Recently, an article by author Chad Felix Green appeared in The Federalist. The article, titled The Stigma Against My Conservative Politics Is Worse Than The Stigma Of Being Gay is a point of view editorial by the author on his life, politics, and the backlash he’s faced since “coming out” as a conservative.
The response wasn’t great.
Like this from the Chairman of the Democratic Coalition
Or this from a Deadspin columnist.
The list goes on. Rest assured, there was more random hate and outrage spewed at Chad from the left-wing community. The above examples are just a sampling of the response from the media and blue checkmark brigade.
Full Disclosure: I’m not gay. But Chad is. A fact that is obvious since he wrote the piece but also because he doesn’t hide many details of his life. As he outlined in his response to Jon Cooper’s tweet:
Why The Outrage?
It would be easy to pass this off as more leftist hate and double-standards. Does the ideologically-driven “left” of this country really hate people who “wander off the plantation” as commentator and provocateur Candace Owens often puts it?
Sure. There is a growing and religion-level orthodoxy to far leftist thinking. It is seeping into mainstream culture and being propagated by the corporate media.
When Kanye West dared say something nice about Trump, Hollywood acted as though he had a brain tumor. Literally.
When Steve Harvey declared he would be open to working with Trump to bring about positive change in the black community, the backlash essentially sent him back into the woodwork.
When actor/writer/director Mark Duplass tacitly endorsed Ben Shapiro by saying, essentially, “hey, if you want to hear an honest voice from the other side, check this guy out” the outrage came for him as well. He was forced to retract.
Because feminist and sex educator Laci Green has *dared* converse with Conservatives and Republicans over the last few years; often debating them and taking a pretty typical “leftist” stance on most issues: she’s a travelling companion of the alt-right now, according to Vox.
The list goes on. The backlash against these individuals, as well as Chad Felix Green, shows the evangelical-level ferocity with which “the left” fights back against those who are led astray from the party line of the inter-sectional flock.
But of course, these views didn’t appear out of nowhere. Republicans and Conservatives have not historically been great on gay rights. However, the question is: where are they now?
Do Republicans Hate Gay People?
I am not now, nor have I ever been a registered Republican. However, I am far more “on the right” than “the left” so sure, I’ll stand-in for Republican thought here.
Do Republicans hate gay people? Some of them do, sure. The same as some Democrats do. Some Libertarians do as well. Green Party? I’m sure there’s homophobia in there as well. Traditionally, since Republicans were closely associated with certain religious groups, this has been magnified.
Those attitudes, however, are changing. As recently as 2001, a majority of Americans did not support same-sex marriage. That position has been changing rapidly since then.
Among religious-minded folks, attitudes have continued to change as well. Now, a majority of both Catholics and mainline Protestants support same-sex marriage.
When viewed through a partisan lens, Republicans have also been coming around.
In fact, a greater percentage of self-identified “Conservatives” (41%) are likely to support same-sex marriage than self-identified Republicans (40%).
We’re Moving In the Right Direction
I realize those numbers aren’t where “the left” want them to be. They aren’t where we, as a society, should want to be either. But to put it simply, things don’t change overnight. Attitudes and opinions don’t change because of a law or an outrage mob. Nor should we expect them to. Nor should we attempt to force them to, lest we’re okay with creating a backlash.
In just a little over a decade, attitudes towards same-sex marriage have more than completely reversed. From 54% opposing in 2007 to 62% supporting in 2017.
Perception, prejudice, bias, and hate do not disappear overnight. However, this is about as close to that occurring as you’re likely to see as an example.
No, I don’t think Republicans don’t by and large “hate” gay people. At least not the ones I’m familiar with and associate with. I’ve honestly not seen a real example of hatred directed towards homosexuality by anyone in my personal circle, past or present.
Is it true that some individuals may not approve of the lifestyle? Yes. And remember, according to the chart above, nearly 1/3 of Democrats would fall into that category as well.
And that has more to do with the fact that it takes time to bring about change.
My Own Story
If you had asked me 10 years ago if I supported gay marriage, my response would likely have been lukewarm at best. Maybe? Maybe not. If there was a a vote on it… I’m not sure I would have voted for it. Honestly? I don’t know.
