Why gays will win the “culture war.”
The subject of gay folks fill the news – mostly pointlessly, but still, there we are. And why? Well, there seems to be a debate about what to do with us. Indeed, since the beginning of the “gay debate” back in the 1950s it was always about what heterosexuals would do with us. Back then we asked for military service, marriage, no laws against us, and inclusion in laws that exist. Today we ask for (and get some) of the same things – we have remained remarkably consistent in all this time. We have done so completely peacefully, and well within the system. Well, one little riot, but still … remarkably without any of the usual violence and fighting that seemed to have accompanied so much of the outsiders trying to change society, like for instance, the Weathermen.
It is said there is a “culture war” that gays are involved in, that we are against something or other – no there is not. There is only the discussion among heterosexuals about what you all plan to do with us. If it’s a war, it’s between heterosexuals, not gays.
So too our opponents have remained consistent – they simply want us gone. They state it clearly. Westboro Baptist is just the most egregious example, but there is no doubt that the Family Research Council, NOM, AFTAH, NARTH, and all the Value coalitions or whatever they call themselves also want gayness gone. They don’t really care how – they are quite insistent we just stop being gay, like, um, today. Just say no, or something. They are befuddled fools who refuse to grasp reality. We just are – by God’s grace. AFTAH & NARTH are simply asking us to “pray away the gay” – that is their very purpose of existence – to end ours. They are clear and blunt, believe them. But, also recognize they are doomed to utter failure.
So, the debate is among heterosexuals about what to do with us, as it always was. And so, knowing that, we went and talked to people. It seems now, according to some polls, 92% of gay folks are out and open with their immediate families, and upwards of 68% to their extended families. In between these ranges is the percentage of gay folks who say they are out to neighbors, friends, co-workers, bosses, etc. Even clergy are now knowing many open gay folks from right there in their congregations. Even the most anti-gay churches keep finding gay folks among the congregations – they just can’t get rid of us, for we’re part of the families which are part of the congregations – and the families are no longer willing to chase away their gay family members.
Now, when the anti-gay crowd and anti-gay ministers go on and on about the “dangers” of gay folks – they are talking to people whose very sons, brothers, daughters, cousins, etc, are gay – and they know perfectly well that there is no danger being emitted from gay folks. It becomes harder and harder for guys like Tony Perkins and Maggie Gallagher to keep harping on the harm they see in saying even just a nice word about gay folks. Indeed, these two in particular are quite sure that saying a nice word about gay folks is tantamount to the destruction of society. They are fools, and the nation is waking up to this.
This is not some liberal or conservative thing. There are now apparently many liberals who are still not “for” gay marriage (um, not for recognition, whether they are “for” the couple is perhaps something else.) I can think of many African-American and Latino “Liberals” who are quite dead set against gayness. And there are plenty of Republicans and conservatives and church-folks who have come to the conclusion that gays are just a weird little bunch, and in the immortal words of Hilary Clinton: What difference does it make? There are even Black Gay Republicans, if Bruce Harris of Chatham Township New Jersey is any evidence.
In fact, there are far more Republican, liberty-minded, or right wing gay folks than nearly anyone wants to admit. It is already true that exit poll after exit poll for years shows that gays will vote Republican for economic reasons – and ignore the anti-gay rhetoric. For, I think, right wing gays have realized that, well, it’s the economy, stupid. And too, that there is no stopping the conversation about gays with conservatives – these right-wing heterosexuals simply can’t avoid the fact that they have gay supporters. As I joke about “Sissies for Sarah” [Palin, of course,] it’s also true that there are gay Republicans, sometimes holding office. It’s not something that can be ignored.
And, when one looks at ‘minorities’ like African-Americans, Latinos, Women, Youth – the usual crowd – they vote Democrat in far higher percentages – with much lower Republican voting – then gay folks do. That’s because while these other groups are monolithic – gays are just diverse. We don’t fit any known pattern or single set of circumstances. After all, there are gays within these other movements, as much as there are heterosexuals. Just as there are business owning gay Americans who are quite Republican in many ways.
