Like many of President Trump’s supporters, the conservative LGBT group Log Cabin Republicans seems to have an unbreakable love for him. It can be hard to understand why since he doesn’t have many Republican hallmarks. He is not fiscally conservative. He does not want more equity for people and less control for governments and corporations. He does not want to unify this country. And numerous Republicans, including former members of his own cabinet, have denounced him.
But maybe the Log Cabin hero worship for Trump has nothing to do with any of that. Maybe it is as simple as the letter R that appears next to his name on the ballot. Maybe it doesn’t matter what the R stands for as long as it’s shaped correctly.
One thing that’s easy to make sense of, though, is what Log Cabin Republicans share on social media, specifically on Twitter. And perhaps that’ll help us understand their thinking. So let’s take a look.
One prominent topic on Log Cabin’s Twitter feed is Joe Biden, specifically remarks he made in 1973, about gay people being “security risks,” and in 2006, about marriage being between a man and a woman. They believe that unearthing these old remarks will help convince other people that Biden is anti-LGBTQ (though perhaps the real reason is that they want to convince themselves of that).
But they seem to forget that people can change, as Biden did, as Obama did and as many everyday Americans did. Megan Phelps-Roper was once one of the most homophobic people in the country, but over time she publicly disavowed those views and apologized to the LGBTQ community. Even most LGBTQ people who grew up in conservative areas started off against or at the very least tepid on gay rights. You can bet, before they came out of the closet, that many of those people let it slide when they heard classmates use anti-gay slurs. They may have even laughed at a homophobic joke in order to fit in. By Log Cabin logic, all of those people are lying when they now say they’re for gay marriage or employment nondiscrimination or trans healthcare. If people weren’t allowed to change their beliefs, we would have none of the rights or privileges we enjoy today. Nobody would.
Another frequent contributor — in the form of retweets — to the Log Cabin Twitter feed is Richard Grenell. Grenell, the former acting director of national intelligence, has posted frequently about global LGBTQ rights and has lauded the Trump administration for its efforts to decriminalize same-sex relations abroad.
But Grenell and Log Cabin seem to ignore, or are ignorant of, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s push to “uphold religious freedom as America’s most fundamental value,” and the posting of several anti-LGBTQ conservatives to the state department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights. They also seem to ignore that the Trump administration forbade U.S. embassies from flying the rainbow flag during pride month and has made it nearly impossible for LGBTQ people to get asylum here.
Finally, a common theme on Log Cabin’s Twitter feed is that they are annoyed at people assuming they’re liberal just because they’re LGBTQ. That is a fair grievance. Not all LGBTQ people are liberal, and nobody likes being told what to do or how to think, especially Americans. Just look at how many of us refuse to wear masks to prevent COVID-19. We’re a stubborn people, and that stubbornness transcends sexuality and, apparently, science.
But Donald Trump has been judging people because of their sexuality since he took office. He deemed trans people unfit to serve in the military solely because on their sexuality. He deemed LGBTQ people unworthy of healthcare protections solely because their sexuality and gender identity. If being judged unfairly annoys Log Cabin so much, why do they continually support a man whose base instinct is to judge people unfairly?
It’s a shame that we all can’t find our perfect politician who agrees with every single one of our views. It’s a shame that more Republicans aren’t supportive of LGBTQ rights, though some are coming around (because they’re allowed to evolve, unlike Biden, apparently). And it’s a shame that those in Log Cabin have decided that whatever they like about Trump, like his conservative judicial appointments or his rallying cries for the second amendment, is worth supporting him over his entire administration’s undercurrent of bigotry.
A few weeks ago, Log Cabin posted the tweet “Maybe the left hates history so much is because they’re ashamed of their own history.”
With regards to being ashamed of one’s own history, consider this: the people who made LGBTQ history at Stonewall and in the decades after, the people who fought for LGBTQ equality and put their reputations and lives on the line, did not have the luxury of being defined by something other than their sexuality. They were defined as deviants, as mentally ill, as unfit to serve in schools and the government and the military solely because of their sexuality. Nothing else about them mattered. It didn’t matter if they were liberal or conservative. It didn’t matter if they were law-abiding. It didn’t matter if all they wanted to do was contribute well to society.
Back then, if you were gay, you were immoral, and if you came out, you were thrown into a one-size-fits-all box of discrimination.
So, Log Cabin, next time you complain about people misjudging you because of your sexuality, the next time you tweet about how hard it is to be defined solely by the label LGBTQ, why don’t you give those pioneers in Gay Liberation Front or Gay Activists Alliance a call? They know exactly how angering it feels to be judged in that way. And while you’re at it, why don’t you ask them their views about Trump?
I’m sure you already know what most of them will say.