Breaking Ranks

D.C.’s MetroWeekly interviews Anthony “Rek” LeCounte, a young, black, gay Republican. Excerpt:

“There’s a saying in politics that ‘personnel is policy,’” he says. “A lot of these nonpartisan [LGBT rights] groups are staffed by aggressively left-wing progressive folks who, even if their organization say, ‘We believe X, Y, and Z,’ have their own biases which then affect their decisions. If an LGBT candidate is pro-life, or supports gun rights, or holds a bunch of other conservative positions that run deeply counter to what the progressive movement is doing, a lot of these groups don’t want to be associated with those kind of candidates. So they’ll either endorse against or they’ll just pretend the candidate doesn’t exist.”


Perfect Enemies, Redux

A New York Times article asks Are Liberals Helping Trump? by declaring, “Agree with us 100% or you are morally bankrupt.”

Well, yes.

Times national correspondent Sabrina Tavernise writes:

Liberals may feel energized by a surge in political activism, and a unified stance against a president they see as irresponsible and even dangerous. But that momentum is provoking an equal and opposite reaction on the right. In recent interviews, conservative voters said they felt assaulted by what they said was a kind of moral Bolshevism — the belief that the liberal vision for the country was the only right one. Disagreeing meant being publicly shamed. …

Mrs. O’Connell is a registered Democrat. She voted for Bill Clinton twice. But she has drifted away from the party over what she said was a move from its middle-class economic roots toward identity politics. …

“The Democratic Party has changed so much that I don’t even recognize it anymore,” she said. “These people are destroying our democracy. They are scarier to me than these Islamic terrorists. I feel absolutely disgusted with them and their antics. It strengthens people’s resolve in wanting to support President Trump. It really does.”

I believe “identity politics” should not be construed here to mean support for equal rights for minorities, as progressives would claim, but rather what they have delivered in practice, which Daphne Patai characterized as the proliferation of oppressed identities so that “the game is openly played in hiring and even in the exercise of free speech—who is entitled to teach, to speak, to pose challenges, and who had better shut up if lacking the requisite identity.”

Along similar lines, The student Left’s culture of intolerance is creating a new generation of conservatives. But I’d quibble with the author, Charlie Peters, and suggest that it’s not so much that the student left has abandoned support for free speech as that they never really favored it to begin with, at least for their ideological opponents. The 1960’s campus Free Speech Movement was about allowing leftwing organizing. Once the left became dominant in university administrations and hegemonic on faculties, there was no longer any need for the ruse.

Gender Is a Construct, Except When It Isn’t

Daphne Patai writes, provocatively, Why Can’t a Woman Be More Like a Trans? It’s well worth reading. An excerpt:

Today, for all the academic talk of “diversity”—written into all levels and aspects of American universities, with growing numbers of administrators and officers designated to oversee it—a new and rigid orthodoxy is upon us. …

But in the happy world of American academe, categories of sexual and gender identity just grow and grow, and acronyms along with them. Today we have not only the labels, but courses and administrators devoted to LGBTQIA (the A, for asexual, is merely the latest accretion).

In recent years, the proliferation of identities has gotten completely out of control and the game is openly played in hiring and even in the exercise of free speech–who is entitled to teach, to speak, to pose challenges, and who had better shut up if lacking the requisite identity.

Transgender Scouts

Via the Washington Post, the Boy Scouts of America will allow transgender children who identify as boys to join:

…the organization will now accept boys based on the gender a parent puts on a child’s scouting application, ending a policy of accepting boys based on the gender listed on a child’s birth certificate.

Hope the new policy proves helpful and isn’t misused. We’ll see.

New York magazine, no rightwing rag, on why the issue of what’s best for transgender kids is not always so simple:

A lot of people don’t realize that there is a genuine scientific debate over how to best help out children with gender dysphoria, or those who feel discomfort — sometimes extremely intense discomfort — with the body they were born into….

A concern is that young “effeminate” boys and “masculine” girls, many of whom would otherwise grow into either healthy and happy gay men and lesbian women (or, sometimes, somewhat “effeminate” heterosexual men and “masculine” heterosexual women), are told they’re transgender, perhaps by well-meaning parents, and put on that course.

