I read a very interesting post over on GayPatriot today on the reaction of Conservative towards Gay Conservatives and the reaction of Gays towards Gay Conservatives. It got me thinking about my own experiences of being a Gay Conservative. The author is actually looking for peoples experiences so I sent along mine which I have reproduced below. (With salutations etc removed!)
I joined Fine Gael (The Irish Conservative Party) back in 2004 before I came out in 2005 during my first year of college. My colleagues in my branch knew me before I was ‘the gay’. When I did come out nothing changed among my colleagues in Fine Gael, and I am still a respected member. In fact I am actively turned to on issues of Gay Rights and that, to see what my opinion is. I have attended national conferences of both the junior and senior parties and spoken at the Junior Conferences and the fact that I am a gay conservative does not effect peoples view of this.
When I joined my college LGBT, I was lucky as the Auditor (Chair) at the time was also a member of Fine Gael, so it was okay in college in my LGBT being a gay conservative. I even ended up on the committee. Outside college its a different world though. I regular get strange looks when I brings up politics let alone Fine Gael among friends. There is no natural ‘Gay Rights’ party in Ireland, most parties are progressive on it. When I say I am a conservative I get strange looks and asked ‘how?’. Its strange like that. Gay people seam to think that just becasue I’m gay I must be a liberal or a socialist.
Fast forward to this year when I moved to Germany. I have not joined the Christian Democratic Party or its youth wing (or its LGBT wing) as I am not long enough here, but here it is acceptable to talk about politics in gay circles in pubs. When I say I support the CDU, I sometimes feel I have to duck or step back. People here dont understand either that you can be gay and conservative. While talking to anyone else straight conservative/socialist/liberal, its a non-issue. I may be asked a few more questions on my reasoning for supporting unions (not marriage!).
So what are your experences of being a Gay Conservative. If you want to let me know either leave a comment or email me stephen(DOT)spillane(AT)gmail(DOT)com. If you want your name to be kept confidential please tell me in the email.