When I came out to my close friends, I was concerned about how this information would change the dynamic of our friendships, and that concern prevented me from being honest with many of them much earlier than I did. My fears were mostly misplaced, and what was a monumental issue for me was not such a big deal to them. However, several of my friends were astonished that I could be a conservative now that they knew I was gay - weren’t the two mutually exclusive? One friend said to me: "How can you be gay - you’re a conservative!"
I’ve also found that I have to be careful around other gay people - coming out of one closet has in a sense forced me into another one. In many gay social circles, Stephen Harper is an object of ridicule and the Conservative Party is the punchline to derisive jokes. If many of these people knew that I was a member of the CPC, they would react like I had body odour. I have to hide my copies of the National Post and the Western Standard like some people hide pornography.
So, how can one be gay and a conservative? Although many liberals see the conservative movement as one-dimensional, narrow-minded and exclusionary, I think there is more room for diversity of opinion on the right these days than on the left, with its narrow statist orthodoxy that is consistently portrayed as "the Canadian way".
In particular, the libertarian tradition in conservatism can resonate strongly with homosexuals. Libertarians believe in individual freedom and limited government. They see the individual as the basic unit of society, and individuals should be free to make choices and take responsibility for their actions. They reject the use of the coercive power of the state to make these choices for them. Individuals have a right, as John Locke wrote, to life, liberty and property, and libertarians believe that the state’s role is to provide conditions where individuals are free to enjoy these rights. As author David Boaz wrote, "libertarianism proposes a society of liberty under law, in which individuals are free to pursue their own lives so long as they respect the equal rights of others. The rule of law means that individuals are governed by generally applicable and spontaneously developed legal rules, not by arbitrary commands; and that those rules should protect the freedom of individuals to pursue happiness in their own ways, not aim at any particular result or outcome." All of these values have a strong appeal to homosexuals, who for centuries have been victimized by state-sponsored discrimination and attempts to suppress their rights.
Admittedly, the Conservative Party of Canada is not a perfect fit for the gay libertarian. In particular, the CPC’s position on gay marriage is a big obstacle (more on this later). But gay marriage is just one of many issues facing this country. Which of the three national parties is most likely to reduce the government’s intrusion into the lives of its citizens, protect their property and their privacy, protect free speech and diversity of opinion, and ensure that all citizens, gay, straight or otherwise, are treated equally under the law? The answer to that question is why I am a Conservative