Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Pitts on the hypocrisy of conservative gays

Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald never fails to impress with his outspoken common sense. His latest column is the latest evidence:

Is it just me, or does the mayor seem conflicted?


Asked in a May 5 interview why he sought out young men on the Web, West told The Spokesman-Review he could not explain, but added, ''I wouldn't characterize me as gay.'' In an interview with the same paper four days later, he said, ``I am being destroyed because I am a gay man.''


West, who as a state legislator once backed a law that would have banned gays from working in schools or day-care centers, was asked how he could have taken such positions. He told Lauer that as a representative for a district where people oppose gay rights, he had no choice. As if someone had held a gun to his head and forced him to run for office in Bigot County.


Me, I've always thought being a gay social conservative was not unlike being a black Klansman. Even if you could get away with it, why in the world would you want to?

I'm sure Mary Cheney is holding on Line 2, but the point stands. It eludes me how anyone can support a political philosophy that is defined in large part by its open hostility toward people like oneself.

I suspect West belongs to that school of conservative thought which holds that being gay isn't the problem; ''flaunting'' it is. The reasoning, such as it is, always breaks down when you try to get them to define ''flaunting.'' Does it mean the flamboyant character Jack from Will and Grace, whose gayness is evident at 50 paces? Or does it mean, well . . . Will from Will and Grace, whose sexuality you don't know until or unless you first get to know him?

Trick question. Social conservatives draw no such distinction. For them, even a modest indication of gayness is a nuclear attack upon ''family values.'' When they say ''flaunting,'' what they really mean is ``existing.''


Maybe now some of us will stop pretending the conservative-approved model of being gay makes any sense. I mean, granted, West didn't flaunt his sexuality. But his hypocrisy is something else entirely.


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