More. Alternate facts, via an op-ed by Debra W. Soh, a sexual neuroscientist at York University in Toronto, in the Los Angeles Times:

[T]ransgender activists firmly believe that gender is a biological, rather than social, reality—but of course they don’t believe that it’s necessarily tied to sex at birth. They also believe that gender identity is quite stable early on, warranting a transition not only for transgender adults, but also young children who say they were born in the wrong body.

From a scientific perspective, they’re partially right: Gender identity is fixed, but only in adults; the same can’t be said for children, whose gender identity is flexible and doesn’t become stable until puberty.

Currently available research literature—including four studies published in the last nine years—suggests that 61% to 88% of gender dysphoric children will desist and grow up to be gay adults. … They won’t continue to identify as the opposite sex in adulthood. In one study of 139 gender dysphoric boys, 122 (88%) of the boys desisted.

While transitioning can be beneficial for transgender adults, it therefore doesn’t make sense to treat trans children in the same way. Nevertheless, transgender activists and their allies have branded desistance as a “myth,” and those who suggest otherwise are called bigots or, dismissively, trolls.

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.

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, 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.

Life at ‘GULPTAB’

The leftwing site Huffington Post “Queer Voices” has posted a funny video take-down of LGBT advocacy groups.

If you didn’t know it was intended as a protest against “the modern climate of corporate LGBT activism,” showing that “Corporates commodify LGBT activism with the same zeal that they’ve commodified self-love,” as the video’s creators state in the accompanying “Queer Voices” article, you’d just think the satire was spot-on (unless, of course, the description is part of the satire).

Deplorables and Bigots

Hillary Clinton made it clear what she thinks of Donald Trump supporters. In comments that were only slightly walked back the next day, she told an LGBT fundraiser in New York City featuring Barbra Streisand:

To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.

She further explained:

That other basket of people are people who feel that government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures. They are just desperate for change. Doesn’t really even matter where it comes from.

In other words, Trump voters are either haters or pitiable dupes.

The fundraiser reportedly raised around $6 million, with ticket prices ranging from $1,200 to $250,000, with many paying $50,000, according to reports.

Are some of Trump’s supporters bigots? Sure. But nowhere near half of them, and to say so is to pander to Hillary’s supporters sense of smug moral superiority to the lower orders, particularly the white working and lower-middle classes excluded from the Democrats’ top-bottom coalition of wealthy liberals and minorities—plus, of course, the growing legions of government employees.

One could as easily claim that half of Hillary’s supporters are left-authoritarians (she was endorsed by the head of the Communist Party USA, after all), and be as close to the truth, which is to say, not very truthful at all.

Trump supporters, to a large extent, see failed Democratic policies on the economic and international fronts, and while many believe Trump to be flawed, they view him as a better choice than Hillary when it comes to reviving economic growth and defending American interests. But progressive Democrats can only see the world through a self-justifying lens of rote identity politics, so if you don’t believe in bigger, more intrusive government chipping away at economic prosperity and expressive freedom, you’re a bigot.

A case in point is Obama’s chair of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission declaring that antidiscrimination laws override other constitutional liberties and those who disagree are (well, you know):

The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts just issued a regulation requiring public accommodations to recognize people on the basis of their gender identity and not biological sex, pointedly noting that regardless of doctrinal issues, “Even a church could be seen as a place of public accommodation if it holds a secular event, such as a spaghetti supper, that is open to the general public.”

The decision of what church events are secular and which are religious is apparently to be determined by the state.

I’m no fan of Milo Yiannopoulos, the self-aggrandizing openly gay editor at the conservative Breitbart site, but he scores some points about the Democrats’ distorted view of Trump voters in this interview with CNBC. (For the record, I don’t equate most Trump supporters with the alt-right and would agree there are bigots within the alt-right movement who are backing Trump—just as there are left-authoritarians and PC inquisitors supporting Hillary.)

