Celebrities Toe the Line—or Else?

As reported by The Daily Beast, Jennifer Holliday Pulls Out of Trump Inauguration, Apologizes to LGBT Community:

On Saturday morning Jennifer Holliday released a letter addressed to the LGBT community announcing that she will no longer be performing at the inauguration concert, apologizing for what she called a “lapse of judgment.” She cites this article in her letter, saying that after she read it she realized that “my only choice must now be to stand with the LGBT Community and to state unequivocally that I WILL NOT PERFORM FOR THE WELCOME CONCERT OR FOR ANY OF THE INAUGURATION FESTIVITIES!”

[Added: The issue isn’t whether Holliday will or won’t perform as she sees fit, but that there is a new McCarthyism of the left afoot, where celebrities have been warned that “legitimatizing” the Trump presidency by performing at the inauguration or at future White House-related cultural events will put them on a new black list because the administration is—in this case—allegedly anti-gay.]

LGBT progressives and Democrats have advanced the false narrative that Trump is anti-gay, when—despite his other failings—he was easily the most gay-accepting GOP president nominee ever, as I discussed in an earlier post. And so a day that should unite Americans of goodwill despite political differences becomes a day that divides and provokes yet more partisan polarization.

More evidence of LGBT progressives’ disconnect from, well, reality. Challenging the dominant liberal-left narrative, historian John Gordon Steele writes in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Trump May Herald a New Political Order:

To bring permanent change, Mr. Trump needs policies that succeed on the ground, not merely in theory. Faster growth and rising incomes are always rewarded at the ballot box. …

But continued outreach to minority communities is also crucial. Mr. Trump has promised to address the problems of inner cities, which he accuses the Democrats of ignoring for decades. And at one rally last fall, he was handed a rainbow flag, a symbol of gay rights. He smiled broadly and held it aloft as the audience cheered.

This is not your father’s Republican Party.

WAMU, the NPR station in the nation’s capital, recently featured an interview with entrepreneur Jeff Giesea. As noted on the station’s website (which links to the interview):

Jeff Giesea says he isn’t what most people expect a Trump supporter to be—he’s a gay, Stanford-educated resident of a city Hillary Clinton carried by over 90 percent. But Giesea says broad stereotypes are part of the problem with modern politics, where common ground is often hard to find.

You think?

More. Opera star Andrea Bocelli backs out of Trump inauguration because of death threats. As Twitchy noted, “Tolerant Left Strikes Again!”

Can a Catholic Hospital Refuse a Gender-Transition Surgery?

As the new year began, LGBT groups denounced a decision by a federal judge in Texas that blocked, nationwide, federal regulations issued under the Affordable Care Act that barred discrimination against transgendered patients.

As the Washington Times reported, “U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor is the same judge who, four months earlier, blocked President Obama’s order compelling public schools nationwide to permit bathroom and locker room access on the basis of gender identity.”

The lawsuit against the transgender anti-discrimination rule was brought by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, representing the Franciscan Alliance.

“Judge O’Connor’s decision to prevent the Department of Health and Human Services from implementing crucial protections for transgender people seeking healthcare services puts thousands of people at risk of marginalization, harassment, and discrimination at a time they are most vulnerable and in need of inclusive, respectful care,” Sarah Warbelow, legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement.

Writing in the blog Health Affairs, Timothy Jost, a professor at the Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Va., said, “Nothing in the [Affordable Care Act’s] section 1557 rule specifically requires practitioners or health care facilities to provide gender transition services. … The rule does not impose on health care professionals an obligation to provide gender transition services…. It is troubling that this litigation has been promoted based on false statements about the requirements of section 1557, which Judge O’Connor has to a certain extent uncritically accepted.”

But just a few days later, the Washington Post reported that Jionni Conforti, a 33-year-old transgender man, is suing a Catholic hospital for not accommodating his transition-related hysterectomy. The suit referenced both the (now blocked) Affordable Care Act rule and New Jersey’s anti-discrimination statute.

Lambda Legal, which is representing Conforti, said the hospital was not entitled to “decide who their patients are.”

But suing a Catholic hospital for not accommodating a gender-realignment surgery raises many issues about the failure to recognize the difference between a private/religious and public/government facility. If a Catholic hospital has no right not to host a gender transition-related surgery, can a patient demand it also allow elective abortions to be performed?

