May 1, 2015 at 12:00 pm EDT | by Mark Lee
Some gays and lesbians aren’t ready to win
ideological hegemony, gay news, Washington Blade

Inclination toward ideological hegemony and political retribution of the sort that would make Chairman Mao proud is substitute for an appropriate sense of communal celebration and circumspect congeniality.

What’s up with us?

The news on the gay civil rights and marriage equality fronts has been nothing short of stupendous of late. Except for the attitudes and behavior of some LGBT people, including many community activists.

Inclination toward ideological hegemony and political retribution of the sort that would make Chairman Mao proud is substitute for an appropriate sense of communal celebration and circumspect congeniality. It seems we’ve become so accustomed to anxiety and alienation that gays don’t know how to be happy.

A broad-based significant majority of Americans now support the national legalization of same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court, having this week heard what is likely to be the historically definitive pleading on the issue, is expected to establish a right to marriage when announcing a ruling in June.

A result of the growing “evolution” on gay marriage, super-majorities also back equal treatment and civic protections on the basis of sexual orientation. The controversy and overwhelming opposition in recent days to attempts by several states to carve out an overly expansive “religious freedom” exception to equal protection provisions and exceeding existing federal standard proved political poison and were quashed.

Never before has support been stronger or transformation of the cultural landscape engaged every demographic group. Some skirmishes remain, but the war is over.

This lynchpin for full equality now includes supportive majorities in every region, among every ethnicity and all age groups under 65, with seniors evenly split. In fact, far fewer than half of all Republicans are strongly opposed, with younger party-affiliated voters fully in support. The leading GOP presidential contenders, however, are at that awkward tongue-twisting stage Democrats stumbled through not so long ago, burdened by voter participation rates of far less supportive Christian evangelicals in primaries and caucuses.

Politicians, as usual, aren’t leading indicators of public opinion or social change.

Businesses and corporate leaders continue their critical leading role in advancing LGBT rights, insisting on the legal uniformity necessary to attract talent and deploy personnel without concern for a byzantine patchwork of laws. Business makes the case that hampering employment benefits and tangling human resource administration in a labyrinth of variable and contradictory regulations is not only an obstacle to economic development but is something that commerce simply won’t countenance.

Instead of heralding these allies and achievements, some are obsessed with preserving a perpetual state of disproportionate collective angst. The worry, of course, is organizational money machines need to keep us crapping in our pants to keep the cash coming in.

Worse is the way we treat our own. Two instances in the past week are clear illustrations.

When generation-spanning Olympian and reality show star Bruce Jenner indicated he’s a conservative Republican, when discussing being transgender in a national television interview, the denunciations and condemnations were swift. Taunts that he’s “self-loathing” or a “traitor” and “despicable” for his political beliefs were emblematic of a lack of tolerance for divergence of thought.

The news that two prominent gay hoteliers, owners of multiple businesses and most of the gay venues on Fire Island, had invited Ted Cruz to a small meet-and-greet to primarily discuss non-gay issues sparked rapid-fire pillory. Lost in the outcry was the fundraising event they had recently hosted for 900 contributors to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Calls for a boycott of their enterprises ensued and they were reduced to issuing an “apology” to avoid continued harassment.

The irony is that it is our very diversity of person, place and politics that has accelerated our acceptance. Shared situations, entwined experiences and common concerns with others have allowed familiarity to engender support for fairness and freedom.

Attempting to outlaw political opinion is not only self-defeating, it’s doomed to failure in a gay-integrated world. Why do we remain tolerant of an abhorrent petty mob mentality demanding “groupthink” and pouncing on nonconformists?

For all the chatter about a need for “safe spaces” it’s time we create such for one another.


Mark Lee is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow on Twitter: @MarkLeeDC. Reach him at

  • What silliness! Who the heck is trying to outlaw speech, in this age of the web? Mark Lee sure knows how to write a dramatic and empty essay.

