Gay white men have a taste for establishment politics, and it has certainly served their interests well in the last 30 years. Cozying up to politicians has yielded spectacular results for the first letter of the alphabet soup of gender and sexual minorities. But that same strength in achieving results for themselves is also their greatest liability. This has not been lost on the far right, which has made a concerted effort to recruit gay white men. In Europe, as in America, as the issue of marriage rights has begun to subside, gay white men have become consistent supporters of center-right politics. As the center of politics globally shifts even further to the right, they too find themselves swept into more extreme views that pit them against other members of their own communities.
It has been suggested that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump stayed the hand of the president in making sweeping changes that could result in legalized discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. This alleged intervention is being lauded as a great humanitarian undertaking in the face of an administration that seems bent on dragging America away from anything resembling Obama-era policies – a fact that highlights just how low the bar for heroism has fallen in this dark chapter in American history. Even if it is true that they dissuaded the president from pursuing the so called “Religious Freedom” executive order, that does not mean that it was because they believed it to be the right thing to do. It was just as likely to be a tactical decision to encourage more gay white men to become Republicans. Even more likely is that it was simply based on pressure from gay friends.
College protests around the country, sparked by Gay Voldemort (who shall remain nameless), serve as strong evidence that a concerted effort is underway to woo white gay men to the cause of capitalism. These speeches are an effort to send out an envoy to the white gay male community, dressing up the same message of bigotry, hatred and fear in the familiar tones of shade and sass. He is, in effect, a Pink Trojan Horse. As we put more and more distance between us and the pre-Obgerfell Era, there will be a tendency for gay white men to rewrite the past and rewrite their narratives. A new generation of white gay men will grow up in a world where they need never contemplate the fact that they can’t grow up and get married. They will not remember Anita Bryant claiming that they should not be allowed to teach in schools. The most recent generation does not remember the fear of the AIDS epidemic in the gay community, nor the cold shoulder of the halls of power which ignored the crisis until far too late.
These young men will be seduced by their new acceptance into society; they will be allowed to forget the struggle of past generations. We have already seen whitewashing in gender and sexual minority narratives – most notably with the vaguely historical “Stonewall” – portraying white gay men as the saviors and transgender women of color relegated to footnotes or excluded from history entirely.
White gay men, in particular, must be careful not to fall for the seductive narrative of the right. The policies of the right are designed exclusively to protect the powerful at the expense of the vulnerable in society. Gay white men must embrace intersectionality: the needs of the weakest within gender and sexual minority communities must be placed first. Otherwise, gay white men will perpetuate the cycle that turns victims into victimizers, and they will become the oppressor.
So true…..this brings to mind that gay White men occupy an odd positionality in society as both being oppressed and oppressing others – so many opportunities to use Whiteness and White Privilege for good, given the understanding of Heterosexual privilege and not having it.