It's not very often that this happens! I find myself agreeing with a gay conservative!! Well, not the whole article that Tammy Bruce published at the Guardian, but at least this one paragraph. The rest of the article is your standard "the right isn't anti-gay they're just misunderstood!" drivel you so often hear from these types.
The real story of bigotry and intolerance is the fact that it lives and thrives on the left. As a gay woman who spent most of her adult life pushing the cart for liberal causes with liberal friends in a liberal city, I found that sexism, racism and homophobia are staples in the liberal world. The huge irony is liberals spend every ounce of energy promoting the notion that they are the banner carriers of individualism and personal freedom, yet the hammer comes down on anyone who dares not to conform to, or who dissents even in part from, the liberal agenda.
I'll admit that after running Bilerico Project - a site dedicated to giving the entire LGBT community a voice instead of just the usual top-down one-way communication we normally get from Gay Inc and other popular queer sites - I've been amazed at some of the intolerance demonstrated by our "tolerant" community.
There are certain queer mantras that must not be challenged.
- DADT should be repealed.
- Hate crimes laws are a good thing.
- Same-sex marriage should be one of the top priorities for LGBT people.
Unfortunately for liberal cohesion, not everyone is on the same page. While the generalizations above are all well intentioned, if someone throws out a "Yes, but..." the hounds are set loose and the blood sport begins.
No one seems to want to engage in the broader argument that the military industrial complex is huge and, perhaps, we shouldn't be clamoring to join a group killing innocent brown people in the name of justice and apple pie. While I've never heard any of the dissenters say, "I think discriminating against LGBT people is okay and that is my reason for supporting DADT," it seems to be what people hear when the subject of the morality of the fight for inclusion is broached.
When the discussion on hate crimes turns to prison overpopulation and how it overwhelmingly discriminates against non-whites, many of us perceive that as a tolerance for name-calling or anti-gay attacks. The differential between the two - the grey area - doesn't seem to be of interest to most of us.
While LGBT people should, of course, have the right to marry their partners, when someone steps out of line enough to suggest that this one bit of our lives shouldn't suck down the majority of our organizing time and dollars, you'd think that they'd committed heresy. The idea that our self-worth and access to medical care, tax deductions and social standing depends on our marital status is too much for some to comprehend or even take into consideration.
Don't believe me? Check out the archives of posts from our own Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, Yasmin Nair, R. Conrad, or Steven Cheslik-Demeyer for some great examples. We get the most complaints about their posts simply because they don't always toe the liberal line in the sand.
It goes a little deeper than that though. From my own experience I can say that I consider myself to be a pretty progressive fellow. I support the rights of LGBT people - including the trans folk that tend to be grouped in when convenient and left out when they're not. Yet I've said some incredibly stupid and transphobic things on Bilerico Project without thinking twice about it until it was pointed out to me.
I would never say that a woman is less than a man, but I've still said some misogynistic and chauvinist statements on the site without even realizing I was doing it. Rinse and repeat for issues surrounding people of color, people with disabilities, and the overweight.
My own prejudices still step to the front occasionally without a conscience decision to be "anti" anything. It just happens when I don't engage my brain and think through some of the issues from a different perspective than my own. Many times when I've been challenged on the site, I've dug in my heels and not defended my point, but defended my ego.
Why? Because I'm a good liberal and I'd never do something as horrible as cross the sacrosanct line that demarcates good vs bad and progressive vs conservative. How dare someone point out that occasionally I step in it? Why should I have to think things through without just having a knee-jerk reaction?
Sometimes, just sometimes, progressives are stupid enough to use the right wings tactics and framing not just to "advance" our cause, but to attack each other.
And on that one small point, I can agree with Tammy Bruce - a gay conservative. I hope I didn't step out of line.