  • Mark, what ARE you talking about? “Outlaw” political opinion? What law?
    What’s going on here is that a civil rights movement must have a zero tolerance for those that sleep with the enemy. Hypocrisy will destroy the movement in its ranks. This isn’t about “diversity”: how can you support equal rights for gay people when you support the cause of a politician like Cruz whose vacuous agenda is heavily reliant on demonizing gay people? Who cares if you arrange a fundraiser for Hillary when you are too blind to avoid supporting someone who eagerly wishes to undo her work? I’m all for diversity and shared experiences and making friends across party lines. But someone on the other side who claims to be your friend and then heads home to resume stabbing you in the back is no friend.

    What you saw here was no “outlawing” of political opinion; rather, it was the expression of it. I’m disappointed that I have to use the same (flawless) argument on you that I have to use on right-wing-christo-fascists: intolerance of intolerance is not intolerance, it’s standing up for what’s right!

  • I agree with Mark Lee. The amazing progress gays have made in America can’t be better summed up than two openly gay businessmen in an open relationship sitting down to discuss business and politics with a presidential candidate. Why does the gay establishment find this so abhorring? It’s a shame the men apologized to save their businesses when they should have been heralded as exemplars of the gay rights movement.

  • You are a fool.

    Has Roe v. Wade guaranteed the freedom of women over their own bodies? Or does the fight continue?

    Did the Civil Rights act bring a level playing field to all? Or does the fight continue?

    Did the allies victory in WWII bring an end to anti-Semitism? Or does the fight continue?

    And Ian and Mati didn’t host a fundraiser for Clinton. A fundraiser was held at their hotel. Big difference.

    • You’re absolutely correct. Liberty does need to be constantly guarded and nurtured. Which is why many of us are leery of the Left Wing as much as the Right. Which is why I ask the gay establishment–had the hoteliers opened their doors to ISIS would you have been equally appalled? Track record says no. It’s that kind of self-defeating hypocrisy that needs to be brought out into the open, and I’m glad there are writers like Mark Lee, people truly concerned with individual liberty, willing to take the heat.

      • “–had the hoteliers opened their doors to ISIS would you have been equally appalled?”

        Yes, because diplomacy at that level needs to be left to professionals–not amateurs. But I am glad to see you are equating one dangerous religious fundamentalists with other dangerous religious fundamentalists.

        These guys didn’t sit down with Cruz to promote gay rights or individual liberty. They’ve changed their story more times than a guilty 4 year old with Oreo all over his face. “It was about Israel….no….it was to introduce and old friend…… was about gay rights……no… was about Obamacare……”.

        What it was about was rich right wing power-f-ing with a guy who has connections. This is Melmann 2.0: “I’m rich, they can’t touch me, and they have powerful financial connections I want to take advantage of. Who cares if they want to strip rights from the LGBT community–I can buy my way out of it affecting me.”

        Their money may buy them in the front door–but the Cruzs of the world are still calling them f—– behind their back.

  • Gay republicans are all about their money and nothing else!

    • At least they aren’t hypocrites about it. Who isn’t all about money? It’s how you stay alive.

      • What a tool. Stop going around calling yourselves gay if you won’t fight for those rights or put them second to everything else. I’m so sick of Gay Republicans/Conservatives using the moniker but always defending and voting for those that do nothing for us or oppose everything that benefits us. It’s more than just be used as a GOP doormat to get special recognition so they can point to you whenever they need to describe themselves as “compassionate conservatives”.
        And no, I’m not an extreme leftist either. I have some conservative views but they don’t trump my views on GLBT equality and justice first.

  • Two major problems with this article: 1) no one is attempting to outlaw any speech or associating with others; but if you say or do something controversial, you are not immune from criticism, even to the level of boycotting; 2) rich people (including rich gay people) are not “our own” – I have no common cause with them, and they have no common cause with me, nor need of my affirmation. What the hell is going on with rich people these days? Why are they whining so much about not being loved by the public? Is it because they’ve finally come up against something money can’t buy, namely respect?

  • There is no point in demanding tolerance of others if you refuse to tolerate other people’s ideas, ideals, beliefs, choices, or lack there of, etc. Change does still need to happen, but not at the cost of acting like an ass and taking oneself down, instead of simply being a living example of what you really want others to see. “Be the change you want to see in the world” is not just a bumper sticker. It actually is a way of life. Give it a try?

