August 3, 2010 at 9:42 am EST | by Jessica Lee
Op-ed: Freedom is fabulous

‘Hate crime legislation accomplishes only one thing — the notion that some people in this country are more important than others,’ said Tammy Bruce. (Photo courtesy of Bruce)

“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.

  • Andrew Sullivan has had the same courage as Tammy to speak the truth. Matthew Shepard’s death occurred during a simple mugging and not some elaborate conspiracy against gays. We are never going to be taken seriously until we stop demanding special rights for our lifestyle (despite the fact that we have higher incomes than most Americans).

    Andrew Sullivan: “The real reason for the invention of hate crimes was a hard-left critique of conventional liberal justice and the emergence of special interest groups which need boutique legislation to raise funds for their large staffs and luxurious buildings.”

  • To start with, this group is Republican. Out of one side of their face they talk fiscal responsibility the other side they support every budget busting, middle class shrinking Rebublican that runs for office. We don’t reject them for the gay, it becaus like all middle class republicans they are easily fooled.

  • “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”

    As an African-American I refuse to embrace the notion that if someone burns a cross on my front yard, somehow that is more serious or more important or should be viewed as more horrific because the hooded pranksters “hate” Blacks.

  • Without intervention by the federal government as allowed by the Matthew Shepard Act the murder against Jorge Mercado might not have been prosecuted – the local sheriff blamed the victim. Any response by Bruce to that?

  • Oh, and what about her opposition to marriage equality? Of course she doesn’t think donating to Prop 8 is bad when she supports it and still references her 2004 article denouncing equality.

  • Would it be too much to ask for Ms. Bruce to actually have some clue as to what she is talking about before she opens her mouth? Hate crimes laws do not, in fact single out any specific portion of the population. Hate crimes laws covering sexual orientation, for example, cover, well, sexual orientation. They do not single out gays or lesbians or bisexuals or any other particular group, they cover a TRAIT. A trait which every single person in the world has. Heterosexuals are covered under sexual orientation hate crime laws just as much as homosexuals. This fact nullifies her complaint. Now it’s certainly true that LGBTs are much more likely to be attacked because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity than non-LGBTs, but that’s sort of like claiming that laws penalizing people for stealing cars discriminate against those who don’t own cars.

  • I don’t think that Tammy’s argument holds water at all. The distinguishing feature of a hate crime is that the individual is the victim of a crime *because* they are a member of a particular group. If two people are battered, there should be no distinction if one of them happens to be gay. But if a person is targeted for no reason other than their homosexuality, the crime has a motivation based in bigotry and xenophobia. I’m guessing that lesbians are not as often the victim of hate crimes against homosexuals as gay men, but even today this happens regularly. I’m in my mid-twenties and live in a large city, and know several people who have been “jumped” and beaten on the streets for appearing homosexual.

    I’d also like to point out that Tammy’s reference to Animal Farm is misguided, and she needs to read it more carefully herself.

  • Also, Tammy’s comments about left-wing gay male misogyny is irrelevant and indicative only of her personal misandry.

  • If Tammy Bruce gets raped to satisfy the lust of the rapist, that’s a very serious felony. But if she gets raped to punish her for being a lesbian, that’s a crime against all of us for being queer.

  • Freedom is fabulous, but Tammy Bruce’s defense of it isn’t. While I have my issues with the concept of hate crimes, the factually incorrect notion that they make some groups more important than others isn’t one of them. Also, while I have my disagreements with the standard-issue gay left, I don’t call them the thought police just because they disagree with me. Further, as for gay male misogyny, it seems that yet again, the misandry of the politically correct Pat Robertson clones gets a free pass. Finally, in her closing paragraph, Bruce reveals herself to be yet another hanger-on who conflates conservatism with libertarianism when it suits her.

  • That chick is crazy after all she called Michelle Obama a B!TCH on her radio program. I have NO RESPECT FOR HER AT ALL!

  • If you don’t support hate crimes laws because of principle you should ask the repeal of all hate crime laws(racial ,religious, anti-military and other). The anti-gay lobby in fact disseminates the lie that hate crime against gay are less serious than other bias- motivated crimes.

  • The response comments on regarding this article are nauseating and go to show that gays have a long way to go in maturity and reasoning.

    I guess people like to twist her facts; she opposes this so she must align with “that”. i don’t think anything clearly has listened to her shows on a consistent basis. Obviously if you have, you wouldn’t come to immature conclusions. Bruce is about fairness, facts and experience.. and she is intellectually brilliant.

    She is right.. Hate Crimes was never about “fairness” as much as about special treatment and controlling how you think/behavior. This “trait” has nothing to do with it. A murder is a murder is a murder is a murder. Sure you can single someone out for being different, but doesn’t negate the fact hate crimes is seen as overzealous and hurts more than helps.

  • Don’t think anyone has clearly listened*

    Sheesh, an edit button would of been helpful at this point.

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