IGF CultureWatch emerged from the Independent Gay Forum project, created in the 1990s by a group of gay writers, academics, attorneys, and activists who felt dissatisfied with the then current level of discussion of gay-related issues.

A great deal was accomplished in the two decades after the original IGF was launched. Gay legal equality and social inclusion became very much a part of mainstream sensibilities. The leftwing, during that period, lost its once exclusive grip on gay culture—although resistance to libertarian and center-right viewpoints within LGBT organizations and media remained a challenge, and political correctness was too often wielded to stifle dissenting perspectives. Meanwhile, many social conservatives still worked to deny gay people equality under the law and to exclude us from conservative circles.

Nevertheless, gay people took their place at the American political and cultural table. With these advances, it was decide that The Independent Gay Forum should be downgraded from a formal 50(c)(3) not-for-profit organization to a watch-keeper blog site, IGF CultureWatch.

In the years since, advocates of “queer theory” incubated in left academia, promoting views on gender identity that far exceed scientific evidence and which put at risk the very concept of sexual orientation, have taken control over what was the gay and lesbian rights movement. The new LGBTQ+ establishment’s views are reflected by elite  progressive media and academia, and by the dominant left wing of the Democratic party. This ideology, as now implemented by private organizations and in official government policies, threatens the health and well-being of gender-nonconforming gay and lesbian youth and threatens the safety of women, and has provoked a backlash that threatens the advances made in earlier decades by gay men and lesbians. 

The Original IGF

IGF promoted the following goals and values:

  • We support the full inclusion of gay men and lesbians in civil society with legal equality and equal social respect.
  • We share a belief in the fundamental virtues of the American system and its traditions of individual liberty, personal moral autonomy and responsibility, and equality before the law. We believe those traditions depend on the institutions of a market economy, free discussion, and limited government.
  • We deny “conservative” claims that gay men and lesbians pose any threat to social morality or the political order.
  • We equally oppose “progressive” claims that the only authentic LGBT position is to support increasing the scope of government, believing this is often at the expense of individual liberty, civil society and voluntary action.
  • We share an approach, but we disagree on many particulars. We include libertarians, limited-government conservatives, moderates, and classical liberals.

The views expressed on the IGF website were those of the authors’ alone and of those who commented on their posts. These individuals were fully responsible for their own content. This remains true for the IGF CultureWatch Blog.

Stephen H. Miller, IGF Blogger-in-Chief

Stephen H. Miller, a self-described “recovering progressive,” has been writing about gay politics and culture for the better part of two decades. During the ’90s, his former syndicated column ran in several gay publications and his writings appeared in the anthologies Bound by Diversity (Sebastian Press) and Beyond Queer: Challenging Gay Left Orthodoxy (Free Press), among others. As a former Christopher Street magazine contributing writer, he authored a number of controversy raising cover stories, including “Is Political Correctness Destroying the Gay Civil Rights Movement?tag=igcu-20” (November 1993), “Who Stole the Gay Movement?” (October 1994) and “Is Manhood a Social Disease?” (June 1995), as well as book reviews including “ Masculinity Under Siege” (January 1994). He also did a stint as the “Media Man” columnist for the former Genre magazine.

In its November/December 1994 issue, the journal Heterodoxy published his article “Gay-Bashing by Homosexuals” (Miller’s original title was “Gay White Males: PC’s Unseen Target”).

For five years beginning in the mid-80s, Miller served as a board member for the newly formed Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation in New York, where he was the group’s media committee chair and editor of the GLAAD Bulletin. He helped organize a number of high profile actions, some of which he now recalls with some embarrassment. He received the 1990 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Volunteer Services, but departed soon after over disagreements regarding the organization’s mission and politics.

Original Bloggers (Archived Posts)

David Link is a writer and attorney who has been working on gay rights in California since 1984.

Jonathan Rauch is the author of several books and many articles on public policy, culture and economics. Among his most influential books is Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America (Times Books).

Dale Carpenter is an American legal commentator and Earl R. Larson Professor of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law at the University of Minnesota Law School. He also is a contributor to The Volokh Conspiracy blog.

Andrew Sullivan is a political commentator, a former editor of The New Republic, and the author or editor of numerous books, including Virtually Normal: An Argument about Homosexuality (Vintage). He started a political blog, The Daily Dish, in 2000, and currently produces The Weekly Dish on Substack.

John Corvino is a writer, speaker and philosophy professor. He has been speaking and writing on moral subjects since the early 1990s.

Walter Olson is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and the author of several books about the U.S. litigation system, including Schools for Misrule: Legal Academia and an Overlawyered America (Encounter Books). On the web, he founded and ran Overlawyered.com.

Paul Varnell was for many years a columnist at the Windy City Times and Chicago Free Press, and was editor of the IGF website. Jonathan Rauch posted a remembrance of Paul after his passing.

Bruce Bawer is a literary, film, and cultural critic and a novelist and poet, who has written about gay rights, Christianity, and Islam. His books include The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Birth of the Woke Ideology (Bombardier Books) and, as editor, Beyond Queer: Challenging Gay Left Orthodoxy (Free Press), an anthology with essays by many of IGF’s founders.

David Boaz is a distinguished senior fellow of the Cato Institute, were for many years he served as executive vice president. His is the author of The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom (Simon & Schuster) and editor of The Libertarianism Reader: Classic & Contemporary Writings from Lao-Tzu to Milton Friedman (Simon & Schuster).