Guest Blogger

Who We Are: A Response from a Black Log Cabin Republican

Filed By Guest Blogger | June 20, 2011 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: gay GOP, Log Cabin Republicans, republican racism, Robert Turner

Editors' Note: Guest blogger Robert Turner is president of the DC Chapter of Log Cabin Republicans.

Robert-Turner-headshot.jpgWe often use race and gender as a way to shame or silence our adversaries. But we should try to go beyond skin color to genuine ideas. We are not, thankfully, in the old days of segregation and Jim Crow, but neither are we within a post-racial world yet. In order to get beyond race, we need to deal honestly with people who try to use race to divide or deride.

Bilerico contributor Alex Blaze recently wrote about how the leadership of Log Cabin Republicans is so "white and male." While Mr. Blaze drew the reader in by first talking solely about the national board of Log Cabin, he swiftly pulled a bait and switch further into his column by expanding his examination to all leadership positions within the organization.

So imagine my surprise when he asked is it really "that there are almost no queer people of color or women who are Republican?" Or his odd statement of questioning why "women and minorities are less likely to be in leadership positions" within the gay right. At first glance, I thought 'so what?' But something kept me coming back to his piece.

As a black man who's President of DC Log Cabin Republicans, I should be offended. But I'm not. It is nothing more than the status quo from the gay left.

The Log Cabin Republicans are a cross-section of not only the Grand Ole Party, but also of the LGBT community. In the last presidential election, 27% of gays voted Republican. We range from RINOs to right-wingers to proud members of the Tea Party. We are well off and upwardly mobile, as well as lower to middle class just getting by. We are white, black and brown; male and female, and even transgender.

But this is an anathema to what liberals believe. The left believes the Republican Party, and to much affect the Tea Party movement, is a bunch of rich, white guys who are surely sexist and racist. But tell that to South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, or New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez. Or better yet, the dozen or so minority freshman Republicans elected to Congress last year who were supported by the Tea Party, but I digress.

One couldn't help but wonder if our protagonist had taken the same strict scrutiny to our counterparts, the National Stonewall Democrats. While a quick cursory look at their webpage showed an abundance of lesbians on their Board of Directors, there was a dearth of minorities. Still, no questions as to where are the black and brown gay Democrats in leadership positions.

Perhaps it doesn't matter that Log Cabin Republicans have women and minorities leading strong chapters in places like DC, Chicago, and San Diego. That's merely an inconvenient truth!

Being a gay Republican is sometimes tough because both sides of the political spectrum discount us. Some on the right don't think we're true conservatives. To the left, my individualism reeks of selfishness, self-hate, and even betrayal by some. How silly to think the rainbow flag we hold so dear as a community represents strength through diversity.

But throwing in the additional identifier of being black or brown can often cause apoplectic shock to those in the other party. So when they say they don't mean to bean count, that's exactly what they mean to do. You see, we create a chasm in the gay left's demand for political solidarity.

The type of presumed innocence espoused by Mr. Blaze isn't compelling at all. When our modern movement first started back at Stonewall, one seriously doubt any of the early questions asked were "To which party do you belong?" or "Do we have enough dark people in our ranks?" The question on everyone's mind was about whom among the gathered masses would stand up and fight; stand up for equality.

When I was first elected President of the DC Chapter of Log Cabin Republicans last year, I declined to make an issue of being the first black president of a chapter. I believed, then and now, that my race should not be an issue. My talents and energies as an activist should be the measuring stick of my success.

To paraphrase Dr. King, we should not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of our character. The Log Cabin Republicans - especially the DC Chapter -- have moved beyond bean counting. When will Mr. Blaze and the gay left?


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While you claim some that are "Transgender" members a word by the way I find offensive how come when I reached out to the Log Cabin Republicans my call wasn't returned? I didn't mention the TS vs Transgender debate just that I was transsexual and interested in finding out if you would allow me or others like me to join your organization. I gotta tell you the silence was deafening and I am a former registered Republican of the Northern kind.

I agree. It's a relief to know that race isn't an issue for the right. As evidenced at the Republican Leadership Conference, it wasn't an issue at all during that little Obama impersonator act. In fact, it was SO not an issue that no one thought to pull him during the anti-gay and racist parts of his bit. It was so not an issue that they let him keep going and only pulled him when he took shots at your beloved party's front runners. How's that for not caring about race? Clearly post-racial people there. Or did any of you in attendance do what I imagine you always do: roll with the punches, take it on the chin, and spin it as a bunch of fringe outdated clowns in your party?

Fiscal conservatism is well worth the price of tolerating and even engaging in apologeticism for blatant racial prejudice and homophobia for the queer right, huh? Ann Coulter says "I just don't think you should be allowed to get married" and GOProud says, "Oh, she loves us! That kidder. What an ally." The Republican Leadership Conference hires a man to crack jokes about Obama's white mother loving a black man, Obama being biracial, he and his wife looking like Sanford and Son, and crack jokes about Barney Frank being gay, and what do you have to say, I wonder?

