Thursday, October 16, 2008


I remember a few years ago the comedian Paula Poundstone characterized Log Cabin Republicans by saying, "They even hate their own lifestyle." Despite rhetoric to the contrary, when it was estimated that about 23% of LGBT people voted for George Bush in the last Presidential election, where he largely ran on the platform of writing discrimination against same-sex couples into the Constitution, all the rationalizations and seeming justifications in the world don't cover over the basic self-loathing of Gay people who would support candidates for the highest office in the land who advocate for their continued treatment as second-class citizens.

In a characteristically excellent article entitled, "Goodbye Gay Conservatives, Don't Let The Door Hit You," Wayne Besen writes:

"Republicans in Congress have blocked gay rights progress for nearly three decades. It was President George W. Bush who stumped for a Federal Marriage Amendment. It was Sen. Majority Leader Trent Lott who once compared gay people to kleptomaniacs and alcoholics. I could fill 10 columns with despicable acts and words lobbed at the GLBT community by members of the Republican Party. While the Democrats are not perfect (see Sam Nunn), anyone who compares the two parties is smoking something that has higher street, than political value."

"Family Values actually do matter and I will not apologize for placing the protection of my family above tax cuts for the very wealthy. [Dale] Carpenter ["a prominent gay writer] does not like it when gay conservatives are called self-loathing, but what else can one call people who don’t prioritize legal protection for themselves and the ones they love?"

[For the full article, see here.]

One doesn't have to support the Republican party to be self-loathing! In an article that appeared in yesterday's Advocate, the following is stated:

"[Patrick] Guerriero [campaign director for No on 8 in California] stressed, donations need to keep rolling in at that rate through Election Day, at least, in order to get the pro-LGBT side back in the fight monetarily -- and of 1 million LGBT adults in California, only 30,000 have contributed so far -- and that not a single LGBT demographic or region in the state had given what would be required to win the battle.

"'When you do the math, if we have a million adults and we have 30,000 donors, that means 970,000 have not given a dollar yet,' he said. 'That means there's not a single neighborhood, there's not a single street, there's not a single congressional district, there's not a single county where we're getting enough support from LGBT Californians.'"

I honestly believe that after being inundated with generations of lies stating that being Gay is a sin; Gay people will go to hell; same-sex attraction and love are "intrinsically disordered," even many non-Christian Gay people have internalized these hateful messages and feel that they are not worthy to have the same civil rights, including the right to marriage, that heterosexuals enjoy.

Hence, the denigrating and self-defeating labels and behaviors used by all too many Gay people, many of whom view themselves as "progressive," that serve to perpetuate and reinforce the consignment of LGBT people to a netherworld of second class citizenship, including the right to marry, that we all too frequently see, and to which I've referenced and discussed many times.

Therefore, it's not all that surprising that out of about one million LGBT people in California, only about thirty thousand have contributed to fight against the hateful and mean-spirited Proposition 8 in California that seeks to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. And it may well be that many, if not most, of the rest who did not contribute really, deep down, don't believe that they are worthy to partake of the institution of marriage and, thereby, have their relationships accorded the same dignity and legitimacy as heterosexual marriage enjoys.

So, one doesn't have to be a Gay reactionary to suffer from self-loathing and a visceral belief that he/she is not entitled to full and equal civil and sacramental rights.

However, it's Gay political reactionaries who best highlight the very disturbing phenomenon of self-loathing and the basic feelings of unworthiness when they engage in an alignment with reactionary political forces within society that actively oppress them.

In this connection, I think it is fitting that I reprint an article I wrote last year entitled, "The Pathology of the Gay Conservative."

The following is the text of that article:

To "conserve" in the political sense, means to adhere to traditions of fiscal responsibility and seek to minimize the government's intrusion or encroachment on individual rights! If that is what we meant in today's U.S. by "conservative," that would be a perfectly understandable political position for a rational Gay person to take.

However, the unfortunate reality is that what passes for "conservatism" today is diametrically opposed to those very traditional principles! President Bush inherited an economic surplus and in just a few short years we have come to the point where we have the largest debt that this nation has ever seen. We invaded a sovereign country based on lies and deceit, having 9/11 cynically used as a pretext to enter a war that I believe was planned before Bush even took office.

Moreover, with the initiation of the Patriot Act, suspension of habeas corpus for those viewed as "enemy combatants," and a whole host of other encroachments on our civil liberties, this Administration is anything but "conservative," and has done a great deal to encroach upon our individual liberties, more than ably and willingly abetted by most of the mainstream media that has both uncritically accepted the sound bytes emanating from the self-serving White House, acting as mere stenographers of the political spin of the day, and airing hitherto unthinkable hateful rhetoric from assorted talk show hosts.

However, one of the consequences of all of this relatively rapid change in our society is the demonization of LGBT people by the self-described "conservative" forces in this country, and the cowardly capitulation to those forces of the opposing, the Democratic, party that has to appeal to an electorate inundated with what is purported to be "conservative" ideas that are really pure naked hatred dressed in the drag of "conservatism." So we even have political opponents adopting many of the "ideas" of those who garner votes and market share of audience by frequently hateful rhetoric and the playing of the politics of exclusion, and who feel the need to intrude on others' private lives, deny them dignity and full and equal civil rights, and frame our political sport as one where one can't tell the players without a scorecard and, unfortunately, when it comes to LGBT rights, the scorecard doesn't show either side in a very favorable light. So, the reality becomes that every decent person who wants to partake of the political process in the U.S. has to support/choose the least of two evils, go into the voting booth, hold his/her nose, and vote!

