Editorial: Log Cabin goes all-in on MAGA

  • by BAR Editorial Board
  • Wednesday December 21, 2022
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Anti-drag protesters included Log Cabin Republicans recently in San Antonio, Texas. Photo: Screenshot/Twitter
Anti-drag protesters included Log Cabin Republicans recently in San Antonio, Texas. Photo: Screenshot/Twitter

The old saying, "With friends like these, who needs enemies?" certainly applies to the Log Cabin Republicans. After a week in which the LGBTQ conservative group was fêted at Mar-a-Lago by former President Donald Trump and members in its San Antonio, Texas chapter took part in an anti-drag protest, it should be crystal clear that these conservative LGBTQs do not represent the broader community at all. The organization, so desperate for a seat at the Republican table, now exhibits its fealty to the MAGA crowd that includes Trump and the other promoters of the "Big Lie" that Joe Biden didn't win the presidency in 2020. Don't be fooled.

For years we have believed there might be a place for conservative LGBTQs in politics, but these antics of Log Cabin have left us convinced it is not the group we thought it was. It's one thing to promote conservative policy positions on issues like defense and the economy; it's quite another to protest your fellow LGBTQ citizens who support the community's long affiliation with drag culture and honor anti-LGBTQ political leaders like Trump.

As usual with the former president, he used the occasion of Log Cabin's December 15 "Spirit of Lincoln" gala at his South Florida resort to state how much he loves the LGBTQ community even as his record indicates otherwise. According to Politico, Trump gave an "enthusiastic affirmation of gay rights not often heard in the GOP." "Throughout the evening, speakers praised Trump for his embrace of the gay community," the online site reported. "They credited him for his initiatives to combat the criminalization of homosexuality, his work pushing for public health initiatives to combat the HIV epidemic, and for appointing the first openly gay Cabinet member, [Ric] Grenell, as director of national intelligence."

While all that is true, as Politico noted in the very next paragraph, Trump's record on LGBTQ rights is decidedly mixed. After all, he's the one who impulsively tweeted in 2017 that the military should ban trans service members, and that policy went into effect two years later. (Biden reversed it after taking office in 2021.) And yet, LGBTQs being able to serve in the military was one of Log Cabin's big priorities for years, and became reality when legislation to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was signed by former President Barack Obama. The same with marriage equality. Log Cabin has been an ardent supporter of same-sex marriage but constantly gives Republican politicians a pass when they oppose it. The recent Respect for Marriage Act that Biden signed two days before the Log Cabin gathering at Mar-a-Largo went unmentioned at the event, Politico noted, even though the New York Times credited gay Republicans for helping secure the bipartisan vote in the Senate that pushed the bill over the finish line.

Meanwhile, gay Republican Congressmember-elect George Santos has had many questions raised about his resume, and Log Cabin hasn't called on him to answer questions about his work experience and other issues. He was an invited speaker at the group's event last week, telling the audience "we've shown the radical left that there are gay conservatives who actually stand for freedom."

Let's take a look at some of the other Republicans who attended the Log Cabin gala. In addition to Grenell, Kari Lake, the recently defeated Arizona gubernatorial candidate, was there. On the campaign trail, Lake bashed drag queens and then a Phoenix drag queen revealed that he and Lake were good friends and he had been invited to perform at her house.

Speaking of drag queens, the right has recently become fixated on drag shows, deeming them inherently sexual or obscene, as Pew noted in an article. Republicans are dragging out the trope that kids should not be allowed to attend drag queen story hours or even see them perform at Pride events, even though those are vastly different than, say, a drag show performed in front of adults at a bar. Nevertheless, Republicans are proposing drag show legislation in numerous states, and drag artists have been the subject of threats, bullying, and intimidation, as we saw in the East Bay back in June when a bunch of alleged Proud Boys members hijacked a children's story hour at a San Lorenzo library.

Log Cabin, apparently, doesn't like drag queens either. The Los Angeles Blade reported this month that a holiday drag show event at the historic Aztec Theatre in downtown San Antonio was protested by far-right extremists led by the Texas Freedom Force and conservative groups, including the San Antonio Family Association and the LGBTQ+ political group Log Cabin Republicans of San Antonio among the demonstrators. A crowd of LGBTQ supporters and their allies grew to more than 150 people, outnumbering the anti-LGBTQ group. The protest remained peaceful even as both sides had individuals open carrying long rifles, the paper reported. The anti-LGBTQ groups shouted out homophobic slurs such as "pedophile!" and "groomer!"

Charles Moran, the president of Log Cabin, later told the Washington Blade that the national group had no knowledge of the San Antonio chapter's involvement in the protest.

We may be in the blue bubble of San Francisco and the Bay Area, but even theatergoers to "Beetlejuice the Musical," now playing at the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco, can get a taste of how low Log Cabin has fallen. From the stage, Beetlejuice jokes about having no real power, "like a gay Republican."

It's going to take a seismic shift within Log Cabin's leadership and chapters if the organization is truly going to make a difference in this country's political discourse. Sadly, bending the knee to anti-LGBTQ politicians seems to be about the only thing Log Cabin knows how to do. It certainly isn't issuing media statements defending the LGBTQ community's long and historical association with drag culture or demanding that anti-LGBTQ politicians stop attacking trans kids and same-sex marriage. Protesting drag shows and bowing to a disgraced former president might be a short-term strategy to get Log Cabin a seat at the GOP table, but it comes at the high cost of selling out their fellow queers. No thanks.

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