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01/08/2010

No, Chris Barron: We are 'far more interested' in our existences!

by Jeremy Hooper

GOProud's Chris Barron:

In a case of truly strange bedfellows, the gay left has joined the most radical elements of the social conservative movement in attacking GOProud's participation [in the Conservative Political Action Conference]. You can understand the fear of extremists on the far right: They knowCb From No.Jpg the impact GOProud's sponsorship will have on undercutting their anti-gay message. These people rely on manipulating fear of what is unknown or different. But why is the gay left so angry about it?

The answer is simple. They are far more interested in politics then
(sic) they are in achieving equality of opportunity for gays and lesbians and their families.

For much of the gay left the world is divided into two easily definable camps: Democrats, who by definition are infallible and should be defended at all costs; and Republicans, who regardless of their positions on LGBT issues are the enemy.
...
It is time for the gay left to recognize that political diversity is a sign of strength in our community and a sign of a mature movement. It is time for the gay left to recognize that GOProud's sponsorship of CPAC is a tremendous opportunity for our community regardless of our partisan political differences.

*FULL PIECE:
Coming Out Conservative [Metro Weekly]

Me:

Completely oversimplified arguments from Barron.

The problems most folks (like myself) have voiced have little to *nothing* to do with partisanship in general. In fact, here on G-A-Y, in personal emails, and on LGBT list servs, some of the most heated folks who've voiced opposition to the sponsorship have been the GOP-identified regulars who typically disagree with *me* when they think I'm being too left-favorable!
HooperThe primary issues are these:

(1) The choice to
cosponsor alongside some of the most anti-gay groups in the nation (NOM, FOTF, FRC, CWA, etc.). It's one thing to show up and speak your mind at the event. In fact, I have encouraged that. Sitting on a panel, giving an opposition speech -- I myself would even consider attending in this capacity. But it's *very* different to sign on to the event in the same manner as the aforementioned groups. The sponsorship indicates that you are standing shoulder to shoulder with these others, and these are not shoulders that deserve our gentle rubs! Believe it or not: I would feel the exact same way if this were a progressive conference, and a majority of the sponsoring groups were questionable for other reasons. I simply would not lend my name to an event where so many of the sponsoring fellows are so hostile to things that I hold dear. Like my self, my husband, and my identity's core.

(2) The
comments from CPAC's David Keene, wherein he uses words like "promoting their lifestyle" and suggests that most all LGBT rights matters are "consensus" issues that are not open for debate. Now I know that Jimmy LaSalvia has attempted to discredit the Keene comments because their initial printing came via the fringe maestros at WorldNetDaily. But as far as I can tell, nobody has actually disproven the content (and in fact, I've had my own private conversations that lead me to believe their authenticity). So yes, many of us have reacted to the blanket idea that GOProud will be treated differently than cosponsors like NOM, whose sole mission is stripping away marital rights. If Keene didn't mean to imply this, then he needs to correct the record. But until he does, we only have his words to go on.

In terms of the far-righters like Matt Barber who
are seeking GOProud's removal: Well I, and I would hope most on the "gay left," will resist these efforts with a fury. Of course I think GOProud *should* be free to sponsor. And I even enjoy watching the the extremism that this situation highlights. But that's an ancillary joy that, in my eyes, is almost in a separate compartment. Enjoying the war between the far-right and the moderates does nothing to quell my concerns with an LGBT group (of any political stripe) choosing to co-sponsor under the conditions/landscape I highlighted in point 1 & 2 above.

Barron has done exactly what he accuses the "gay left" of doing. He has turned this into a situation where any and every critic is motivated by his or her personal donkey or elephant rides, and not their genuine concerns as an LGBT (or S) person. It's unfair, and is certainly unrepresentative (or at least *under*representative) of the general tone that I'm hearing.

***NOTE: The headline is meant to refer to Barron's assertion that "the gay left" is far more interested in politics than in equality or opportunity, and is not mean to imply that "the gay left" is more interested in existence than are gay conservatives. It's meant to say that existences, in general, are what we are all hopefully fighting to preserve, not that "the gay left" is far more interested in doing so than anyone else.

Just wanted to clarify this, since we got an email questioning if we were being hypocritical by being partisan in the headline.

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Your thoughts

It's sort of a typical response, coming from a hardcore conservative.

They're not nuanced people. They don't understand how we can simultaneously oppose far-right efforts to exclude them and ALSO give them hell for wanting to join up with those groups in the first place.

Because, Jeremy, thinking is hard.

Posted by: Evan Hurst | Jan 8, 2010 5:21:51 PM

Thinking is hard... but admitting your feelings is even harder.

Posted by: LOrion | Jan 9, 2010 4:46:18 PM

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