Gays for Trump Prepare to Celebrate

The Washington Blade reports on gay Trump supporters’ upcoming inaugural festivities:

At least three LGBT Republican sponsored events, including a “Deplora-Ball,” are scheduled to take place in or near Washington during the Jan. 20 weekend when Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States.

This is sure to enrage LGBT progressives who are informed by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddox that internment in concentration camps may be just around the corner [no, she wasn’t kidding]. And judging from much of the mainstream and LGBT media’s coverage of the president elect, it would be difficult to explain why anyone who is L, G, B or T would have voted for Trump or plans to celebrate his presidency.

Here’s a look back on the Trump/LGBT flag-holding incident and how it triggered LGBT-left apoplexy. And my thoughts last July on Trump’s remarks about protecting “our LGBTQ citizens” who are “wonderful Americans” during his acceptance speech at the GOP convention. In a post-election interview with “60 Minutes,” Trump said of gay marriage that “these cases have gone to the Supreme Court. They’ve been settled. And I’m fine with that.”

[Added: The point of the above is not that Trump is exemplary and certainly not that he was better than the Democrats on LGBT equality issues. It’s to point out that he has moved the bar upward in this regard for GOP presidential nominees, even as his party’s platform has remained hidebound. So if you’re gay and supportive of his wider agenda, then celebrating his inauguration isn’t a sign of betrayal and self-loathing, as many LGBT progressives believe it to be.]

As I have argued, the LGBT left’s responses to Trump’s selection for his administration of figures such as vice president Mike Pence and Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson are often based on exaggerations, if not flat-out distortions, of their positions. While there are certainly members of the incoming administration opposed to gay equality, the Trump administration, at the direction of the president himself, could eschew an anti-gay agenda and at the same time choose not to continue some of the most divisive directives of the Obama administration (such as the federal mandate on transgender use of public school restrooms and locker rooms).

Maybe the next 4 (or 8) years will prove my optimism wrong, or maybe it will expose the reaction of the LGBT left as hysterical and hyper-partisan.

Kirchick: The Symbiotic Relationship Between the Alt-Right and PC Left

The always interesting James Kirchick has penned an essay titled Enemies, A Love Story. Here’s an excerpt:

The rise of a majoritarian (i.e., white male) identity politics is the lamentable yet entirely predictable reaction to decades of minority identity politics. The alt-right is literally a reactionary movement, reacting to the perceived denigration of mainstream American culture by grievance-mongering radicals for whom the very word “white” is a slur. Absent the intellectual totalitarianism and bullying hypocrisy of the ascendant social-justice-warrior left, the Trump phenomenon would have lacked potency. The two sides exist in a sick, codependent symbiosis. …

Of course, racism, sexism, and nativism existed long before Trump, and nothing can excuse the demagogy and divisiveness engaged in by the president-elect and his surrogates. But we should be able to critique the excesses of identity politics without being called racists.

That’s what Columbia professor Mark Lilla tried to do in a postmortem essay for the New York Times titled “The End of Identity Liberalism.” A liberal in good standing, Lilla reassessed the prominence afforded to identity politics as the engine of the left’s value system and appealed for a return to a more universalistic politics that focuses more on broad economic concerns than narrow racial, sexual, and gendered ones. “American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender, and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing,” he wrote. For this, a Columbia colleague angrily likened Lilla to David Duke, both men being accused of “contributing to the same ideological project, the former cloaked in a KKK hood, the latter in an academic gown.”

Kirchick concludes, “Those wanting to deflate the allure of the Trumpian right must also tackle the excesses of the social-justice-warrior left.” But from what I’ve seen, it’s “circle the wagons” all round on both the right and the left.

Campus Social Justice Warriors Strike Again

The Washington Post reports that a coalition of 25 student organizations at the University of Maryland, a public university, has presented a list of 64 demands to the administration.

According to the report:

The petitioners listed the communities of students that participated in the initiative this way: “Marginalized, American Indian, Black, Latinx, LGBTQIA+, Muslim, Pro-Palestine, Undocumented.” No Jewish group at the university signed the list of demands, which include a call for “the active encouragement of faculty and students to engage in discourse and learning about the Palestinians’ struggles and the Boycott Divest and Sanction movement without fear of consequences by the university administration.”

