(You can listen to this column, read by the author, here.)
“I am much more afraid of being physically assaulted walking around the streets of Colorado wearing my Trump or GOP hat than my LGBT Pride hat.”
This is what the president of the Colorado Log Cabin Republicans, Valdamar “Val” Archuleta, recently told me.
The Log Cabin Republicans are a group of politically active gay Republicans, people who were formerly shunned by society for their sexuality. Now they’re shunned by their own subculture for true perversity: believing government should be not only out of their bedrooms, but out of their wallets, too.
The battle from marriage equality was the most magnificent and impressive civil rights victory in my lifetime.
In just a few short decades homosexuality went from being illegal to being legal. Gay people went from being victimized and ridiculed, to being accepted, then celebrated, and then insultingly exploited by advertising firms and Hollywood.
Sexuality is now weaponized in the cancel culture wars. And just as the French Revolution couldn’t stop its momentum as victors became oppressors; we’re witnessing the same in the LGBTQIA+ community.
In the 1970s, 80s and 90s the battle was for marriage equality, the simple right to be tolerated and just to be left alone.
The LGBTQIA+ community now promotes DEI (“diversity, equity and inclusion”), identity politics and victim celebration to build on the very discrimination their civil rights leaders and gay rights warriors fought against just decades before.
This week, a recent external investigation found two Black members of the Aurora Public Schools Board of Education said their former superintendent was “not Black enough” and criticized him for not hiring more Black employees.
There’s that Martin Luther King Jr. spirit of “being judged by the content of your character not the color of your skin,” that we hope all little boys and girls learn in the schools that these board members oversee.
The Log Cabin Republicans’ Valdamar was telling me about the polarization inside Colorado’s gay movement. Being gay would once get you called “pervert.” He’s met gays now scared to come out of the conservative closet for the same reason.
Decades ago, coming out of the closet could lose him his job, his friends, and result in him being shunned from society and his family. I know of a gun owner who is a computer programmer in Silicon Valley today who’s gay. Everyone knows he’s gay, but if they knew he was a gun owner he fears he’d lose his job.
The rainbow flag is omnipresent. It’s everywhere. It’s overused. And Val’s sick of it. It’s on every billboard, every corporate logo, every beer can, every restaurant wall, every street corner, every product everywhere.
He said he has “rainbow exhaustion!” He nailed it. We all have rainbow fatigue.
Every commercial, every TV show, every movie has the over-represented amount of homosexual, transsexual characters of color which, if calculated out as a proportion of the actual population, would mean 42% of all Americans are black, left-handed lesbians.
With the exception of a few Neanderthals, we’re all thrilled and (those old enough) relieved that gays, lesbians, transsexuals are openly part of our everyday lives. Because it is no big deal. In fact, it hasn’t been for a really long, long time. But now, celebrating rainbow flags and Pride Month is kinda like celebrating the iPhone.
The iPhone is wicked cool. I can’t imagine life without it. But since it’s part of my everyday life, I don’t need to pay homage to it like the iPhone founded the freaking country.
In fact, to guys like Val, all this rainbow exhaustion is really pretty insulting.
If we really cared about gay rights, we wouldn’t be vomiting up platitudes over battles already won. We’d be fighting to save gay lives in China and the Middle East, not selling hamburgers or shaming conservatives.
For gay rights and marriage equality victories to have happened, it necessitated the tolerance and acceptance of a majority of people who were not gay. They had to protect a lifestyle they personally didn’t agree with.
Will the people of the LGBTQIA+ community today live up to that standard and tolerate and protect the lifestyles of people they don’t agree with — even people who wear Trump hats and believe sex is binary?
Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.
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