Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The anti-identity politics of gay conservatives

I’ve long been predicting the eventual “diversification of the right” which seems to have accelerated during the Trump era.

By Neil J. Young The Week

On Monday, a U.S. District Judge sentenced Brandon Straka, a conservative influencer and #MAGA social media star, for participating in and encouraging the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. His punishment includes three-year probation, three months of house arrest, and a $5,000 fine. Straka is one of the hundreds of people who have faced charges in recent months for their involvement in the Capitol riot. As many other insurrectionists have done, Straka cooperated with prosecutors and admitted to his role in the Jan. 6 event in order to strike a plea deal that resulted in a reduced charge of disorderly conduct.

A gay hairstylist from New York City, Straka doesn’t fit the profile most people probably think of when it comes to the rioters who stormed the Capitol. Yet Straka wasn’t the only LGBTQ person who participated in the insurrection, a day that saw a handful of Pride flags curiously marching alongside the throng of Confederate flags and “Don’t Tread on Me” banners.

Beyond the events of that day, Straka represents a far larger movement of LGBTQ conservatives whose visibility has grown in the last several years. Distinct from the long history of gay Republicans who worked to make the GOP more inclusive and tried to push it in a moderate direction, the contemporary LGBTQ right has instead helped sharpen the Republican Party’s extreme edge and perhaps even embolden its anti-LGBTQ agenda.

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