I am a gay conservative and I think it’s time you met me. There seems to be a lot of confusion as to what being on the right side of the political spectrum means in general, but certainly if you happen to be gay. The right is a wide and fluid band of ideals surrounding certain understood principles and it is often expressed in differing ways.
I also hold Libertarian views and would likely be considered liberal, in the classic sense, in many others. But I identify as conservative because it best suits my overall worldview. As Charles C.W. Cooke describes in his book, The Conservatarian Manifesto, in the United States to be on the right ultimately means to be fundamentally focused on liberty.
Liberty is merely a way of being rather than a set of outcomes and as such is often misunderstood. To appreciate liberty is to appreciate the deepest longing of the human spirit and it has been rarely enjoyed by most that have lived. I find it my intellectual and moral duty to protect it so that more can enjoy it as I do. It is why I reside on this side of the spectrum and it is something I am unsure many on the left understand.
To be sure there is a gay left and a gay right. We have for far too long placed our collective identity into a very narrow slot and have considered deviation to be inherently flawed. People and often other gay people ask me frequently how I can support a political position that is opposed to everything I am as a person.
The idea being that my sense of sexuality is somehow dominant over every other intellectual or emotional position I could find myself facing. Although being gay certainly influences how I view the world, I am by no means bound by it either.
The reality is there is no one way of being a gay conservative. For example, Milo Yiannopoulos and Chris Barron are both strong supporters of Donald Trump. Chris Barron co-founded GoProud, a conservative LGBT advocacy group and he previously worked as a political director for the Log Cabin Republicans, which formed in 1977. Milo is the technology editor for Breitbart.com and is currently headlining ‘The Dangerous Faggot Tour’ on college campuses nationwide. He is a remarkably talented and outspoken individual who could only be described as embracing gay culture as we have known it for years. He reminds me of Macaulay Culkin’s Michael Alig in Party Monster (2003). He embodies the RuPaul era of flamboyant provocative media with a fearless attitude. The two are radically different but have similar positions when it comes to leadership and goals.
On the other hand, gay conservatives like Guy Benson and Bruce Carroll (GayPatriot), are vocally opposed to Trump. Bruce, aka GayPatriot, has been on the board of directors for GoProud and an active voice for gay conservatism for many years. Guy Benson is a contributor for Fox News and focuses primarily on politics. In his book, End of Discussion, he came out as gay and has since clarified that LGBT politics is not his primary interest.
As for me, I am neither supporting of nor dramatically opposed to Donald Trump. I could be persuaded in either direction depending on the information provided and the options given. I tend to focus on accuracy and reason when dealing with issues impacting the LGBT community as well as the larger community we live in.
There are dozens and dozens of other examples and both Milo and Chris have made tremendous headway in gathering gay support for Donald Trump, including the hashtag #GaysforTrump. These individuals should not be ignored or dismissed. What we all have in common is an understanding of shared values. These values revolve around liberty and the foundation of freedom in our country. We have different methods of getting there, but we agree on the concept.
We can also disagree while maintaining our alliances and friendships as well. What I believe most who do not know us misunderstand is that we do not act in spite of our sexuality; we simply do not consider it our primary motivation.
As a gay person, my core rights have always been intact, we have just advocated for expansion, redefinition or added protections over time. Some I support and others I do not. But fundamentally I do not view my world in terms of "gay" issues. I see the role of government, judges and states as requiring the most pressing attention in order to protect liberty from well-meaning tyranny. I believe in our representative republic and I value the voting process that allows us the voice to influence and change conditions, within the bounds of the Constitution, at a local and state level. Where I draw the line is in federal involvement. In every social issue related to gay people, I hold the same view. I prefer the states to decide for themselves.
We can easily debate the merits of this worldview and that is all part of a healthy understanding of differing positions. It, however, has absolutely no impact on our shared experiences as gay people. Far too often LGBT on the right tend to be dismissed, mocked or demonized without ever being asked about our actual views.
For the most part people who do choose to engage with me tend to be completely wrong on what they imagine I must believe and support. I am not self-loathing. I am not afraid of my sexuality. I am not a Christian ex-gay trying to pray my gay away. I am a perfectly comfortable libertarian minded gay person who also holds a set of conservative political positions I am unafraid of standing up for.
Political diversity is an asset rather than a failure of unity and things are more complex than "love" vs. "hate" and "rejection" vs. "affirmation." When you look at nearly all mainstream LGBT/Queer media you simply do not see the voice I present to you.
When we talk about seeing queer images of ourselves in media, I never see myself in actual queer media. To read, watch and listen to the gay world as it is presented today you would not even know that somebody like me exists. And there are many, many more just like me. The question is: Why is our community uninterested in our voice?
As we have advocated for years, the best way to understand the other side is to simply talk with them. I rarely find those on the left willing to discuss issues with me. I am well aware of their views but they are utterly ignorant of mine and yet they hold an astounding number of opinions about what mine must be. If you talk with me, or Milo or Bruce or any of the others you will find an entirely different world of ideas and views. You might even find you agree with us on many of them.
In truth, to support liberty is to welcome all walks of life to live freely as they choose. I used to be on the left and I used to be extremely liberal and I found myself drawn to the right because of my belief in liberty over coercion to preferred results. I have never understood why this realization is so threatening to those I left behind.
I do not find a tolerating enemy on the right. Quite the opposite. In nearly all of my interactions, I am most often defended and supported by those on the right while attacked and vilified by those on the left. The conservatives, Christians and Republicans I spend my days chatting with, standing side-by-side with and fighting for our mutual goals with are remarkably kind and generous people. They do not deserve to be labeled as "bigots" or accused of causing tragedy with ‘hate’ simply for disagreeing with currently popular liberal views or policies.
So why don’t we start from the beginning. Fresh and new. My name is Chad, I am a gay conservative. I am HIV+, a rape survivor, I am Jewish and I’ve written and illustrated children’s books. I write about politics and health and I am fearless when the truth needs to be told. It’s nice to meet you. Ask anything you’d like to know.
The author has no financial connections or compensation with any writer or activist mentioned.