by Bruce Bawer
At New York’s annual Drag March on Friday, activists chanted “we’re here, we’re queer, we’re coming for your children.”
It’s shocking. But not new. In recent years, such blunt, outrageous rhetoric from the gay left has become pretty familiar.
Two years ago, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus released a YouTube video in which 81 of its members sang a song with the refrain: “We’ll convert your children / Happens bit by bit. / Quietly and subtly. / You will barely notice it.”
Groups like the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus once played an important role in giving gay Americans a positive image.
The idea of gay people as more or less ordinary people next door was crucial in helping win popular support for gay equality, gays in the military, and, ultimately, same-sex marriage.
To cite the title of my 1993 book, most gay Americans just wanted “A Place at the Table.”
The title of Andrew Sullivan’s 1995 book made the same point: gay people were, all in all, “Virtually Normal.”
Our books were part of a response by the gay mainstream to a self-styled “gay-rights movement” that, run by far-left ideologues, had all too often promoted the idea of gays as the cutting edge of a crusade to overthrow every pillar of American society: capitalism, religion, the military, the family.
Nothing could have been more untrue to the reality of ordinary gay Americans’ lives or more damaging to the prospects for their equality.
But the ideologues didn’t care. They’d hijacked the fate of gay Americans to push their own utopian socialist agenda.
When Sullivan and I appeared on Charlie Rose’s show in 1994, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the modern gay-rights movement, one of the other guests, a radical lesbian, made this agenda clear.
“We don’t want a place at the table!” she shouted. “We want to turn the table over!”
Whatever they may say nowadays, the gay left hated the idea of same-sex marriage. Those of us who supported it weren’t just criticized by right-wing defenders of traditional wedlock; we were fiercely attacked by “queers” – left-wing gays who cherished their marginality – for wanting to buy into a “heterosexual institution.”
In the end, fortunately, our side won – because as a tsunami of gays came out of the closet in the 1990s and afterwards, it became clear that those of us who just wanted to live normal lives were very much in the majority.
In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled for same-sex marriage. And despite the predictions of opponents, the sky didn’t fall in.
On the contrary, before long a large majority of Americans said they were okay with gay marriage. For those of us who remembered a very different America, the feeling of relief – and gratitude – was palpable.
Yes, I speak of gratitude. The widespread and relatively quick acceptance of gay marriage was a testament to Americans’ innate sense of fairness, of equality before the law, of respect for difference.
But a tiny – and unrepresentative – minority of gays obviously didn’t feel gratitude. Like that woman on Charlie Rose, they didn’t want rights. They wanted attention. They wanted to play at rebellion.
After the Obergefell decision, then, it didn’t take too long before a few of those irresponsible types whose great pleasure in life is apparently causing social disruption began acting up again.
That small sad segment of the gay population who are determined to be clowns, to make mischief, and to get easy thrills by terrifying nice people, they’re out there now, giving an ugly name to the overwhelming majority of decent gay Americans who struggled for so long – and with dignity and patience and sensitivity – to win equality and respect.
It’s disgusting. And I know one thing: if anybody is upset more by this sideshow than straight parents, it’s gay people who feel that their honorable movement for equal rights has been shanghaied by a gang of psychologically disturbed egomaniacs.
First published in the New York Post.
Bruce Bawer is the author most recently of “The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Birth of the Woke Ideology.”