Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Gay Republicans

On Oct. 8 the NY Times ran an article on how the Foley case is causing panic among gay Republicans in Washington. It seems that a large number of powerful Republican congressional aids are gay. On Oct. 5 in the Guardian, Sydney Blumenthal called the group of Republican congressional aids the largest walk in closet in Washington.

I don't know whether to be more horrified by an impending anti gay witch hunt or by being made aware that there are so many, so powerful gay Republicans.

The gay Republicans justify their position by claiming that they are fiscal and even social conservatives, but want to change the Republican party's anti gay stance. I can't buy that position, especially since gay Republicans have been instrumental in drafting and promoting anti gay policies and legislation. Their role can be explained only by their own self loathing and selfish pursuit of power and career gains.

But perhaps we shouldn't be all that surprised. Gays are no different from any other persecuted minority. Historically, there have frequently been members of the persecuted group who have gone over to the side of the oppressors. As I have mentioned in comments on other posts, Torquemada, the most feared of the Spanish inquisitors, was a converted Jew. I work in a field dealing with political, social, and racial persecution, and my work gives me, unfortunately, an opportunity to see examples of this "turncoating" regularly.


Blogger RIC said...

So true, Bruce, unfortunately so true... Ā«TurncoatingĀ» has always been a rather lucrative behaviour... Around here, there have been more examples than fish in the ocean... Our socialist Prime Minister while on a visit to a public school just decided he should make the sign of the cross in a classroom... Nobody understood why...
Thank you!

6:55 AM  
Blogger Ur-spo said...

that was a thoughtful post
I always want to 'print them' and pass them around.

9:00 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

The "open secret" of Karl Rove's and Ken Mehlman's secret orientations have been out there for years too. The thought of those two on my team just makes my skin crawl. What a couple of boner killers. I think the extent of self-loathing gays, and "reformed gays" in the Republican ranks would stun most, if it were visible to anyone outside.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Bruce said...


As I mentioned in this post, I work in a field that brings me into close contact with members of various types of persecuted groups. I generally explain the turncoating phenominon as a result of self loathing produced by extended persecution.

Self hate is, in fact, a clinically recognized effect of persecution. People are even ashamed to admit that they have been persecuted, since an extended period of persecution generally results in the persecuted group's believing that the oppressors were somehow justified in persecuting them. A very frequent effect of this process is that a certain number of the oppressed cross over the line and join the oppressors.

Nevertheless, I have trouble using this analysis to explain some of the key gay Republican congressional aides or cases like Rove and Mehlman. Self loathing is obviously there, but in these cases what is even more obviously the case is ruthless, unprincipled ambition and lust for power.

12:26 AM  
Blogger farmboyz said...

Funny. Channeled correctly, the desire to become someone other than oneself can produce a sterling actor or singer. Or, with a slight modulation of parenting or circumstances, a loathesome gay Republican. A twist of the genes!

7:45 PM  
Blogger Bruce said...

Farmboyz, are you suggesting (as a corollary to your comment) that it is the persecution of gays, and the self dissatisfaction it causes, that has produced a gay contribution to the arts out of proportion to our numbers? Maybe so, but I would hope that we could make such contributions without being knocked about so much.

8:31 AM  
Blogger Dyneslines said...

Surely Tomas de Torquemada was not a converted Jew, but a converso. Spanish conversos were the descendents of converted Jews.

For that reason, the comparison with the gay Republicans does not fit. A closer analogy would be with the so-called "ex-gays." Once I went to a presentation of four such individuals. One of them cruised me so intensely that I had to conclude that his conversion was very superficial, to say the least.

Even closer would be the children of gays and lesbians who denounce homosexuality. Karl Rove seems to be an example; his father was gay. I do not think that Karl Rove is personally gay, but Ken Mehlman very likely is.

Is Mehlman really self-hating? One of his principle causes seems to be to bring African-Americans and other minorities into the Republican Party. I don't think that he is doing this out of cynicism, but through genuine conviction. To be sure, it would be better if he denounced antigay bigotry in the GOP, but maybe he is doing all he can.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Bruce said...

Of course, you're right, Torquemada was a converso, a descendent of converted Jews, but in the atmosphere of inquisitional Spain, the difference between a converso and someone who had converted himself was only academic.

Shortly after Torquemada's death the Spanish crown codified what had already long been the popular attitude, that it was not sufficient to follow Catholic dogma to the letter; ones ancestry had to be free of the stain of Jewish blood. Spain's early XVI century edicts of purity of blood were Europe's first racial laws. Since he was not an "Old Christian," Torquemada had a very troublesome skeleton in his closet. It was, in fact, to prevent conversos like Torquemada from coming to power that the edits of purity of blood were enacted. (But I'll stop here. This is, of course, a site dealing with gay issues and not one devoted to Spanish history.)

12:52 AM  
Blogger Mr.Brian/Mr.Fletcher said...

I agree....either revelation is equally mortifying.

9:44 AM  
Blogger HAIRYBEARS said...


2:43 PM  
Blogger Anthony said...

Thank goodness that here in Canada we have more that just "the lesser of the two evils" to choose from in government. They're are many od us who are fiscally conservative but socially liberal, in Canada, we are Liberals and it is not a dirty word much like it is in the U.S.. We can have a voice in government and not have to be seen as a "turncoat" in order to attempt to make changes.

7:31 PM  

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