Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Signorile's Analysis of GOProud - Off Base Much?

         Today I came across talk show host Michelangelo Signorile an article about GOProud and their leader Chris Barron in the Advocate. Though I do not necessarily agree with everything that GOProud states or does, I have always felt that the furor that many on the left throw at them has been unfounded. This has once again happened in Signorile's piece; for instead of actually addressing the issues that GOProud stands for and why they stand for them, he instead attacks Chris Barron and extrapolates those personal attacks as an attack on the organization as a whole. Not only is Signorile's piece an overall "ad hominem" logical fallacy, but it does nothing to constructively discuss matters of policy with gays and lesbians who lean to the Right. 

    Though Signorile states many things in the article, a few stand out to me. He first says that GOProud has, "a selfish devotion to Republican “fiscal” policies over civil rights" Though this analysis of GOProud might be accurate, it is not necessarily negative. For to members of GOProud, and many of their supporters, being gay does not define who you are as a person, so therefore LGBT issues are not the main compass for which party you support. You could, for example, be a small business owner and a gay man. Both issues are equally important to you, and therefore you might support the Republicans because you like their position on small business issues. That does not mean that you are "self-loathing" like Signorile states; instead it means that your sexuality is not the lens by which you view your politics, instead your view is based upon a much larger and multi-faceted lens. Some LGBT advocates will view this as denying who you are, and they are free to hold those views, but I personally do not wish to be pigeonholed into a certain ideological view and party because of a physical characteristic that I might have. 

    Then Signorile goes on to state, in so many words, that GOProud does not have an appropriate position on any of the important issues that should matter to LGBT individuals, such as Employment protections, gay marriage, hate crimes laws, etc. But does Signorile give us any of the reasons why GOProud feels these ways? Not at all; instead he states that GOProud takes these positions so that they can pander to the Republican base - a statement that could not be any farther from the truth! If Signorile did any sort of analysis on the positions that GOProud has, he would realize that their positions are actually quite principled, and not for political pandering purposes.  

     Lastly, Signorile goes on to say that GOProud is an organization that provides cover for those who are “anti-gay” in the Republican party, because they can point to these gay republicans and say “see we don’t hate gay people”. Thus, he says, we should all go running to the Democratic party.  Though I see where Signorile is going with this, I don’t buy the logic or the effectiveness of that tactic. Personally, I think that it is better to go into the “lions den” of the Republican party and change it from the inside, a change that we can actually see happening in the party today, instead of fleeing to the supposed safety of the Democratic caucus. That is what real change looks like, the change that actually gets results. 


  1. "You could, for example, be a small business owner and a gay man. Both issues are equally important to you, and therefore you might support the Republicans because you like their position on small business issues."

    You would be faced with a choice between a few extra dollars in your wallet or basic human rights. GOProud takes the money every time. How much are hospital visitation rights worth? $10? $100? Marriage equality? $100,000? $1,000,000?

    Barron and GOProud might think they are brokering change, but they are simply homophobes and sellouts. They are the Uncle Toms of the 21st century.

  2. Although your critique of Signorile's piece is valid, I can't help but completely sympathize with his views on the group. They establish their membership and rake in money by being gay, but their viability in the conservative movement stems from not talking about it. By not jostling at all to denounce the homophobia that exists within the conservative movement and by not moving one inch towards establishing equality for LGBT individuals, they are being complicit in the conservative movement's social agenda. Until they take a stand on both fiscal and personal matters, anything that they do for the conservative movement is a blow to LGBT equality.

    And I can see why gays are upset by that, although some of the vitriol (that we have for a lot of other things, too) can be a little above and beyond what's necessary.

  3. I see where you are coming from Cody, and not trying to sound like a GOProud puppet on here (as I said, I agree with them on some things, others not so much), I would recommend taking a look at their legislative focus.

    I think why they don't talk about LGBT issues is because they do not view them as federal issues. For example, they view marriage equality as being in the realm of the States and not the federal Government. Because they are an organization dedicated to federal issues, I don't think that they really feel the need to address LGBT issues in the State realm.

    Now, when LGBT issues do come up federally, such as DOMA, GOProud stands firmly by its principles of states rights. In the DOMA example, the organization has stated that they support its repeal - because they believe marriage should be left to the states. Thats also why they don't agree with ENDA, because they think it should be left to the states to decide labor issues.

  4. FWIW, I've rarely heard GOProud's leadership speak positively about any GLBT organization or issue. In fact, I often find their characterization of any GLBT individual or organization that falls anywhere to the left of them to be downright negative. And that includes the Log Cabin Republicans. I personally believe that they nurture and promote a sense of self-victimization by those unaffiliated with their group or with conservative ideologues.

    I respect Log Cabin. I'm married to a Republican. Pretty much everyone in my family is Republican. I don't much respect GOProud. But that's just me.

  5. Jon, that is a negative aspect to GOProud, but it is one that I think can be worked at. Might it be that they naturally have such a negative reaction to others because of the hatred that spews from the left? I'm not sure, but even if that is the case, I would be the first one to say that anger, hatred, and negativity aimed at anyone is not the most effective way to get your point across.

  6. I get your point Kyle. But I think most of the negative reaction that GOProud receives from others comes from their own attacks on others -- particularly those in the GLBT community. I mean, one particular GOProud board member calls the GLBT movement worse the terrorism. To me, they endure and forgive nasty attacks from the GOP and they relish in nasty interpersonal spats with GLBT people outside their group. That's fine, if that's how they want to operate. But it certainly doesn't make me feel for them or want to join up.


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