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Views & Voices

How do Gays and Lesbians talk to Republicans?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

As a woman who will be turning the age of 60 in less than a month, one would think I would have a fine grasp on my life, wouldn’t one? And as an out and activist lesbian who writes a weekly column, one would think I could find the appropriate words for every situation I find myself in, wouldn’t one?

Lately, this has not been my experience.

I find myself in a position of knowing what is right for me, and yet not knowing how to get my point across with style and grace and not come off sounding pissy and self-serving.

Allow me to try and explain…

As a woman and as a lesbian, this Presidential Election is a clear choice between what is right and what is wrong for me. President Obama is what is right; for women (me), for the gay community (me), for the citizens of the United States of America (me). Period. End of story.

Each and every one of us should vote our conscience and in doing such, this is where the problem lies with me and those who choose to vote Republican in this particular Presidential Election.

For me, I take it personally when someone I know and who knows me is choosing to vote against my being equal to them in every sense of the word. It’s personal to me that you believe that I’m somehow less valuable than you – that my life isn’t quite as important as yours.

You may say: “Barb, I most certainly don’t feel that way,” but a vote for this Republican ticket most certainly says that you indeed do feel that way.

And how exactly am I to feel about you casting a vote against me? Seriously, what am I to do with this smack-down of my civil and human liberties? You tell me how I’m supposed to treat someone who votes to make sure I will be kept as the “less-than” status for at least four more years – perhaps longer.

Am I to treat you with the same disdain with which you are treating me with your vote? Am I to wish the same inequalities for you and your family that you are voting for me and my family?

I’d like to think I could just shut you out of my life – and in some instances this is exactly what I have done, but… I’m not sure this is really the right thing to do.

How do we reach people with the truth when we shut them out of our lives? How do we make people understand that the gay community is simply a community of human beings who simply want to live our lives as free and equal Americans if we cut out everyone who chooses to vote against us?

Will this not just prove the point that we are pissy and self-serving? Will that simply not keep us divided and uncommunicative?

Then again – how can I have any respect for someone who knowingly votes against me? How do I keep you in my life when I know your vote went to keep me from having the same civil liberties as you? That your vote went to make sure women don’t get equal pay for equal work. That you voted for a man who has no desire to allow women to make their own decisions about health-care and abortions, and that you care little for the environment and the arts and look at the elderly and disabled veterans as moochers and victims.

How do I find any redeeming qualities in your vote?

This is where my firm grasp on my life tends to slip a little. I know full well who I am; I’m out and proud and make no excuses or exceptions for that.

But, I also understand that we all have differences, and we all see the world with different eyes. Still, I’d like to believe that human dignity is something every one of us would see clearly through every set of eyes. I could be wrong, but I still have hope.

The one thing constant about life is that is just keeps going. We will all survive this election, some of us better than others depending on the outcome.

Either way, if you vote Republican and we come in contact with one another – I’ll be asking you face to face why you believe I’m not equal to you, and why you believe I don’t have the same right to everything this life has to offer as you do. Don’t start by telling me your vote wasn’t anything personal against me – for it most certainly was – Start by telling me why your human dignity is more important than mine.

I’ll try not to be pissy and self-serving, but I can’t guarantee anything…

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65 more reader comments:

  1. IT’s not nice for sure, especially those that say my love is inferior to theirs. I speak up loud and clear without fear, how dare them!

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 9:05am
  2. their are more republicans in the closet than all others who for whatever reason have come out.

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 9:08am
  3. I can’t.

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 9:12am
  4. Gay and Republican is an oxymoron.

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 9:16am
  5. I have republican friends they know how I feel and the ones I know most of them anyway, there are still a few that probably would like me to just go away, but then again are they really friends?, don’t think like the people they vote for. So I’m thinking there is a HUGE disconnect somewhere. between them and the people they voted for.

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 9:16am
  6. you have to wonder about those who protest too much…you know what they say

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 9:18am
  7. Radicals have taken over the Republican Party, and there’s no talking to them, no reasoning with them. NC Amendment One was a stategic Republican-lead attack on my family and every other LGBT family in North Carolina. Republicans are not “mean”, they’re dangerous, especially in government offices. Vote Obama.

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 9:20am
  8. I don’t anymore…too many of ‘em carry a gun and I’m not about to be target practice anymore! Been there—done that.

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 9:24am
  9. The older conservative people that go to my gym say loudly. “Democrats are so stupid.” How do I approach that to “cross-the isle?”

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 9:29am
  10. They ignore most, but there are a handful that support us. And these few become the pariah of the party I’m sure.

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 9:31am
  11. With the hand?

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 9:45am
  12. Get out of the political madness and vote for the man, not the party.

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 9:55am
  13. I recently walked away from a lifelong friendship over this issue. I tried talking to her, but ultimately realized that she finally got her American dream and no longer cares if I get mine as long as the Republicans promise her that they’ll help her keep hers.

