenced by your view that you don’t want them “dominating the [conservative] movement”; your whining about the GOP throwing socons a bone when it appeared that DADT wouldn’t be repealed; and your snide remark that there was nothing wrong with being a Christian, per se. Your contempt comes through loud and clear, B. Daniel. See, I do read your posts.

    Comment by Seane-Anna — January 9, 2011 @ 5:06 pm - January 9, 2011

  13. The “conservative message on gays” has always been individual sovereignty as delineated in the Declaration, Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    Comment by Redneck Fag — January 10, 2011 @ 2:16 am - January 10, 2011

  14. Um, sorry. What’s the same of this blog? Irony alert. Why does Mr. Blatt call himself the Gay Patriot if conservative gays are supposed to downplay their gay-ness.

    I expect the blog to be renamed, pronto.

    Comment by Dhalgren — January 10, 2011 @ 10:16 am - January 10, 2011

  15. Thank you, Dhalgren. It seems you’re helping me make my point.

    So, you’re saying we have to exaggerate our gayness and conform to certain community stereotypes in order to be able to gay?

    (And please note, I never said we should downplay our gayness, just that we needn’t conform to the idea of being gay as being defined by the politicized gay community–whatever that is.)

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — January 10, 2011 @ 10:31 am - January 10, 2011

  16. I can’t wait to “be able to gay.” Thanks for the laughs Uncle Daniel.

    Comment by Jeffery — January 10, 2011 @ 11:03 am - January 10, 2011

  17. And yet people striving for group rights have been the cause of arguably this countries greatest strides toward personal freedom. Well, I guess unless you don’t consider Emancipation, Suffrage, and the Civil Rights Movement as great.

    Comment by Mack — January 10, 2011 @ 11:34 am - January 10, 2011

  18. “Dan, that’s because LEFTISM is devoted to the notion group rights rather than individual ones. It is fundamental to collectivist ideologies.”

    Uh huh. Please explain to me how group rights are a fundamental to collectivist ideologies, since I doubt you can even make an incoherent argument supporting this notion, much less one that shows you understand the concept of rights or collectivist ideologies. This may be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read. One does wonder, for example, how equal protection under the law would work if construed as an individual right, since the whole point of the equal protection clause is to protect a *group* of people who are being discriminated against. Of course liberals believe in individual rights, but understand that the mechanism to ending discrimination requires advocating for the rights of individuals who make up a larger group. The “individual sovereignty” found in the Constitution is most easily achieved by guaranteeing rights to groups of people who previously didn’t enjoy them.

    And keep bleating on about the “socialist agenda”, since it’s obvious you couldn’t explain socialism if your life depended on it. But please, by all means, give me an example of a group right and an individual right, how you distinguish between the two, and an explanation of how the founding fathers didn’t conceive of rights as belonging (or not belonging) to groups of people.

    Comment by Dot — January 10, 2011 @ 11:43 am - January 10, 2011

  19. Please explain to me how group rights are a fundamental to collectivist ideologies

    Too easy. First, let’s take on the premise of affirmative action: i.e. the “right” of a group of people to hiring and academic preferences based on membership in a designated victim group. This is done in the name of achieving the collectivist goal of social equality.

    Second, let’s consider how certain groups claim the right to be exempted from the legal and social responsibilities of other groups. Take, for example, the demand that members of certain minority groups be excluded from law enforcement. For example, many progressives last year attacked the state of Arizona on the basis that police had no right to ask people who appeared to be illegal immigrants to show ID; although they can ask anyone who *doesn’t* appear to be an illegal immigrant to show ID. Hence, one group is collectively given a pass on what is an individual duty for other groups.

    Let’s also take, for example, the demands of feminists to have access to all-male clubs; while protesting vehemently the right to maintain “woman space” where men are excluded. Another example would be the current interpretation of Title IX, which denies male athletes, especially wrestlers, the opportunity to compete because of the demands for numerical parity of women athletes. A woman has an individual right to compete athletically, but the demand for numerical parity transforms it into a group right.

    All of which segues into collectivism because it takes an all-powerful Government overlord to achieve the quantitative equality sought by collectivists.

    Comment by V the K — January 10, 2011 @ 12:14 pm - January 10, 2011

  20. As a gay guy, it’s hard not to resent homosexuals who seem to delight in reinforcing the most tired stereotypes about gays because they identify more with their sexuality than their humanity.

