I watched some of the live stream from Unfinished Business: The Atlantic LGBT Summit held in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 11. A friend commented, “the identity politics—trans, bi, LGBT youth of color, why isn’t disability being discussed?—was too much for me.”
For me, as well.
Elizabeth Nolan Brown’s reporting at reason.com strikes the right notes about what she terms “an event filled with both thought-provoking speakers and brain-numbing PC platitudes.” For instance, on the panel discussion on legal barriers to transgender equality, she sums up:
Welcome to the minefield that is discussing LGBTIQ* issues circa 2015. By the time panelists had sorted out who was micro- or macro-agressing against whom, there was little time left for the planned topic of the panel, trans civil rights. (Unless the right to be on an Atlantic panel is at the forefront of the trans agenda.)
* Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and questioning
On the issue of whether the LGBT movement should allow tolerance for religious dissent, Brown writes:
Those who stuck out most during the day’s sessions were figures like David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, and writer and pundit Andrew Sullivan. Boaz and Sullivan are both gay and have long histories of gay-rights activism. But their belief in religious freedom set them apart from most of the crowd and speakers gathered yesterday. One of the biggest cheers of the day, in fact, came after an audience member accused Boaz of being “on the wrong side of history.”
As I’ve said and others have noted, progressive activists believe that nondiscrimination supersedes all other constitutional liberties (here’s an example in a different context, regarding Title IX and freedom of speech). The summit showed the strident opposition to the suggestion that there is a liberty right not to be forced to provide services to same-sex weddings when doing so violates religious belief, or even a positive value is showing tolerance for religious dissent by a small number of service providers.
Brown notes that “the historic alliance between libertarians and the LGBT community when it comes to political activism” is pretty much over, as “the area of common ground seems to be shrinking.” Hard to argue with that.
More. A positive development on the LGBT front! As the New York Times reports:
In a surprise announcement, the Empire State Pride Agenda, a leading state group that advocates gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues in New York, will disband next year, citing the fulfillment of a 25-year campaign for equality.
Having secured marriage equality in New York before the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling, and with broad nondiscrimination measures in place that include transgender men and women, it was mission accomplished. But, as the Times also notes:
State Senator Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat, seemed shocked by the news. “There’s a lot more work to be done on L.G.B.T. rights in New York, so declaring ‘Mission Accomplished’ seems premature,” he said, noting that his legislative chamber had not passed a “single piece of L.G.B.T. legislation” since 2011. “I hope a new political group picks up the mantle,” he added.
The gay equality agenda may be met, but hey, there’s lots of progressive policies to coral LGBT support behind, not to mention embedding LGBT lobbies into the identity politics spoils system!