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Guest Curator: On Being Gay and Conservative by Mel Maguire May 14, 2009

Gay rights activist Barbara Gittings at the first homosexual rights demonstration, Philadelphia, July 4, 1965. (image by Kay Tobin Lahusen)

Gay rights activist Barbara Gittings at the first homosexual rights demonstration, Philadelphia, July 4, 1965. (image by Kay Tobin Lahusen)

The following article by Mel Maguire is cross posted at The Gay Conservative.org

One of the things I want to discuss is the fact that I’ve been called a “deviant” by the gay community for my political views. The same group of people who decry as hatemongering Christians who call homosexuality “deviance” have taken the title and bestowed it upon those like me who espouse conservative politics. I don’t understand how any group can demand tolerance for their way of life and yet refuse to offer it–then turn around and attack anyone in their numbers who disagrees.

Late last year, I posted a vidblog entitled “gay hypocrisy.” Here it is for anyone who missed it:

Condoleeza Rice and Michael Steele have both been labeled “Uncle Toms” by black liberals for being Republicans. Rice was labeled the “house nigga” by loony liberal cartoonist Ted Rall, a man who belongs to a party that demands abject humiliation for any white person caught using the N word (Dog the Bounty Hunter comes to mind). There’s hypocrisy everywhere, but I least understand it coming from my own community.

lGay Rights historical site of memory: Comptons Cafeteria Riot 40th Anniversary Commemoration, San Francisco

lGay Rights historical site of memory: Compton's Cafeteria Riot 40th Anniversary Commemoration, San Francisco

I refer to it as “my” community because, whether we agree and get along or not, we’re all gay. I’m not necessarily butch, but I’m not exactly femme, either. I can’t hide the fact that I’m a lesbian. Whenever the gay community takes any action, like it or not, we’re all seen as taking part in it. The whole “Day Without a Gay” thing? Everyone, and I do mean everyone in my office asked my why I hadn’t called in gay. I finally had to put up a sign over my desk saying, “I did not call in gay because I care about keeping my job!” In the same light, when the protests began in which gay people held signs saying “stop the Christian Taliban,” some of my Christian friends assumed that I agreed. I didn’t appreciate that, and I let them know it.

But what I appreciate even less is the gay community’s stunning about-face when it comes to my politics. When I realized I was gay, it was a major struggle for me. A lot of the readers here had supportive parents. I didn’t, and it still affects me. I nearly ate a bullet while I fought with myself over my sexual orientation. When I finally came to a place where I accepted that part of myself, the gay community was so happy. My gay friends would announce it in the bar and people would buy me shots to celebrate. It all stopped the minute I began admitting that I was still a believing social conservative.

The community that celebrated my coming-out suddenly turned colder than a polar bear’s backside. I still don’t understand how some of you can eviscerate your own simply for disagreeing. Don’t hand me that “Republicans hate us all” BS, either–the numbers showed that probably as many Democrats as Republicans voted for Prop 8 in California. As Steve has pointed out before, anti-gay sentiment is not a party problem; it’s a people problem. The refusal to accept homosexuals on completely equal footing as we see it knows no boundary, age, class or political ideal. Some of my black coworkers who voted for Obama have said before that they think it would be against the laws of nature to allow gay marriage. On the flip side, I have Republican friends who think gay marriage isn’t a big deal and voted against Prop 102 here in Arizona.

Gay Liberation Poster from the 1970s

Gay Liberation Poster from the 1970's

If you’re going to refuse to accept us and work with us, you’re going to have to come up with a better excuse than that. I have seen far more hatred from fellow gays and lesbians for being conservative than I have from conservatives for being gay. I can’t stress that enough, because there’s something seriously wrong with a community that can’t give as much as it expects to receive. We’re not your enemy. Believe it or not, we share some of the same ideals. We just have different opinions on the vehicle that should take us to where we want to go.

I’m tired of being dumped on because I won’t toe the party line. You’ll never wear me down to liberalism any more than I’ll ever talk you into conservatism. It is beyond hypocrisy to demand tolerance and yet refuse to give it. I’d say it’s bordering on hatred. Back when America was still just 13 colonies, before we declared independence from England, people fled Europe en masse because of religious persecution. Certain denominations of Christianity that the main Protestant church didn’t agree with experienced persecution on an intense level. After surviving Roman and Jewish persecution after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the church became the persecutor. Once in America, those who fled religious persecution for their freedom did the exact same thing: they became the persecutors. Those who differed with the local churches were jailed, tortured and executed. When they couldn’t be captured, church authorities did all they could to gag the dissenters.

We–the gay community–are exhibiting the same behavior. The only difference now is that the law forbids torturing and killing those we disagree with. Being gay and conservative is enough to make one a pariah because nobody is willing to calm down long enough to have a civilized conversation. It will, I promise you, lead to our demise.  Think hard before you write us off as self-loathing closet cases. Give us a chance and it’s likely you’d well be surprised.

Autographed Letter Signed,

MEL MAGUIRE

*Mel Maguire is an ALS guest commentator. You can find more of her writings at the Gay Conservative.org

Mel’s Bio:

My parents taught me from a young age to pay attention to what’s going on in the world around me and to really, genuinely care. I was raised in a very religious household; consequently, I learned early on that homosexuality was a big no-no. It took me a long time to accept the fact that I was gay. Everyone else knew it before I did! At first, I had to reconcile my orientation with my beliefs, and for a time I questioned those beliefs. But my politics haven’t changed: I’m quite conservative and I refuse to apologize for it, even with the gay community openly calling me a deviant for my politics. Today, my parents and I don’t necessarily agree on everything, but I dig and study every little thing before I make up my mind. I don’t believe that feelings should be considered so heavily when deciding what your position is, and I’ve seen too many brilliant people dragged down by their emotional reactions. I try to make purely intellectual conclusions and to really be open-minded, even if I don’t always succeed. I’m originally from Texas and currently working as a fraud investigator and an EMT in Arizona, hoping to eventually get back home (unless some amazing girl steals my heart here!).

 

 
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