A Conservative Lesbian explains why calling someone gay or lesbian is a slur

by CynthiaYockey on May 9, 2010

My piece on the conniption fit the Left went into a few weeks ago when Ben Domenech opined that it was a plus that Supreme Court nominee short-lister Elena Kagan is a lesbian was published at Pajamas Media today. Pajamas Media publisher Roger Simon was puzzled at the extremes the LEFT went to in order to deny that Kagan is a lesbian and he asked me, “Why is being called gay or lesbian such a slur?

The short version of my answer is that it is profitable for nation-building totalitarians, whether secular or religious, to demonize all people and behaviors that are not producing babies to increase the power and wealth of their secular or religious masters. I tried to keep the piece about 1,000 words, so I didn’t add the point that my dear gentle readers have seen me make frequently here, which is that social conservatives work non-stop to impose their respective religions on the general populace through the laws of the land in total violation of the conservative values of liberty and individualism.

That is, while social conservatives are free to demonize lesbians and gays and assert that we should be second-class citizens or even inhuman under the tenets of their religions, it is a violation of conservatism and the Constitution to make laws in order to disadvantage us (with update here) because we are a minority that doesn’t serve them in order to use the power of the government to force their beliefs — gays are demons! — on everyone in the hopes of achieving through the coercive powers of government what they were not able to achieve through the persuasive powers of religion. The fact that social conservatives resort unceasingly to the power of the government to appropriate its coercive powers to impose their beliefs on the general population — and to get tax money to finance their operations — shows that the real slippery slope we’re on is toward the overthrow of the Constitution and the imposition of a theocracy. Equality for lesbians and gays IS a conservative value, if conservatives value liberty, individualism, the Constitution and the separation of church and state.

By the way, I don’t know anyone else making these points and I deserve and expect attribution when other writers pick them up, especially when they’ve told me they read A Conservative Lesbian regularly. For example, I called last month for there to be at least one place in the conservative blogosphere — besides mine — where it’s a given that lesbians and gays are equal to heterosexuals and deserve full equality under the law and that these publishers stop publishing rants to the contrary the way conservatives stopped publishing pieces proclaiming women, blacks and Jews to be less-than/wrong/bad. (I am still working on this behind the scenes.) If I don’t get attribution, I WILL be calling those writers out. It’s not just rude, it’s theft.


My last piece published at Pajamas Media was my review of David Horowitz’s luminous biography of his late daughter, Sarah Horowitz, entitled, “A Cracking of the Heart and an Opening to Transcendence,” which was published Dec. 23, 2009.


Law professor William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection has been defending Elena Kagan and today asks, “Why all the hate from the left? True hostility, or simply bait so that Kagan will appear more moderate?” I think the hate is real, Prof. Jacobson — the Left is not the friend of lesbians and Jews — the Left’s attacks prove that Elena Kagan is not one of the more-equal Lefties.

Update, 5/9/2010, Sun.: Thank you, Instapundit, for the link to my essay, linked above, “Why Is It Such a Slur to Call Elena Kagan a Lesbian?,” at Pajamas Media.

Update, 5/11/2010, Tues.: Thank you, Stacy McCain and DaTechGuy for your quotes and linkage. Also, Allahpundit asks whether Elena Kagan being a lesbian will be an issue in her confirmation hearings. I’m going with, “Yes.” Little Miss Attila says she must find her gay agenda first.

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  • Hi. I reached your blog via a link in my Twitter feed.

    I completely share your point of view in this post; however, I think your points are commonly made in the case for libertarianism.

    • Lori,

      My understanding of libertarianism is that it is fiscal conservatism plus getting the government out of the business of regulating social behavior. That’s not the same as actively supporting equality for lesbians and gays — in fact, it seems like it’s pretty much the opposite of saying lesbians and gays must be equal under the law since they don’t believe there should be laws about that in the first place. So with libertarians we’re effectively infinitely farther from equality than we are with social conservatives because first we have to have the never-ending battle over whether the government should regulate social behavior. The result is that with libertarians we never ever get to the part of the discussion where we become free of laws based on the religious beliefs of others imposing inequality on us so that our equality is guaranteed under the law. That is why my perception is that libertarians do not, in practice, support lesbian and gay equality.


      • Thank you for your reply.

        I want the government to stay out of marriage altogether. I think it’s ridiculous that you need a license to get married. I think civil unions should be granted to both heterosexual and homosexual couples. The government devalued marriage when no-fault divorce became so easy and commonplace. I believe in the sanctity of marriage as a religious institution, but am opposed to that belief being imposed or mandated on those outside the church. I believe that churches who actively campaign against gay marriage should lose their tax-exempt status and form a PAC.

        I consider my stance on marriage to be libertarian, but I could very well be wrong. I understand conservatism to be centered around the notion that the US is a Christian nation and strength comes from the foundation of a traditional family. While I respect the right to hold these views, I don’t agree with mandating them for others.

        I am a Christian and I am most definitely a fiscal Conservative, but I struggle to find my place when it comes to social issues.
        .-= Lori´s last blog ..thinkingmonkey: @dooce That’s ridiculous! It’s obviously George Bush’s fault. =-.

