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September 01, 2007

Rhetorical Question of the Day


As one embarrassing episode follows another, with almost predictable regularity, perhaps it is time for Republicans and conservatives to ask themselves an obvious question: What makes the Republican Party -- and the conservative movement more generally -- so attractive to closeted homosexual men?

Somewhere in the textbooks of psychosexual pathology there may be a straightforward answer, so to speak. Does the party draw closeted men because they can hide behind Republican homophobia? Or does the party promote homophobia as a political ruse while closeted men run the show?

The first questions is whether this is really true? Is the Republican Party especially attractive to closeted gay men? If it in fact is, is it to do with homophobia?

Assuming that to be true then yes, I think it could well be. But with a reasonably simple answer to it, not one dependent upon psychosexual pathology.

The Republican Party is, like most right of centre parties around the world (well, in democracies, and leaving aside the howlers on the Far Right) a coalition between the economic liberals and the social authoritarians: just as most left of centre parties are coalitions of the economic authoritarians and the socially liberal. This is much stronger in the US as well, given the influence religion has on politics there.

So, if you're an economic liberal who wishes to be in politics, there's only one party for you* and that, unfortunately, means hiding one's sexuality from the social authoritarians. It's not so much that the Republican Party attracts gays who wish to remain closeted: it's that gays who wish to be Republicans need to be so.

Thankfully, as groups like the Log Cabin Republicans show, this is less true now than it was and hopefully it will disappear altogether.

Now all we need to do is get some economic liberals into the Democratic Party.

* Yes, I know there are more than two political parties in the US. Assume the phrase "with any chance of gaining power" in there.

September 1, 2007 in Sex | Permalink


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People who are in denial about their homosexuality re often homophobes, so a party that appeals to homophobes is likely to have a disproportionate number of closet gays.

Posted by: Philip Hunt | Sep 1, 2007 3:13:31 PM

The premise of the question, that closet cases are more prevalent in the Republican party than elsewhere, seems dubious to me, the last significant US politician to be outed as far as I recall was New Jersey's democrat governor James McGreevey back in 2004.

Posted by: Ross | Sep 1, 2007 7:15:47 PM