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!”

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.

Tillerson Takes Heat for Pro-Gay Stance (but LGBT ‘advocates’ still call him ‘anti-gay’)

Will the LGBT progressives who condemned Trump for choosing Ben Carson to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and attacked his other appointments now praise Trump for selecting Rex Tillerson to be his Secretary of State?

Tillerson has come under fire from the religious right. Tony Perkins, who heads the anti-gay Family Research Council, pointed specifically to Tillerson’s advocacy to allow openly gay youths to join the Boy Scouts of America, “calling the nominated secretary of state the ‘greatest ally’ liberals would have in the forthcoming Trump administration due to the oil and gas executive’s stances on social issues,” reports the Washington Times, which notes:

Tillerson served as president of the Boy Scouts from 2010 to 2012. In 2013, the scouting organization voted to extend membership to openly gay youths. Mr. Tillerson was “instrumental” in lobbying the board to make that change, the Dallas Morning News reported in 2014.

Two years after allowing openly gay members, the Boy Scouts lifted the ban on openly gay leaders and employees. … Mr. Tillerson still sits on the Boy Scouts’ national executive board.

Perkins accused Tillerson of “risking the well-being of young boys under his charge in an attempt to placate radical homosexual activists.” Let’s see if “radical homosexual activists” come to Tillerson’s defense.

More. And, but of course, directly on cue: Exxon faces anti-gay bias lawsuit as Trump taps CEO for State. It’s “news” straight from the DNC, including this helpful observation:

Richard Johnson, a professor of public administration at the University of San Francisco, said the appointment of Tillerson as secretary of state with a lawsuit against his company alleging anti-gay discrimination “is lunacy and could provide long-term problems.”

“Though Exxon has a new set of LGBT protections [adopted in January 2015], it is not clear as to the role Tillerson played in this new outcome for Exxon, or its motivations,” Johnson said. “The new secretary of state will have an active role in helping to shape foreign policy, especially on LGBT rights worldwide. I am not confident that Rex Tillerson will be the person to stand up to countries where a person can be imprisoned or killed for being LGBT. Indeed, his track record on stopping human rights violations is dubious at best.”

And just when did you stop beating your spouse, Prof. Johnson?

Furthermore. I should have clarified above that activists didn’t, in fact, find an actual employee or job applicant for this suit. Instead:

The basis of the lawsuit is resume audit testing in which Freedom to Work sent two fictitious resumes to the company for the same job in Illinois. One was from a more qualified applicant who outed herself as LGBT by noting work at the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund; the other was a less qualified applicant who gave no indication about her sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Blade reports that:

Rena McDonald, a Las Vegas-based attorney and member of the LGBT workplace equality group Executive Pride, said the anti-gay policies of Tillerson are “further emphasized” by the Illinois finding “Exxon discriminated against a potential new hire who was better qualified for a position, simply because of their affiliations with the gay community.”

As if Tillerson himself had ordered a hiring manager in Illinois to discriminate—if that’s what it was— against this (fictiious!) job candidate. ExxonMobile, the world’s largest oil and gas company, has 83,600 employees and this is the worst that “advocates” can come up with?

ExxonMobile scores “85”on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. If it provided health and other benefits (fertility treatment is noted in the survey) to U.S. employees’ unmarried partners, same sex and opposite sex, as HRC champions, it would have scored higher.

Given Tillerson’s support for gay-inclusive scouting, you might think LGBT activists would seek to work with him on gay-persecution issues. Instead, many choose to condemn him as…wait for it…anti-gay. As always, it’s Party First!

How the LGBT Left Lost Its Way

David Bernstein writes at the Washington Post‘s Volokh Conspiracy blog:

“Many religious Christians of a traditionalist bent believed that liberals not only reduce their deeply held beliefs to bigotry, but want to run them out of their jobs, close down their stores and undermine their institutions. … I hope liberals really enjoyed running Brendan Eich out of his job and closing down the Sweet Cakes bakery, because it cost them the Supreme Court.”

I think there’s truth to that. LGBT progressives along with gay libertarians and center-right conservatives worked to achieve marriage equality. Then the left, instead of accepting victory and seeking to live (and let live) with those of differing views, went the authoritarian route and decided to use the power of the progressive state (federally and in in left-leaning localities) to force Christian conservatives to provide creative services for same-sex weddings, among other assaults on religious liberty.

Bernstein points to, as a turning point, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli saying during the oral arguments before the Supreme Court in Obergefell that religiously affiliated schools might lose their tax exempt status if they refused to recognize same-sex marriages. I’m not sure that particular statement “cost his party the election,” but it was part of a larger culture war attack strategy that did.