However, when a Gay person aligns him/herself with the political party that runs on a platform of writing an Amendment into the Constitution that would seek to prevent same-sex marriage, that largely demonizes LGBT people, that is quite comfortable with the fact that there are absolutely no federal civil rights protections for LGBT people, assiduously fights "hate crime" legislation (more accurately viewed as legislation against "terrorism," as I have written before), and where LGBT people are viewed as fodder for the purpose of garnering votes, it calls into question what manifestation of self-loathing or self-denigration would foster such an alliance and, even, an allegiance.

As I have previously written, "Being Gay need not be one's top priority, just as being straight is not to be one's top priority. However, when a Gay person aligns him/herself with a political party that has as its platform to prevent same-sex marriage, supports the fact that there are no federal civil rights protections for LGBT people, and is generally hostile to LGBT people, supporting that political party reeks of masochism in my book, and shows that person to be "ignorant and/or mendacious and/or traitorous'."

I want to try to delve into the dynamics of Gay people aligning themselves with today's Republican party, a party that has fostered an anti-Gay agenda that is quite extraordinary from a number of perspectives, not the least being the fact that it regards itself as "conservative," all the while it seeks to limit the human freedom to legally relate to another whom one loves and to whom one seeks to make a lifetime commitment. Why would a Gay person seek to align him/herself with a political party and its allies that view same-sex marriage as an assault on "traditional family values," ruining "the sanctity of marriage" (posited by people many of whom have been married more than once or even twice), and who apparently feel no compunction about ridiculing Gay people?

I've heard more than one such Republican Gay person say that, although they were Gay, that isn't all they were. They were not one issue voters, and that their being Gay wasn't the major part of their lives or identities. Fair enough! However, let's consider another scenario.

If I lived on welfare and food stamps, would it make any sense if I aligned myself with the Democratic Party, for example, if it had as its platform that it was going to do away with welfare and food stamps, and deny those who were on those programs its benefits? Even though I might not consider my economic situation to be the most important "identity" I had, or the fact that I didn't consider myself to be a one issue voter, would it make any rational sense if I voted for the Democratic ticket if it largely ran on such a platform? I doubt many would answer, "yes," to this rhetorical question.

I really believe that the bombardment of anti-Gay messages throughout our lives in assorted venues, not the least of which is most of the organized Church, has taken hold on many LGBT people's lives and psyches and, even though many are "out," they still harbor a visceral self-loathing that manifests itself by many identifying with their oppressors. This phenomenon is quite common in a variety of arenas, and it's called "the Stockholm Syndrome", where the oppressed become emotionally attached to their oppressors.

Succumbing to this phenomenon doesn't denote any necessary intentional malice (although the subsequent consequence of that decision can provoke maliciousness) on the part of the victim. It seems to me that it merely denotes that in order to maintain one's "ego integrity," and one's inner sense of "dignity," one feels that he/she must identify with his/her oppressors (though not consciously acknowledging them as such), so as to consciously reject the role of "victim" and embrace the role as being one of their comrades. Indeed, in this case, "comrades in arms." (This phenomenon is seemingly quite widespread, as I remember reading a poll shortly after the last Presidential election that about 23% of LGBT people voted for President Bush who largely ran on the platform of placing an amendment into the Constitution preventing same-sex marriage.)

Of course, Gay people, like many of the rest of the population, care about higher taxes (though it could be viewed as irrational to support a political party that has virtually guaranteed higher taxes to pay for the profligate spending that has occurred in these past several years), limited government (though that, too, is irrational, if one is supporting a party that has grossly intruded on many of the bulwarks of our judicial system, such as habeus corpus, and wiretapping without judicial oversight or even prior approval), and would want to vote accordingly. However, the reality of today's "conservatives," of today's Republican party, does not address these concerns, and it doesn't take a Democrat or an Independent to point out that fact.

Basically, I believe that when one supports a political party that works against that person's very dignity, personhood, and right to pursue happiness that is the right of every human being to enjoy in the U.S., he/she is manifesting his/her conscious and/or unconscious self-loathing in a "Stockholm Syndrome" that not only affirms the party that largely institutionalizes that oppression, but devalues the dignity of the person succumbing to that syndrome and casts him or her as one who is "ignorant and/or mendacious and/or traitorous'."

If you haven't already done so, I strongly urge you to please contribute to fight against Proposition 8. So much is at stake for the acquisition of full and equal civil rights both now and in the foreseeable future, both in California and, by extension, in other states as well!

The link by which you can contribute can be found at the top of the sidebar of my blog.
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Anonymous said...

I’m a CHRISTIAN and I’m voting NO on 8.


Because it seems that all the funding has come from false Christian groups like ROMAN CATHOLICS and “MORMONS” both of whom are idolaters (worshiping Men, Mary, beads, little statues of saints, etc).

IDOLATRY is a worse sin. Voting yes on 8 supports idolatry.

Jerry Maneker said...

Thanks for your comment, Anonymous. I've known many wonderful Roman Catholics and, although the LDS Church is not within the definition of orthodox Christianity, I have known many wonderful Mormons as well. However, the institutions that would support discrimination in the name of God, or for any other reason, don't deserve any credibility by our presence or by our monies, and must be confronted for the ungodly institutions they show themselves to be.