A disturbing trend is gaining traction, in which conservatives posit that their modern, “coming out,” experience is more challenging than that of an LGBTQ individual. Folks on the right jump at the opportunity to tokenize white, gay men such as Chadwick Moore, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Adam Levine who affirm this statement by contrasting their Republican and gay coming out stories. Not only is this conflation insulting to the queer community, it isn’t supported by fact. The idea of coming out as a Republican is not interesting or accurate. Coming from the political affiliates who champion themselves as the, “facts over feelings,” party, I’m surprised. Here are ten of the many reasons why this idea is a fallacy:
10. You don’t have to disclose your political ideology to your social circles, employer, healthcare provider, or anyone if you don’t want to. A hijab wearing woman, a black man, or a gender non-conforming individual doesn’t have access to the option of non-disclosure. When many people enter a space, their minority status is announced, often being the first aspect we notice about a person. The fact is, the candidates on your ballot can only be revealed by you, unlike so many other identities which are apparent and permanent.
9. Although you may be ostracized and unfollowed by your liberal friends, the fact remains that you have a seat at the table. In 2018, the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government are all dominated by people who share your ideology. If you’re one of the three white men I mentioned earlier, a neat bonus is that these individuals look like you too. A tradeoff for your social exclusion is that a conservative agenda is being pushed through all three branches of government, with items such as Trump’s military ban on trans individuals. Indeed, this point will probably age poorly, as Trump’s presidency is proving to be pivotal for the Democratic Party, but for now, conservatives have seats at every powerful table in the US.
8. After reflecting on my own coming out, I’ve found that each generational gap in my family presented a new challenge. While the thought of telling my parents was terrifying, the notion of telling my grandparents still seems impossible. This is because as we reach further back into our ancestry, we connect with people who were alive during periods when homophobia was a generally accepted pillar of culture. For many millennials, our grandparents were already married and procreating by the time that homosexuality was eventually taken out of the DSM (1973). In the case of conservatism, the opposite is true. For the young Republican struggling to find the words at your next family gathering, rest assured that there is statistical significance in the chances that your older relatives also voted red.
7. The LGBTQ also faces the tragic obstacle of suicide prevention, which is not a struggle shared by young conservatives. The following metrics are from the Trevor Project:
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24.1LGB youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth.2LGB youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth.2Of all the suicide attempts made by youth, LGB youth suicide attempts were almost five times as likely to require medical treatment than those of heterosexual youth.2Suicide attempts by LGB youth and questioning youth are 4 to 6 times more likely to result in injury, poisoning, or overdose that requires treatment from a doctor or nurse, compared to their straight peers.2In a national study, 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25.3LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.4Each episode of LGBT victimization, such as physical or verbal harassment or abuse, increases the likelihood of self-harming behavior by 2.5 times on average.66. It is also easier to come out as conservative because it is less likely that you will be fired from your job. The idea of employment protection is timely for the LGBTQ community, as a beloved art teacher in Texas was recently suspended without pay after advocating for protection. Only 20 states and the District of Columbia have passed non-discrimination laws that cover sexual orientation and gender identity. Three states even have laws that prevent the passage of protection legislation for LGBTQ individuals. By comparison, 29 states and the District of Columbia have non-discrimination laws in place on the basis of off duty actions, including political activism.
5. Homosexuality is still criminalized in 72 countries, with penalties ranging from jail time to death (ranging from beheading to firing squads).
4. There is no historical precedent for conversion therapy for conservative-minded individuals. This “therapy” is a damaging and ineffective practice, often involving electrocution, that aims to convert a person from homosexuality to heterosexuality. The current Vice President of the United States has a documented history of support for the pseudoscience, which he half-heartedly denies today. The receipts exist on archived version of his own website during his 2000 run for Congress which states:
Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.
3. “Coming out,” as conservative does not carry with a risk of homelessness, as 40% of all homeless youth identify as a member of the LGBTQ community, often after running away or being forced out of their homes.
2. Conservative individuals do not face the same hurdles in regard to healthcare access. Research from the Fenway Institute confirms that the LGBTQ community experiences difficulties when procuring health insurance and care, resulting in higher rates of disease, chronic illness, drug use, and mental illness. The trans community and communities of color experience a particularly distressing intersection of this reality, as noted and documented in Sarah McBride’s book, “Tomorrow Will Be Different,” as she details her trans partner’s battle with cancer.
1. Unlike LGBTQ youth, when you’re criticized for your political beliefs, you are being judged by the content of your character. If you support a party in spite of racist, homophobic, xenophobic, transphobic, misogynist, and ableist members, you will be held accountable for those views. America continues to become increasingly divided and unwilling to engage in discourse but you don’t build bridges by attempting the oppression olympics. You’re not coming out as conservative, stop appropriating and be grateful that you’re in a position to be judged by your thoughts and opinions.