I don’t have anything against gay Republicans. Some of my best friends are gay Republicans. Well, I guess I should say some of my best friends are gay former Republicans. They didn’t leave the party, they tell me. Instead, the party left them with its frog-stepping march to the right-wing fringe over the past few years. These are people who believe in fiscal conservatism, but have seen the Republicans run up record deficits. They like the tax cuts, they say, but have seen Goldwater Republicanism trampled by the party of “no.” So, now I really have a lot of gay independent or libertarian friends.
However, there are still some gay people who continue to cotton to the Republican Party. (I use the word gay, exclusively, because I honestly don’t know any lesbian Republicans. I know some lesbians who have voted Republican, but have never declared themselves members of the GOP, instead opting to “vote for the candidate and not the party,” as they say.)
Those gays who remain within the GOP belong to two camps, the more traditional Log Cabin Republicans, or the new, flashier, GOProud. It is GOProud that has caused the most stir recently among straight conservatives, co-sponsoring the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (better known as CPAC) earlier this year. Liberty University’s law school withdrew their sponsorship in protest.
Now, the group is causing even more controversy after announcing that the resoundingly anti-gay conservative talking head Ann Coulter will headline its “Homocon 2010” event in New York next month.
“The gay left has done their best to take all the fun out of politics, with their endless list of boycotts and protests. Homocon is going to be our annual effort to counter the ‘no-fun police’ on the left,” said Christopher Barron, Chairman of the Board of GOProud. “I can’t think of any conservative more fun to headline our inaugural party then the self-professed ‘right-wing Judy Garland’—Ann Coulter.”
Well, speaking as a party pooper from the gay left, I have so many problems with this whole thing it’s so hard to know where to start. First, Judy Garland should be spinning in her grave for the grievous insult that has been hurled her way by Barron.
Secondly, inviting Ann Coulter to a gay-affirming event is like inviting Pat Robertson to speak at the next gay Christian convention—and there are plenty of them held each year. I can imagine the flyer now, calling Pat the “conservative Christian Troy Perry.” (In 1968, Perry founded the Metropolitan Community Church, a predominately gay denomination, and would be rightly offended by such a comparison.)
Thirdly—and firmly in the “no-fun police” category—I am truly offended that GOProud is calling its gathering “Homocon.” Now, I understand self-deprecating humor, and I understand reclaiming pejorative words used against us (I, myself, prefer to be called a “dyke” instead of a “lesbian” because “lesbian” sounds so clinical, while “dyke” carries a lot of power), but why not just go ahead and call it “Fagcon” like Coulter will most likely do when she gets up on stage?
I always suspected that many gay Republicans were, deep down, self-loathing about their sexuality. This kind of event just proves it. Call it “Homocon” and invite a big old gay-baiter to come and, well, gay bait you to your face. What kind of self respecting person does that sort of thing willingly? GOProud isn’t just making fun of itself, it’s demeaning all of its gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in the meantime.
I hate to say it, but I agree with Peter LaBarbera at Americans for Truth About Homosexuality who asked Coulter to reconsider her appearance at GOProud—but certainly not for the same reasons. LaBarbera fears her appearance will send the message that homosexuality is okay and not sinful. He also asks: “Does God condemn only Democratic ‘men who lie with a male as one who lies with a woman’—while giving Republican sodomists a pass?” which really just makes me think GOProud has chosen the wrong speaker. I think LaBarbera would be much funnier than Coulter.
I, however, would urge Coulter to bow out of the event because she knows better. Despite her well-documented anti-gay vitriol, including calling both Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and former Vice President Al Gore “faggot,” Coulter has been spotted palling around with known homosexuals in the past, as Courage Campaign president Rick Jacobs noted in the Huffington Post. He spotted Coulter back in 2007 at “a new West Hollywood restaurant, owned by gay circuit party promoter Jeffrey Sanker, and lesbian night club owners Robin Gans and Sandy Sachs.”
Jacobs rightly wondered: “I could not tell if she was dining with people she hates or just demonstrating that she’s a fraud who says whatever she must to sell books so that she can live the gay urban lifestyle.”
I could tell Jacobs, however, that Coulter’s behavior is nothing new for conservative shills. Back in the early 90s, I worked with Sean Hannity at WGST Radio in Atlanta just as he got his big call to go to New York and work for FOX. Every day Hannity would rail against gays and lesbians, stirring up hatred and strife against them. Then, at lunch, he and his openly lesbian producer would head out for a friendly meal together. Before Sean left, I approached him in his office and asked if, for his last show, he’d lay off the gay baiting.
“No,” he told me. “I can’t do that. It’s part of the show.”
It’s part of the show, folks. Coulter knows it, Hannity knows it, and I’m sure plenty of other right-wing, paid-to-be-anti-gay talking heads know it. Above all, GOProud knows it—and with “Homocon 2010” they continue to foster it.
For all of those in on the joke, making hay by calling people “faggot” and daily committing the sin of bearing false witness against gays and lesbians, they may truly believe it’s all just “part of the show.” But, for their listeners, readers, and viewers, this is deadly serious stuff. Their words have meaning—and consequences. One fan even took up arms and went down to a local church to gun down the left-wing faithful after getting a belly full of hateful right-wing rhetoric.
But, hey, it’s all part of the show.
That’s why “Homocon 2010” is more “con” than anything else.