Gay conservative writer, blogger, and marriage equality activist Andrew Sullivan tweeted today about the resignation of Richard Grenell and, in 121 characters, perfectly captured what it’s like to be an LGBT conservative in a Republican party that really, really, really hates you:
What do Republicans call a gay man with neoconservative passion, a committed relationship and personal courage? A faggot.
Yes, Grenell was prepared to work for an administration opposed to marriage equality even when he supported it passionately (like, ahem, Dick Cheney). He was prepared to be ostracized by many in his own community for being a Republican, taking brickbats from the gay liberal establishment, and throwing many punches back. His neoconservatism is, so far as I can tell, completely sincere, and he has a huge amount of experience as a spokesman.
It’s sometimes hard to explain to outsiders what level of principle is required to withstand the personal cost of being an out gay Republican. I’ve only ever been a gay conservative (never a Republican), and back in the 1990s, it was brutal living in the gay world and challenging liberal assumptions. I cannot imagine the social isolation of Grenell in Los Angeles today, doing what he did.
And his reward for such loyalty, sincerity and pugnacity? Vilification.
I don’t know if I’d agree with Sullivan that being an out gay Republican requires principle as much as masochism, but tragically, he has a point where personal costs are concerned. As I’ve said for a long time, equal rights for LGBT people should not be a political issue. Unfortunately, though, the Republican Party is bound and determined to both cling to and pander to homophobic bigotry, ensuring that LGBT rights will continue to be politicized for the foreseeable future and that gay conservatives like Sullivan and Grenell will continue to be marginalized, ostracized, vilified, and silenced.