Gays Who Hate Pete Buttigieg
I’m on my way this morning to Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, where I am scheduled to appear with my friend Andrew Sullivan tonight to talk about religion, identity, and culture. Unfortunately, Andrew has taken ill, and will be patched in on video. But if you’re in the Lewisburg, PA area tonight, come see me and virtual Andrew. Here’s the announcement:
Tues., Feb. 18–Rod Dreher (author of The Benedict Option) and Dr. Andrew Sullivan (editor of Same-Sex Marriage Pro & Con: A Reader), American Religious and Sexual Identities: Coexistence or Cold Civil War? Two prominent writers will debate conflicting claims of secular sexual identities and religious freedoms, and whether that cultural divide precludes consensus on American identity today. 7 p.m. LC Forum.
One thing I hope Andrew and I get to talk about tonight is the bizarre rejection of Pete Buttigieg by the gay left. Gay writer Masha Gessen of The New Yorker explains the Pete hate. Turns out that Buttigieg is a normie, and that’s terrible! Excerpt:
The other, more mainstream, and often more visible kind of L.G.B.T. politics aims to erase difference. Its message to straight people is “We are just like you, and all we want is the right to have what you have: marriage, children, a house with a picket fence, and the right to serve in the military.” The vision of this politics is a society in all respects indistinguishable from the one in which we live now, except queer people have successfully and permanently blended in. To be sure, all kinds of queer people have been involved in both kinds of queer politics. But the politics of being “just like you” leaves out the people who cannot or do not want to be just like conventional straight people, whether in appearance or in the way we construct our lives and families.
What makes Buttigieg an easy and reassuring choice for these older, white, straight people, and a disturbing possibility for the queer people who seem to be criticizing him for not being gay enough? It is that he is profoundly, essentially conservative. He is an old politician in a young man’s body, a straight politician in a gay man’s body.
This is really something. There is an openly gay, partnered man who is running for president, and who stands a decent chance of getting the nomination — and, if he does, becoming president. Yet for people like Masha Gessen, he is an Uncle Tom. That’s so repulsive. Buttigieg, in truth, is a radical candidate, in that he represents the complete mainstreaming of homosexuality and gay partnerships. If I were a gay person, I would be thrilled by what Buttigieg accomplishes just by being there in the race, and being pretty successful at it. I would be thrilled even if I wasn’t planning to vote for him, because Buttigieg’s success is a good sign of how much America has changed to embrace homosexuality, and gay people — and how quickly. The fact that the all-American, Beaver Cleaver Democratic candidate is an out and married gay man is the kind of thing that was completely unthinkable until the day before yesterday.
Buttigieg’s success is total vindication of Andrew Sullivan’s strategy, which was based on the idea that gay people deserve the right to live ordinary bourgeois lives, same as straight people. Masha Gessen’s objections, though, indicates the fundamental hatred some militant gay people have towards bourgeois society. That hatred is going to prove more politically important as the years go on. My prediction is the bourgeois revolution that Andrew Sullivan and other gay leaders started, and successfully lead, will end by devouring them, and by continuing to destroy the kinds of forms and customs that make society possible.
Good grief, not even a decade ago, it was considered too risky for a Democratic presidential candidate to endorse gay marriage. And now an actual married gay man is a leading Democratic presidential candidate! But that’s not good enough for queer hotheads. It’s so unjust that Gessen et alia are trashing Buttigieg for not being gay in the correct way, but that’s how woke activists are. Black conservatives, and indeed many black people who aren’t particularly conservative, but who aren’t militantly left-wing, have had to put up with this forever.