In a grotesque inversion — I use this noun intentionally — of the concept Christopher Hitchens called superpower self-pity, some gay white men hope to protect themselves from abuse by aligning themselves with the vilest fringes of racism. Donna Minkowitz’s story explains how a sewer that unlike its French and German cousins has never welcomed out homosexual men has gradually seen the potency in recruiting them. “Since around 2010, some (though by no means all) groups in the leadership of the white nationalist movement have been inviting out cis gay men to speak at their conferences,” Minkowitz writes. This phenomenon speaks to the triumph of queer equality, she notes — even the dregs of civilization want to co-opt it. But history cautions against reconciling these factions:
The far right is attempting to seduce gay men in some of the same ways the early Nazi movement reached out to them, before mowing queers down in the name of fascist ideals. Only two days after the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando last year, white-nationalist meme producer (and proud homophobe) Butch Leghorn wrote on the alt-right website The Right Stuff, “This shooting [is] a very valuable wedge issue. … We simply need to hammer this issue … Spread this meeting. Drive this wedge. Smash their coalition. Make it cool to be anti-Muslim because Liberalism.” Butch and his co-activists put out a plethora of memes for the occasion with, for example, a rainbow flag and the words FUCK ISLAM, and the phrases, “To be pro-Islam is to be anti-Gay … Daddy’s gonna build a wall and keep you safe.” Said Leghorn on The Right Stuff: “We are currently driving this wedge as deeply as possible to break off the Pro-Gay coalition into the Trump camp.”
In Miami — yes, polyglot Miami — I saw hints of the Gays For Trump movement. Here’s its leader:
Boykin, who grew up with conservative Catholic parents who had campaigned for Ronald Reagan, founded an organization called “Gays for Trump” after he attended a party of the same name at the Republican convention last July. After the Pulse shooting, he says, “People came pouring into the group. It was like Boom!” Boykin said he isn’t afraid of attorney general Jeff Sessions’ antigay record: “When I met him, he shook my hand, and he put my business card in his actual jacket. He was very nice to me. I don’t think he’s antigay at all.” But Boykin is profoundly worried about Muslim immigrants (who, according to a recent Pew poll, are actually more likely to believe in tolerance of homosexuality than evangelical Christians) wanting to hurt him: “I keep seeing videos people send me where they’re beheading these 13-year-old boys and throwing people off of roofs.”
Rivulets of misogyny course through male gay culture, in a sense a reaction to an adolescence during which we forced ourselves to date women for the sake of normality; and I can visit a couple hookup and dating sights now and take screen shots of posters demanding “str8-acting guys” who are at least “white-looking.”
Lest anyone misunderstand, I don’t suggest a causal relationship between committing these offensive venal sins and joining a white supremacist organization, but the conflict between wanting approbation from the men who beat you and self-segregation are tendencies my queer brethren should monitor.