A great student? A priest in a church? The first-chair violinist? We became dependent on adopting the skin our environment imposed upon us to earn the love and affection we craved. How could we love ourselves when everything around us told us that we were unlovable? Instead, we chased the affection, approval, and attention doled out by others.
Earlier this year, a Twitter thread on this topic from the writer Alexander E. Leon went viral. They bolster the sense that Buttigieg has manufactured a character to achieve what he wants. That character is not simply, as some of his critics claim, an evocation of some straight male ideal. These have a marked resemblance to the terminology often tagged to female politicians, whose affects have inevitably been shaped in response to sexism.
They suggest that thriving as someone other than straight, white, and male in America can require making yourself into a politician—and not only in politics. If he were to win, he would be the youngest ever president, the first openly gay one, and one of the least experienced too. Queerness has to be seen as an asset so far in directing attention and shaping his narrative. At the same time, as the PetesNotGay crowd dwells on, he has played down his sexuality in strategic ways.
He has parried away personal snooping, such as when he declined to answer a supposedly just-for-fun New York Times inquiry into the celebrity crushes of each candidate. They would help the electorate understand the ways in which a queer life is not like a straight one by forthrightly discussing the feeling of difference, and even shame, that Buttigieg talks around.
They might be more idiosyncratic in their style, and more confrontational toward straight voters, and would boast a yet-bolder political agenda. Mostly, though, they would not so glaringly confront LGBTQ voters with the painful reality that even in the most out-and-proud era of queer life in history, repression and self-editing remain imperatives in many arenas. They would not provoke the question Buttigieg constantly does: Is he deflecting from his own identity for reasons of expedience or his own discomfort, or both?
On one end of the Buttigieg reaction spectrum is the homophobic voter in Iowa who tried to reclaim her ballot after being told, during the caucus, that the candidate she just cast a vote for is gay. On the other end of the spectrum are queer commentators taking offense at his inoffensiveness. In the middle of those two groups are enough voters to put him in contention for the Democratic nomination.
Finding a space between, a path spanning accommodation and authenticity, is what queerness has often meant. Skip to content Site Navigation The Atlantic. Popular Latest. The Atlantic Crossword. John Lewis , compared gay and transgender people to pedophiles in a series of posts published over the weekend.
Gay means Men having sex with men. This is confusion, pedophilia, and sexual exploitation wrapped up in acceptance. In another tweet, she remarked that people appear to be more accepting of transgender people than ex-convicts. She and 10 others were pardoned by Trump in February. In her tweets and during her interview, Stanton-King appeared to conflate sexual orientation and gender identity, which are two distinct things Zaya Wade, for example, is transgender, but neither she nor her famous parents have ever commented on her sexual orientation by labeling her "gay" or a "lesbian".
While Stanton-King's controversial tweets did garner some support, they sparked widespread criticism, including from at least one local political figure. Lewis — whom Stanton-King will be challenging in November she is currently does not have a primary challenger — has served in Congress since and has been a longtime supporter of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer rights.
T he latest way that Pete Buttigieg allegedly brought shame upon the queer community was by discussing shame itself. At a CNN town hall in South Carolina , the presidential candidate marveled at meeting children who are openly gay. Because then I would not have the amazing marriage that I have now to Chasten. The clip of that meant-to-be-humanizing moment quickly became the object of mockery in queer circles online.
Others acted as though Buttigieg were articulating a self-hating desire to become straight now, at 38, rather than describing how he felt in his closeted earlier years. Really, though, they shoved the pill-the-gay-away comment into a preexisting narrative: the one that says Buttigieg is basically straight. Onion articles have imagined Buttigieg revealing a wife and kids , or condemning his own sexuality. The New Republic last year published and then retracted a scathing essay by Dale Peck that blasted Buttigieg as so buttoned-down and assimilated that he undermines a movement based in what is still often termed deviance.
