June 05, 2007

Much More on Gay Republicans

I ran across this story which is a good follow-up to a story I posted on Sunday where I questioned how a GLBT person could be a member of the Republican party. I appreciated the conversation that resulted, but here is a lengthy research piece posted on the website of Political Research Associates.

The article focuses on the Log Cabin Republicans, which it reports has about 20,000 members, and some of the best known gay conservatives like Andrew Sullivan. Here are a couple of the points I found particularly interesting:

Among the cadre of gay conservative writers, people of color are also conspicuously absent. This makes sense if we realize that issues like affirmative action, racism, and public education are mostly off the radar of gay right pundits. While gay conservative people of color certainly do exist, their relationship with the gay movement has been problematical, and no one has emerged to represent them nor has anyone been sustained by the usual media.

The power of gay conservative pundits has successfully focused LGBT issues on the narrow frame of gay marriage. This has effectively erased from their line of vision those LGBT people who do not stand to receive its benefits, those not in the solid middle class, poor single parents, and the uninsured.

In 2007, the gay agenda that so worries the Christian Right as a radical remaking of society amounts to the single issue of gay rights, manifest in a primary demand of gay marriage and the remnants of interest in non-discrimination of gays in the military. While gay conservatives may not have consciously engineered this single issue focus, their increasing visibility in the cause during a period of conservative resurgence reinforces the narrow scope of contemporary gay politics.

Strikingly, these narrow goals can be seen as conservative, or non-radical demands - to be allowed to defend national security and to be recognized as identical to heterosexuals under the law. This toes the line of the gay conservative position as does the reality that the gay movement, despite its political diversity, has embraced same sex marriage as its central political demand. Whether done consciously or not, this choice allows some, including parts of the Right, to separate the LGBT community into "good gays," those who just want to get married and settle down, and "bad gays," those who flaunt their sexuality, demand radical change, or challenge gender-normative images. This, riding on the demise of a functioning radical gay left, represents the true influence of gay conservatism on the politics of homosexuality: the gay movement continues to be pulled to the right.

While I believe the extreme left among gay political activists have been effectively marginalized, I personally don't find that the "gay movement" is drifting to the right. I welcome your opinions on that point.

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