The student’s demands, endorsed by The Pride Alliance at U-Md., include the following:

For the LGBTQIA+ Student Community:
*Converting the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Studies program into a department in order to provide curricular autonomy.
*Gender neutral bathrooms in all buildings on campus.
*Multi-stall gender-inclusive bathrooms in every building with multi-stall bathrooms.
*Students be allowed the choice of different gender roommates in the residence halls through random matching.
*Including pronouns in addition to names on student rosters seen by faculty and advisors.
*Implementing a campus wide policy to replace male-female checkboxes with write-in boxes on all forms, surveys, and applications.
*The administration advocate for and defend the Arts and Humanities, as they are one of the departments most sensitive to LGBTQ issues and also one of the most at risk under new state and federal leadership.

For the Muslim Student Community:
*One room in each major building (e.g. SPH, Chemistry, McKeldin etc.) designated for prayer.
*Shuttle services to the Diyanet Center of America for Muslim students to have access to a place of worship and participate in the many activities that the center hosts.
*More classes offered pertaining to Islam and the Muslim world taught by Muslim professors, who will counteract the negativity surrounding the name of Islam that is perpetuated by our culture and media.
*[Responding to the showing of “American Sniper” on campus] Organizations on campus should have better judgement when choosing to show movies that perpetuate false narratives and stereotypes of Muslim and should be held accountable if they do not take this into consideration.

For the Pro-Palestine Student Communities:
*The active encouragement of faculty and students to engage in discourse and learning about the Palestinians’ struggles and the Boycott Divest and Sanction movement without fear of consequences by the university administration.
*The encouragement of equal and positive representation of Pro-Palestinian human rights activists on campus. Specifically, condemning the conflation of Pro-Palestinian activism with racism and Anti-Semitism.

For the Undocumented Student Community:
*A full-time undocumented-student coordinator to advocate for, advise, represent and protect undocumented and “DACAmented students.” (DACA is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields some undocumented immigrants from deportation.)
*A full-time immigration attorney for the Offices of Undergraduate and Graduate Student Legal Aid.
*A declaration of the University of Maryland, College Park as a sanctuary campus for undocumented and DACAmented students and their families.
*A significant expansion of mental health services for all students of color, especially undocumented and DACAmented students.

And on and on. The university issued a statement saying “We commend the students for their passionate advocacy and for coming together in solidarity on these issues.”

The LGBT rights movement has for some time been subsumed as part of the grand coalition of the political left, but what today’s campus activism makes clear is how the simple, clearly focused fight for gay legal equality has been left far behind in this brave new world of identity politics and political correctness on steroids.

More. I should clarify that the Pride Alliance endorsed the entire list, so even though the LGBT demands are far from the most egregious, it’s a package deal. The campus Jewish groups, given the thinly veiled let no one call it anti-Semiticism of the pro-Palestinian groups, refused to participate.

For the Surrogacy Revolution, Thank Free Markets and Voluntary Exchange

Reprinted from the Chicago Tribune in the Duluth News Tribune (talk about the heartland): Gay men increasingly turn to surrogates to have babies.

Yes, they are, and it represents a sea change in the lives of gay men who are, increasingly, married with children.

The surrogacy revolution is premised on free enterprise and the voluntary exchange of a market economy, made possible when government and its army of bureaucrat regulators get out of the way.

Government’s role here is limited to enforcing contracts, when necessary, as adjudicated by the courts.

Trump Derangement Syndrome

The Washington Blade, the LGBT paper in the nation’s capital, is so distraught over the election of Donald Trump that it just declared 2016 to be the “worst year ever” on its cover. Worse for the gay community, mind you, than the deadliest year(s) of the AIDS epidemic; worse than when the Supreme Court upheld sodomy laws in Bowers v. Hardwick; and worse than when Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act.

More. What is it with those on the left declaring things are the “worst” ever—whenever they lose power. David Boaz on Worst Congress Ever? You Must Be Kidding.

Further Annals of Progressivism

Tammy Bruce, who is lesbian and conservative, writes:

A funny thing happened on the way to the Donald Trump inauguration — liberals suddenly became champions of people being allowed to decline participating in something if it violated their conscience.

