It’s Time for Gay Conservatives to Come Out
This critical moment in the history of the LGBT movement's fight for equality demands that a new generation of Americans come out of the closet—gay conservatives. Now is the time for closeted gay conservatives to find the courage and personal strength to stand up and be counted. Now is the time we can really make a difference. If every gay conservative came out of the closet today, the journey to full equality would be over in years instead of decades. It would soon become ineffective to use gay and lesbian families as wedge issues in campaigns. The cynical efforts to amend our federal and state constitutions would eventually stop. The hypocrisy of anti-gay political tactics being used by way too many Republicans and some Democrats would be finally exposed.
One of the biggest un-kept secrets in Washington, DC is that closeted gay Republicans are everywhere—the White House, Republican Party organizations, the halls of Congress, the most influential law offices, and the most powerful lobbying firms in our nation's capitol. Some of those who remain closeted have chosen to be either passive bystanders or, in some cases, active critics of our movement while comfortably partaking in the fringe benefits of our community work—all the while sipping the finest martinis in our trendiest gay bars.
Coming out is an intensely personal journey. As someone who struggled long and hard with how and when to come out of the closet, I unequivocally oppose outing. I am unaware of a single forced outing that led to passage of a single piece of pro-LGBT legislation. Coming out on one's own terms, with free will, and with personal courage is a positive catalyst for change. Forced outings don't advance our movement because they're motivated by vengeance.
Over the years, many closeted gay Republicans have discreetly and impressively helped advance equality. In spite of attacks from too many on the partisan gay left, some gay conservatives work behind the scenes to pass equality legislation, increase funding for HIV/AIDS, offer vital counsel to LGBT groups, and help defend us against anti-gay legislation. These gay conservatives have quietly come out to their bosses and colleagues—changing some into gay allies and challenging others to soften their positions over time. These individuals have been quiet heroes, not asking for or wanting public credit.
Other gay Republicans, however, simply have failed to stand-up—more concerned about keeping their title, their paycheck, their chance for promotion, or their chance to attend another White House ****tail party.