What it’s like being a gay Republican on campus

 

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Coming out of the closet as gay is hard. For anyone that has had to do it, they know. But, when you finally do it, it’s the most relieving thing in the world because you are then introduced to this whole new world of being true to yourself. At least, that’s what I thought.

After coming out as gay during freshman year of college, it was a refreshing experience. I no longer had to pretend to be someone that I wasn’t (that is a straight man). However, I quickly learned that the gay world is no place for someone who identified as a conservative (even if you explain that you’re pro-lgbt rights). I was exposed to something I never really believed existed. I was exposed to the militant ideology of identity politics.

Identity politics refers to people voting for a certain party because that party will best support them. Why is this dangerous? Well, it places people of certain demographics into a mindset that they must vote a certain way or they’re voting against their kind. Should you deviate from voting that way, the group considers you a threat to their wellbeing and turns on you (for example, black people calling black Republicans “Uncle Toms”). When they turn on you, in my experience, it usually gets personal and emotional and results in them expunging you from their life after hurling ad hominem insults at you.

Carl Demaio, a gay man who ran as a Republican in California’s 52nd Congressional District, once said, “I’ve found more tolerance, acceptance and inclusion from social conservative groups who have to reconcile that I’m a Republican who happens to be gay… versus the intolerance the LGBT leaders see me as a gay man who happens to be a Republican.”

This quote is so fitting. Attempting to start up a Log Cabin Republican chapter in my area was met with swift and very harsh criticism from LGBT leaders here. Instead of being willing to support a Republican club in a red area to make sure our elected officials respect LGBT rights, I was met with insults and demeaned for my political views. When trying to defend my reasoning for starting up the chapter, I had a well-respected LGBT leader tell me that what I was trying to do was a “disgrace to the hardworking LGBT activists who came before you, who are the ONLY reason you can spout such uninformed ignorant [bull]shit.” I’ve also been called “self-loathing,” a “straight man that likes to suck cock,” and quite simply “young” to discredit what I was saying. I’m certain other non-liberal LGBT individuals have been called worse.

Sticks and stones though, right? Ignore the words and focus on yourself. Well you can, but after a while, even the sturdiest of walls will begin to crumble when battered long and hard enough. A lot of people turn to the LGBT community for support after coming out because we’ve been rejected by our own families and friends. To a lot of us, the LGBT community becomes our new family and to be rejected once by your real family for being gay and then to be rejected by your new family for holding different political views it takes a serious emotional and mental toll.

I’ve been lucky though, because for all the relationships that have dissolved or all the relationships that never even got to develop because of political differences, I do have a good group of friends in the LGBT community that have supported me for exactly who I am. However, witnessing how hostile the LGBT community can be towards someone who wishes to be in both the LGBT and right-of-center worlds I can understand why most of these right-of-center individuals will keep their political affiliations on the “down-low.”

I’m gay. I believe in equality under the law for all, free markets, individual liberty, and limited government. No, I’m not a bigot. No, I’m not self-loathing. No, I’m not a sellout. And no, I am not young and naive. I’ve already come out of the closet once and I will not be forced back into it by anyone (no matter how cute.)

 


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