Fighting the Gay Right
Since I submitted my last Queer Notes column for the Triangle Journal News, I've been thinking about all the things I wanted to say but did not have the space for about what I have learned about the Memphis gay community and what is holding us back as a community.
I mentioned the problems of leadership and members in gay organizations, but the larger problem I believe is apathy and political/religious conservatism. I estimate that at least half of the gay communty is political apathetic and is not involved in any political organization fighting for their civil rights. Another 25 percent or so are political (REPUBLICAN) or religious (CATHOLIC, ETC.) conservatives who support organiznations that are working against our civil rights.
I've been trying to point out the serious problem of Uncle Tom (gay) Republicans who support the anti-gay Republcian Party and candidates like George Bush who are alligned with the anti-gay Christian Right. I don't believe we should tolerate this kind of treason.
There is no justification for the gay Republican support of George Bush and the GOP. Here are their stated reasons for supporting Bush and the GOP, and my refutation of them:
1. Conservative gays support the Republican party because they believe in limited government.
* Then how can they support George Bush? Bush inherited a budget SURPLUS from Clinton and has turned it into record DEBT and DEFICITS.
The Republican Party supports BIG government! They support INCREASING corprate welfare and MILITARY spending... which is BIG GOVERNMENT! And the Republican Party supports an Orwellian BIG GOVERNMENT that invades the privacy of homes, families and bedrooms! The Patriot Act is BIG GOVERNMENT! The Busheviks can now keep track of what books you read and what websites you look at! The New York Times recently revealed that the Bush administration has been spying (wire-tapping!) American citizens without ANY legal, judicial or constitutional authority! That is BIG GOVERNMENT!
2. Gay Republicans support the Republican Party because they support a strong military and the "war on terrorism".
*So do Democrats! The difference is that Bush and neo-Conservatives ignored the threat of terrorism and failed to protect us from it. (According Richard Clarke and other terrorism experts and the 9/11 Commision!) According to many military supporters, the Bush administration (Rumsfield, etc.) have weakened our military considerably. Bush's illegal invasion of Iraq, which had NOTHING to do with fighting terrorism, has fueled more anti-american sentiment and terrorism!
3. Democrats, like John Kerry, Do not Support Gay Marriage either, so the Democratic Party is no better than the Republican Party...
*In fact, there is more support for gay marriage in the Democratic Party and among liberal Democrats than among Conservative Republicans. The main reason Democrats do not publicly support gay marriage is the Republican Party's political strategy of using cultural issues like gay marriage, "family values" and abortion to attack Democrats and win elections in the South and conservative states. While the difference between Democrats and Republicans on gay marriage is not clear, the differences on other gay rights issues is very clear. The Republican Party's platform explicitly rejects gay and lesbian civil rights, including protections against workplace discrimination, and supports the exlusion of gays in the military. The Democratic Party Platform supports civil rights, including civil unions and domestic partnership benefits, and calls for the repeal of the "don't ask don't tell" military policy, which Clinton was forced to accept as part of a compromise with the Republicans and the military. Remember that Clinton was attacked by the REPUBLICAN PARTY for his effort to end discrimination against gays in the military.. And Bill Clinton was the FIRST President to include gay and lesbian civil rights in his campaign and his state of the union messages.
We must challenge the Uncle Tom Republicans and refute their lies and misinformation. They are supporting an anti-gay political party and president and are supporting the oppression of gays and lesbians for mainly economic reasons... They are after all mostly upper middle class White men who care more about protecting their social status than social justice and equality.
So we must fight not only apathy in our community, but Uncle Tom Republicans who care more about capital gains tax cuts and supporting a homphobic military/industrial complex than they do about social justice or gay and lesbian civil rights.
Progressive gays, GAY LIBERATIONISTS, see the struggle for gay and lesbian civil rights in the larger progressive movements for economic and social justice. "Gay Liberation" is not just about the right of wealthy gay white men to commit sodomy in the privacy of their bedrooms.. it is about social, political and economic justice for everyone, including poor black women and poor gay and lesbians, and workers who are under attack by conservative economic and social policies.
Feminist Suzanne Pharr wrote a great book entitled "IN THE TIME OF THE RIGHT: REFLECTIONS ON LIBERATION" in which she compares two kinds of politics: Politics of Liberation (equality) and Politics of Domination (meritocary)" I will discuss these two politics more in a future column, but the Uncle Tom Republicans do NOT practice liberation politics, they practice a politics of DOMINATION (coporate power, meritocray, etc.). PROGRESSIVE/liberal gays practice liberation politics which supports economic, political and social EQUALITY. The Conservative Right has always opposed real EQUALITY.
I highly recommend another book on the Gay Right. Richard Goldstein's THE ATTACK QUEERS: LIBERAL SOCIETY AND THE GAY RIGHT. In this book Goldstein eloquently exposes the "homocons" (Andrew Sullivan, Log Cabin Republicans) and shows how they are at odds with the gay liberation movement.
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