Bernstein also cites a recent column by Megan McArdle at Bloomberg, The Left’s Doomed Effort to Coerce the Right, that notes:

Over the last few years, as controversies have erupted over the rights of cake bakers and pizza places to refuse to cater gay weddings, the rights of nuns to refuse to provide insurance that covers birth control, the rights of Catholic hospitals to refuse to perform abortions, and the rights of Christian schools to teach (and require students and teachers to practice) traditional Christian morality, some Christians have begun to feel that their communities are under existential threat. …

I’ve heard from a number of evangelicals who, despite their reservations about the man, ended up voting for Donald Trump because they fear that the left is out to build a world where it will not be possible to hold any prominent job while holding onto their church’s beliefs about sexuality. Discussions I’ve had in recent days with nice, well-meaning progressives suggest that this is not a paranoid fantasy. An online publisher’s witch hunt against two television personalities — because of the church they attend — validates the fears of these Christians.

And Tammy Bruce writes at the Washington Times:

“As a gay woman, I find it embarrassing to watch gays publicly harass individuals simply for who they are. For several years now we have watched so-called gay leadership and their affiliated activists target Christians and their businesses to either punish them and send a message to everyone else — either conform to the liberal narrative or suffer grave consequences.”

For the past few years I’ve been raising these issues and warning the LGBT left of how counter-productive its attacks on people of faith were. The response was typically to mock me for not recognizing the new order in which there would be no tolerance of religious exemptions from government-mandated behavior. The brewing backlash was evident to all, excepting those who have eyes but could not see, and ears but could not hear.

LGBT Partisan Tribalism (and the Failed Tactic of Stigmatizing ‘Incorrect’ ideas)

Mark Lee writes:

It’s been embarrassing to witness the online hysteria and public angst exhibited by an astounding number of gays and lesbians in the wake of the election. Social media postings intone epithets like “racist,” “fascist” and “Nazi” to describe the president-elect and his supporters. These inflammatory remarks have become the angry post-defeat version of Clinton’s mocking campaign denunciation – now sweet sounding by comparison – that those not supporting her included both the “deplorable” and “irredeemable.” …

The question for LGBT voters is why some so eagerly align with and defend a political party so disconnected from those we most want to persuade as to be of nominal value to converting recalcitrant hearts and minds.

Continuing from the blog post below, I’ll reference another Conor Friedersdorf post-election article, How Stigma Sows Seeds of Its Own Defeat, in which Friedersdorf writes:

Today, pioneering gay-marriage proponents like Andrew Sullivan and Jonathan Rauch express dismay that, after majorities came to embrace their position, the coalition that used persuasion to accomplish one of the great civil rights expansions of the 21st century shifted from a posture of persuasion to a posture of stigmatization. …

I wonder if today’s students are as well-equipped as older cohorts to persuasively articulate why racism or sexism or denial of equal rights to gays and lesbians is wrong, let alone to explain the value of other aspects of the liberal project on which they’ve never focused, having never lived when they were seriously threatened. …

Americans need to avoid leaning on stigma even when it seems both solid and warranted. Insofar as a position is worth defending, it is worth defending on its merits.

Unfortunately, the whole progressive project of “political correctness” is based on stigmatizing and silencing those with “incorrect” views, despite (as Friedersdorf points out) its failure as a political tactic.

More. Writing recently in the Boston Globe, Clinton campaign volunteer Diane Hessan recounts:

Last week, I reread all of my notes. 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. It wasn’t FBI Director James Comey, Part One or Part Two; it wasn’t Benghazi or the e-mails or Bill Clinton’s visit with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on the tarmac. No, 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.

George [a source in northeastern Pennsylvania] told me that his neighborhood was outraged, that many of his hard-working, church-going, family-loving friends resented being called that name. He told me that he looked up the word in the dictionary, and that it meant something so bad that there is no hope, like the aftermath of a tsunami. You know, he said, Clinton ended up being the biggest bully of them all. Whereas Trump bullied her, she bullied Wilkes Barre.

Let’s recall that Clinton’s remarks were made at an LGBT fundraising in NYC featuring Barbra Streisand, with ticket prices ranging from $1,200 to $250,000, and many paying $50,000, according to reports. And that those wealthy LGBT donors enthusiastically applauded Clinton’s calling millions of Americans “deplorables” who are “irredeemable.”

Furthermore. Nothing learned. Via the front page of the Washington Blade: Trump’s deplorable cabinet picks.

Losers: The Culture Warriors

It was a bad year for culture-war zealots. As noted below, Oregon labor commissioner Brad Avakian, prosecutor of people whose faith isn’t secular-progressivism of the statist/authoritarian variety, lost big-time his race for Oregon secretary of state. He thought driving a mom-and-pop bakery out of business because its proprietors declined to bake a wedding cake for two lesbians, while offering to find another baker to do so (as it would violate their religious beliefs to participate in a same-sex wedding) would be his winning ticket. Wrong.