    Sad that so many comments below are hateful. It is true that when someone fights for so long to get what they want, then they get it, they are so used to fighting that they do not know another way to live. Real change takes real courage…all the way through to the other side of change.

    Thank you Mark for always sticking your neck out to shed light on issues regardless of what others think. If you had to write a story that appeased everyone, what the heck would that look like, and who would read it? lol. Keep doing what your doing.

  • Also to a post below regarding “Rich ‘Gay’ people not being our own”?
    It seems that you are equating anyone who is rich as being bad. What about all the ‘rich’ people who have given the Gay community so much financial support to bring about change, (including our government). Many of these rich people are gay.

    How was the Whitman Walker Clinic started? Where would the DC gay community be without the significant financial support ir received to open it’s doors to help so many who could not help themselves. Unfortunately your point is lost on me.

    Most rich people have no desire to be public about their wealth. That seems stems from a true humility and gratitude for what they have. People needing publicity will always clamor for it, regardless of their financial status. THAT is a result of a lack of humility and gratitude in their lives.

    However, all rich people seem to fight to keep money the government tries to take from them. I also fight to keep the government from taking from me what does not belong to them. Is that really really wrong? Does that desire eject me from being part of the gay community?

    • Robert, I’m sure you’re a nice guy, you love your mother, pet dogs, and work hard. But if one of your strongest drives in life is fighting to keep the government from taking from you “what does not belong to them,” then no, I am not “one of your own”. I value significantly different things in life from you. We do not have sufficient commonality, I strongly suspect, to consider each other “one of our own”.

      • lol… never said it was the most important thing. The most important thing for me to do is to stop building walls between me and other people. Don’t you think it is better to find similarities instead of differences? Solutions are borne by finding similarities. As well as relationships.

        • I guess I’d have to ask at this point, relationships to what end? If gay marriage becomes the law of the land, then gay Republicans are done with the fighting for gay rights, and with progressive rights in general. They’ll go back to fighting “to keep the government from taking their money”. I on the other hand think marginalized and formerly marginalized people should work together toward comprehensive social and economic justice. In fact I often wonder if even the search for gay marriage rights hasn’t diverted us from larger, more important issues. But I get it: maybe I’m the one who isn’t “one of your own”; maybe I’m the one who doesn’t belong in the “gay community”. I can live with that. Coming out of, and learning to resist, religious fundamentalism, I’m a rebel by nature. The venality of the gay community may simply be another thing to resist.

  • I’m ready to win, I’ve been ready to win ever since I came out over 30 years ago. But unlike you I’m not a naïve Pollyanna! I’ve been hearing that a majority of Americans support GLBT rights for a long while now, but unless it’s codified in law, it doesn’t mean much does it?
    The SCOTUS may well declare a constitutional right for Gays and Lesbians to marry in June but I seriously doubt that ends the battle. Already Christian conservative groups are saying they won’t accept such a ruling, would push for a Constitutional amendment and would use it as a wedge issue in future elections for years to come. Just like Roe V. Wade didn’t end the battle over abortion rights.
    Did a federal appeals court ruling in Alabama instructing them to issue marriage licenses get them to follow that ruling? Did you know that following the Brown V. Board Education ruling Southern Congressman wrote a “Southern Manifesto” to oppose racial integration and accused the SCOTUS of abusing it’s powers? Sounds quite familiar to what we are experiencing now from the opposition.
    We may have majority support against discrimination yet there is no federal law outlawing GLBT discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations or services and attempts to pass ENDA go nowhere even when we’ve had a Democratic Majority in Congress and a sitting President who would sign it. Obama’s executive order expires after he leaves office. Assuming a new President will honor it is again only and assumption.
    Spare me the typical whine of gay leaders saying these people are on the wrong side of history. They couldn’t care less.
    Anyone supporting the GOP and people like Cruz in particular within our own community deserve scorn. None of the contenders support our rights. That’s no different that gays in Pre-Nazi Germany supporting Hitler only to be backstabbed once he gained power. If you tell me other things are more important than gay rights then why would you call yourself a gay person or group openly if that is secondary?

© Copyright Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. 2020. All rights reserved.