        • Lori,

          Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

          My understanding of conservatism is that it is a movement comprised of fiscal conservatives, who embrace liberty, individualism, capitalism, meritocracy, social mobility, in a democratic republic with a constitutional government controlled by a system of checks and balances; libertarians, who are like fiscal conservatives but with extra added liberty and individualism due to removing government control over most aspects of human behavior; and social conservatives, who usually embrace the same liberty, etc., as fiscal conservatives, but paradoxically, strive every minute to unite their religion and the government into one in order to overthrow our constitutional democratic republic and replace it with a totalitarian theocracy.

          It seems to me that you have very healthy boundaries — which means you respect the rights of others to have their own spirituality and do right in their own way — and that your struggle may be with the social conservatives who wish to impose their will on everyone else and who may therefore condemn your willingness to allow others their liberty. Your sense of struggling may be coming from having to resist the will of others who wish to define what a social conservative is and who threaten everyone who deviates from their definition with ostracism and shame. What do you think?


          • Lori


            I think you may be partly right. I have discussed gay marriage with many social conservatives and we consistently seem to differ in one major way: I believe people are born gay, while they think a homosexual lifestyle is a choice. So I ask them, what if it is a choice? Should you be able to tell other people they can’t get married? Should they not have the same rights as you? I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that this discussion just goes in circles.

            I struggle to find my place when it comes to labels. Am I a conservative, or am I a libertarian? Why does it matter? I don’t know. I guess labels give people both a sense of belonging and validation through a shared system of beliefs.

            Thank you for challenging me to think harder about this issue.

          • Lori,

            Girlfriend! You have changed my life! I was an ex-lesbian for almost eight years in my 20’s, except for knowing every minute of every day that I really WAS a lesbian. So I know being gay isn’t a choice. But thanks to YOU, from now on, when this comes up, I’m going to answer back, “But if it IS a choice, so what? Isn’t that what liberty is about?”

            About labels — if you’re for smaller government, lower taxes and capitalism, how would you feel about saying you are a fiscal conservative? I think you hit the nail on the head about labels giving people “both a sense of belonging and validation through a shared system of beliefs.”


      • Liz

        While I consider myself a libertarian in many ways, this is one area where I feel deeply uncomfortable with their typical ideas. A lot of it is because I’ve never met a straight libertarian who had any problem with getting married themselves if they met the right person. But when it comes to gay equality, it seems that it becomes all theoretical and suddenly the state has no right to be in anyone’s bedroom. It’s incredibly hypocritical because they would never give up the right to marry in practice.

  • Now I have a headache. If calling someone gay or lesbian is a slur, you just slurred that “gay, Christian singing duo…”. In today’s world calling someone gay is much more likely to be a matter of identification, as in two guys named John who become gay John and bald John. As soon as everyone knows which John we’re talking about, the story goes on. Except that half the time it’s bald John and skinny John because most will neither know, nor care, which John is gay.

    As far as the State making such a big deal out of keeping women making babies, you might take a look at the demographics of the statist states. Russia? Circling the drain. China? That one child policy plus their cultural demand for a “son and heir” have led to both mad abortion of girls and infanticide of girls.

    I do believe you are fighting the last battle, over and over again while society has moved on to the next.

    • Peter,

      I’ve been worried about you, so I’m glad to see your comment. I hope your back is better and that Linda Lou is on the mend.

      I don’t understand your last remark. Lesbians and gays are NOT equal under the law — and I have that battle to fight until we are. Social conservatives can try to proclaim they’ve won, we’ll never be equal, so there’s nothing to see, move along — but we are fighting until we have equality under the law. Nothing less will do.


  • smitty

    I think you have a point here:

    “The fact that social conservatives resort unceasingly to the power of the government to appropriate its coercive powers to impose their beliefs on the general population β€” and to get tax money to finance their operations β€” shows that the real slippery slope we’re on is toward the overthrow of the Constitution and the imposition of a theocracy. ”

    But the only thought being imposed is a sort of state-is-God religion. The big win, IMHO, is to drive the Federal government in a libertarian direction, and let States be as much or as little socially conservative as they feel like being.

    • smitty,

      Hi, sweetie! I’ve missed you! You and Stacy are the best gentlemen in the blogosphere for this kind of tennis match — I adore you both more and more as time goes by and I encounter others who are not. I am so fortunate to have dear Little Miss Attila and The Other McCain as my fairy blog parents.

      What has shocked me as I have been finding my place in the conservative world is the number of people for whom social conservatism is less about goodness and more about power over others — very real, very scary religious totalitarianism. Whenever I consider social conservatives I work to speak to the goodness of those whose conservatism IS about goodness — but to call out and set boundaries for those who, regardless of how they experience or characterize their intentions, are working to force their will on others. I believe the latter may give lip service to opposing statism, but in reality they only oppose a state in which they themselves are not in control, and my perception is that they are working to unite their religion with the state into a theocracy.