In North Carolina, it looks like Gov. Pat McCrory, who pushed through a law requiring the use of bathrooms in conformity with one’s birth certificate in government buildings and public schools (thereby overturning a newly passed Charlotte anti-discrimination ordinance) has lost, or might just barely squeak through after a recount.

Just two examples, but I think it’s indicative of the national mood. Sexuality and religion culture-war instigators were not in favor this year, whether on the pro- or anti-LGBT side. And that’s a welcome development.

How Identity Politics Sunk Liberalism

The Washington Times editorializes on election winners and losers. Excerpt:

The most deserving loser of all was one Brad Avakian, the Oregon official who fined a baker and his wife $135,000 for declining to bake a wedding cake for two lesbians, because it would violate their Christian beliefs to participate in a same-sex wedding. The bakers offered to find someone else to bake the cake. Paying the fine drove them out of business, and Mr. Avakian counted on the publicity to assure him a career in higher politics, and he ran for Oregon secretary of state. He was trounced by an opponent who was the first Republican to win a statewide race in Oregon in 14 years. Not even a doughnut hole for Mr. Avakian.

This week of Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for that outcome.

On a wider note, an op-ed in the New York Times by Trump critic Mark Lilla calls out liberals’ obsession with identity politics and division over the common principles that bring us together as Americans. He writes:

Hillary Clinton…tended on the campaign trail to lose that large vision and slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, L.G.B.T. and women voters at every stop. This was a strategic mistake. If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them. If you don’t, those left out will notice and feel excluded. Which, as the data show, was exactly what happened with the white working class and those with strong religious convictions. Fully two-thirds of white voters without college degrees voted for Donald Trump, as did over 80 percent of white evangelicals. …

We need a post-identity liberalism, and it should draw from the past successes of pre-identity liberalism. Such a liberalism would concentrate on widening its base by appealing to Americans as Americans and emphasizing the issues that affect a vast majority of them. It would speak to the nation as a nation of citizens who are in this together and must help one another. As for narrower issues that are highly charged symbolically and can drive potential allies away, especially those touching on sexuality and religion, such a liberalism would work quietly, sensitively and with a proper sense of scale. (To paraphrase Bernie Sanders, America is sick and tired of hearing about liberals’ damn bathrooms.)

It’s a nice idea, but I wouldn’t count on it happening.

Trump and LGBT Issues: Beyond the Fear-Mongering

Walter Olson, a former Independent Gay Forum contributing author, shares his expectations about what’s ahead for LGBT issues in a Trump administration—and, tangentially, on the obtuseness of left-liberal LGBT political groups. [Update: a slightly revised and more accessible version was published Nov. 13 in the New York Post.] Excerpts:

• Freedom to marry is not going anywhere. The Supreme Court, even after two or three Trump appointments, is unlikely to reverse the outcomes of Windsor and Obergefell unless public opinion itself turns against those outcomes, which I do not believe it will.

• The plans of organized gay groups for sweeping new legislation are largely a dead letter. They will not admit that it was a mistake to have pulled support for the possibly enactable ENDA in favor of the overreaching Equality Act. (For reasons I have written about elsewhere, I myself favor neither of these bills.)

• Following the ACLU’s lead, organized LGBT groups will go on refusing to acknowledge any legitimate role whatsoever for religious or conscience exemptions in discrimination law and will decline to enter any negotiations to amend, refine, or otherwise improve measures like the so-called First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). That will in turn increase the danger that Congress will pass some version that is bad, unfair, or impractical.

• There will be at least one surprise that would ordinarily be seen as positive, such as the first appointment of a gay person to a Cabinet or Supreme Court post.

I agree.

More. Walter adds in the Post version:

I was not a Trump backer in last week’s election, but you don’t have to support him to see the pattern. Since he began testing the political waters in the 1980s he has repeatedly and visibly distanced himself from the rut much of the GOP was mired in on this set of issues.

In his acceptance speech in August, when GOP conventioneers heartily applauded his pledge to “do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression” of jihadist ideology, he departed from his script: “I have to say, as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said. Thank you.”

By now it’s part of his brand, and no one cares more about protecting his brand than Donald Trump. I suspect to do that he’ll prove quite prepared to rein in the unwise impulses of some of his appointees.

And on “60 Minutes” Sunday night, CBS News reports:

Trump said after the Supreme Court ruling last year it’s the law of the land — and that he is “fine” with that being the case.

“It’s irrelevant because it was already settled. It’s law,” he said. “It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean it’s done … these cases have gone to the Supreme Court. They’ve been settled. And– I th– I’m– I’m fine with that.”

This is only a surprise to those who got their news from the mainstream and LGBT media during the campaign, or read LGBT political groups’ dishonest fundraising appeals.

Look Who’s Shut Out Now

A fundraising email from Log Cabin Republicans’ President Gregory T. Angelo makes some salient points. Excerpt:

For the past three weeks, I’ve been in regular communication with the Trump Transition Team, the group tasked with organizing personnel and policy for our president-elect.