I didn’t harbor any ill will towards the gay community, mind you. And I didn’t think being gay was bad, wrong, or sinful. Truth be told, I don’t think I had a strong opinion on it. I honestly don’t know. I don’t know why most of America didn’t support gay marriage back then either. We, as a society, just didn’t.
My views on this, and many other things, have changed. And they didn’t change because an angry mob yelled at me for being homophobic. They didn’t change because a law was passed to punish me if I said “hey, I’m not sure about gay marriage.” My views didn’t change because gay marriage was upheld by the Supreme Court. No. None of these moved the needle.
They changed for the same reason that anyone else changes their mind. Time and experience.
When It Happens Close To Home
For a time I worked in a profession where homosexuals are, let’s say, well represented. I came to enjoy working with these individuals and considered a few of them friends.
Yes, I had (and have) gay friends. Some of them became close friends. The same as any other friendship.
For me, the primary change to my way of thinking came from a particular experience I had. Several years ago and through my work I had become friendly with a lesbian couple. I had known them for several years at this point. Our relationship was a typical employee/customer relationship but it was friendly and in many ways personal.
One of the women became sick. Very sick. She required a major surgery to get better. Her partner, a woman with whom she’d been in a committed relationship with for upwards of 20 years, was not allowed any type of spousal or partner privilege. This would have been around 2007ish. Gay marriage wasn’t legal yet at this time.
In the eyes of the medical community (and more specifically, the laws governing it), she was basically a concerned friend. And friends don’t get granted special permissions, privileges, or access.
These two women were every bit as connected and committed to one another as any heterosexual couple. Yet, the doctors wouldn’t (couldn’t) discuss treatment options, test results, prognosis, etc. Nothing. Family members only. And you’re not family.
I didn’t agree with that. It seemed wrong. It was.
That Did It.
And so my mind changed. It had already been changing before then, but this was the final experience which caused me to re-examine my stance and change my mind. And it changed because that’s how mind’s change. Through time and experience. Through exposure to different people, cultures, and situations.
It wasn’t because a law was passed. And it wasn’t because an angry mob shamed me into getting on board. It was because the reality of the situation had hit close enough to home that I was able to have a serious conversation with myself and decide.
I realize we live in a woke culture where everyone is supposed to take an obvious stance on issues like this. Younger folks may not realize that there was a time not too long ago where we, as a society, didn’t “just know” the correct stance to take.
So What Now?
I’m sure some Republicans do hate gay people. And I’m sure some Democrats do as well. Which is all the more reason, in my opinion, to treat people like individuals and judge them on their actions and words rather than whatever immutable characteristic box we can put them in.
It’s also all the more reason to not ascribe a presumed viewpoint or policy position to someone based solely on the letter (R) or (D) next to their name. People are a diverse group. Our opinions are often complicated. Sometimes they conflict with one another. Sometimes they go against stereotypical expectations.
If you believe in ideas rather than assumptions; in principles rather than people, you’ll find fellow travelers in places you didn’t think you would.
Back to Chad
What is clear, however, is that the people who came to attack Chad Felix Green were not Republicans who were outraged by him daring to compare his Conservative-ness to being gay. It was the left-wing outrage brigade which sought to ridicule him for daring to say “hey, it was tougher for me to be accepted as a conservative than as a gay man.”
I’m sure that’s not the experience of everyone who “comes out” as gay, conservative, or both. However, that was his. Agree, disagree, or other. Think it doesn’t matter? That’s fine. Think he’s crazy? Okay. Think he’s just plain old wrong about this? Hey, that’s fine too.
But don’t try to silence him or tell him to shut up for sharing his experience. You’re free to dismiss it. That’s your right. But if I know Chad (and I don’t), I don’t think you’ll have much luck getting him to shut up.
What’s also clear is that those who came to Chad Felix Green’s defense were not Liberal Democrats. They weren’t cut from the Progressive cloth. They were Conservatives, Republicans, and Libertarians.
Draw whatever conclusions you like from that. Call it pandering to those evil gay-hating Republicans if you will. I happen to think Chad would call it progress.
So would I.