“Something has gone wrong when as gay people we are protested by other gay people for not conforming,” said Tammy Bruce last week in San Diego.
There is a major kerfuffle going on in the gay community over GOProud hosting a reception at the Manchester Hyatt in San Diego last weekend that featured Bruce. Many gay organizations are boycotting the hotel because its owner, Doug Manchester, donated $125,000 to support Proposition 8. Before any of you readers go ballistic, know that I, a GOProud board member, took a week off from work in D.C. to volunteer to fight Proposition 8. I am a passionate believer in marriage equality. I also believe in redemption.
Manchester made a mistake and offered amends in the form of equal donations to gay groups that he gave to support Prop 8. GOProud accepted a $10,000 credit at his hotel and $6,000 in cash. Five other gay organizations also accepted his gifts but none of them have gone public and I don’t know who they are.
GOProud used its credit at the Hyatt to host an event for gays who support a different approach to equality from the gay establishment, featuring Tammy Bruce, a feminist and classical liberal gay woman who ran NOW in Los Angeles for several years. And boy did we get hell for that.
I travel a lot for work and have never seen a hotel with as many gay staffers as the Manchester Hyatt. Of their 1,100 employees, 325 have come out as gay to the hotel to protest the protest against them by their own people. They wore rainbow pins while we were there to support GOProud, as the boycott is hurting them and their families.
The real story is that the gay protesters are allied with Unitehere, which is a union group that wants to unionize the Hyatt. None of the staff that I spoke with wants to be in a union; rather they love their jobs and want to do them until they retire. As a former housekeeper, I am sensitive to what a tough job that can be. But the housekeepers with whom I spoke told me that they love their job. The annual housekeeper turnover at this hotel is 1 percent while the industry average is 54 percent.
So the protesters are more aligned with unions than they are with the gay employees of the Hyatt and the housekeepers who want to keep their jobs in a bad economy. That is mission creep, in a bad way.
In San Diego I had the opportunity to meet and interview Tammy Bruce, the featured speaker at the GOProud event.
Washington Blade: The legislative priorities of gay establishment organizations have been passing a hate crimes bill and ENDA. What is your view on those priorities? Would you suggest different ones?
Tammy Bruce: Hate crime legislation accomplishes only one thing — the notion that some people in this country are more important than others. Last time I checked all the civil rights movements were based in the rejection of this notion. Yet here we are, in the warm seats of power, and now a “legislative priority” is to make sure crimes committed against us are a more serious offense and punished more aggressively. I find it an obscene reversal of what so many fought for throughout the 20th century — to establish a group of people as deserving of special treatment because of either their complexion or sexual orientation. People have died in this county to end those sorts of policies. For us to embrace them is beyond shameful.
Let’s be honest here: What crime doesn’t send a message to the whole community? What rape doesn’t frighten all women regardless of the complexion of the victim? What assault doesn’t scare everyone in a neighborhood? As a lesbian, I refuse to embrace the notion that if I get raped it somehow is more serious or more important or should be viewed as more horrific because the rapist “hates” lesbians, versus the rape of a heterosexual woman who is raped because her rapist hated her because she turned him down, or reminded him of his ex-wife, or because he hates all women. I think it’s time for many in our community to read Orwell’s Animal Farm.
Blade: What do you think explains the vitriol and intolerance of the gay left toward gays who hold other opinions?
Bruce: A few things, including the inability to deal with the details of the issues. Bullying someone can be the easiest and fastest way to end a discussion or frighten someone into retreat. It’s juvenile and petty. The Thought Police, as christened by Orwell in 1984, is actually a Marxist tenet.
We also now have a generation (or two) of gays who have been conditioned by Liberal Gay, Inc. into believing that the price of dissent is simply too high. So thoughtful gays and lesbians retreat from the debate allowing the damaged and most extreme of the community to control the public discussion. Remember, the political is personal, and many who engage in the misogyny so prevalent in the gay community should be in a psychiatrist’s office and not in a political or cultural organization. Bottom line: the most damaged tend to rise to the top in the left and we see it in their response to those of us who do not conform or refuse to pay allegiance to their leftist worldview.
Blade: How do you think that gays could best unite around common goals to achieve equality?
Bruce: History has shown us that conservative ideals improve the quality of everyone’s lives, especially those of us who are minorities. There is one thing that allows us to live lives of our choosing: to make choices that best suit us — and that is financial freedom and personal liberty. The only thing that allows us to have our political voice, to make choices in our lives free from coercion, and to live as we choose is the ability to be free from financial reliance on someone else. As long as government takes our money, gets bigger and bigger, it will continue to invade our lives and our homes. Minorities are always the first to suffer under big, unrestrained government. This time is no different. We can agree to disagree on certain issues, but we will only be able to enjoy having those debates and engaging in our lives as long as we are able to keep the fruits of our labor.
To sum up Tammy’s comments: freedom is fabulous.