She was remarking about the response on the left to the story, albeit “fake news,” it turns out, that the Radio City Rockettes were requiring dancers to perform against their will at the Trump inauguration (in actuality, participating in the inauguration is voluntary). Writes Bruce:

During the brief hubbub, actors and other performers understandably came out in support of the dancers’ right to refuse to perform if an event violated their conscience. I also believe there should be an escape clause in cases such as this allowing a performer flexibility. After all, who wants anyone to be forced to do something against their conscience?

Yet it’s fair to say the same liberals who support the Rockettes’ right to not perform are the same people who have no problem with Christian businesses being attacked for declining to participate in something that violates their conscience and faith. In their cases, the refusal to cater or bake a cake for a gay wedding. …

It’s the same double standard we saw recently when, as the Portland (Maine) Press Herald reported:

On the coldest day of the season, a Skowhegan-area propane dealer has a pointed message for would-be customers. “If you voted for Donald Trump for President, I will no longer be delivering your gas, please find someone else,” is the message left for customers that call Turner LP Gas Service, on Canaan Road in Skowhegan.

But if this were a bakery that refused to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple….

It might be said that if not for their double standards, progressives would have no standards at all.

Added: More mendacity:

Writing in Bustle, Cate Carrejo said the government should force Christians to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies but the Rockettes should not be obligated to perform at the inauguration “because one is discriminatory and the other isn’t.”

And a response:

Pointing to the case of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, an Oregon bakery that was fined $135,000 and forced to close for refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, Mr. Gainor said Christian bakers are happy to serve gay people.

“And that’s different — it’s a creative labor,” Mr. Gainor said. “If you wanted something that was in the shop, help yourself, happy to provide it. But if you want me to be involved in your wedding, I can’t do that. It’s a very clear line.”

It’s unfortunate we have to rely on social conservatives to point out the obvious.

Added: Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby: Freedom of association isn’t just for the Rockettes. Right, it isn’t.

More. I’ll segue into another story. Students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) are petitioning the school to ban a campus conservative group, Young Americans for Freedom, which has numerous chapters on U.S. college campuses:

The petition further faults YAF for creating a “hostile environment” by “misgender[ing] LGBTQIA+ students” making members of the student government feel “unsafe.”

”We, the undersigned are asking that UW-Madison administration take a hard look at the charter of Young Americans for Freedom … and ideally put the involved students through intensive diversity training and have the charter revoked so Y.A.F. is no longer a campus organization that can create a hostile environment on campus,” the petition reads.

YAF’s thought crime was to invite conservative political commentator, columnist and radio host Ben Shapiro to speak on campus. Shapiro, as it happens, is a never-Trumper, which, as Wikipedia recounts, has brought him under fire from the alt right swamplands. Which you might think would cut him some slack with progressives—if you didn’t actually know any progressives.

Furthermore. Out magazine is still complaining that “It’s telling that when Donald Trump awkwardly waved a rainbow flag during a Colorado rally in October, the banner was upside down.” Which, apparently, was a sign that “Trump’s White House will effectively act as the nation’s largest anti-LGBT hate group.” Oh.

It’s reminiscent of the dismissal of Trump’s July acceptance speech at the GOP convention, when he said: “Only weeks ago, in Orlando, Florida, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist. This time, the terrorist targeted our LGBTQ community. No good. And we’re going to stop it. As your President, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.” [applause] “I must say as a Republican it is so nice to hear you cheering. Thank you.” (Progressive response: pandering.)

At the October rally, Trump was handed the flag by gay supporters and held it out for the audience, leading Zack Ford, the LGBT editor for ThinkProgress.org, to tweet:

Putting a slogan [“LGBTs for Trump”] on a flag is considered desecration. Also, the flag was upside down (red goes on top). What am I supposed to respect here?

Mind you, it’s not that the words were upside down, it’s that the rainbow flag should have the red stripe on top. Which means it’s not Trump’s fault, but that some incompetent gay person supporting Trump didn’t know which way the flag goes or that writing on the sacred object was an act of “desecration” and probably a hate crime. Sad!

Some, of a more rational bent, might think that Trump’s holding up the rainbow flag was, in itself, what was significant, and in a good way. Such people, however, would not be progressives.

