Embracing Ideological Diversity Within The LGBTQIA+ Community
“Are they for real?” was a reaction I got from a friend who learnt I was writing an article about LGBTQIA+ folks who support or identify more with right-wing politics. Most political parties have had a troubled relationship with Queer folks and LGBTQIA+ people do not have a history of being accepted within either side of political camps. However, in recent times, more and more centre and left-wing politicians have shown their open and “unwavering support” to the LGBTQIA+ community in India and abroad.
Barring a few countries in Northern Europe and Canada, the right-wing camp still officially either sits on the fence or actively attacks and derails the socio-political growth of the community. The current scenario in the USA with over 520 new bills being proposed to limit, attack, or roll back the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community in one way or the other, is just too painfully recent an example. So, it is not beyond imagination to think that LGBTQIA+ folks don’t fraternise a lot with the right-wing camp.
In recent years, an interesting and often overlooked phenomenon has emerged within the LGBTQIA+ community — a growing visibility and presence of individuals who identify as both LGBTQIA+ and right-wing. Breaking the stereotype that LGBTQIA+ individuals are exclusively left-leaning, this diverse group challenges the notion that sexual orientation and political ideology must be mutually exclusive. In this article, I explore the experiences and perspectives of right-wing LGBTQIA+ individuals, shedding light on their unique struggles, motivations, and the complexities of their identities in a rapidly evolving political landscape.
Understanding Political Diversity: Intersectionality of sexuality and politics
“It is essential to acknowledge and respect the political diversity within the LGBTQIA+ community,” said Mr. Shah, 38, Ahmedabad (name changed). He continues, “Being gay is my accidental identity and being right-wing is my chosen identity. I am religious and that matters to me as much as anything else.”
While the LGBTQIA+ rights movement has been historically associated with progressive causes, such as marriage equality and anti-discrimination legislation, the political leanings of LGBTQIA+ individuals span a wide spectrum. Just as there are conservative, centrist, and liberal individuals within any society, the LGBTQIA+ community is not monolithic in terms of political ideology.
Challenges and Contradictions
Right-wing LGBTQIA+ individuals often face unique and chosen challenges and contradictions as they navigate both their sexual orientation or gender identity and their political beliefs. Some face internal conflicts, reconciling their conservative values with the progressive goals of the broader LGBTQIA+ movement. “I am aware of the hatred and concealed disgust I receive within the right-wing fold, but I believe that if I have to make any difference to my camp, I have to do it from within and not defect from it,” said Mr. Shukla, 41, Mumbai. External challenges may arise when they encounter criticism or rejection from their own community, as their political alignment might be perceived as a betrayal of LGBTQIA+ rights.
Motivations and Perspectives
There are various motivations and perspectives that drive right-wing LGBTQIA+ individuals. Some find alignment with conservative principles such as limited government intervention, individual liberty, or traditional family values. Others prioritise economic policies or prioritise national security concerns. “I somehow feel that my sexuality is not as big an issue for me personally as are the economy and personal freedoms in general. I find that my community doesn’t respect my diverse opinions on economics and civil liberties,” said Mr. Dalal.
Some may also have concerns about the influence of identity politics and believe in personal responsibility and self-reliance. “I hate when I am asked to not just leave people alone, but politically align with their language word for word and if I don’t, I am “not a safe space,"” stated Mr. Singh, a 32-year-old trans man from Delhi.
It is crucial to recognise that political ideologies are complex and multifaceted, and LGBTQIA+ individuals, just like anyone else, can hold a range of beliefs that reflect their unique experiences and perspectives.
Building Bridges and Promoting Dialogue
Engaging in constructive dialogue and fostering understanding between left-leaning and right-leaning LGBTQIA+ individuals is essential for the growth and unity of the community. “Don’t you think it would be lovely if we are visible on both sides of the political spectrum and everywhere in the middle? I feel this is the fastest way to be a non-issue and gain acceptance,” stated Mr. Singh.
While it is natural to disagree on specific issues, it is important to respect and validate the diversity of political perspectives within the LGBTQIA+ community. Recognising that LGBTQIA+ individuals can have different political beliefs does not diminish the collective fight for equality and acceptance. By building bridges and promoting dialogue, the LGBTQIA+ community can foster inclusivity and strengthen its influence on a broader scale.
Disclaimer: Deepak Kashyap is a counselling psychologist and a culture commentator. The views expressed in this article are of the author and do not represent Indiatimes.