I am finally ready to come out of the closet.
I am a proud Republican.
I am also gay, in my twenties, and attending a liberal university where the number of German Literature majors exceeds the paltry pack of conservatives on campus. Admittedly, my peers are supportive of their gay classmates. However, my Republican comrades do not fair as well in the “tolerant and accepting” atmosphere promoted in our college brochures. Nevertheless, people understand that, unlike the Boogey Monster, Republicans actually exist, albeit we may be as frightening as childhood nightmares.
Unfortunately, the combination of “gay” and “Republican” is as dangerous as putting Bea Arthur at President Bush’s dinner table. My freethinking, magnanimous peers adopt a surprisingly provincial view when confronted with the “unnatural” coalescence of these identities. The rhetoric I often hear reminds me of the bigoted speech I thought liberals eschewed. While Republicans on campus are rarely given the opportunity to defend their beliefs, to my chagrin, I am continually called upon to justify my political orientation. It is amazing that in the twentieth century I am not questioned and badgered about my homosexuality; rather I am regularly harangued regarding my “confused” politics (that surely stem from my own self-loathing). Many people are simply unwilling to accept that a person can be both gay and Republican.
I recently came out again as a conservative to a new acquaintance after she had been “Republican bashing.” The dialogue that followed mirrored the countless other discussions I have had regarding my apparently dichotomous orientations. First, my homosexuality is questioned. Then I am told that I am actually just a conservative Democrat who must have slipped on the way into the poll booth, hit my head, lost control of my bodily functions, and accidentally voted for President Bush. (Damn those butterfly ballots!) Although I may initially begin by protecting my beliefs, the conversation inevitably ends with me defending my existence.
Of course, I have faced hardship from both sides. Few conservatives are quick to embrace a man who watches Ugly Betty right after The O’Reilly Factor (and just between us, I faithfully watch reruns of the Golden Girls). Similarly, I am cast off like an old pair of Ugg Boots as soon as the gay community finds out I am conservative. I do not have a proper place within either group. I understand my peers’ curiosity regarding Republican-voting gays, but I cannot comprehend the assertion that the two qualities are mutually exclusive. Apparently Descartes’ hackneyed adage “I think, therefore I am” does not apply to gay Republicans.
Luckily, the perception of homosexuals and Republicans is broadening. Gays are no longer typecast as effete men, and the Republican Party is gradually diversifying.
I believe that gay Republicans exist. More importantly, I believe that groups like the Log Cabin Republicans are a harbinger of a more visible and prominent future for homosexuals in the Republican Party – and of a more tolerant society willing to accept them.
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