Where Are the Gays Who Stand Up for Gays?

Donald D’Haene wants to know: Where are the fearless members of the LGBTQ community?

Where are the new generation of Rosie O’Donnells?

Gays that are fearless, not parsing words, not playing nice. I mean, we all love Ellen, but don’t we all know more Ellens than Rosies?

My best friend is a self-declared big mouth like Rosie. Well he was, ’cause you know what else they have in common? They both had heart attacks.

That’s a game changer, all right. Both were much more fun pre-heart attack.

While I’ve been an “Ellen” in many ways most of my life (so my “Rosie” keeps telling me), after turning 50, I’m sorry, the clocks a ticking and I haven’t got time to play nice. I think my friend and I are switching personalities. Yeah, our very own version of Freaky Friday.
When’s the last time you heard Rosie say something controversial? You might recall the Donald Trump vs Rosie fight but that one was boring and personal.

And my own Rosie? He actually voted conservative in our last election! When he told me I almost fainted. And when I discuss things that are going on south of the border today, he practically yawns. I miss the man he used to be, just as I miss Rosie. God what fun we had!

For example, remember the late American evangelical fundamentalist Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist, and conservative political commentator Jerry Falwell? Yeah, him: the agent of intolerance and the founder of the anti-gay industry who regularly demonized and dehumanized gays and fought against gay rights. Falwell had something in common with Rosie. Both were a couple of the most polarizing figures of our generation, and both had the knack for making sensational headlines. As well, both had fame, wealth and critics.

Within hours of Falwell’s death in ’07, Democrats (and not just the targets of his homophobic propaganda) came out swinging. Immediately the far right criticized their collective insensitivity.

“Can’t these people respect the feelings of Falwell’s family?” the far right cried.

On her then-gig, the talk show The View, O’Donnell reacted to his death, saying something to the effect of, “To his family it’s sad but, whatever.”

That may have appeared crass but how can we forget the kind of example the Reverend himself set? Just two days after thousands died on 9-11, Falwell essentially blamed feminists, gays and liberals for bringing on the terrorist attacks,  stating, “you helped this happen.”

Tell that to the mother of Mark Bingham, 31, a gay passenger on United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania. Her hero son helped to thwart the plane’s hijackers. Or David Charlebois, the co-pilot of American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon. Charlebois was openly gay, and a member of the National Gay Pilots Association. He is survived by Tom Hay, his partner of almost 13 years. Or New York Fire Department Catholic chaplain Father Mychal Judge who was among the openly gay people known dead at the World Trade Center. Judge, 68, was killed while ministering to a fallen firefighter at Ground Zero.

Instead of showing sympathy, Jerry Falwell said, “Homosexuality is Satan’s diabolical attack upon the family that will not only have a corrupting influence upon our next generation, but it will also bring down the wrath of God upon America.”

Even Matt Foreman, executive director of National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, extended condolences to those close to Falwell, but added: “Unfortunately, we will always remember him as a founder and leader of America’s anti-gay industry, someone who exacerbated the nation’s appalling response to the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic, someone who demonized and vilified us for political gain and someone who used religion to divide rather than unite our nation.”

I am a gay person who did not “rejoice” at Jerry Falwell’s passing. It’s sad to see someone die knowing their “compassion” and resources were not extended to all of their fellowman, but rather to just a chosen few. What a waste.
I know some think that is ancient history. Hardly.
How many current examples do you need?
Let’s see. There’s the Chick-fill-A controversy.

What started it? In published  interviews back in July, Dan Cathy, the company president, invited the controversy, claiming “Guilty as Charged” as he proudly declared, “We are very much supportive of the family—the biblical definition of the family unit … we are married to our first wives.”

That got all the Rosies’ feathers all ruffled. Using social media, supporters of same-sex marriage called for a ‘Kiss-In’ boycott at the company’s restaurants. But Chick-fil-A released its own statement, that the company has a history of applying biblically-based principles to its business, such as keeping its stores closed on Sundays. The policy does not extend to stoning sinners, as they also reminded us that “the Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect—regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”

The shit really hit the fan when the boycotters found out Cathy’s company promiscuously used high-profit margins from the sale of all his slaughtered “chikns” to further anti-gay causes, funding such notorious groups as Exodus International and Focus on the Family. “So what’s the problem, gosh darn it?” cried Cathy.

That took the Rosies’ squawking into overdrive and rightly so. But what amazes me now is wondering where are these Rosies of America concerning the more immediate potential game changer, the Romney/Ryan ticket. Why the relative silence?

For example, The Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) is a LGBT organization of gays and lesbians that works within the Republican Party to advocate equal rights for all Americans. LCR acts under the mission statement: “We stand for the proposition that all of us are created equal—worthy of the same rights to freedom, liberty, and equality.” The group has been criticized by Republicans for failing to promote Republican principles. Considering the fact that such homosexual-oriented topics such as “Corporate Diversity,” “Family Fairness” and “Sexual Orientation a Choice?” were included at their national symposium, it’s no wonder Republicans were up in arms. Notwithstanding, it’s “nice” those topics were included in anything having to do with Republicans but does that sound like messages advocated by the Romney/Ryan ticket? Why aren’t these Log Cabin Republican gays up an arms about that?

