Totalitarian Jerks

This is why more people are coming to hate the self-righteous PC left: Charity race for children’s hospice where runners dress in drag is ‘a hate crime.’

That the children’s hospice had to grovel to the transgender activists for forgiveness turned my stomach.

Little Robespierres.

Freedom Means Freedom for Everyone

Out actress Ellen Page has garnered much publicity for her impromptu debate over gay rights with GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz at the Iowa State Fair. But what did she choose to go on the offensive about? No, not Cruz’s support for a constitutional amendment to roll back gay marriage, but his defense of religious freedom for conservative Christian bakers, florists and other service providers.

I’m continually shocked at how tone deaf activists-minded gays and lesbians of the leftish persuasion are on this issue, cavalierly dismissing religious freedom as nothing put an attempt to allow discrimination against gays, period, end of story. If only we can get rid of religious freedom, well, then we’d be set. Progressive government would tell everyone what to do and, you know, that would be keen.

But a majority of Americans don’t believe small, independent business owners should be forced to provide services to same-sex weddings against their religious beliefs (that is, self-employed private business people, not government civil servants. And there is, or once was, a difference here). Many of those supporting religious freedom for those who have religious objections to same-sex weddings are themselves ok with same-sex marriage. They’re not bigots. The intolerance is on the other side.

More. John Corvino writes in the New York Times Gay Rights and the Race Analogy:

When civil rights laws were passed, discrimination against blacks was pervasive, state-sponsored and socially intractable. Pervasive, meaning that there weren’t scores of other photographers clamoring for their business. State-sponsored, meaning that segregation was not merely permitted but in fact legally enforced, even in basic public accommodations and services. Socially intractable, meaning that without higher-level legal intervention, the situation was unlikely to improve. To treat the lesbian couple’s situation as identical — and thus as obviously deserving of the same legal remedy — is to minimize our racist past and exaggerate L.G.B.T.-rights opponents’ current strength.

John comes down somewhere between my view that no one self-employed in the private sector should be forced to provide services that violate their religious beliefs and the activists who believe they should. He writes:

Currently, the jurisdictions most likely to prohibit sexual-orientation discrimination are those where such laws seem least needed; cities where rainbow banners far outnumber Confederate flags. But what about places where being openly gay is literally unsafe? There it’s much harder to rely on market forces and social pressure for ensuring equality.

How pervasive or intractable does discrimination need to be before we should invoke the long arm of the law to solve it? I don’t have a simple formula for answering that question. I’m wary of those who do.

Francis Disappoints, Again

LGBT Catholics say the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, the world’s largest Catholic gathering of families and an event that Pope Francis will attend, is missing an opportunity by offering just one session on LGBT concerns.

I’d say so, given that at that single session:

Ron Belgau, editor of a website called Spiritual Friendship, is to speak, along with his mother, at a session titled “Always Consider the Person: Homosexuality in the Family.” He is gay and celibate.

The mindset of the Roman church is shown by Archibishop of Philadelphia Charles Joseph Chaput, who remarked that “We don’t want to provide a platform at the meeting for people to lobby for positions contrary to the life of our Church.”

The pope’s embrace of redistributive/regulatory economics and climate-change alarmism (or, more accurately, apocalypticalism) has won him applause from certain leftish constituencies. But its all of a piece with the church’s authoritarian and reactionary mindset.

Added: Yes, apocalypticalism. In 2009, ABC News reported, with deep seriousness, predictions that 2015 would see climate-catastrophe-based prices of $12.00 for a gallon of milk and $9.00 for a gallon for gasoline, if gas was available at all. Increase government control over the economy, now!

More. Via the Washington Post, LGBT groups don’t feel the love in Philadelphia:

Catholicism teaches that sexual relationships between unmarried people are immoral, and adds that sex between two people of the same gender is a “grave depravity” because it doesn’t biologically produce children. “Under no circumstances can they be approved,” church teaching says of gay relationships. However gay people are to be treated respectfully and not subject to “unjust discrimination.” Francis has emphasized dialogue and love, though his positions on sexuality and gender appear to remain fully orthodox.

The YouGov-UK Poll

This poll is getting lots of publicity, showing that when “Asked to plot themselves on a ‘sexuality scale’, 23% of British people choose something other than 100% heterosexual – and the figure rises to 49% among 18-24 year olds.”

One conclusion: “With each generation, people see their sexuality as less fixed in stone.”