As I noted, the conservative Washington Times ran a supportive op-ed titled “ Donald Trump holds high the flag for gay equality,” which indicated that conservatives were more comfortable with a gay-inclusive GOP than the LGBT establishment is.

Stoking Culture War in North Carolina

The GOP-dominated state legislature in North Carolina failed to repeal the “bathroom bill”—HB2—which requires use of public restrooms and locker rooms based on biological sex rather than gender identity, even though the Charlotte City Council, reportedly as part of a deal, voted to repeal part of its anti-discrimination ordinance prohibiting discrimination in the use of restroom/locker room facilities on the basis of gender identity.

Passage of the Charlotte ordinance triggered state Republicans to pass HB2, leading to a national outcry by LGBT advocates and their corporate allies, who announced various boycotts.

Many GOP legislators were pushed hard by religious right activists to maintain HB2 without revision. On the other hand, some supported a compromise that would have repealed the state law but also put in place what the Washington Post described as “a six-month moratorium on cities passing nondiscrimination ordinances to protect gay and transgender people.” The Washington Times described it as “an amendment that would have prohibited local municipalities from permitting opposite-sex restroom access until a long-term, statewide compromise could be reached—an add-on that helped kill the repeal bill.”

Democratic legislators, following pressure from activists, rejected that compromise, even though their votes, with enough willing Republicans, would have been able to put across a repeal measure containing the amendment.

“It’s clear today that the GOP leadership’s cruelty towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and particularly transgender North Carolinians knows no bounds,” an overheated Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. “For our part, we will continue to fight to defeat all of HB2 and protect North Carolinians no matter what it takes.” In other words, no compromise.

There was distrust all round:

North Carolina Senate Leader Phil Berger, a Republican, said the unwillingness to accept the amendment on the part of Senate Democrats is evidence that Charlotte would have reneged on the compromise and reintroduced its ordinance after the repeal.

A six-month cooling off period doesn’t seem so unreasonable. But as I’ve said before (because it’s true), a great many LGBT-rights activists and social conservative activists have an interest in not settling culture war issues, thereby maintaining the enraged polarization that is so good for partisan political mobilization and fundraising.

Gay Jerks Who Are Oh-So Proud of Themselves

Via the New York Post, Passenger thrown off flight after confronting Ivanka Trump:

JetBlue kicked a Brooklyn lawyer and his Hunter College professor husband off a plane at JFK on Thursday morning — after he accosted fellow passenger and future first daughter Ivanka Trump right before takeoff.

“Your father is ruining the country!” lefty lawyer and avowed Hillary Clinton supporter Dan Goldstein shouted at Trump, as she sat with her husband, Jared Kushner, and their three kids in the main cabin, TMZ reported.

Totally obnoxious virtue-signaling by the gay guys, but I’m sure they’ll be celebrated by their fellow progressives as heroes. Incivility has become a defining value of progressivism.

More. Instapundit links to a roundup of tweets about this ugly incident, including this:

Naturally, all of this would have been presented and received differently had the harassment been directed at a famous liberal woman. However, wealthy liberals don’t fly coach. They prefer to sit in first class and discuss what’s best for average Americans.

A tweet from the Daily Mail, with a retweet from the perp’s husband: “Ivanka and Jared at JFK T5, flying commercial. My husband chasing them down to harass them.” (No mention of the small children sitting next to their parents.)

A comprehensive roudup of the incident, here.

As I’ve noted before, a Clinton staffer tasked with monitoring campaign polling wrote, post-election, in the Boston Globe, Understanding the undecided voters:

There was one moment when I saw more undecided voters shift to Trump than any other, when it all changed, when voters began to speak differently about their choice. … the conversation shifted the most during the weekend of Sept. 9, after Clinton said, “You can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.” All hell broke loose.

Clinton’s support among hard-pressed working- and lower-middle class people, in the rust belt and elsewhere, took a big hit afterward. That speech occurred, to wild applause, at an LGBT fundraiser in Manhattan where the ticket prices ranged from $1,200 to $250,000, and with many paying $50,000, according to reports.

Why do privileged LGBT progressives think that public displays of their contempt is helpful to either progressivism or to public perceptions of, you know, privileged LGBT progressives?