Lavender (But Not Pink)

Why should strange bedfellows make politics?
Why should free markets be incompatible with freedom to love?
Why should people who are fighting government control over their sex lives want to give that same government control over their money?



I've always been gay, and I've always been a Republican. Why one's sexual orientation should influence one's politics completely eludes me. Yet the gay Republicans I know have received more discrimination from other gays for being Republicans than from other Republicans for being gay. It is to the gay community that I have had to say, "I am queer, I am here, I'm not going anywhere."

My idea of gay rights is that we should be allowed to take on exactly the same responsibilities that heterosexuals do: to make a lifelong commitment to the person we love, to behave responsibly in our sexual lives, to be productive citizens.

The track records of Republican and Democrat politicians clearly show that Democrats are a serious threat to both our economy and to our safety, whether from hostile nations abroad or crime in the street. Especially since 9/11, it is nothing short of irresponsible for anyone to vote for Democrats, who will either do nothing about terrorism or do ineffective things like appeal to the UN. Some homosexuals have told me that until the GOP becomes in favor of gay marriage and other gay issues, I should vote Democrat despite my convictions. In response, let me tell my straight fellow Americans that I have no intention of seeing you murdered by terrorists or living in poverty just so I can get laid.

Lesbians are a tiny minority in the Log Cabin Republicans. At one meeting, in fact, I approached the only other woman there and said, "Finally, another woman member!" She replied, "Well, not yet. But I hope to be by Christmas." It took me a few minutes to realize that she didn't mean that she hoped to be a member by Christmas.

People started hassling me for being a Republican long before I came out, however. In fact, only once have I been harassed for being gay, but dozens of people have made my life miserable for being a Republican. A few years ago, I almost had to quit my job because my colleagues harassed me so much about my political beliefs, shouting incoherent insults at me and so on. Another time, I had to stop attending a painting class I was taking because the instructor found out I was a Republican and started spending the entire class hassling me over it instead of teaching. And these are just two of numerous, very painful incidents. Ironically, I find that (straight) people who know that I'm gay are more willing to accept that I am a Republican. Go figure.

I'm often asked, "How can a Lesbian be a Republican?" I usually explain that I believe in laissez-faire capitalism, personal freedom and personal responsibility, but that's not what they mean. What they mean is, why aren't I doing what everyone else is doing? Why am I doing things the hard way by going somewhere where I'm not always wanted?

Segregation was not abolished by black Americans going only where they were already welcome, because they weren't welcome much of anywhere. They integrated America by going en masse to places where they weren't welcome and refusing to leave.

Democrats like to pretend to be gay-friendly, but they rarely come through on their promises to us. Their whole tactic with us is, "You don't want one of those horrible Republicans to get elected, do you?" They take us for granted and rarely do anything for us. Republican politicians are perceived as less gay-friendly, but this is chiefly because they only make promises they intend to honor.

I am a Republican. That is to say, my convictions are those of the Republican party. I can no more change that than I can change my orientation. Since I am a Republican, it's my responsibility to influence my party to change the only thing it's currently doing wrong.

Every election pretty much comes down to a choice between a Democrat and a Republican. Because of that, it is vitally important for gays to have a voice in both parties. It is not good for us to have a constant choice between a party that takes us for granted (Democrats) and a party that has little stake in our community (Republicans). So even if you're a far-left Democrat, you should be glad that our people are represented in both major parties. My opinion of Democrats is not high, to say the least, but I am glad that some of my people are actively making themselves heard in that party.

The most pleasant encounter I have ever had with a gay liberal was none other than Candace Gingrich. I met her at an HRC function. I was wearing a pretty silk dress with ruffles, high heels, stockings, jewelry, makeup, and long curled hair. She was wearing overalls, a flannel shirt, and sneakers, and her hair is in a buzz cut. I shook her hand and thanked her for the friendly remark she had made about the Log Cabin Republicans in an interview of her I had read.

Now, you would expect a left-wing androdyke to whip out a cross and garlic on meeting an ultrafemme lipstick Lesbian Log Cabin Republican. But she didn't. She smiled, all friendliness, and said that she favored gay people having all the same choices that straight people did. She and I will never agree on very many things, but for this, she will always have my respect.


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