Alex Blaze

Identity and politics from a gay conservative viewpoint

Filed By Alex Blaze | January 31, 2009 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: conservative politics, gay Republicans, israel, James Kirchick, palestine, Republicans

One of the most annoying and hypocritical arguments homocons make is that gay identity should not affect someone's politics. We hear it in statements like "Just because I'm gay doesn't mean I'm liberal," "I'm not a single-issue gay voter," or "Gay issues aren't the only ones that are important to me."

OK, fair enough. I understand that position; in fact, I think almost all gay liberals probably believe that's true. Human experience is too complicated to be reduced to a question of sexual orientation. I'm liberal probably due to a number of factors, one of which is the fact that I'm gay. I get it.

But then they turn around, sometimes even in the same conversation, and start to push the proper gay point of view. Apparently there's a lot of whiplash involved in being a conservaqueer.

Just this past week, America's third-favorite gay Republican, James Kirchick, wrote a column for The Advocate about how silly San Francisco queers are for implying that there's a gay position on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The column was also about how the proper gay position on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is with Israel.

It must hurt a lot in Kirchick's head.

The constradictory statements aren't even that far apart, and Kirchick goes back and forth between them. Here's him complaining that there are queers in SF who want an even-handed solution to the conflict:

What makes QUIT oxymoronic is that their affinity for Palestine isn't reciprocated. There may be queers for Palestine, but Palestine certainly isn't for queers, either in the livable or empathetic sense. Like all Islamic polities, the Palestinian Authority systematically harasses gay people. Under the cloak of rooting out Israeli "collaborators," P.A. officials extort, imprison, and torture gays. But Palestinian oppression of homosexuality isn't merely a matter of state policy, it's one firmly rooted in Palestinian society, where hatred of gays surpasses even that of Jews. Last October, a gay Palestinian man with an Israeli lover petitioned Israel's high court of justice for asylum, claiming that his family threatened to kill him if he did not "reform." He's one of the few lucky Palestinians to be able to challenge his plight.

And here, two paragraphs later, is Kirchick arguing that one's sexuality shouldn't affect issues outside certain civil rights issues related to sexual orientation (I'm doubting he'd include gender identity, because, like, you know, just because a dude's gay doesn't mean he's not straight-acting):

It's these facts that make the notion of "Queers for Palestine" so bizarre. Contrary to what some gay activists might have you believe, there really are not that many political subjects where one's sexuality ought influence an opinion. Aside from the obvious issues related to civic equality (recognition of partnerships, open service in the military, etc.), how does homosexuality imply a particular viewpoint on complicated matters like Social Security Reform, health care policy, or the war in Iraq?

But then he makes this crazy statement about the GLF allying with organizations that were homophobic:

GLF leaders, for instance, played an instrumental role in the creation of the Venceremos Brigade, which dispatched starry-eyed American radicals to pick sugar cane in Cuba as a show of solidarity with the regime of Fidel Castro. (Like the Palestinian Authority, Communist Cuba didn't exactly return the kindness of its gay sympathizers; for decades it interned gays and HIV-positive individuals in prison labor camps). The GLF allied itself with a whole host of radical organizations (like the murderous Black Panthers) whose role in the struggle for gay equality was tenuous at best. And the very name of the GLF was adopted from the National Liberation Front, the moniker of the Vietnamese Communists.

Um, James? You know that one major party you and other gay Republicans ally with? The GOP? It's not that gay-friendly either. Just lettin' ya know, bro.

But I just don't get why the folks who are the most wrapped up in gay identity and using it to justify every position they hold are also the first ones to say that gay identity doesn't affect the rest of their politics, the ones who smugly claim that those folks who are gay and liberal just aren't thinking outside of their single-issues.

And if there's one thing Kirchick is, it's smug. If there's another thing he is, it's self-contradictory. So I wonder why the Advocate continues to run his non-sensical columns, which in and of itself should refute Kirchick's larger claims that conservatives are universally despised in the gay community....

But I'm sure they think they're being controversial and edgy and junk because they'll print his columns. And he thinks he's all controversial and edgy and junk by pushing the Washington establishment's line on most everything in a gay rag.

But why not offer a column to Ted Haggard instead? I hear he's looking for work, and his ideas are a lot more... fresh... than anything Kirchick's ever pounded on a keyboard.


Recent Entries Filed under Media:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.


Isn't "straight-acting" a self contradictory phrase? If your sexuality doesn't have a relationship to your gender expression - isn't the same true for straight guys?

Or - perhaps acting is the operative part of the phrase. A masculine gut is just a masculine guy regardless of being straight, gay or bi.