    For instance, hearing a gay guy call his rather unfortunate-looking girlfriend ‘diva’….

    There is a lot in which this diva says, so I recommend you both read her post and ponder these words

    …only encourages further travesties like this from Ashpenaz:

    When Althouse says that most gays are just individuals and many reject stereotypes, I say “You go, girlfriend!” (snap)

    Comment by The Goldstein Book — January 10, 2011 @ 12:28 pm - January 10, 2011

  21. Oh Yeah, and what about Hate Crime laws; the collectivist notion that crimes against members of certain groups are more serious than identical crimes committed against members of other groups. This is in turn rooted in the collectivist belief that crime is a function of society; that crime is a response to social inequality or, in the case of “hate crimes,” crimes against individual members of designated victim groups are caused by that groups supposed exclusion from the social mainstream.

    Comment by V the K — January 10, 2011 @ 12:53 pm - January 10, 2011

  22. I just had a Jonah Goldberg moment. The name of the blog is central to the point Mr. Blatt is trying to make!

    You keep a tab on Sadly, No, right? You must. You love the attention. Sir, they are laughing at you, and rightly so.

    Comment by Dhalgren — January 10, 2011 @ 2:01 pm - January 10, 2011

  23. we need develop a conservative message on gays

    You mean one that runs counter to the already existing conservative message on gays? The message that, with the exceptions of the Tom’s Log Cabin Republicans and people like you, is universally accepted. The one that says gays are evil perverts trying to corruopt the children. The one that says gays are unfit for military service. The message that gays shouldn’t be allowed to adopt because …. WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN? The message that gets sent when there’s a backlash against ConservativesPAC because they took money from you.

    Yeah, it would be great to have a different conservative message on gays but don’t hold your breath.

    Comment by PeeJ — January 10, 2011 @ 2:20 pm - January 10, 2011

  24. Um, Mack, all those movements were to remove discriminatory laws which defined individuals by their membership in a group.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — January 10, 2011 @ 2:38 pm - January 10, 2011

  25. Um, Mack, all those movements were to remove discriminatory laws which defined individuals by their membership in a group.

    I am sure that is central to your point. IOW, what reality do you live in?

    Comment by PeeJ — January 10, 2011 @ 3:07 pm - January 10, 2011

  26. First of all: Great blog you have here.

    I have a problem reading some of it though. There is so much spelling errors and you write without flow. Often it dillutes the point of your argument. Please get some assistance.

    Sorry. And thanks.

    Comment by Marc Denofrio — January 10, 2011 @ 3:13 pm - January 10, 2011

  27. Here is the hypocritical aspects of your argument.

    I am gay and do not subscribe nor do I appear to be a stereotypical gay man. Being gay is and aspect of my life. I am Mike, I enjoy horror movies, biking and washing my truck. I fix my own truck and chop wood for my wood stove…. Oh and I happen to be gay.

    See how that works? Gay is merely an aspect of who I am. It does not define me, I do not open with “I am gay”. Most figure it out when I mention my partner. I don’t even have to say it.

    Now…. I fight for gay marriage. Not because my friends do or because its what the “group” does. I don’t want to get married. Maybe in the distant future but not now. Just because I don’t want to be married does not mean I don’t see the injustice in the current system. In other words, I don’t have to want the thing I am fighting for.

    I don’t own a gun, Don’t ever want too. But I DO have a problem with the government telling me I cant defend myself and my family.

    Do you see where the lines are clearly separated between what I want (personally) and what I believe is wrong?

    Daniel, You make a major hypocritical mistake.

    You belittle me, by first mocking the stereotype by exclaiming very loudly “I am not one of them”.

    By that statement you have argued that you are not part of the stereotype – fine. But in that same breath you mock the stereotype. You mock you are not one of the stereotypes for what? so you can save face with your straight friends and your repub buddies?

    If you have the courage to come out of the closet then come out. Don’t stick your foot out to test the waters, while claiming to hold on to your ideology, and then lumping the rest of us all into one group. Then pointing and saying “I am not like them”.

    That my friend is the sign of a very weak and scared mind.

    Comment by Mike — January 10, 2011 @ 3:36 pm - January 10, 2011

  28. Poor PeeJ, can’t seem to understand that Dan lives in the real world, not one that conforms to his childish beliefs

    Comment by The_Livewire — January 10, 2011 @ 4:01 pm - January 10, 2011

  29. Citing the case of anybody who closets themselves in support of making a case for individual rights over collective rights is not only wrong but straight-up bizarre, as both “this diva” Althouse & the poster above should know.