Britain, like the rest of the Western capitalist world, has come a long way since the persecutions of countless gay men, including most famously Oscar Wilde and Alan Turing, who were just the tip of the “Victim” iceberg.

Then there’s the sad case of former PM Edward Heath.

More. YouGov-US: 31% of Americans under 30 say they are not 100% heterosexual, while 24% of people aged 30 to 44 say that they’re somewhere on the scale of bisexuality, compared to 8% or less of over-45s.

As in the UK findings, young Americans are far more likely to acknowledge same-sex attractions. The fear, paranoia and shame with which older generations treated any manifestation of same-sex desire is receding, more so in the UK but still dramatically noticeably here in the US.

Future generations will be psychologically healthier and happier as a result.

The Stonewall Myth

The upcoming premiere of the movie “Stonewall” (directed by Roland Emmerich and written by Jon Robin Baitz) has provoked calls for a boycott by the predicable crowd, since the central character is a gay white cis male.

As the negative comments to the trailer show, the myth of Stonewall is alive and thriving—that the bar was frequented by people of color and drag queens who started and led the subsequent riots. Alas, actual Stonewall veterans and real historians note that the Stonewall was, in fact, a mostly young white male kind of place. Photos reveal a clientele that, if not quite preppie was certainly more middle-class than lumpenproletariat, although local drag queens joined the riot once it got underway.

Back in 1999 IGF posted Stonewall Revisited by historian Eric Marcus, who noted, “The story of what really happened at Stonewall has yet to be distorted and embellished beyond the point of recognition, but it’s well on its way.” And in 2002, we ran The Myth of the Transsexual Stonewall by Dale Carpenter, who wrote: “It is wrong to characterize the Stonewall Inn as having been a sanctuary for genderqueers (unless that term encompasses non-transgendered gay men).”

Eric Marcus wrote:

The Stonewall Inn attracted an eclectic crowd, from teenage college students like Morty Manford to conservatively dressed young men who stopped in with their dates after the theater or opera. “It was a different mind-set then,” recalled Dawn Hampton. “On weekends, men dressed up. A lot of them were dating and they would dress in coat and tie.” …

The Stonewall Inn was not a generally welcoming place for drag queens, although as Martin Duberman notes, “…a few favored full-time transvestites, like Tiffany, Spanola Jerry, a hairdresser from Sheepshead Bay, and Tammy Novak… were allowed to enter Stonewall in drag…”

These posts sought to put historical fact above politically correct and fashionable narrative, to little success. And thus the calls to boycott the Stonewall movie for failing to show the fabled bar as it was not, but (for many) ought to have been.

When the legend becomes fact, print (or film) the legend?

More. Writing at, Stonewall veteran Mark Segal, now the publisher of Philadelphia Gay New, shares his views (and why he opposed the boycott). He writes:

Once Stonewall was raided and the crowd became angry and it looked as though something might happen, only drag queens, homeless kids, people like me who thought they had no future, and a few activists stuck around.

Who am I to argue with an eye witness? But I’ll just note that then-kids like Segal himself and other Stonewall veterans/instigators, such as Morty Manford and Marty Robinson, may have felt marginalized and that they had nothing to lose, but were in fact from white working- or middle-class families, college-educated if not actually still students. And, in the case of these three, also Jewish. So no, not all street people and drag queens of color.

Glimmers of Change for the GOP

Added. During the GOP presidential debate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich earned applause for, basically, saying same-sex marriage is the law and we should love our gay kids. Reports Business Insider:

The crowd in Cleveland gave Kasich a loud round of applause. The overwhelming cheering was a noticeable contrast from just four years ago during another GOP primary debate…in which a crowd booed a gay soldier.

On the other hand, there’s Rick Santorum. But he’s fading away.


The Washington Blade reports that:

The Republican National Committee has nixed a pair of controversial anti-gay resolutions that were proposed for consideration during its summer meeting ahead of the first GOP 2016 presidential debate. … The first resolution, proposed by Dave Agema, urged schools with gay-inclusive sex education curricula to “also include the harmful physical aspects of the lifestyle.” Another measure, sponsored by Ross Little of Louisiana, sought to defy the U.S. Supreme Court marriage decision by urging Congress to pass legislation stripping federal courts of the ability to hear marriage cases and returning the issue to the states.

The Blade also noted:

Had the measures been adopted at the Cleveland gathering, it would have been the first official act of the Republican Party on marriage after the U.S. Supreme Court decision on gay nuptials and likely invoked consternation among LGBT advocates as the Republican Party seeks a more inclusive image.