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 11:29am
  14. I do NOT…I HATE (emphasis on HATE) the GOP!!!!

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 11:47am
  15. I’m a Progressive Liberal Democrat and will always remain one…

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 11:48am
  16. What I can’t stand is people who blindly vote for a candidate without even looking at their position on issues, just because they are the “right party”. Loyalty is a fine thing, but blind obedience is just plain stupid.

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 11:55am
  17. This is not easy. I choose not to talk politics to many in my family. It’s better that way. But there is no doubt in my mind they know how I feel, and they know for whom, and why, I cast my vote.

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 12:20pm
  18. i hate them i will never be on that side

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 1:38pm
  19. brandon you should hate them because they hate you and think that gays are going to hell in reality they are the ones going to hell if there even is a hell

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 4:26pm
  20. These days I make a real effort NOT to talk to Republicans. Kind of like how I avoid people with bubonic plague. . .

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 5:47pm
  21. I dont talk to republicans, gay, straight, or relatives.

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 8:52pm
  22. They don’t :)

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 8:55pm
  23. Well, I’m not voting for either. However I will be voting for one of 2 people who both think that there should be marriage equality.

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 8:58pm
  24. My first thought, before I even read the article was, “slowly, using small words” :)

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 8:59pm
  25. @Jaclyn: No Republican is for marriage equality.

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 9:02pm
  26. Talk to? Why would I do that?

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 9:15pm
  27. I don’t, I just give them the finger and walk away.

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 9:20pm
  28. I don’t know and I don’t care. I don’t generally talk to brain dead bigots.

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 9:35pm
  29. Only post on an occasion?

    Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 10:17pm
  30. Number one, while I support most of Obama’s stances. I do not support his drone program, kill list, and sustained warrent-less wire program. I do understand he is not a perfect president and while he has done some key things for LGBT people, he has still fallen short of everything he could have done.

    With that said, I think this is how we can begin to address how to open the discussion between LGBT people and Republicans.

    First, we must remember that not all Republicans are the same nor believe the same things.

    Two, some Republicans weigh the pros and cons of a particular candidate and go from there. They may not agree with all of the candidate’s stances but they will cast their vote for him/her despite this. The same thing that democrats do.

    Three, address the issue from the inside Republicans are probably more receptive to the people inside the party than outside. If the Log Republicans would stand up against the rhetoric, then LGBT communities at large could join that coalition.

    Four, the discussion that you have with a typical voter should be based upon the question: why are you voting for Mitt Romney? What policies do agree with? What.policies do you not agree with? If that voter mentions anything related to LGBT then challenge them to defend why that stance is okay with them. If the voter doesnt mention anything LGBT, then you can choose to inform them about what Mitt Romney’s presidency means to you. And let them respond. You can also use this time to suggest voting for a 3rd party candidate.

    Five, remind the voter that Republicans believe in small government. Explain that legislating who can or cannot get married is not small government policy.

    Six, Explain that while spirituality is important in our culture and within our politics, our constitution emphasizes the importance of seperation of church and state for a reason. No ones spritual beliefs is a good enough justification for denying equal rights. Our constitution says all citizens are given equal protection under the law. Making laws that only apply to one group and not another is unconstitutional, (Seperate but equal).

    And address any other objection with the facts

    Posted on Monday, October 29, 2012 at 5:31am
  31. @Mike: you’re quite wrong. There are many people all over the political spectrum who are for marriage equality, Republicans included. Not all Repubs are narrow minded, nor are all Dems. This is a human issue, and many have the common sense to see that.

    Posted on Monday, October 29, 2012 at 8:51am
  32. I don’t talk to Demublicanst gay, straight or relatives….

    Posted on Monday, October 29, 2012 at 11:12am
  33. Brittany wilkins vote for Rocky Anderson or Jill Stein!

    Posted on Monday, October 29, 2012 at 11:13am
  34. But Republicans and other good people need to stop and think about what the author said. Maybe even imagine themselves in her moccasins

    Posted on Monday, October 29, 2012 at 3:28pm
  35. RETHUGLITURDS.

    Posted on Monday, October 29, 2012 at 3:33pm
  36. I really don’t give a flying fuck. Look at the Republican PARTY platform. Then come back to me about Republicans.

    Posted on Monday, October 29, 2012 at 3:35pm
  37. If “many have the common sense to seet that” why are we still being harassed, need bullying laws for kids, being beaten in the streets, having our homes and cars burned to the ground, and being murdered in the streets merely for being? I will tell you why; because “many” do not have common sense or even common decency. Otherwise, this issue would have been solved back in 1972 when George McGovern ran for President.

    Posted on Monday, October 29, 2012 at 3:42pm
  38. very slowly.

    Posted on Monday, October 29, 2012 at 3:43pm
  39. They don’t lol

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:01am
  40. When someone thinks your love is inferior, there’s not much to say

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:02am
  41. We don’t, at least I don’t!

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:02am
  42. Slowly, and in one syllable words.