    1: As negations of individual liberty go, closeting is rather a harsh one.

    2: Basic Human Rights – THEY ARE NOT WWF.

    Comment by jim — January 10, 2011 @ 4:02 pm - January 10, 2011

  30. Mike, please specify the hypocritical mistake I make. You tell me all about yourself, fault my post, yet spend more time talking about yourself than addressing the point I (and Ann Althouse) made. Please show me where exactly I mock the “stereotype.” (Just because I don’t define by myself by that stereotype doesn’t mean I mock it.) And how do you reach the conclusion that I’m in the closet when I blog under my own name and live openly as a gay man, even when traveling in conservative circles.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — January 10, 2011 @ 4:39 pm - January 10, 2011

  31. For me, the process of accepting my sexuality meant rejecting the gay community because they didn’t offer a model for sexual behavior which had anything to do with my values. All of my friends are straight since my core identities are masculine, Christian, etc. Gay is way down on the list. I am glad that many gays are refusing to join the Borg, even if it means sacrificing the toaster.

    Comment by Ashpenaz — January 9, 2011 @ 10:31 am – January 9, 2011

    I used to do the same thing years ago, until I realized that constantly shunning the ‘gay’ lifestyle and looking for affirmation from my’ straight’ friends meant that I was not dealing with the remnants of my own self loathing and that I hadn’t really ‘come out’ as much as I’d liked to brag that I had. I think Blatt is doing the same thing…looking for affirmation from conservative Republicans (a sad recipe that)

    As far as the ‘gay borg’ go, never considered myself a ‘mainstream’ gay either but I never forget that it was a mob of angry, fed up, ‘borg’ drag queens that officially kicked off our struggle for equality in the first place.

    (p.s.: other than relationships that I’ve been in, I’ve been celibate most of my life, so I guess that would make me a ‘conservative’ gay man)

    Comment by tontocal — January 10, 2011 @ 8:28 pm - January 10, 2011

  32. and ‘werd’ mike….just werd

    Comment by tontocal — January 10, 2011 @ 8:30 pm - January 10, 2011

  33. Ash,

    I don’t know if you noticed, but Althouse liked your comment so much she posted it on her blog.

    Good for you.

    Comment by American Elephant — January 10, 2011 @ 8:36 pm - January 10, 2011

  34. Oops,

    I don’t know if you noticed, but Althouse liked your comment so much she posted it on her blog.

    Comment by American Elephant — January 10, 2011 @ 8:38 pm - January 10, 2011

  35. I didn’t notice–thanks! All I can say is, “Omigod! Omigod! Omigod you guys!”

    Comment by Ashpenaz — January 10, 2011 @ 10:37 pm - January 10, 2011

  36. “Um, Mack, all those movements were to remove discriminatory laws which defined individuals by their membership in a group.”

    Doesn’t ending discriminatory laws/practices affect individuals? Aren’t restrictions on same-sex marriages discriminatory? Isn’t using someone’s sexual orientation as a determining factor in wether or not that person can serve in the military an act of discrimination? Doesn’t forcing a person to leave the military because they’re gay define an individual by their membership in a group?

    But then you already disagree with DA/DT. So which exactly are the actual tent poles of the gay rights movement that you think should come down? Same-sex marraige? Adoption? Visitation? Hiring discrimination? Which of these is a group right and not an individual right.

    Comment by Mack — January 11, 2011 @ 11:26 am - January 11, 2011

  37. Marc,

    “I have a problem reading some of it though. There is so much spelling errors and you write without flow. Often it dillutes the point of your argument. Please get some assistance.

    Sorry. And thanks.”

    “There is so much spelling errors”? Yeah, and it looks like there are “so much grammar errors” too. All of them yours.

    What the hell are you talking about?

    Comment by Sunny — January 11, 2011 @ 4:36 pm - January 11, 2011

  38. Peej,

    Really? Any better than the Liberal/Democratic Party’s message of “We’ll use you to accomplish our goals, put you under the bus when we are done, and if you complain we’ll put you into the dog house until you learn to beg?”

    Is there a problem with some Cons and the message they send? Yep. Danny never said otherwise (give his older posts a whirl and you’ll see that he makes that point). But to pretend that the Libs are universally better, that they actually give a rat’s ass about us as more than tools to be used and discarded is blind indeed. At least there is change and honesty in Conservative set (as shown by the growing number of Libertarian gays, Log cabin Reps and so on who have our back).

