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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope

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Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gay conservatives & the "GLBT movement"

Dale Carpenter has an excellent article up at Independent Gay Forum about the political difficulties many gay conservatives have with the "gay movement", specifically in the context of the US election:

... it is time for gay conservatives to admit that we are aliens in this movement, that we disagree with its leadership and its most visible activists on some very basic questions about what it means to be gay, about what must be done to improve the lot of gay Americans, and about how much weight should be given to purely gay issues in a time of economic and military turmoil. This presidential election has rawly exposed the rifts that have been there from the beginning.

Carpenter nicely summarizes why many gay conservatives feel uncomfortable with gay activist organizations:

But the experience of discrimination is different for different people, and we draw wildly different conclusions from it. While gay progressives believe we must have more government in our lives to end discrimination, gay conservatives are wary of interventions in the private sphere. While many movement leaders would punish anti-gay “hate speech,” gay conservatives want freedom even for thought we hate.

Even when we agree on issues, we have very different rationales. Gay leftists tend to see access to marriage and the military as legalistic matters of “civil rights,” even as they distrust these institutions. Gay conservatives eschew such rights talk, and instead see these institutions as important traditionalizing, stabilizing, and integrating forces in our lives.

At a deeper level, gay conservatives believe the path to happiness leads through the inclusion of homosexuals in all aspects of American life. Many gay leftists dismiss this as “assimilation.” Gay conservatives want a place at the table. Gay leftists want to upend the table.

On non-gay issues, the chasm is wider and deeper still. Gay progressives, like others on the left, support wealth redistribution through higher taxes on financially successful people and social programs for the poor. Gay conservatives want low taxes and doubt the efficacy of anti-poverty programs. Gay leftists often oppose free trade; gay conservatives support it. The gay left supports abortion and believes it is intimately tied to gay rights. Gay conservatives either oppose it or think it is simply not a gay issue. Gay conservatives want an aggressive fight against Islamic radicalism. Gay leftists tend to distrust American military power and seem to think the greater threat comes not from terror but from the war on terror.

Carpenter feels that it is time for gay conservatives to part ways with the "GLBT movement":

The marriage of the gay left and gay conservatives under the umbrella of the “GLBT movement” has failed. It’s like waking up one morning next to your spouse and realizing all of a sudden you don’t really like each other. You’ve been squabbling all these years to save a relationship you no longer believe in.

Suddenly you grasp the futility of it. It’s saddening but also liberating

Hear hear.


Joanne (True Blue) said...

Wow! Lots of food for thought there!

Thanks for highlighting this article. I think it helps show that it's wrong to lump everyone into a type of 'groupthink'.

Assuming that all gay folks do or should think a certain way is a form of intolerance in itself.

Eric said...

Thanks Joanne - I always appreciate your comments.

Anonymous said...

Government should be involved in every aspect of a homosexual person's life. Public schools can start the process by identifying and providing special programs. That can be followed up by every level of government establishing programs for the GBLT community. Laws that encourage the GBLT community to form closer legal relationships/marriages would also help the community to become more mainstream and regulated.....

This seems to be what some of these people want, are they nuts?

libhom said...

Carpenter has never supported lgbt rights or the lgbt movement. He has worked to sabotage the movement for years while pretending to support it. He can't leave something he was never really part of.