      The reason I don’t support libertarianism is that I don’t see it protecting the equality of minorities. When social conservatism means that lesbians and gays are forced into being second-class citizens for religious reasons that have nothing to do with a civil government, I’m not equal when I have to consider where I can live, work and travel inside the U.S. so that I am always in places where my equality is legally assured. So letting states “be as much or as little socially conservative as they feel like being” doesn’t work for me.


  • I will try to explain my comment about “the last battle” a little better:

    Social change is a slow process. When I was a boy people of good will called black people negros. Older people, also of just as much good will called them nigras. We all know what people of ill will called ’em. Now we don’t call black folks much of anything but folks, few people care, and yet, that one superficial difference still tells us much about the social and political attitudes. I see a black individual on the street I know that there is a ninety+ percent chance that I am looking at a straight ticket Democrat. Oddly, though, most middle class black folks live conservative lives.

    So it is with gays and lesbians. The Folsom Street Fair types get all the publicity, the vast majority of the LGBT community go to work and go home, just like I did. Still, though, the vocally conservative members of that community get about as much grief as a black Republican.

    More important, though, is the social change, which takes generations. My old man laughed for years about something he saw during a trip out west, to San Francisco when my parents idea of dressing me up was a little sailor suit with short pants, say around 1951 or so. We passed an Italian eatery and, for twenty+ years he roared with laughter at “a Chinaman in the window making pizza!” This from a family that would have knocked me crosseyed for using the “N” word.

    Meanwhile, today my big sister is married to a Japanese American. What I am trying to say, in my admittedly clumsy way is that I do not have the attitudes of my grandparents. They really thought something was seriously wrong with a man who preferred other men, or a woman who preferred women. Meanwhile my parents would shake their heads and turn away, I don’t give a rat’s patootie and my kids, who are mostly somewhat more socially conservative than me in most things would look at an anti gay person as if they saw someone from Mars.

    Society is moving faster that someone of our generation really understands, while not fast enough for those caught up in the old groups. While the social change is not fast enough for your comfort, it is happening and it is, I believe, unstoppable. Unless Islam wins, of course. If Islam wins, our side loses. My social conservative types will die as fast as your LGBT types.

    That is the fight we have in front of us. The equality for the LGBT (do I have those initials right?) has been won. You can’t see it, Stacy can’t see it. I only see it because of my passion for history. The battle has been won, my grandchildren and Stacy’s grandchildren will, if they ever read this stuff will think it’s as old and dull as stories about the slave days.
    .-= Peter´s last blog ..Another Mother’s Day. I Still Miss Her =-.

    • Peter,

      I love you with all my heart — and I had a longer reply until my dear Ursula jumped on my keyboard. I have to make this short because Dad has come upstairs to go to bed and I have to give him his bedtime medicines and put distilled water in his respirator.

      The reasons that I do not believe that legal equality is inevitable for lesbians and gays have to do with the tidal wave of illegal immigrants from gay-hating cultures and the rapidly growing population of Muslim immigrants who believe it is their religious duty to convert everyone to Islam, kill all gays, take away women’s equality and impose sharia. I came by this opinion from living in Silver Spring, Maryland, while it was being overrun by illegal immigrants — my neighborhood was ground zero.

      You would be correct if Ronald Reagan had not granted amnesty to illegal aliens (because they come from anti-gay cultures and religions), if our borders were secure, if we deported our current population of illegal immigrants and if we were not already dangerously close to the tipping point of Muslim takeover in communities like Saginaw, Michigan. However, as it is, these groups do not support equality for women or living for lesbians and gays. On top of that, our equality is opposed by the Mormon Church, which can and does force its members to donate and campaign against equality for gays and lesbians on the basis of threats that hold great horror for Mormons, such as withholding a temple recommend. The thing that is most likely to save us is enough people waking up and realizing how valuable our Constitution, liberty, individualism, separation of church and state and capitalism are — that would make people realize that equality for lesbians and gays is in accordance with conservative principles and would free upwards of three demographics from the fell clutches of the anti-capitalistic, totalitarian Left — gays and lesbians, women and Jews.


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  • Ad rem

    I’m sixty-three, and it’s been a while since I’ve heard the expression “from the fell clutches”. I’m giving you extra points for that! πŸ˜‰

    • Liz and Ad rem,

      Thank you!

      Yes, libertarians do seem to flip-flop on marriage when it comes to their own interests.


  • “The fact that social conservatives resort unceasingly to the power of the government to appropriate its coercive powers to impose their beliefs on the general population β€” and to get tax money to finance their operations β€” shows that the real slippery slope we’re on is toward the overthrow of the Constitution and the imposition of a theocracy.”

    I’m not so sure. Is this a reference to faith-based social services? Because I don’t have a problem with the occasional public-private partnership, such as homeless shelters that really help people turn their lives around. Also, within the Protestant and Roman Catholic charities a lot of people have pretty enlightened attitudes about sexual orientation.

    I guess I don’t see “social conservatives” as being quite that monolithic. Nor “libertarians,” most of whom do want to see equal treatment under the law, but many of whom envision multiple ways of getting there. (Such as making civil marriage relatively easy to get, and leaving the religious side of marriage to . . . the religions.)
    .-= Little Miss Attila / Joy McCann´s last blog ..Finally! =-.

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