While Log Cabin Republicans was working to have a relationship with our nation’s incoming chief executive, the LGBT Left was busy demonizing Donald Trump and fundraising off of bogeymen. …

After working for decades against Republicans rather than with them and putting all their faith into the failed candidacy of Hillary Clinton, purportedly “non-partisan” LGBT advocacy groups now face GOP majorities in the House and Senate, and a Republican in the White House….

Collectively, LGBT advocacy organizations on the Left have staff in the hundreds. Budgets in the millions. And yet, they don’t have a single point of contact in the incoming Trump administration. …

While LGBT liberals were breathlessly lamenting this fact to the New York Times, Log Cabin Republicans was quietly working behind-the-scenes to ensure the advances in LGBT freedom we have made thus far remain secure and continue in a Trump administration. No one else is doing this.

If interested in donating, here’s a link.

The New York Times article referenced above reports:

The election of Donald J. Trump to the presidency sent panic through much of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, which for the first time in eight years will face an administration hostile to its civil rights goals and a president-elect who has expressed a desire to reverse many of its political gains.

Jay Brown, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights organization, said its office had received calls throughout the day on Wednesday from frightened people who wanted to know what the election results might mean for them.

And yet:

Mr. Trump has no reputation for personal animosity toward gay people, and the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay and lesbian political organization, congratulated him on his victory. He employed gay people in the Trump Organization, spent most of his life in socially liberal New York City, and surprised some Republicans this year when he said transgender people should “use the bathroom they feel is appropriate,” a view held by few others in the party.

But many L.G.B.T. leaders said they were unmoved by accounts of Mr. Trump’s personal tolerance.

Of course they were.

More. Given that the big LGBT political lobbies, which officially say they’re nonpartisan but operate as Democratic party auxiliaries, are now sending out their own fundraising appeals around their opposition to all things Trump and Republican, it’s worth repeating this observation from a recent post:

For more than two decades the Human Rights Campaign has failed to pass its signature legislative goal, which for most of that time was the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and is now the Equality Act. This includes periods with both a Democratic president and Democratic congress (under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama), and periods with a Republican congress but enough GOP support to push ENDA through. What happened? Every time the measure was poised to pass, activist groups would insert some new provision that would lose majority support (adding transgender protections most prominently, and now the expansion to include public accommodations). Or, as with ENDA under Harry Reid’s Senate and Nancy Pelosi’s House, the Democrats would strangely fail to move the bill out of committee, with nary a protest from HRC—until Republicans were back in charge.

The Price of Liberal Smugness

All else aside, I think there’s much to be said about how the liberal-left has alienated itself from middle/working class, non-urban mid-America. In this Vox piece by Emmett Rensin, The smug style in American liberalism, I couldn’t agree more with this bit:

“Over 20 years, an industry arose to cater to the smug style. It began in humor, and culminated for a time in The Daily Show, a program that more than any other thing advanced the idea that liberal orthodoxy was a kind of educated savvy and that its opponents were, before anything else, stupid. The smug liberal found relief in ridiculing them.”

As I wrote in a Sept. 10 post on Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” speech at an LGBT fundraiser with Barbara Streisand:

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.

And as I noted in a follow-up post, “In the end, however, Hillary’s LGBT smugfest with Barbra may turn out to be one hell of a costly fundraiser.” I think clearly it was.

Related. Robby Saove at reason.com has some pertinent insights:
Trump Won Because Leftist Political Correctness Inspired a Terrifying Backlash:

I have warned that political correctness actually is a problem on college campuses, where the far-left has gained institutional power and used it to punish people for saying or thinking the wrong thing. And ever since Donald Trump became a serious threat to win the GOP presidential primaries, I have warned that a lot of people, both on campus and off it, were furious about political-correctness-run-amok—so furious that they would give power to any man who stood in opposition to it.

And post-election observations from “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance on Life Outside the Liberal Bubble. He writes, “To suggest that Trump voters are worried about anything real is to invite scorn from certain corners of the mainstream media.”

Furthermore. Victor Davis Hanson writes:

Finally, the more Clinton Inc. talked about the Latino vote, the black vote, the gay vote, the woman vote, the more Americans tired of the same old identity politics pandering. What if minority bloc voters who had turned out for Obama might not be as sympathetic to a middle-aged, multimillionaire white woman? And what if the working white classes might flock to the politically incorrect populist Trump in a way that they would not to a leftist elitist like Hillary Clinton? In other words, the more Clinton played the identity politics card, the more she earned fewer returns for herself and more voters for Trump.

And Joan C. Williams writes in the Harvard Business Review:

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, epitomizes the dorky arrogance and smugness of the professional elite. The dorkiness: the pantsuits. The arrogance: the email server. The smugness: the basket of deplorables.