The empathy gap of gay conservatives is the problem, not their political ideology.

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On Thursday, I attended an event at the Metropolitan Republican Club in Manhattan where four conservative gay white men sat on a panel on the tony Upper East Side of Manhattan to sing the praises of Donald Trump and the contemporary GOP. Panelists included Fred Karger, a gay Republican who ran for president in 2012; Gregory Angelo, president of the Republicans of Log Cabin; Chadwick Moore, a former Outside editor who recently turned out to be a conservative; and Lucian Wintrich, a follower of the disgraced Milo Yiannopoulos, and another gay provocateur who now covers the White House for the right-wing blog, Gateway Pundit. The question for the evening was whether conservatism, with its supposed emphasis on individual freedom, is a more natural focus for LGBTQ Americans than progressivism. (Spoiler alert: this is not the case.)

The group offered a wide range of views on LGBTQ issues, politics and culture, probably not that different, at least in breadth, from the range of views found among the LGBTQ left. But there was one common theme that greatly alarmed me: a radical lack of empathy on the part of gay men who witnessed – but failed to see – the meaningless persecution of despised minorities, as vulnerable today as they are. were a few years ago, by the party they proudly displayed. endorse.

I’ve heard “tranny” – a term widely regarded as an insult among transgender people – thrown out by Wintrich with impunity, amid jokes about progressives’ agitation over the transgender toilet issue. (He probably missed the hypocrisy of apologizing in the middle of the discussion for using the restroom, no questions asked. That must be cool.) The president’s withdrawal of federal guidelines ordering public schools to allow students transgender people to use toilets that match their gender identity has been dismissed as a simple reminder to the government to excess. I heard jokes from the panel that Caitlyn Jenner was busy until “after surgery.” (You see? Trans people are nothing more than their “gender reassignment surgeries.”) I’ve heard that Donald Trump should be thanked by all LGBTQ people for raising a rainbow flag and declared that same-sex marriage was an established law, without anyone mentioning it. he is still officially opposed to the equality of marriage.

I have heard endless complaints about the political correctness of the left, including the parody of Berkeley, the birthplace of the free speech movement, preventing Conservatives from speaking out on campus. I have heard serious fears about the radical Islamic terrorist attacks “twice a week” in Europe and the great danger of having the Second Amendment withdrawn (“freedom to marry, freedom to wear” was a slogan uttered with a satisfied smile. ). Wintrich wondered how progressives could still view African Americans as oppressed when slavery ended so long ago.

I heard a revisionist story from Log Cabin Republicans who sought to erase GOP responsibility for dozens of same-sex marriage bans between 1995 and 2012. As further evidence of the Republican enlightenment on marriage equality, I heard that Republican Senator Rob Portman, who reversed his opposition to marriage equality when his son was released, had changed his stance “for reasons of principle” – he wanted to take care of his family – while Democrats who spoke for marriage equality did so only for political reasons. If the principle places the welfare of your son above the concerns of your constituents and the politics reflect where your constituents are on evolving social issues, maybe the politics are not so bad.

After the panel, I spoke to gay Republicans in the audience who said there should be an intelligence test for immigrants wishing to enter the country, and that Jews should still be allowed in because they have superior intelligence. One person said he had nothing against Mexicans but that they should stay in their own country and work to improve it. He then explained that he went to Harvard with “rich and white” Mexicans whom he liked very much. “But stupid people, I don’t want them.”

What I didn’t hear — in the midst of agony over the terrorism problem in Europe — was anything about the 30,000 gun deaths each year in the United States, which far exceed all of them. terrorist deaths in Europe over the past 45 years combined. I haven’t heard anything – amid claims that the Republican Party is the party of individual freedom – about the “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” that President Trump once promised in his campaign. presidential election or on the blind travel ban for those from countries that have been much less responsible for terrorist attacks than those whose citizens are still welcomed here with open arms. I haven’t heard anything about the post-Trump election spike in violence and intimidation of immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQ people, African Americans, and women. And I haven’t heard anything about recent GOP efforts to cut health care coverage to 24 million people, which would disproportionately harm LGBTQ people, especially transgender people who are less likely to be employed. and are at greater risk for health problems.

I have sympathy for precisely one point that I heard from the panel. Nothing is more bigoted, Moore said, than telling people how they should think because of the way they were born. In other words, the demand from the LGBTQ left that our entire community embrace the Democratic Party or progressivism is, I think, an unacceptable form of intolerance.

When I stood up to ask a question about empathy for others, I praised Chadwick for bringing this point up, but offered what I think was a more solid argument for why gay Republicans are frankly such a disappointment. (At least I tried to do it. I had to fight back against being yelled at first when I brought up the plight of Muslims being targeted in Trump’s America, another time ironic coming from a group of free speech conservatives dismayed by the left’s refusal to honor free speech.) It is true that we should not demand that all LGBTQ people subscribe to just one type of policy; what we should to do is always remember, and urge others to remember, the persecution that we have historically faced and continue to face as minorities, especially the most vulnerable among us. We should never forget what it looked like. And those who are lucky enough to have never experienced it should study this story and vow never to stand idly by as other minorities face the same.

This is not a matter of politics, but of empathy – something which, while it needs cultivation, also occurs naturally in human beings whose judgment is not tainted with self-esteem. Apparently, empathy is rare among gay Republicans, who seem too preoccupied with themselves to care about the suffering of those around them.


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