Gay, Republican and proud

Posted on 04 Jan 2007 at 6:12pm
By Robert Schlein – Special Contributor

It is not only possible to be gay and a Republican, but having openly gay people in the GOP is necessary if we want to win equality

As the fall approaches, members of Log Cabin Republicans look forward to joining all of our brothers and sisters in celebrating “All You Need is Love” at the Black Tie Dinner on Nov. 17.

This year, Log Cabin Dallas decided to become one of the corporate sponsors for the event. In doing so, some questioned our thinking, even some inside our own chapter. After all, in the past few years Black Tie seems to have become somewhat of a verbal slugfest against all Republicans, President Bush and Log Cabin.

My partner David Keeton and I have attended Black Tie for about 10 years. For the last few, my tablemates (Yellow Dog Democrats, I might add) suggested that Log Cabin become a corporate sponsor so that we could become more visible. Surely with 3,500 successful men and women in the room, some had to be Republican, right?

My friends suggested that a sponsorship might aid us in altering the tone of remarks made at the podium and help return the event to its true purpose promoting gay equality and benefiting local charities.

Our national Log Cabin leaders tell us that gay equality will be achieved faster when more gay Republicans come out of the shadows. I’m confident that there are, indeed, many closeted Republicans that attend Black Tie.

To come out as gay and Republican takes courage. In our own community, it often takes more guts to come out as Republican to our gay friends, than it takes to come out as gay to our straight friends and family. The possible rejection by our own family is difficult enough. But, the added ridicule and misunderstanding from our gay friends is often a burden too great to risk.

One of the misconceptions about being gay and Republican is that somehow it is an oxymoron, somehow contradictory to our nature. Some believe we must be self-loathing. How else could someone be both gay and Republican?

I answer simply:

In most instances, Log Cabin members’ thoughts regarding the larger purpose of government align more closely with Republicans than Democrats. We acknowledge the GOP is far from perfect on our GLBT issues, but we are mostly in agreement on the big issues of national security and how it should be achieved, the value of our military, our capitalist economy and so forth.

For me, it seems easier to make the conservative case for gay equality to Republicans, than the liberal case for smaller government, lower tax rates, strong national defense and victory in Iraq to my friends on the other side.

Gay Democrats have to already know that their own party isn’t perfect on GLBT issues, either. Texas’ Proposition 2 the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage shined a bright light on that when about 70 percent of Democrats voted against us. Interestingly enough, where David and I canvassed our neighbors and came out about 100 times, the same area that voted for Bush by almost 80 percent voted against Texas Proposition 2 by about 60 percent.

This means that gay equality will be achieved when we ally across party boundaries. Thus, it is the role of Log Cabin to seek the fair-minded legislators in the GOP to work with us on GLBT issues. Log Cabin Republicans serves to educate other Republicans about those issues, and just as importantly, educate the GLBT community on Republican ones.

As we join you at the Black Tie Dinner, it is my personal hope that the many Republicans in the room will seek out Log Cabin Republicans Dallas at our table (C122), and say hello. Come to our monthly meetings, and start that process of becoming more visible. Consider attending our own formal affair called the “Grand Ol’ Party” at the Hilton Anatole on Oct. 20 where you will hear from two ex-military linguists about their service, and why the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is an issue that should concern everyone.

Further, I ask our Democrat friends to make it easier for gay Republicans to reveal themselves by respecting their differences of political opinion and exhibiting the same tolerance, grace and acceptance we all seek from the larger community.

As the dinner’s motto exclaims, “All You Need Is Love” show us.

We truly need both parties working on gay equality issues. To ally exclusively with only one political party means we lose the leverage we need to make real change. Know that Log Cabin is your ally in the fight.

Our organization staffs a professional office in Washington, D.C., that lobbies on behalf of all of us, seeks out Republican candidates that are fair on our issues and helps fund their campaigns, and it confronts Republicans who are not fair.

Our slogan for the gay Pride parade said it best: “Gay Equality is a Log Cabin Value.”

See you at the Dinner!

Rob Schlein is president of the Dallas Chapter of Log Cabin Republicans.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 5, 2007

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