Well, let’s look at Romney a little closer. On “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Romney told the Des Moines Register’s editorial board when asked how he felt about gays openly serving in the military: “That’s already occurred and I’m not planning on reversing that at this stage.”

“At this stage”… hmm.

And regarding the “Defense of Marriage Act,” Romney said at the same meeting, “The actions that I take as president depends on part on the state of play in Washington, the people that are there and what options exist.”

We know what that means, or do we? While he currently describes his social convictions depending on the prevailing winds of his party, we know that as Governor, on November 18, 2003, he reacted to the Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling that same-sex marriage is protected in the Massachusetts Constitution with these words, “I agree with 3,000 years of recorded history. I disagree with the Supreme Court of Massachusetts. Marriage is an institution between a man and a woman.”

And what of his Vice-Presidential nominee Paul Ryan? His record on gay rights is more egregious. Not only did he support a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and vote against the repeal of the military’s discriminatory don’t-ask, don’t-tell policy, in 2009, a decade after Matthew Shepard was murdered for being gay, Ryan voted against a bill named after Mr. Shepard that expands the federal hate crimes act to include brutality based on sexual orientation.

Where are the gays that are fearless, not parsing words, not playing nice with a record like that?

It’s even worse. Despite their joint record, just yesterday, October 23, 2012, the Log Cabin Gays and Lesbians endorsed Mitt Romney, acknowledging that he did not support them on many LGBT issues, but claimed that they were putting America first.

I’m with Rosie. Whatever.


On The Huffington Post: Log Cabin Republicans’ Mitt Romney Endorsement Prompts Los Angeles Couple To End Membership

Read more in Gay Pride on The Good Life.

This was previously published on The Huffington Post.

Image credit: Guillaume Paumier/Flickr

About Donald D'Haene

Donald D'Haene started his own successful theatre/opinion web site: http://www.donaldsdish.ca, is an author (Father's Touch), Huffington Post Blogger, and was one of the male Survivors on the Oprah 200 Survivors Episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, November 2010. Follow Donald D'Haene on Twitter @TheDonaldNorth.


  1. This is a new ad…..why anyone LGBT would vote for this guy is beyond me: http://youtu.be/L2krrzGjDIo

  2. Ps. Here is reason to get out and vote…your vote can make a difference: POLL: Logo Releases New LGBT Voter Survey Results For Presidential Election http://www.queerty.com/poll-logo-releases-new-lgbt-voter-survey-results-for-presidential-election-20121102/ via @queerty

  3. Loved your post…very Rosie-like. Yet I have to point out that, while you may have gotten the impression from reading my column (as you write) that I’m saying that the ” majority of LGBTQI people are deluded or irrational” – I don’t think I did …for I said most are Ellen-like – meaning – most are agreeable, easygoing and don’t freak out that we have fellow gays who vote Republican. I also said a ton clucked when Chick-fil-A ruffled their feathers but again – that’s at a non-gay boss and his company they targeted. I wish some of that energy would be deverted to “WTF brothers & sisters? How can you vote for a lying, minority-hater, (fill in several more blanks) as opposed to the closest politician we have had to a Abraham Lincoln since his death?”
    I have a feeling it involves more LGBT people than we think. And then there’s the percentage that won’t get out and vote in one of the most important elections of our time.
    When my gay best friend voted conservative here in Canada – he told me it was strictly a business decision. He didn’t want his taxes raised…hmm…doesn’t that sound familiar? I certainly didn’t thnk he was deluded or irrational. I thought he was just thinking about himself and told him so. When he read this column he told me he loved it. He wasn’t embarrassed in the least. I guess our issues are universal – well at least they cross border. Is he conservative? Ha! I’m more conservative than him by far but after he became a business owner he changed. Has this affected our friendship? – not in the least. Now, I wish some of that spirit crossed borders!

  4. This is a frustrating read because it makes it sound like a majority of LGBTQI people are deluded or irrational and that is just not the case.

    LCR is a tiny group of deluded fools.
    I have yet to meet a single conservative (Republican OR TEA Party) with a firm grasp of more than a couple of issues.
    Key Issues:
    A plutocracy (the conservative ideal) is a FAILED experiment that has brought down many great nations and even this nation on multiple instances. The huge poverty rates in Republican states contrast with the prosperity in Liberal ones and this is seen in other nations as well.

    Social Issues:
    Republicans are bigoted oppressors of minorities, women and LGBTQI people.

    Foreign Policy:
    Republicans are pro-war and want to increase the already insane/excessive and unsustainable level of defense spending, even spending MORE which is absolutely absurd as we already have multiple bases in every single allied nation where we pay for their national defense.