Agema, the Blade reports, is:

the same RNC member who has repeatedly landed in hot water for making anti-gay, racist and anti-Muslim posts on Facebook. Republican National Committee Chair Reince Preibus and former Michigan Republican Party Chair Bobby Schostok have called on Agema to step down and the RNC has censured him, but no explicit mechanism exists to expel him from the RNC and he has remained in his post.

During recent presidential elections, the Republican platform has called for amending the U.S. Constitution to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. It remains to be seen if the GOP platform will again, post-Obergefell, call for restricting marriage equality. But the rejection of these resolutions by the RNC seems a good sign.

Boy Scouts and Religious Freedom Exemption: Battle Awaits

As anticipated, and at long last, the Boy Scouts of America have voted to allow openly gay men and lesbians to be adult employees and volunteer leaders. As the AP notes, however:

Several denominations that collectively sponsor close to half of all Scout units—including the Roman Catholic church, the Mormon church and the Southern Baptist Convention—have been apprehensive about ending the ban on gay adults.

The Boy Scouts of America’s top leaders have pledged to defend the right of any church-sponsored units to continue excluding gays as adult volunteers. But that assurance has not satisfied some conservative church leaders.

“It’s hard for me to believe, in the long term, that the Boy Scouts will allow religious groups to have the freedom to choose their own leaders,” said the Rev. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “In recent years I have seen a definite cooling on the part of Baptist churches toward the Scouts,” Moore said. “This will probably bring that cooling to a freeze.”

While conservative religious leaders aren’t happy, LGBT activists aren’t overjoyed, either:

Stuart Upton, a lawyer for the LGBT-rights group Lambda Legal, questioned whether the BSA’s new policy to let church-sponsored units continue to exclude gay adults would be sustainable. “There will be a period of time where they’ll have some legal protection,” Upton said. “But that doesn’t mean the lawsuits won’t keep coming. … They will become increasingly marginalized from the direction society is going.”

Moreover, in a released statement headlined “Local Exemptions Will Allow Discrimination to Continue,” Chad Griffen, president of the Human Rights Campaign, lamented that “including an exemption for troops sponsored by religious organizations undermines and diminishes the historic nature of today’s decision.”

The conventional wisdom goes that if activists on the right and left are both unhappy, then it’s probably an appropriate, centrist solution. And that may be true here. Church-sponsored BSA troops are somewhat unique in that the Boy Scouts are not a self-defined religious organization, but troops are highly identified with, and reflect the characteristics of, their local sponsors.

It’s unclear how future lawsuits will turn out, but the public is unlikely to support LGBT activists on this one (polls show a majority favor religious exemptions from anti-discrimination law, even among those who support marriage equality).

More. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement saying “the admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church and what have traditionally been the values of the Boy Scouts of America,” and that “When the leadership of the Church resumes its regular schedule of meetings in August, the century-long association with Scouting will need to be examined.”

Given that troops sponsored by the Mormon church will have a religious exemption allowing them to exclude gay adults, the response seems excessively churlish and suggests that the Mormons believe all scout troops must abide by Mormon values. That’s as polarizing, and totalistic, as the progressives who believe in no exemptions for religious organizations that sponsor troops.

Furthermore. This AP story reports that the Mormons may be looking for an opportunity to form their own worldwide scouting movement for boys, completely under church control. Similarly, the LDS does not sponsor Girl Scout troops and instead oversees its own Young Women’s program.

That’s a loss for Mormon youth, as one of the great benefits of scouting is the way it brings young people into contact with others from diverse backgrounds.

Also, via the Washington Post, Why Mormons are so devastated by the Boy Scout vote on gay leaders.

The Legacy

Obama does the right thing in Kenya.

As I’ve said previously, I believe advances in gay legal equality and social inclusion will be the great legacy of the Obama administration, and I suspect Obama may realize this.

Perhaps health care exchanges will last, although the labyrinth of business mandates under Obamacare are likely to be scaled back by a future administration and Congress. Otherwise, the debt-spiraling misspent trillions in the great redistributive give-away that Democrats called “stimulus,” the ever-expanding growth-deterring over-regulation of businesses, and the hapless foreign policy will be seen for what they are.

Even so, beginning at the very end of his first term with repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell (which heretofore he seemed willing to let Harry Reid block along with the Employee Non-Discrimination Act), followed by the administration’s opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act and support, eventually, for marriage equality, up through making an issue of gay rights internationally, Obama got one big thing right.