Boring gays are still gay. Gays who love the Dave Matthews Band are still gay. Progressive gays who survey the current political landscape and bet that the way to successfully enact economic and social justice is by triangulating between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden are—and this is the sticking point—still gay. Conflating gayness with any particular moral, political, or aesthetic value the observer has deemed good , though, is an act of hijacking—one weirdly similar to the rhetorical move homophobes use when they say gay people are immoral.
To be sure, there are plenty of legitimate critiques coming from queer folks. LGBTQ voters tend to be younger and more liberal than other Democrats, so, in large numbers, they support candidates to the left of Buttigieg. His every gaffe and centrist slogan can be spun as a betrayal of the sort of radical queerness that is, in this moment, more visible than ever. He also did so at an LGBTQ Victory Fund event in April, in a speech that is, if you are not on the Buttigieg bus, viscerally painful to watch in the way that so much of his oratory is.
But amid the corniness, he edged toward something rawer. First, he told the happy tale of marrying Chasten. When I was younger, I would have done anything to not be gay. When I began to halfway realize what it meant that I felt the way I did about people I saw in the hallway at school or the dining hall at college, it launched in me something I can only describe as a kind of war. And if that war had been settled on the terms I would have wished for when I was 15 or 20 or frankly even 25, I would not be standing here.
If you had offered me a pill to make me straight, I would have swallowed it before you had time to give me a sip of water. He is drawing a line between his own experience and that of queer youths who do hurt themselves. Gayness, by contrast, is depicted mostly in glancing terms, and mostly as a career problem he had to solve. Pages are given over to him thinking through how to come out, and to the reaction in local politics, and to the logistics of finding a date while in public office.
The wish-for-a-pill phase, the long torment of the closet, goes undiscussed. But I have thought a lot about the stereotypes of gay men as hyper-successful, image-conscious, and wounded. I have no problem with it whatsoever. During the campaign, he spoke out against a North Carolina law forbidding transgender people to use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity and said that Caitlyn Jenner could use the commode of her choice in Trump Tower. When several United States embassies — including the one in Berlin, over which Grenell presides — requested permission to fly the rainbow flag this month in honor of Gay Pride, the State Department said no.
Sign up for his newsletter. His treatment of gay people perfectly reveals the flabbiness of his convictions and his willingness to stand at odds with a majority of Americans if it pleases the smaller number who adore him. And he is at odds with most of the country, very much so. Take the Trump administration out of the equation and the march toward gay equality continues apace. As gay and transgender Americans prepare to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising on June 28, we inhabit a state of cognitive dissonance, staring at a split screen: insults from the White House on one half of it, positive reinforcement from elsewhere on the other.
A Supreme Court ruling legalized it nationwide in I was given an exclusive advance copy of a new report by the Victory Institute , a group that promotes L. It found that the number of known L. And while some of that is attributable to more politicians coming out, much is attributable to more being voted into office. With the congressional elections last November, the number of openly L.
That same month Jared Polis in Colorado became the first openly gay person to win a governorship. It never comes up in terms of scrapping for the votes you need in the middle. According to the Victory Institute survey, there are three openly L. In Colorado, five Republican lawmakers voted in favor of a bill that banned anti-gay conversion therapy for minors, and six Republicans, including some of the same ones, voted to make it easier for transgender people to have the gender on their birth certificates changed.
Polis signed both measures into law on May While media attention focuses on proposed state legislation to deny rights to L.
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People were far more interested in our different political opinions than our gender. I shared these anecdotes with Maureen alongside pictures of our dog, Brodie, and casual tales of my failed attempts to grow veg in lockdown. And it did for me. Babs and I had a truly happy relationship. My letter writing to Maureen might look like an act of kindness, but it was actually deeply selfish. I got to say thank you and sorry, it made me feel better.
That she died this week, aged 92, only serves to reassure me that I was right to grab the chance to correspond with this deeply inspirational and revolutionary woman. We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future. Visit our adblocking instructions page.
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