Alternative Sexualities: Cultural Comity or Cultural Coercion?
There was a time not too long ago when people who went the other way kept it to themselves. Some did so out of fear of reprisals from those vehemently opposed to their lifestyle. Others preferred to keep their bedroom habits in their own bedroom believing that what they did there was nobody's business but their own. Our military observed a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy that seemed to work pretty well. Laws against homosexuality were loosened or eliminated entirely and Americans seemed to be changing direction and adopting a 'live and let live' attitude.
But that wasn't good enough for the activists in the homosexual community. They wanted, no they demanded cultural parity and total acceptance of their sexual lifestyles from those of us in the heterosexual majority. They organized wings of their movement, targeted specific cities and states and adopted a policy of shrill, open and direct confrontation along with an alphabet soup moniker (LGBTQ, etc., etc.). Their strategy was to use a 'blitzkrieg' (lightning war) approach to soften up the opposition, and they gained ground, steadily, as their lobbyists worked the Congress and other power brokers while their foot-soldiers kept up the pressure on local leaders, opinion-makers and the media.
Library of Congress collection
After their same-sex couple marriage win they became emboldened, and the win was celebrated by all groups that shared their alternative lifestyle choices. This took place on college campuses, in the workplace, within the military and eventually in the country's streets. They co-opted the 'rainbow coalition' that once belonged to Rev. Jesse Jackson and Black Americans and that had represented Blacks' push for equality and prominence. It now belonged to them as they pushed their fellow minority to the curb. Soon, rainbows, campaign-style buttons and flags were popping up everywhere due to clever marketing and became the call to arms to those who were thought to be 'disaffected' by their self-imposed silence.
Out of the closet and into the streets.
Homosexuals who had previously kept a low profile were now thrust into the spotlight along with their aggressive vocal brethren who had taken the gloves off and brought the fight to middle America. Rainbow flags soon flew above U.S. embassies abroad and 'pride parades' complete with transvestites/cross-dressers, drag queens and outrageously and scantily-clad participants got in America's face. "Look at me. Don't turn away. Accept me and love me. We demand it!" was their battle cry. But that wasn't enough. The real pot of gold and lowest-hanging fruit was our children at their schools.
Children as young as five were the target for the homosexual message of 'inclusion' - a message that was carefully packaged for little minds and forced on them without the knowledge of their parents. Youngsters were taught that 'gender choice' was like an item on the school lunch menu and that it came garnished with new pronouns that their teachers artfully introduced. This was followed up by a double dose of racial shaming and blaming. "Repent for your Whiteness. You are the children, the descendants of oppressors, not only of the gender-befuddled but of every minority that ever lived in the USA!"
This was a bridge too far. Parents were at first shocked. Then they became angry. The homosexual community had misread the tea leaves and had only been listening to their own folks. They hadn't done their due diligence and went off half-cocked...and it backfired. They hadn't counted on the 'soccer moms' or the angry fathers finding their voices. The tables were turning and the backlash had begun. Had they adopted a more sympathetic tone and shown themselves to be just like every other American (except for their bedroom habits) they might have made more progress. But years of pent-up anger at being forced to hide their differences from society bubbled over the rim of their steaming cauldron of frustration and spilled onto themselves.
Now 'the community' faces a monumental public relations challenge. Should they switch strategies and go back to keeping a low profile or openly distance themselves from the gender-bending purveyors who want to sow confusion in our society…or should they redouble their efforts and go for broke? Many are scared of a return to 'don't ask, don't tell' and the days of hiding now that corporate America has taken up their challenge and created a furor by hiring female impersonators to hawk their wares. "That's not us," say the homosexuals; "Those are the other guys - the ones that feel trapped in a strange body. We know who we are. We're not trapped anymore. Don’t tar us with that brush."
There's just one problem with that. The alphabet soup moniker that the homosexual community chose now includes 'those guys' and corporate America is scared stiff about offending any of them which is why they have felt compelled to hire bizarre cross-dressers and effeminate male spokespersons for their products. Ask Anheuser-Busch if they're okay with massive drops in sales of their beer or call up Target's PR department and mention their $12 billion market capitalization decline. The list of companies regretting their embrace of counter-culture wokeists in their ads is increasing. We can add Kohl's, North Face, Nike, Adidas and Speedo to that group. All have capitulated to pressure from 'the community' and are paying the price in rapidly declining sales.
The next salvo in the culture war of the worlds will be the boycott, and as we all know, nobody really wins once the financial dust has settled. Stockholders lose. Employees lose. Customers lose. Media ad departments lose, and worst of all the well of commerce is poisoned as ideologically-driven consumers choose sides leaving a 'them and us' marketplace where each group has his or her own politically-partisan shops, proving once again that everything is political - and cultural - in America.
Strangely enough, we are not discussing the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality or transvestitism or unorthodox sexual predilections. That ship has sailed, and most people accept that such deviations from our cultural mainstream exist and have a right to exist under our Constitutional protection. The real issue at hand deals with the process of acceptance (should it be gradual, total or forced), the intrusion into our personal spaces (parades and preening in public), the indoctrination of the most vulnerable among us (our children) and the politicization of an individual's personal lifestyle preferences whether they be hetero- or homo-sexual. That's the conversation we need to be having, and it cannot take place in an atmosphere filled with division and derision. Once we create the right atmosphere we can truly feel proud…all of us...every month…not only in June.
Stephan Helgesen is a retired career U.S. diplomat who lived and worked in 30 countries for 25 years during the Reagan, G.H.W. Bush, Clinton, and G.W. Bush Administrations. He is the author of thirteen books, six of which are on American politics and has written over 1,300 articles on politics, economics and social trends. He operates a political news story aggregator website, www.projectpushback.com. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org