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:02am
  43. Does anyone else hate being referred to as a “gay”?
    I mean… that’s as bad as saying, “How do the (insert any group classification here)…….”
    WTF!? lol

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:03am
  44. I like you have SHUT people out for thier determination to vote Republican. Was it right to do so, YES. They need to KNOW how important it is to vote dem. To vote for MY rights as an American. A vote for Rep is a vote against me.

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:03am
  45. I’ve tried. Better luck banging your head against a wall.

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:05am
  46. I don’t.

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:07am
  47. As little as possible

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:13am
  48. I have a gay friend who is in LOVE with Mittens, he posts every day bashing Obama, I asked him today how he can support someone who is adamantly against him as being an equal and he said “I define myself as me, not my sexuality”. That was his direct quote, I don’t think he cares very much about himself at this point

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:20am
  49. With venom.

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:20am
  50. Simple! U speak on the behalf of the gay community but don’t portray urself as “IM GAY & I LOVE IT”. but as there are gays out here and there human to. Gay men & woman who have learned to embrace that there gay instead of displaying that there gay and everyone should know it to have much more difficultys in life but wonder why ppl dislike or don’t support them. Its been gays for century’s Republicans know this and slowly embraced those who respected ppl around them and kept it respectful but the gays now a days go outside the limits of respect for others DEMANDING a voice by showing off and acting out. Those type of ppl don’t stand a damn chance. Perfect example “Ellen the generous” Gay, well respected & to some ud never know she was gay.

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:27am
  51. With a dogs against Romney sign in the front yard that says pee here.

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:29am
  52. Wow! I TOTALLY relate!

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:34am
  53. I talk slowly and use small words.

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:43am
  54. The best way to be heard is to VOTE only for those who will represent me with respect & defend my civil rights! Vote for me & Ill vote for you!

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:49am
  55. This is silly. I am glad my gay friends and relatives are not so self serving and shallow to see that Obama will doom this country in such a way that marriage equality rights won’t mean a damn thing. Don’t get me wrong I for one think its stupid that the government has a say in anything about who can marry who, but there are so many more important issues than this. Also just so you know it has always been the republicans who supported civil rights not the democrats, this has not changed. If you really think that Obama is for gay rights, you truly are being led by the nose.

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:51am
  56. With the hand!

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 12:38pm
  57. It’s not only about marriage, Eric. It’s about health care, and equality in pay, and lots of other issues. What you are posting here is the same tripe that the rest of the right wing-nuts out there try to snow people with. And why haven’t your gay friends and relatives posted their comments to support your view? Why? Because, you most probably don’t have any. If you do, they’re probably only in your dreams. I invite all your gay friends and relatives (authentically gay not just the ones that will say they are) to post something in support of you.

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 1:24pm
  58. Aaron Hymes ^^^ I think your friend is self-loathing. That’s why he votes for Mittens. Deep down inside he wishes he could be straight and hates the idea that he could live life loving another person of the same sex, so he justifies this by consciously voting for the party/candidate that shows contempt for him and other gay people and that them as second class citizens.

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 1:31pm
  59. @Rosata, as long as you & I vote, it doesn’t matter what Eric thinks! I have to say, I’ve never encountered such self defeating & self loathing thinking from one who says their gay. I think he’s full of it & trying to make us doubt who we are. Honey, I KNOW who I am! Eric, not so much!!

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 1:43pm
  60. behind bullet proof glass

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 2:43pm
  61. My decision to vote for obama had some to do with marriage equality but very little. I have always abstained from voting because I refuse to vote for the lesser of the 2 evils.
    I am voting this year, not because I find obama to be an exceptional president, but because romney stands for everything I’m against.
    Romney is against gay rights, much less marriage equality. He is in favor of using our own energy resources. On the surface is fine. However, how much more rape and pillage will we allow the coal companies? How much of our water supply will we allow fracking to ruin? Fracking sleeves the well to protect the water after it is ruined! Romney wants to use federal land, just like george w bush wanted to. The list goes on. I cannot allow someone to get into our highest office with such greedy aspirations.
    As for marriage equality, I think it’s silly that there are limitations on who one can marry in the first place. I support marriage equality. But in the end I’d say I made the marriage mistake once, don’t plan on it again. Someone else wishes to enter into torturous matrimony with someone of same or opposite gender, I welcome it and fully support it.

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 3:01pm
  62. veerrryyy sloowwwly so they understand

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 3:20pm
  63. They ignore them, and alienate them until their hateful, bigoted rhetoric stops.

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 3:48pm
  64. You just do, one is not complety synonomous with the other. The democrats are really as accepting as some would have you believe if they were we wouldn’t have to fight so hard for right. If more LGBT members were so afraid to communicate with the red party build allies and alliances instead of allianation we might be further along…

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 4:11pm
  65. I don’t want anyone desciminating against me for gender, age, skin or sexuality let alone political affiliation and I don’t discriminate against them.

    Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 4:12pm