Of course, for many people today there is this bizarre notion that the Liberals and Democrats were for us for lo these many years – and thus gays just had to become Democrats and get everything we wanted. Except that’s not true – until recently, and even today – liberals and Democrats were no more for gay folks than Republicans were. Now it is true some on the Left have evolved a bit faster than those on the Right, but that’s no big deal. We have always had an uphill fight – it was more a mountain range actually, perhaps like the Bitteroot Mountains of Idaho – just really hard to get up and over. Sure, climbing the foothills was easy, well, Tony Perkins is a big loftier a height to climb – but well, he’s going to change – or he’ll go to his grave as a failure and loser. He can no more get America to hate gays again than he can to … well, than he can do anything. His life is chastising us, and we are now to the point of blithely ignoring him.
Even Republicans like Newt Gingrich have sort of realized that the gig is up on gays – and that’s it is like no other subject.
Oh, you can pass laws to change the health care system. You can pass laws to encourage heterosexuals to get married and not abort their babies – you can get people to do all sorts of things – but what is simply impossible is to make gays stop being gay. We’re rather insistent on this. Even scientists who deign to study the issue have concluded “well, 99% of them say they were born that way … we just don’t know why … but there must be something to it.” Oh, I don’t care that no one has found the reason – we don’t really need it. But what we have done – without politics, without laws, without a politician on our side – is to convince our families and friends that we are perfectly OK – and they now agree. Or, you’re faced with rounding us up, even unto genocide, if you wish to get rid of us. We’re not going away willingly, that’s for sure.
All the politicians are late comers to this game. All the politicians are riding the coat tails of the gay folks who did this. We have had no national spokesman – nothing like a King or Jackson, or Gloria Steinem or Caesar Chavez or Mark Rubio. Not on gay politician has ever become a leader. Our one “martyr” Harvey Milk is virtually unknown even among gay folks.
So, when I see Obama all of sudden change his mind, I don’t look at him as some leader on the issue. I see him as yet another heterosexual who has faced reality. He’s just like the rest – in his word, he is evolving. Fine, so is every other single heterosexual in this nation. Not a one has ever been able to avoid their own journey of evolution on their thinking on gay folks.
I found it funny that guys like R. Emmett Tyrrell of American Spectator magazine is agog that gay men had the audacity to ask for tolerance, and then military service, and now Marriage! Oh my. He’s agog because he’s clueless that we’ve always asked for this. There are pictures of a small group of gay protestors in front of the Johnson White House (you know, that “Liberal” who went on the anti-gay witch hunt in his administration and made sure all the gays were fired from any job they had in government.) He’s unaware of the history because our alleged friends in the media are also clueless. Until recently they, like other heterosexuals, were just a flummoxed by our existence as the rest of the nation. The articles published by all the mainstream media well into the 1990s is quite a parade of “what on earth do those people want and how do we get rid of the sickness?” Let us not be shy about noting that.
Though, this subject is a big one, and it’s one I’ve been conceiving a book on – on how to explain this trajectory of gay existence in America – and why it’s just going to keep getting better – and how even our most obstreperous opponents will one day say “we were wrong.” Every other hetero did, why should these? I have faith in them, I do.
Here’s a sort of matrix I’ve been working on about the trajectory of Rights for Gays since the 1950s –
Historical Stages of Gay Life Matrix
Years Existence Sex Law Police
>1969: Hidden Furtive Illegal Pursue
1969-1979 Tentative Private Illegal Rarely pursue
1980-1989 Coming out Licentious less illegal Don’t pursue
1990-1999 Discussed relationships ½ illegal off radar
2000-2009 public wanting marriage legal liaison
2010 – … regular marriage legal cooperation
Meanwhile, it wouldn’t make a difference who was in office, or how good the economy should be, or what foreign policies we follow, or what national programs are rolled out – not a single thing government does is related to the gay issue. On all these issues there’s options. With us, there is no option – you heterosexuals will come to accept the reality of gay folks and become nice about it – there’s no way around it. But, you might need a book to help explain it all – and that’s what this little article is – a beginning idea of what that book will be about.
I think I shall call it “The Pink Sheep of the Flock of God.” Hmm.
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