More. David Boaz writes that “it’s an indication that politicians like Clinton and Obama just can’t *imagine* any legitimate reason that people would vote Republican. … I think it’s a problem for politicians not to be able to imagine how anyone could think or vote differently from them.”

(I’ve moved the updates into a new post as they grew beyond a few additional closing thoughts.)

A Symbiotic Relationship

Jason Willick explains at “The American Interest” why The Campus Left and the Alt-Right Are Natural Allies:

On the one hand, excessive left-wing speech policing and cultural brinksmanship on issues of race and gender was bound to make Milo-style ideological transgression more appealing. On the other hand, the alt-right’s newfound cultural power seems to vindicate some of the assumptions of the PC leftt: that racism and misogyny are deeply embedded in America’s cultural fabric, just below the surface, ready to erupt unless controls on thought and language are continuously tightened. …

The PC left and the alt-right exist symbiotically with one another: Working together to exacerbate tribal loyalties, to undermine the legitimacy of the state as a political unit, to question the idea that Western institutions can really treat groups of people with equal respect—in other words, to draw out and hijack the inherent weaknesses and contradictions in the Enlightenment liberal tradition. It’s unlikely that either movement has the cultural power or breadth of appeal to succeed on its own. But taken together, they make a fearsome foe.

From where I sit, it seems that far more center-right conservatives and libertarians are sharply critical of Trumpism and the alt-right than center-left progressives are of illiberal PC extremism, which they often strain to defend when they aren’t denying that it exists at all.

Cop Lives Matter

After the horrific events in Dallas, where at least five police officers were killed and seven more wounded at a Black Lives Matter protest against police shootings last week of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, I’m bumping up the discussion of whether LGBT activists groups and pride march organizers should work with, and give in to the demands of, Black Lives Matter anti-police activists.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), in particular, has sought to align itself with Black Lives Matter despite BLM’s incendiary denunciations of police officers—last year, the New York Post reported on the deadly rhetoric of the anti-cop movement, with activists calling for the murder of police officers:

“What do we want?” the crowd roared while marching in Manhattan last December. Without missing a beat, the protesters answered their own question: “Dead cops.”

Here’s the addendum I had put at the end of the prior post:
Black Lives Matter Toronto staged a sit-in during the city’s July 2 Pride march, halting the procession for 30 minutes before organizers signed a list of demands, including “A commitment to increase representation among Pride Toronto staffing/hiring, prioritizing black trans women” among others, and, more ominously, “Removal of police floats in the pride marches/parades.”

Global News reports that despite the pledge to “purge the parade of police marchers,” that “Officers will still be present to enforce security at future parades.”

Via The Star, “Police also wouldn’t be allowed to have booths at future Pride celebrations, if the demands are met.” Inclusion!

Via Walter Olson:

If you thought blackmailing gays was a thing of the past, you didn’t reckon with BLM. … It so typifies 2016 that the ones to shut down a gay pride parade would be on the Left, and that no one would tell them off.

And from James Kirchick:

Gay groups honored Black Lives Matter with prominent roles at their pride events, and Black Lives Matter returned the favor by hijacking those events to further their own anti-cop agendas. Condemning the police as an inherently racist, homophobic institution is not only false and counterproductive, it denigrates the many LGBT officers whose participation in these festivities would be annulled if the activists got their way.

Embracing BLM was never a good idea. But as I’ve noted before, now that gay legal equality in the U.S. has been achieved, LGBT left-progressive activists are looking for new causes, and recruiting LGBT battalions in the fight for the progressive agenda is increasingly their mission.

More. Conservative twitter-curation website twitchy looks at tweets by Sally Kohn, liberal political commentator and out lesbian, following the Dallas murders: NOW Sally Kohn doesn’t want an entire group blamed for the actions of a few?

FurtherMore. Addressing the jihadist-driven mass murder of gay people in Orlando, Black Lives Matter’s website says “Homegrown terror is the product of a long history of colonialism…white supremacy and capitalism, which deforms the spirit and fuels interpersonal violence.” Oh.

Final word. Could have seen this coming: Black Lives Matter blindsides Jewish supporters with anti-Israel platform.