After reading some of James' turd tossing - it's difficult to take him seriously.

He's just a second rate Ann Coulter with a bad haircut.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | January 31, 2009 5:06 PM

Aside from the internal inconsistencies and lack of logic in Kirchick's thinking, the major question neither he nor any gay Republican I've asked will address is the official repudiation of their party. Whether it's the party platforms, both at a national and state level, or in statements and actions, Republicans make it perfectly clear that they condemn homosexuality.

At least the Democrats stand by us in theory and words, if not in actions.

As for people reading Kirchick's column in the Advocate, my gay nephew loves him.

steve tabarez | January 31, 2009 7:38 PM

Admittedly, I do understand GOP GAYS. At least why they align themselves to the GOP. IT's that scourge of the gay male in our sociey today. Setting oneself apart and above others to make one feel superior based on societal feelings of inadequacy in relation 2 the greater society. It feeds that need for acceptance. Gay liberals do that to each other all the time, as the conference demonstrates and is seeking to change. We are no better than thegay GOPers in that regard. We always take out on our own what tha greater society inflicts on us. They choose to to malign we liberals as a whole. His conflicting stances reflect his own conflicts that no matter how he tries to set himself apart, deep down he's still not accepted than we are. There is a lesson there. Are we learning it?

steve tabarez | January 31, 2009 7:43 PM

Admittedly, I do understand GOP GAYS. At least why they align themselves to the GOP. IT's that scourge of the gay male in our sociey today. Setting oneself apart and above others to make one feel superior based on societal feelings of inadequacy in relation 2 the greater society. It feeds that need for acceptance. Gay liberals do that to each other all the time, as the conference demonstrates and is seeking to change. We are no better than thegay GOPers in that regard. We always take out on our own what tha greater society inflicts on us. They choose to to malign we liberals as a whole. His conflicting stances reflect his own conflicts that no matter how he tries to set himself apart, deep down he's still not accepted than we are. There is a lesson there. Are we learning it?

Homocons, I like that. I usually agree with you about gays and the GOP. I think most log cabin types get so grumpy because the cognitive dissonance over the republican stance on gays gives them major headaches.

On the other hand, there are a lot of homocons who register, vote, and support democrats because of the GOP stance on us.

I have to admit that I agree with Kirchick vis-a-vis Palestine. Yeah, I support a two state solution and all that other jazz, but as a gay man I'm not as sympathetic toward folks who want to see me dead as I am those who will grant my kind asylum.

I think you omitted the take home point from the article:

None of this is to say that gay people are wrong for sympathizing with the downtrodden and genuinely oppressed; on the contrary, it’s an admirable quality. But all too often, ideologues with ulterior motives and radical agendas pervert this worthy instinct.

It’s one thing to express concern about the humanitarian conditions in the Palestinian territories. But to stand alongside the enthusiasts of religious fascism isn’t “progressive.” It’s obscene.


On the other hand, there are a lot of homocons who register, vote, and support democrats because of the GOP stance on us.

Definitely. There are a lot of "I wouldn't be a Democrat if I weren't gay" folks around. And usually they're the ones who hate gay republicans the most, which, well, on a certain level makes sense.

It’s one thing to express concern about the humanitarian conditions in the Palestinian territories. But to stand alongside the enthusiasts of religious fascism isn’t “progressive.” It’s obscene.

Well, I never really cared much for being progressive in and of itself, and I don't know what's motivating these folks in SF. But I think there's a difference between "standing by" a group of people by opposing slaughtering them, and "standing by" them by supporting their policy goals. I take the same stand with the Palestinians as I do with American fundies - I don't agree with their politics or religious viewpoints, but they shouldn't be killed because of them.

I don't think that was the take-home point of Kirchick's column, though, especially considering his hard-line in favor of any and all military actions Israel may want to take against the Palestinians (not mentioned in this column, but definitely implied). I think he just tacked it on at the end to avoid the specific criticism that his column is asking us to participate in divide and conquer against ourselves.

Also, thanks for commenting all the time. I appreciate your thoughts in the comments and people like you are one of the main reasons I do the blogging thing. :)

Born to priviledge, many eductaed overseas, out of touch with the mainstream with a disdain for the rough and tumble of real activism....
The Conserva-queer Homocons

I´m not a republican or a conservative nor Jewish, but I do feel much more sympathy with Israel. Regardless, Israel recognizes foreign same-sex marriages, which is better than most countries and has more protections for LGBTs than America. Palestine, and the muslim world in general, are among the most homophobic nations in the world. I would like to see the QUIT people go to Palestine and see what the palestinian reactions are.