September 14, 2017 at 12:32 pm EDT | by Mark Lee
Hillary’s clue about ‘What Happened’ to gay culture
Hillary Clinton Book, gay news, washington blade

Hillary Clinton (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

“I know that for a lot of people, including a lot of women, the movement for women’s equality exists largely in the past.”

That line, previewed from Hillary Clinton’s maligned-in-advance blame-everybody-else book-of-electoral-excuses “What Happened” published this week, provides an insight relevant to the current state of LGBT politics and culture.

Given the rapid and dramatic pace of broad gains in LGBT civil equality and cultural acceptance, the prevalent proclivity within our ranks for grievance collection and victim portrayal may wear as thin as Clinton’s lingering lament over losing.

Whether we will become chronic complainers like Clinton who simply won’t stop whining is the question.

We run the same risk as she, suffering political allies reported by media to be expressing in exasperation, “I wish she’d just shut the f— up and go away.”

We will be measured by psychological preparedness for the transition from renegade to that of largely acceptance and assimilation. The degree to which we lament the loss of an historic “outsider” status and the collective cohesiveness such estrangement once provided will be gauged. A fundamental, if yet incomplete, cultural integration and the corresponding reduction in community entities and commercial establishments will characterize the contours and context of modern gay life.

Fear of this development can be found in the directives of too many LGBT activists. Our attention is increasingly being diverted to so-called “intersectional” issues outside the shared realm of essential matters of LGBT equality or community-centric concerns – accompanied by the attendant presumption that sexual orientation conveys proscribed political perspectives. Moreover, this implies there is now a lot less on the “gay agenda” commanding group attention.

We witnessed this dichotomy last summer when “No Justice No Pride” radicals pilloried wholesale the LGBT community and local Pride celebrations in multiple cities for not protesting pipelines, prisons, police, and the lending policies of banks. Nothing belies that a significant amount has been accomplished quite like a programmatic attempt to shift the focus toward other topics. The inherent irony implicit in these admonitions is that LGBT issues are no longer as intrinsically relevant due to the collaborative success and community progress toward fair and equal treatment.

Clinton’s legacy condemnation of “deplorables” is similarly emblematic of this out-of-the-mainstream LGBT political ideology. Fairly or not, it has led to a popularized and ignoble reputation for wanting to punish opponents, not persuade them.

We are seen as desiring to exact revenge for, or at least restriction of and recrimination against, even the slightest divergence outside a groupthink political posture and cultural attitude. There’s no pause anymore in the impatience of some for absolutist behavior. No slight is too small or no offense too minor, with no modulation or accommodation permitted.

If we’re to expand our sights on issues of community concern, we are notably casting our gaze in the wrong direction.

Given that LGBT entrepreneurs and small-to-moderate-size enterprise owners and operators are widely estimated to represent fully 10 percent or more of our demographic cohort, much higher than that of the population as a whole, community leaders might better turn their attention toward issues of concern to those engaged in business.

Although an increasingly hostile-to-enterprise leftist Democratic leadership doesn’t appear to care, it was not long ago that the business community was much more magnanimous toward the party. Today, however, surveys indicate that an overwhelming supermajority between 3-of-4 and 4-of-5 business operators now consistently support Republican candidates at the local, state, and federal levels. This widespread opposition to Democratic policies includes a sizable, if largely silent, contingent of lesbian and gay enterprise leaders.

National politics and political parties are currently a mess of internal disruption and external dysfunction. Voter affinity for both parties is at a dismal level and record-setting low.

Hillary Clinton’s observation regarding gender politics is an important lesson, and warning, for the LGBT community. It’s one passage in her book we’d be wise to heed.

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

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