It’s June. Pride is in the air — a time to celebrate the LGBTQ community for maintaining vibrancy during their arduous history in the United States. June is a time of rainbows and pastel blues and pinks, but it’s also the time of political exclusion and sometimes ostracization. As with any place to see the human id, I found a myriad of examples on Twitter. Just a few examples include:
If you’re not LGBTQ+, culturally queer or understand the living language of the community, don’t come to pride!!! Thank u.— thegirlwith2moms (@lyfgavememelons) June 8, 2019
And even if you’re gay, but voted for trump for some reason, don’t come to pride— Ciarra Craft (@Ramen_Hair) June 8, 2019
hello if you believe asexuals/aromantics/pansexuals/etc ppl are not LGBT, don't come to pride. You're not welcome. I don't care who u are You are an oppressor. Period. Don't show up. You are NOT welcome. You can hang out with the straight people because you are acting like one.— 💛𝓂𝒶𝓇𝓎 𝑒𝓁𝒾𝓏𝒶𝒷𝑒𝓉𝒽💛 (@maryelizzy) June 2, 2019
I understand that the LGBTQ community tends to lean politically left, but it seems that people in the community ostracize those who don’t agree with them politically or ideologically. There are certainly some beliefs that could be damaging to the LGBTQ community or other people’s rights, but for the most part, leftist LGBTQ folks should tolerate differing political or ideological beliefs.
I think a large portion of the LGBTQ ostracization comes from the community’s left-leaning politics. A study from the non-partisan Public Religion Research Institute found that 28% of liberals have unfriended someone, on social media or in real life, based on the unfriended party’s political beliefs. Liberals are about three times more likely to do so than conservatives.
Such refusal to listen to disagreement contributes to the polarized, easily outraged culture we live in. As a queer person who remains involved in LGBTQ discourse, I see the disregard to tolerate other people’s dissenting opinions particularly strong in the LGBTQ community.
For example, I have seen friends distance other friends for having politically moderate views. I have heard professors get name-called for seeing the other side of the political spectrum rather than solely subscribing to typically leftist beliefs.
I’m left-leaning, but I understand such intolerance toward other people’s beliefs lead to more echo chambering among liberals, along with increased total incivility rising among both parties.
With renewed conversations on politics, human rights and other political discourse, we need to keep an open mind and accept non-standard ideology in the LGBTQ community. While I don’t think we have to make space for ideologies that exclude others or infringe on human rights, there should be space for benign political or ideological disagreement in the LGBTQ community. I don’t think there is enough of it at the moment.
Jacob Smith, a senior English and sociology major, thinks there should be inclusive diversity of thought in the community at Pride events — with stipulations.
“I think Pride is about celebrating people, not discourse,” Smith said. “So if someone's discourse is attacking or excluding people who obviously deviate from gender, sexual or romantic norms in some way, we don't have to make room for it or accommodate it.”
We should remember who we’re here to celebrate in Pride month — LGBTQ history and people. Political affiliation or ideological differentiation are sub-aspects of the larger community, and tolerance of people’s differences should be welcomed, not lambasted, as they should how diverse the community is.
“A diversity of perspectives should be welcomed at Pride as long as those perspectives are all conducive to the betterment of the LGBTQ community,” Smith said.
That’s the keyword of the day: Betterment. We have to continually focus on improving the LGBTQ community and make it exactly that — a community. But if LGBTQ people exclude other LGBTQ folks based on their political beliefs, the fracturing and in-fighting will persist.
With Pride a celebration of identity and ways of life, we should be inclusive of differing political or ideological beliefs in the LGBTQ community, not harsh toward them.