    Comment by Sunny — January 11, 2011 @ 4:47 pm - January 11, 2011

  39. Dhalgren,

    “I just had a Jonah Goldberg moment. The name of the blog is central to the point Mr. Blatt is trying to make!

    You keep a tab on Sadly, No, right? You must. You love the attention. Sir, they are laughing at you, and rightly so.”

    So…do you eventually try to make sense or is typing gibberish the entire point of your existence?

    Comment by Sunny — January 11, 2011 @ 4:54 pm - January 11, 2011

  40. “but I never forget that it was a mob of angry, fed up, ‘borg’ drag queens that officially kicked off our struggle for equality in the first place.”

    No. It was an organized group of focused, serious, hard-bitten homosexual men and women that lit the fire and have kept it burning. I’ve been fighting that same battle since the late sixties, so I know a thing about about it.

    Those little princesses? They enjoy their little soirees and foot stamping parties, because of what angry dykes like me and pissed off queers like my dear friend Ron fought for, bled for, and yes, died for.

    Don’t get me wrong. We can use all the friends and attention we can get. But get this: It was rugged discipline and the unconventional rebellion of individual minds working to a common cause that changed the course of history.

    I know. I see it every time I look at my face in the mirror.

    “(p.s.: other than relationships that I’ve been in, I’ve been celibate most of my life, so I guess that would make me a ‘conservative’ gay man)”

    Eh? I’ve known plenty of celibate and even abstinent gay liberals, so there is that.

    (Though in at least one case it was less because he was “saving himself for that special someone” or that kind of stuff and more because his standards were through the roof. But that’s a good thing to have, you know? High standards.)

    Comment by Sunny — January 11, 2011 @ 5:05 pm - January 11, 2011

  41. “….and your snide remark that there was nothing wrong with being a Christian, per se. Your contempt comes through loud and clear, B. Daniel. See, I do read your posts.”

    No. He said:

    “I support freedom, including the freedom of evangelical churches to preach the gospel as they define it and to live according to that gospel.”

    He doesn’t have a problem with Christians. He respects the freedoms of even those whose (mis)interpretation of Scripture would lead them to turn away their Gay brothers and sisters and behave as you do. It seems you have a chronic problem with reading comprehension.

    But as for me and my church? We live the Gospel and embrace our GLBT brethren just as they are. Just as the Maker intended.

    Comment by Greg T. — January 11, 2011 @ 5:19 pm - January 11, 2011

  42. “Some people think of themselves as, above all, individuals, and when others think the most important thing is their membership in a particular group, they resist. They don’t want to be defined by a single quality, especially when it’s a quality that makes other people see them in terms of the group stereotype, and not personal uniqueness.”

    And yet the name of this blog is “The Gay Patriot” – not simply “The Patriot” or any other moniker that avoids identifying the blogger by a “single quality…that makes other people see them in terms of the group stereotype, and not personal uniqueness.”

    Self-awareness = 0

    Comment by fedup — January 13, 2011 @ 9:15 am - January 13, 2011

  43. The gay rights movement works as a collective/group to secure group rights (that also….ya know, massively effect individuals), because that’s how politics in this country works. ORGANIZED interests are far more likely to be successful in their political endeavors than disorganized interests. This should be known by anyone who’s taken an intro civics course, let alone someone who writes a blog on politics.

    Secondly, you might be shocked to know this, but plenty (if not most) of those in any gay community do consider themselves unique individuals… On top of being a member of a unique community. Startling I know….

    Lastly, and I get tired of repeating this but…. All of us identify as part of a group. We’re social creatures who depend on one another for survival. Specific Group identity can of course vary in importance from person to person, but that doesn’t make someone a rugged individualist.Take some Conservatives as an example of this. Plenty of Conservatives harp on and on about their individuality… And yet, they identify themselves (willingly) as part of a GROUP, namely that of Conservatives. Why? Because their passionate about their Conservativism. For them, it takes precedent over other identities or groups they may also be a part of (whether by choice or by chance). Thus, people who consider themselves gay activists (such as yours truly), do so because our identity as gay or lesbian, etc. takes precedent. Why? There are a lot of different reasons why one identity can precedent, but they vary from person to person.

    Comment by Blaine — January 16, 2011 @ 4:15 pm - January 16, 2011

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