Tuesday, July 19, 2011

GOProud and the "Average Gay Family"

Chris Barron of the gay republican organization GOProud was on CNN this morning with Ali Velshi, defending his organizations attempt to reach out to the Bachmann campaign. The video of the exchange is below - h/t to Towleroad.

     This interview troubles me, for not only do they take the partisan route of asserting that ANY republican is better than Obama, but also because of Barrons lack of knowledge about the inequality that exists in the United States.

      Barron asserts that GOProud would be behind ANY Republican candidate that received the parties nomination, in order to ensure that President Obama would not be re-elected in 2012. Thus, following Barrons words to their logical end, if Michele Bachmann (known for her extreme anti-gay views) received the GOP nomination, GOProud would endorse her for the presidency. Barron attempts to qualify this statement by asserting that there are many issues that have direct impact on LGBT people that "go beyond marriage", all the while inferring that issues like hate crimes legislation, immigration equality, and marriage don't impact the "average gay family" in the United States. Because of the supposed "greater importance" of fiscal issues vs. social issues to gay families, it is completely appropriate, in Barrons mind, for the organization to support individuals like Bachmann, who are strong fiscal conservatives, yet are anti "gay rights".

      It may be true that Barron and his husband talk about taxes rather than hate crimes legislation around the dinner table; and if that is so, he is privileged to do that. He lives in a city - D.C. - which allowed him and his partner to marry, his husband is an American, and he works for an LGBT organization and therefore has no fear of being discriminated against in employment. It would be only natural then, to assert that taxes and other fiscal issues like the FAIR act are more important to an "average gay family".  Yet he does not realize that thousands of families and individuals across the United States are not as lucky as he is. They do not live in states with marriage equality, they are forced to live apart from their spouses  - or in exile - because of the inequality in immigration laws, and they are discriminated against in employment and housing because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The fact that he does not recognize this, and would assert that it is appropriate for GOProud to support a candidate such as Bachmann - versus them abstaining - shows a great lack of realization of the impact that legal inequality has on the "average" gay couple.

      Barron then asserts that the issue of Marcus Bachmann and his dabbling in "exgay" therapy is a "sideshow" issue. Yes, Mr. Barron - the fact that the Bachmann's believe that you are "sick" and can be healed from your sickness is just a "sideshow" issue. I think that it is far from being irrelevant to this campaign, for it shows the character of Mrs. Bachmann and her feelings regarding the LGBT community. It shows that no matter how hard we as a community attempt to reach out to her, she will always view us as "sick" and thus not deserving of any recognition. If elected, I can assure you that she would use her position to ensure that LGBT people were marginalized and condemned; and that includes ALL LGBT people - even those in republican organizations like GOProud. For a gay person is a gay person, and no matter where they are on the political spectrum, they are still "sick". Such a view, Mr. Barron, has direct impact on this campaign, and your place in American society.

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