“Just as I did not choose to be gay, I did not choose to be conservative”
December 12th, 2018 – Ben Shapiro didn’t come out, but his photo was used for an article declaring that coming out as a conservative is worse than coming out as gay in our current political climate. In The Federalist article, author Chad Felix Greene details the correlations between hesitations he once had about living boldly as a gay man and being able to fully declare his conservative views.
Greene doesn’t list any examples of conservatives being denied the right to marry or adopt children. He also doesn’t share any stories about conservative children being sent to conversion therapy or taking their own lives because of who they are, but he does wonder how people can be brave enough to label themselves as conservatives.
Echoing language that’s used to combat the idea that being gay is simply a lifestyle choice, he asked readers “Why would anyone choose to be a conservative?”
“To be a conservative means to be forced to choose when to speak and when to remain silent, since offending someone on the left, even mildly or by accident, is a social battle you may not be able to win,” he wrote. “To be a conservative means carefully regulating your speech and constructing opinions in such a way as to avoid being banned from the public square. To be a conservative means to be a marginalized voice, suppressed and dehumanized; bullied into hesitating to speak out.”
Despite the fact that conservatives currently control the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate, Greene insists that he feels like he has to stop “flaunting” his conservatism the same way he was told to stop flaunting his homosexuality in high school.
Despite the fact that Fox News is regularly rated No. 1 across all of basic cable in total viewers and that, featured image, Ben Shapiro regularly ranks No. 1 for top stories on Facebook, Greene says he hesitates to speak honestly about certain topics on social media.
“Today I feel the same nervousness and obligation not to hide when I speak about gender or science to the left as I did deciding to go to the prom with a man,” he wrote. “When I hesitate to speak honestly about a topic that could get me banned from Twitter, I think back to how it felt to risk public humiliation and judgment as a teenager speaking the truth about who I was inside.”
A hefty portion of the article focuses on the de-platforming of Milo Yiannopoulos and asking that those on the left distinguish between Milo and other people on the right. Greene then shares about the danger he feels on Twitter while discussing the platform’s “Safety” section. He interchanges “Twitter” with “the left” while saying:
“By the very nature of the left’s views on what constitutes ‘hate,’ I am incapable of freely expressing myself on any public forum without very careful editing and presentation. I never truly experienced hate until I came out as a conservative.”
Greene says he never faced abuse on Twitter for being gay, but the same can’t be said for being conservative.
“Everything I was told to fear about being openly gay has become a reality in being openly conservative.”
The article was published yesterday, and in the past 24 hours several responses have been published. The Concourse (via Deadspin) shared an op-ed titled “Conservative Gays Need To Shut The Fuck Up” written by Lauren Theisen who identifies as genderqueer. OUT Magazine hit back with a piece titled “Dear God, Being ‘Conservative’ Is Not the Same As Being Gay” by Rose Dommu.
Theisen opened her article by saying she didn’t understand why there would be a problem with conservative politics having more of a stigma than being gay.
“That’s good news, right?! I mean, in a utopian society, nobody would much care who other people prefer to fuck or fall in love with, but everyone would care deeply about the laws and policies that actually impact the world. So our hypothetical utopian folks wouldn’t bat an eye at two men sharing a kiss, but would likely get pretty pissed if someone came around advocating the use of tear gas against people in need, or death for sick people who don’t have the money to pay for treatment, or killing machines for everybody—all of which are mainstream conservative points of view.”
Do you think conservatives face the same type of difficulties as members of the LGBTQ community? Do you think social media platforms hamper expression for conservatives?