Friday, May 10, 2013

On Those Uniquely-Conservative Queer Republicans

Alright, I'm going to make something clear that should already be pretty much clear to any queer or LGBT person who knows me:  I find being a Republican when you are queer to be ridiculously unsettling.  I see a strong element of self-hate--or at least self-demeaning--to vote for a party which includes fighting against federal same-sex marriage in its platform.  The Republican party has been openly antagonistic toward queer people.  So no, I don't affirm queer people being Republicans.  Nor do I really affirm anybody being a Republican.

And I still get kind of annoyed listening to most LGBT people talk about conservative queers.  Not because I affirm them being conservative, but because this ire so often comes from people who have enthusiastically voted Democrat their whole lives and seem blissfully unaware that Democratic favor toward mainstream gay issues (marriage, military, etc.) is relatively recent.  They haven't had the same open ire as the Republican Party, which in many ways panders to religiously fundamentalist whiners and racists, but they certainly aren't the über-liberal party people from the United States tend to assume them to be. They're not particularly bold and they're woefully centrist.  And most of them waited until well after public opinion had swayed before flipping their positions on LGBT issues, using the type of separate-but-equal banter LGBT activists have always argued against.

During the primary battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, my friends broke off into their little contingents proclaiming one or the other was totally the right candidate for the LGBT community.  Like, enthusiastic proclamations.  They weren't even questioning their LGBT stances.  There was no effort to promote candidates who actually openly believed in LGBT rights... a few were promoting Green Party, even fewer were promoting, say, Dennis Kucinich, who was openly in favor of same-sex marriage when most other Democrats weren't.  Most of them were into separate-but-equal shit about treating gays nicely but like they don't deserve the same rights as straight people, no.

There's also a willingness to forget shitty things Democrats have done.  I mean, just Google "GLAAD," "Bill Clinton," and "DOMA."  The guy who signed the fucking Defense of Marriage Act got a fucking GLAAD award.

So assuming that Republican-voting queers are uniquely self-hating is to assume other queers are somehow voting significantly better on their own issues.  But the Democrats only became the pro-gay party when it was fashionable to do so, and are only marginally better at other social issues than Republicans.  To summarize, they aren't interested in doing half the crap Republicans accuse them of, even in cases where that would be totally awesome (free healthcare, etc.).  And both Democrats and Republicans are capitalism-preservation parties that only do the right thing if it's campaign-marketable.

I'd also like to mention that the LGBT and queer movements have a serious problem with not marketing themselves to people we assume to be conservative because we automatically dismiss them.  When I lived in a city I got so many mailers from the Democratic Party and LGBT groups.  These mysteriously disappeared when I moved back to the country, replaced with alarmist literature about dead babies and "traditional" marriage.  I was the target of canvassers in the city, but never in the country.  I got plenty of Jehovah's Witnesses and some Republicans, but never a Democrat.  This doesn't surprise me.  There's the assumption that rural automatically means conservative, and conservative automatically means unfriendly to mainstream LGBT issues.  Neither of those is necessarily the case, but we wind up leaving large gaps in that demographic anyway just because we assume that there's only one demographic worth reaching out to, and that's relatively young, urban or college-dwelling, liberal-by-United-States-standards people.  We forget that there certainly are otherwise conservative people who are in favor of those issues as well as rural people.