The Case for the Conservative Lesbian
posted at 1:24 pm on December 29, 2011 by Jazz Shaw
I was reading this piece at Slate by Dave Weigel which talks about Ron Paul’s problems with gay Republicans following revelations from some of his now infamous newsletters. In it he discusses the difficulties Paul could run into with gay voters and the conundrum this presents. On the one hand, he’s the “libertarian guy” who believes that the federal government has no place in the marriage discussion, along with some other positions which find favor in that sector. But when his name appears on a newsletter article which pines for “the glory days of the closet,” it would have to give some gay voters pause.
And if not Ron Paul, then who? This brings us back to an old chestnut where people ask how any gay person could vote for any Republican. I bring this up today because of a letter I received recently from a conservative who also happens to be a lesbian which tackles this question in a direct fashion. I have permission to reprint it, but because of her particular circumstances, the author shall remain anonymous. (So you are free to disregard this if you don’t care for unnamed sources.)
Answering the question of how somebody can be a politically conservative lesbian in the 21st century is harder than it sounds and still brings me some uncomfortable moments, but I can take a shot at it. It also matches up with how people in a supposedly enlightened age can still be in the closet. While I know it’s not the same thing and the metaphor fails, I tend to think of it as being something like being part of any other “assumed minority group” when it comes to voting. (And I simply gag on that phrase.) It’s kind of insulting to think that just because you happen to be Jewish, or black, or Hispanic, or Muslim, or a man, or a woman, old or young, – OR GAY – that somehow that sticks you into a particular folder and you need to agree with everyone else who fits that category on EVERYTHING.
These days it seems like the big defining thing about gays in politics is marriage. (Now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has gone away, which I see as a good thing, particularly since the love of my life was in the Air Force and in the closet also.) And for those who want to fight that battle, good for them. I just can’t get excited about the marriage question. I know many of our sisters do, and good for them, but here’s my main stand on that. I care more about my relationship with my girl and my God than I do about my relationship with the state. If we decide we want to be married, we will have a ceremony with our friends and family and take our vows before God. We will be married in our eyes and in the eyes of those that matter to us. I don’t know if that’s going to happen and neither of us is particularly worried about it. If the state or the nation think I’m married doesn’t matter much to me.
But I DO have concerns about our country when it comes to public policy, and most of my friends who are seriously engaged in politics over marriage push a whole bunch of policies which seem to me to be destructive. We have to cut the debt. We need our own energy that pays for itself. We need law and order and fairness under those laws for everyone. And my liberal friends don’t get that. And that ties in to the question you asked about jobs.
Why am I in the closet? Because where I work I found out early on that openly gay people of either sex were in for trouble. We live in a supposedly VERY liberal city, as you know, and the owners claim to be very progressive. But when it comes to having clients find out that anyone on the staff is gay, they say pretty much, “business comes first.” I could get [expletive deleted] off about that, but I need a job. And my employer needs customers. I can trash him for being “weak” and “not taking a stand” I guess, but I still wind up unemployed either way if he goes out of business. I honestly don’t give a [expletive deleted].
The world’s not a fair place full of unicorns and rainbows. I need to make a living. I need to have the country survive so I hopefully CAN make a living. Things will get better in the future. We have bigger fish to fry right now than having me just support people who think I should be able to get married but are sending America into a messed up situation where maybe nobody’s marriage will matter. I don’t have to be out. I don’t approve of forcibly outing private citizens. And just because I think some of my friends should be able to get married if they want to, it doesn’t mean I should vote for idiots if they agree on that one thing.
Here’s the portion of that which stood out most to me. “I care more about my relationship with my girl and my God than I do about my relationship with the state.” I have to wonder how prevalent that attitude is across the country, and if just maybe it might be the most libertarian stance of all. If you truly do follow a libertarian ideology and don’t think that the government should be involved in the business of marriage, why would you care if the state “endorsed” your marriage or not? Either it is the state’s business or it isn’t, right?