This isn’t something you will hear often in the current political climate, but it doesn’t make it any less of a reality. One notion that many have today is that anyone who isn’t white or straight has to be a Democrat. I grew up in the heavily blue state of Connecticut, and was surrounded by people who believed this idea. This is why it was especially hard for me to come out as a gay conservative.
Along others, I was discovering who I was as I went through high school: my plans for the future, what friends I wanted to have, and of course, my sexuality and political beliefs. The challenge was that both my sexuality and political beliefs were at odds with the societal expectations of where I lived.
No matter where you go, being straight will always be the societal expectation in terms of sexuality. That’s not to say that being gay isn’t or shouldn’t be accepted as normal. In my hometown of Glastonbury, it certainly is.
But being gay takes an extra spiritual and mental ‘step’ before knowing and accepting who you are. I came out as gay almost two months ago. Since then, I have received nothing but support and encouragement from my friends, family, and colleagues. The same cannot be said for when I came out as a conservative.
The 2016 election occurred when I was a sophomore in high school. All the students and teachers were talking politics in the days leading up to election day. I shared my views because I tended to be more outspoken than some of my peers. What I didn’t realize at the time was why my peers didn’t speak out as much as I did.
It turned out that being a conservative in a primarily Democrat town and state was not looked upon well.
Liberal teachers would insinuate I was less educated than some of my more liberal classmates if I ever spoke out in class. They would give me poor grades on any essay I wrote. Any conservative opinion I did share with a liberal student, teacher, or even the principal would lead to me being called racist, intolerant, or, ironically, homophobic.
The same people who preach racial tolerance of any kind are the same ones who become viciously intolerant when confronted with a different opinion than theirs. I’ve even lost people who I thought were my friends because of this. There were some liberal classmates of mine who I could have a respectful discussion with—but these folks were few and far between.
Being gay and conservative has allowed me to view both experiences from the same lens.
On the surface, they are dramatically different. One involves a person’s sexuality and the other, their political beliefs. But, having lived both, I can say they are in some respects quite similar. Both involve a certain level of fear about the associated stereotypes and what others may think of you.
As a closeted gay person, I was scared that people would think I’m inhuman, unnatural, or even “purposefully disgracing God.” As a conservative, I continue to be worried people will insult and prejudge my character solely off my political beliefs or associations. The reality I’ve come to face as a gay conservative is that, while it’s harder to come out as gay, it is socially less acceptable to be conservative.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.