The other day, I wrote a piece about Liberty Law’s withdrawal as a co-sponsor of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), due to the fact that the conservative gay group GOProud was also a sponsor. The fundamentalist freak-out, was, of course, inevitable, because groups like Liberty Law don’t believe that gay people deserve to be treated as human beings, much less as equal co-sponsors at wingnutty political conferences. I also pointed out that I find it strange that any group of self-respecting LGBT people would even want to align themselves with groups that see them as inferior, and who fight against their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Daniel Blatt at GayPatriot took issue with my piece, suggesting that the entire thrust of the piece was my antipathy to gay conservatives. Here’s part of what he said:
Gay activists should welcome this news; it shows that Americans of all stripes are becoming increasingly tolerant and accepting of gay people. And shouldn’t their goal be an America were gay people are welcome in all endeavors? But, it seems that trashing conservatives has become such a part of the modus operandi of some gay leftists that even as the facts change, their prejudices do not.
It would be one thing if GOProud’s inclusion in CPAC represented a legitimate opportunity for LGBT people to open hearts and minds among the CPAC set. But this is not that.
It might be helpful here to review who else is a co-sponsor at CPAC, for anyone who might be unaware of what kind of a scene CPAC is. Jeremy helpfully pointed out a few of the other groups on the roster:
-The National Organization For Marriage’s entire existence is built around hurting gay families.
-The Alliance Defense Fund goes to court to fight even the most basic pro-LGBT benefit or protection.
-Concerned Women For America’s most pressing “concern” of the past decade or so has revolved around the possibility that society might accept LGBT people.
-Focus on the Family is, well, Focus on the Family.
So, those four groups are very much still co-sponsors, along with GOProud. Now, lest anyone say “But Evan, maybe this is a good opportunity for the group to offer a voice of LGBT support to compete with those voices,” it’s useful to remember some other information. David Keene, who heads up CPAC’s organizing group, specifically stated that GOProud would not be offered a speaking spot at the conference and that, because of the CPAC consensus against LGBT people and issues, the subject of rights for our families wouldn’t even be “open to debate”:
In his e-mail response, Keene admitted GOProud “has signed on as a CPAC co-sponsor, but will have no speakers and we told them that, in fact, since opposition to gay marriage, etc are consensus positions (if not unanimous) among conservatives, these topics are not open to debate.”
…Keene’s e-mail defended the agreement, explaining GOProud’s “interest is in demonstrating that not all gays are liberals rather than promoting their life style.
Okay, so…GOProud can come, but they cannot talk. They can’t try to advocate for LGBT people being treated as equal citizens, because “opposition to gay marriage, etc. are consensus positions (if not unanimous).” They can come, as long as they don’t “promote their life style.”
Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but my sense of dignity as a gay man doesn’t put up with people who refer to my advocating for my own equal rights as “promoting my lifestyle.” My sense of dignity would be offended by a group saying that I can come to the party as long as I keep my faggoty mouth shut. (And that is exactly what CPAC said, when you translate it out of wingnut and into the slurs they prefer behind closed doors.) It would seem to me that GOProud has so deeply internalized the idea that they don’t deserve equal treatment that they are merely over-the-moon at being invited to breathe the same air space with the people who hate them the most. Some might call that progress, but I don’t buy it. I would have called that progress in 1975, but it’s 2010, and we’re dealing with real issues of equality now, having moved far beyond being simply thrilled to be invited.
So yes, Daniel, “an America where gay people are welcome in all endeavors” is indeed a worthy goal, and you be sure to let me know the second that CPAC offers you all a true opportunity to reach their people with the message of full equality for LGBT citizens. But as things currently stand, the anti-gay forces of NOM, Focus on the Family, the Alliance Defense Fund (currently fighting against us in California, in case you hadn’t heard) and Concerned Women for America have the microphone at CPAC, and GOProud is little more than a wallflower, content to play second fiddle to bigots in their desire to be included.
I, for one, have moved far beyond being excited that people will “tolerate” my “lifestyle.” Perhaps GOProud has not.
Enjoy your table scraps.