Well, for sure there are plenty of right-wing transsexual women. And I think they all post here at Bilerico.

"When our modern movement first started back at Stonewall, one seriously doubt any of the early questions asked were "To which party do you belong?" or "Do we have enough dark people in our ranks?" The question on everyone's mind was about whom among the gathered masses would stand up and fight; stand up for equality."

Truly, drag queens are spinning in their graves(!) at the audacity you have comparing Log Cabins' struggle with Stonewall. As "gay" republicans who TIME AND TIME again give money, actively support, and work to empower politicians WHO ACTIVELY VOTE/WORK AGAINST OUR CIVIL RIGHTS AND EQUALITIES, you are spitting on the memory of ALL that the Stonewall rebellion stood for.

Were they fighting for the right to be treated as second class citizens? Were the Stonewall participants fighting for friggin' tax cuts? Or for the rights of corporations to shirk all societal responsibilties and regulatory oversight? Hardly! A typical attempt at revisionist history and deception that republicans specialize in.

Try as I might, I can find no compassion or agreement with gay republicans...it is repeatedly clear that LCR's GoProud, etc... are only too happy to sell out the rights of LGBT people for whatever financial crumbs anti-gay republican politicians offer. For shame...and if you expect ANY self-respecting, equality demanding LGBT person to support your efforts to do such, you're delusional.

If you can't speak the truth about your own party, and it's grossly offensive and damaging history of attempting to harm LGBT people, you will NEVER find majority acceptance among LGBT people, nor should you. We deserve FAR better.

My problem with the gay Republicans is that same one I have with my family: How can they claim to be on "my side" and still do so much (vote, give money, verbally support) to empower the people who would, probably, literally wipe me off the face of the earth if they didn't have a society and a law enforcement system stopping them? (Commenter Dennis, above, comes close to making this point.)

I don't have a problem with people wanting lower taxes, or less government, or less government paperwork or regulation. I do have problems with people who pretend to be what they are not (claiming to be on "my side" when I'd be one of the first to be thrown into their concentration camp), who commit fraud (it's called "laissez-faire" economics), who want to use the government to force their religious viewpoints upon me, and who do not want to pay for the social services that some people need, then complain when there are too many homeless people hanging out on the streets outside their office building.

As to whether the gay Republicans are more racist or more anti-feminist than the LGBT population at large -- I doubt it. Our LGBT world is way too white-centric, male-centric, youth-centric, and wealth-centric, so much so that the white, male, young and wealthy among us can't even see it. And for that there is plenty enough blame to go around.

Even having said all that, I wish the progressive-identified portion of the LGBT community would quit attacking Log Cabin/GoProud quite so much, and accept gay Republicans as part of the political landscape, even amongst our own. But the problem is that politics is all about power.

beergoggles | June 20, 2011 10:01 PM

Pretzel apologetics while trying to deflect blame to the left. Can't Republicans learn any new tricks?

Also all the clueless commenters who think republicans have any fiscal conservatism, I suggest u familiarize yourself with history. Hint: try going to google.com and typing "republican fiscal myth".

"Or better yet, the dozen or so minority freshman Republicans elected to Congress last year who were supported by the Tea Party, but I digress."

Um... Alan West.

While the left is lousy with transphobes, you can't swing a thinktank appointment on the right without finding one.

So, I'm still waiting for that discussion of ideas. And, btw, are we talking about the South Carolina governor Nikki Haley who swallowed her Indian heritage so she could seek aid in comfort inside a party that threatens to withhold emergency funds for the victims of Joplin unless there is an equal cut in spending like, say, studies in reducing alternative, energy-efficient fuels? (While giving the Oil Industry subsidies??)

Give me a break. You're on the wrong side of history and I don't care how cliche it comes across but any self-respecting LGBTQ - black, brown or taupe, with or without a penis or clit, should be ashamed to call themselves a member of a party that spends 500K dollars of taxpayer money to defend a law that even our President and Attorney General have acknowledged is unconstitutional.

Alex is right. You my friend, aren't wrong. Just severely, deeply and utterly misguided.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 21, 2011 3:59 AM

In spite of the fact that they're fiercely competitive the debates between Democrats and Republicans are pretty much pointless. The twin parties of the rich, with their wars, union busting and use of various forms of bigotry to divide and rule can best be thought of as utterly bloodthirsty rival street gangs. They're in the same business, political prostitution, and engage in political and financial corrupt practices and conspiracies to hide the crimes of the rich and their own war crimes. Their stock in trade is votes and winning office to get rich and powerful.

But are they fundamentally that different? The question can be answered by asking if it's true that Obama is the most successful Republican President since Bill Clinton. Remember it was Clinton who first championed and then signed Republican supported or initiated bills like NAFTA, DADT, DOMA and for the deregulation of predatory lenders.

For his part Obama did a much better job of increasing the number of empire building wars to steal land, oil and resources than Bush. He did far more to enable the rape of the environment, to give the rich bailouts instead of requiring them to meet bail and to trample the Bill of Rights? He busted the UAW and is far more effective at wrecking unions, keeping unemployment high and wages low than the Bushes, Walker and their ilk.

