Way back in the before times of 2016, I wrote a pretty apologetic article about Log Cabin Republicans. Way back in March of 2016, which seems so long ago, it wasn’t that bad of a take, and in rational universe it would still be. Well, we don’t live in a rational universe; much less a rationally-run democracy.
In the times before the Republican Party was led by a guy who’s probably about to tweet himself into prison, it made sense to arguably be a fiscally-conservative LGBTQ person and side with the Republicans while trying to push it away from its ties to the religious right. Being LGBTQ doesn’t default you to having progressive politics (look up Roy Cohn) by a long shot, so it made partial sense. In the before times. I can’t justify that take anymore, and I can’t rationalize why any queer person would still be a Republican in 2018.
Last week, the Georgia Log Cabin Republicans endorsed Brian Kemp, a vocal advocate for “religious freedom” legislation, for governor. Why? Just why? In the chapter's 23-year history, this is the first candidate for governor they’ve ever endorsed. They said they wanted him to win against the “radical liberal Stacey Abrams,” a black woman who’s very pro-LGBTQ. I’m guessing by “radical liberal” they mean, “bad for my wallet.” That’s the only possible reason why I could fathom why any LGBTQ person would oppose anyone on the left at this point. With Republicans putting Mike “Reparative Therapy” Pence in as vice president, a William Faulkner villain as attorney general trying to create some sort of religious liberty commission to circumvent basic equality, and Trump revoking pro-LGBTQ regulations through executive orders, they’ve gone on a bigotry bender like someone who’s fallen off the wagon.
Not that long ago, I got into a little Twitter spat with a gay guy who was all about Trump and MAGA. Instead of name calling and shouting at him, I tried to get him to see that Trump and conservatives weren’t the best people for LGBTQ folks. He had a pathological hatred of Muslims and kept citing how ISIS has executed gay people by throwing them off buildings, and asking why I love Muslims more than I love LGBTQ people. What a canard.
He insisted Trump was out to protect LGBTQ people and was tough on the gay-killing Muslims. I pointed out how President Ergodan in Turkey had used police to brutally suppress Pride celebrations, and Trump had no problem doing business with the leaders of Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and others. He basically handwaved away those facts by saying how he wanted Trump's businesses to succeed and how much he wanted good commerce. Look, don’t ask me how he managed to pull off those mental gymnastics because I can’t even begin to explain it. Yet there he was, attacking me, a liberal trans woman, for loving Muslims, but ignoring that Trump and Republicans have not only done nothing to address the treatment of LGBTQ people in some of these countries, but actually profited by doing business with them, while spreading anti-LGBTQ sentiments here in America.
The Georgia Log Cabin Republicans also said they opposed Abrams because she was supported by “liberals and socialists” and was exploiting the LGBTQ community by “putting identity politics over the real needs of Georgians.” I know and most of you know, that advocating for equal rights and protections for minority groups isn’t a bad thing. You can do it without hurting other people’s rights, or hurting businesses or the economy. I say economy because that’s all it seems to come down to. Well, that and probably a bit of whiteness.
Ultimately, I can’t fathom the mindset that it takes to believe that money and other forms of privilege will save gay Republicans from discrimination. It takes a sort of selfishness and willful blindness to look around at what is happening and saying, “Yeah, I’ll be fine.” Money doesn’t go far when you’re denied a job to keep replenishing it. That money and privilege is useless if you’re denied entry into places to spend it. It most certainly doesn’t help you when they build an entire system to oppress you to the point no amount of privilege and money saves you from being punished by it when it criminalizes a core component of who you are.
The Log Cabin Republicans don’t quite understand that there is no future in their party for them. They are useful tokens to shield behind and be exploited to convince the rubes that they aren’t bigots. They’ve tried for years to push their party to drop anti-LGBTQ attitudes to absolutely no success and actually have stood there and watched as they’ve double-downed on it all over the country through state and local governments passing discriminatory laws. It’s readily apparent it’s all about the money, and most likely hetero-normative and white privilege that guide their decision-making. What they don’t see that’s readily apparent to anyone who’s familiarized themselves with history, is that being the token just means that they get to be the last ones who get punished; but punished none the less. There is no reason to pity or reason with them, they made their choice, let them have it.