More. Sadly, he’s gotten so much else wrong. Columnist Daniel Henninger writes in the Wall Street Journal (7/30/15):

The American anxieties Donald Trump has tapped into are real and rational. … It’s what everyone in politics, including Hillary Clinton, knows has been the No. 1 concern of the American people for years: the U.S.’s underachieving economy. …

The U.S.’s average postwar growth rate is 3.3%, and has often been higher. Across the entire 6½ years of the Obama presidency it has been about 2%, and often lower. … The labor-force participation rate, 62.6% last month, is at its lowest level in 38 years. In human terms, 432,000 people dropped out of the workforce in June, and nearly two million are called “marginally attached to the labor force” by the government. … For much of the private economy, the Obama presidency has been almost seven years of “Survivor.” …

Here is what Reagan’s tax and regulatory policies produced from 1982-89: an economy that grew by a third and a standard of living, as measured by real disposable income, that grew by 20%.

Henninger concludes, “The result [of Obama’s economic policies] is a populace that is becoming resentful, surly and anxious for a way out,” and increasingly receptive to populist demagoguery.

Also from the WSJ, The Six-Year Slough: New GDP revisions show the worst recovery in 70 years was even weaker.

And yes, Reagan on gay legal equality/social inclusion, not so good. No party has a monopoly on the truth.

Equality Act Is New Cause

With congressional Democrats’ introduction last week of the Equality Act, ENDA (the Employee Non-Discrimination Act) is officially dead. The previous bill, which targeted employment discrimination, had a long, sad history—just when it seemed to have enough bipartisan support to pass, a number of influential activists organizations announced their opposition because the measure didn’t include gender identity along with sexual orientation. Later, when gender identity was added, it was too much for the bill’s GOP (and centrist Democratic) supporters, at that time. The strategy of step by step, first one, than the other, was never viewed as acceptable by some activists.

In any event, during the first two years of the Obama administration, when Democrats enjoyed filibuster-proof majorities in Congresss, ENDA was kept bottled up in committee; only after the GOP retook the House in midterm elections did Democrats moved to bring the bill back to life.

The Equality Act seeks to amend the iconic Civil Rights Act 1964 to include sexual orientation and gender identity, in employment, housing, education, jury service(!) and public accommodations, with no religious exemptions for businesses such as wedding caterers and photographers to pass on gigs involving gay marriages. It has zero chance of passing Congress, dominated by the GOP. That’s not the point; Democrats will use it to rally LGBT and progressive support in coming elections.

Yet some LGBT activists are not united in support; some fear that opening the Civil Rights Act to amendments could be dangerous, allowing Republicans to introduce their own amendments to weaken, for instance, race- and gender-based preferential treatment and the use of disparate impact analysis to find discrimination where none was intended. It’s unclear that there is evidence Republicans would try to do that (the attacks upon them by liberal media would be merciless), but that’s the stated concern.

So don’t expect the Equality Act to become law anytime soon, or perhaps ever. But keep a lookout for fundraising letters from its supporters coming to your mailbox shortly.

In PC Olympics, Trans Beats Drag

The Glasgow, Scotland, alternative Free Pride festival is too politically correct for Dan Savage, who notes the organizers rationale:

At Free Pride we hope to create a safe space for all people within the LGBTQIA+ community. We understand that sometimes this will disappoint some people within the community, however our priority is always to put the needs of the most marginalised groups within our community first. This is why, after much discussion,the trans and non binary caucus decided not to have drag acts perform at the event.

The organizers further explain their decision:

When individuals from a less marginalized group make individuals from a more marginalized group feel uncomfortable—or if they might make them feel uncomfortable—the individuals from the less marginalized group can and should be excluded for the comfort of individuals from the more marginalized group.

Savage recounts that:

After getting a little outraged feedback, some of which violated Free Pride’s “safe space” policies (boo hoo hoo), Free Pride announced their new-and-improved policy on drag acts: Drag performers who are “trans and non-binary” will be welcome to perform at Free Pride, but the ban remains on cis drag performers.

In other words, a performer like Albin/Zaza from the musical La Cage of Folles would be excluded from performing “I Am What I Am,” given the offensive nature of gay drag and the veto granted to the more-greatly oppressed trans activists.

More. Here’s coverage by London’s Evening Standard, Drag queens banned from Pride event ‘because they may offend transgender people’.

No, this isn’t just a made up issue. From the progressive site ThinkProgress, a very, very, serious analysis of The Quiet Clash Between Transgender Women and Drag Queens.