LTE: Ending the "gay vote" misconception

(Submitted to the Bay Area Reporter, 9 March 2002; unpublished.)


Now that the primary dust has mostly settled, can we put the "gay vote" misnomer to rest? There is this fiction in the media, whether purposely promulgated by special interests or a side-effect of sensational reporting, that people of a common sexual preference all vote alike. I know queers who are progressive, mainstream liberal, apathetic, libertarian, and even a self-described "Reagan Republican."

To listen to the media, Mark Leno's and Harry Britt's chief qualification for State Assembly is to prefer a partner who is convex in front rather than concave. Selfishly, I would love it if this kind of dogmatic identity politics were true, as it would mean a lock on the election for me, but as candidates, we are running on our ideas, our ideals, and our plans.

The "gay community" (to the extent that such a monolithic lock-step entity exists) faces a real choice in the upcoming election. They can vote for a candidate who happens to be gay, but whose party is MIA on the national front. ("Don't ask, don't tell"?) Or they can vote for a candidate whose party has unreservedly supported equal rights for all, with an explicit gay rights plank in its platform, since its founding thirty years ago.

Chris Maden
Libertarian Candidate
State Assembly, District 13