Democrats are far and away the least honest and better lliars. The Republicans tend to be more open about their unashamed role as guardians of the wealth and privilege of the uber rich. And both have nothing real to offer our communities, working people, people of color and the antiwar movement.

Both parties and the system they compete in are irreformable. The Republicans tend to be more open about their unashamed role as guardians of the wealth and privilege of the uber rich. I can accept the fact that they compete, but not the idea that they have any debatable differences. It really is true that a Democrat (politician) is just a Republican in drag.

What I find interesting is Robert took the time to submit this. Yet has not taken the time to come back and address the very very valid points by posters like Dennis and A.J. How they can support candidates who don't support our equal rights. LCR is nowhere near as bad as GOProud but they support a party that has some pretty anti-gay planks in that platform.

HHHMMMM, Let's see, it hasn't been 24 hours yet since the original post went up and already there is criticism of not being responsive to the points others have raised.

Could it be that some people actually have a life, job, responsibilities and don't spent every waking moment online?

Wait... so your response to my statement about how the Log Cabin national leadership is very male and very white is to point out that there is one lower-ranking, local Log Cabin Republican who's black and male?

Um.... OK.

Brad Bailey | June 21, 2011 6:57 PM

I agree, the system is broken. So where do we go from here?

We have to admit that there are plenty of self serving gays who could care less about anyone other than themselves. Just like Justice Thomas, they know where the money is and are more that willing to sellout those less fortunate. If the santorum fits, let them wear it. Just don't patronize the dupes. If the Christian right has their way, the Log Cabins will burn with the rest of us.
Tammi Dee Voytek

The issue is not one of conservative vs liberal. The issue is that you support a party that is neither fiscally conservative and does not in any way resemble the party of Lincoln. The republican party of today is fiscally irresponsible, perhaps even more so than the extreme left. They want nothing more from you than faking in line and supporting their out of their mind candidates on election days.

As an independent, i vote for the candidate, not the party. I do not understand how LGBT voters, voters of color, or the many who live paycheck to paycheck can stand with a party that panders to the wealthy at the detriment of the other 98% of three population or who desire to move us from a representative democracy to a hidden theocracy.

Do you really think that the party is anything like a small government, fiscally prudent party is claimed to be. To MSER, it appears today's Republicans want to be more involved in part lives by singling out minorities of all flavors for failure while spending more and more ( which party has had a surplus in the part couple of decades?) by taking from the middle class, which is shrinking more every day, ignoring those in need ( in direct opposition to their supposed Christian values) just to make sure that the very rich continent to be even more so. How is it fiscally responsible to start two wars, one of which at least should never have happened) while cutting taxes in a way that certainly benefits the very wealthy more than the test of the population, then hiding the costs, in money and lives by leaving those costs out of their budget, then mistreating those who went to fight once they were harmed enough that they could no longer serve?

I understand what conservatives beleive. But the Republican party, and the Log Cabin members don't see to. How do you justify supporting a party that has no intention of doing anything to sorry you

Brad Bailey | June 22, 2011 4:31 PM

The Republican Party is fascist at its core.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 22, 2011 7:40 PM

Since Bill Clinton was the most successful Republican president (NAFTA, DADT, DOMA, deregulation) since Nixon and since Obama is a far more successful Republican president than Bush2 (more wars, bailouts instead of bail for the banksters, torpedoing same sex marriage in three states in 2008) does that make them fascists too?

Brad Bailey | June 22, 2011 9:14 PM

No, it makes them Republicans in drag.

I think you and I agree with much more than you think we do. I've read your recent posts and agree with you that both the Reps and Dems have become money whores, and that the system is irreformable.

My question for you is where do we do from here?
There is no confirmed socialist nominee for POTUS. So are you going to vote?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 22, 2011 10:31 PM

Q. So are Clinton and Obama fascists in drag?

A. No they're not, they're just garden variety snakes in the grass, tawdry political prostitutes like their Republican cousinbrothers and sisternieces. Many Republicans - Limbaugh, Buchanan, Beck - will continue all the way right and help found a fascist party, or less likely, remake the Republican party along fascist lines but we're not there yet.

There are no left and socialist candidates at this time. I'll see about voting when we get closer to the election and take a look at the nominees and see if they can be put on the ballot here in Nevada. If not I'll vote for my favorite - 'None Of The Above Candidates'.

For socialists and revolutionists electoral politics are at best an educational and organizing tool. Elections and court decisions may validate change but they don't create change. Reforms and more fundamental, revolutionary changes are created by mass action. That's the clear lesson of every great advance towards democracy in American history, but we aren't even close to being a democratic society. We won't be until workers parties and a workers government enshrine economic democracy in the Constitution along with constitutional guarantees to good income, socialized medicine, good housing, social ownership of the commanding heights of industry, agriculture and finances, an end to wars, draconian punishments for bigotry, racism and etc.

Brad Bailey | June 22, 2011 11:16 PM

I appreciate your response.