    Energy Policy:
    Republicans say that oil is good for the environment while solar is abundant, free and non-toxic.

    Free trade is a license to outsource. Tariffs protect labor which is ESSENTIAL to economic growth. When the middle class and poor cannot afford to buy what the rich are selling, the economy STOPS and internal conflict begins.

    War on drugs:
    Criminalizing non-violent and victimless crimes is insane. We take productive people and put them in a locked box where we pay their room and board….HELLO????

    The GOP has promised to privatize fire, police, education, FEMA, and medical care.
    Only those who can afford all of these will survive.

    The list goes on and on. The Liberals are not perfect, they are beholden to unions and sometimes do overpay especially in pensions. However unions were instrumental in ending child labor, creating the 40 hour work week, holidays, vacations, sick leave, maternity leave, and overtime pay.

    Want to see a small no tax government with no services?
    pick a third world country.

    Want to see prosperity?
    Look at nations with big government but smart government.

    There is NO justification for voting Republican aside from guns and smoking and really those are not the most important issue. For a woman, minority, or LGBTQI person to vote Republican is simply insane, but really why are we letting ANYONE off the hook on this? Voting Republican (or conservative) is simply put: the absolute WRONG answer for any nation, state or locale. Prove me wrong, I have facts and figures at the ready for any who dare challenge.

  5. wellokaythen says:

    The Republican Party has an uneasy alliance sometimes between “leave me alone” libertarians and “family values” social conservatives. Some of the fiscal conservatives and free-marketeers suggest legalizing drugs and prostitution and removing any laws that prevent consenting adults from doing whatever the heck they want. Meanwhile, their compatriots want laws to enforce a particular type of morality and punish people for doing immoral things even if consensual. The two sides are often united against “the common enemy” of liberals, but I think in the long-term this tension is an internal weakness within the party.

    (The Democrats have their own internal tensions among competing groups, which can be even messier. This isn’t just a GOP thing.)

    • I’ll revert to my inner-Ellen…agreed. Uniting for a common goal can be a weakness but the alternative can get even uglier. And you said it terms of the Democrats’ internal tensions being possibly messier…now that’s a column on its own. You are a very good writer! I hope you go there!

  6. That point doesn’t escape me. In fact, I have written here about a partner of mine who passed away
    ( http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/the-good-life-fear-and-love-in-the-time-of-aids/ ) …he was homophobic…closeted in so many ways…I remember he told me once he thought it was disgusting men holding hands, doing anything gay in public. He was Italian, very conservative. We enjoyed debating such things. Didn’t mean I loved him any less. Heck, my mother thinks I’m dying at “Armageddon” – and she loves me and I love her. I would say I’ve cared about more homophobic men than have given two shits about me. One gets used to it.

  7. wellokaythen says:

    One thing to bear in mind when responding to the death of someone like Falwell is that some of the most rabid homophobes are themselves closeted gay men. The death of Falwell may very well have been the death of someone who hated himself and his own sexuality. It could be the death of a tortured soul, in some ways a victim of his own anti-gay sentiment. I think it’s pretty clear that someone can be a perpetrator and a victim at the same time – perhaps Falwell was a bit of both. Inner hate becomes outer hate. What do you say when a homophobic gay man dies?

  8. wellokaythen says:

    Fortunately or unfortunately, a lot of people, maybe most people, have multiple identities. LGBT voters don’t necessarily define themselves primarily as LGBT people when they vote. Women don’t necessarily vote “as women,” and clearly hetero men don’t primarily vote as “hetero men.” There is no voting bloc for any particular minority group, just some general tendencies.

    This discovery has disillusioned every expansion of suffrage and every civil rights movement in American history. Women’s suffrage activists were surprised when women voters didn’t all vote the same way but divided in the same ways that male voters did. They were hoping for a women’s voting bloc, but that never materialized. Social activists have been frustrated by this tendency for a long time now.

    Voters regularly vote contrary to their own interest, even contrary to their own safety. They regularly prioritize some interests at the expense of others. Perhaps for LGBT citizens, they don’t see the issues of social equality as their primary concern. I think that’s incredibly short-sighted, but a lot of voters are incredibly shortsighted.

    To me the question is, do LGBT people behave differently politically compared to any other group? There’s a kind of equality here – LGBT people act like just about every other population group. They can be politically brilliant, naïve, ruthless, or apathetic, just like everyone else. Is there an assumption here that LGBT people are supposed to be more prescient and united on “their issues” than any other group is?

    • What a thoughtful response. You make some excellent points. In fact, as cited in my column, when my gay best friend voted conservative here in Canada – he told me it was strictly a business decision. He didn’t want his taxes raised…hmm…doesn’t that sound familiar? I guess our issues are universal – well at least they cross border. Is he conservative? Ha! I’m more conservative than him by far but after he became a business owner he changed. Has this effected our friendship? – not in the least. Now, I wish some of that spirit crossed borders!

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