Some argue that because you occasionally enter into opposite-sex relationships you benefit from ‘straight-passing privilege’, in that you aren’t in a visibly queer relationship, and therefore won’t have to deal with homophobia from wider society. While this is true, a friend of mine pointed out a downside to this, and that is that ‘passing as straight’ comes at the cost of your identity. I’m not arguing that passing under homophobes’ radar is worse than blatant homophobia, but when you know that entering into an opposite-sex relationship may damage your reputation within the LGBTI community, it can weigh heavily on you.
Mr McCain went in a different direction than I do on this, and you can read his article to see where he takes this. I, on the other hand, focused on one particular part, finding myself (slightly) amused by the expression “straight-passing privilege.” When we were told that what people did in their bedrooms was nobody else’s business, I accepted that, because I believe it to be true.
Yet, for it not to be my business what other people do in their bedrooms, I have to not be told what other people are doing in their bedrooms; the notion that a bisexual woman would be condemned by lesbians for her “straight-passing privilege” is also the notion that she is somehow failing her (full-time) lesbian sisters by not telling us, or otherwise communicating to us, that she is a (part-time) lesbian. It isn’t enough for a lesbian to be a lesbian; she must let everyone know that she is a lesbian, she must make it everyone else’s business.
This is, in the end, a demand for affirmative discrimination.¹ I cannot discriminate against a lesbian for being a lesbian if I do not know she is a lesbian. If it is the duty of lesbians to communicate their homosexuality to me, then it must, inter alia, mean that I am expected to consider the lesbian’s sexuality in any interactions I might have with her.² Since I am expected not to discriminate against lesbians for their homosexuality, and they seem to require that I know about their homosexuality, the only thing left is that they are demanding that I discriminate positively for lesbians, based on their sexuality. It is a demand for Affirmative Action.
The esteemed Mr McCain was addressing only that particular issue, but it’s clear that the left’s desire for discrimination in their favor is a far broader picture. The left are aghast that North Carolina passed its so-called ‘bathroom bill,’ HB2, but the governor and legislature are merely representatives of the voters in the Tarheel State. The left want the municipalities, and eventually the state and federal governments, to discriminate in favor of people who claim to be a different sex than they are, which also means discriminating against those people who do not want people of the opposite sex in their bathrooms. Given that actual transsexuals are something like 1 in 3,000 to 1 in 30,000 people,³ their numbers are very small, while judging from the response of voters in Houston, a city liberal enough to have twice elected an open lesbian as mayor, 61% of voters are opposed to such an ‘accommodation,’ the left want the majority to be discriminated against, in favor of a tiny, tiny minority.
It seems to me that while the left of the 1970s have moved leftward, they left behind the notion that government should, as much as possible, simply leave people alone. Libertarianism was one equated with the left, but not any longer; the left and the Democrats have completely abandon any libertarian impulses, and today it is the Republicans and the right who embrace libertarian (but not Libertarian Party!) ideals. Today it is the Republicans who want government to leave people alone, while the left want to control every aspect of the individual’s life.
¹ – Discrimination is treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing is perceived to belong to rather than on individual merit.
² – I’m not sure just why a customer’s sexuality would have any impact on my business; all that I want to do is produce and sell concrete, and my only points of discrimination are whether the customer can unload the truck and pay for the concrete!
³ – I’ve seen both numbers; the truth is that nobody really knows, and the numbers that we are seeing are being pushed by people with political agendas.