For 2015, I shall offer you, dear reader, something I wish I had received three years ago: a handbook on how to live life, once you have been branded “anti-gay.” I don’t know what “anti-gay” means anymore, but whether you really are anti-gay, your life will change forever once that label is attached to your name and reputation.
If you have been dubbed an anti-gay person by the lavishly funded queer mafias known as “Big Gay,” you have likely earned the title by dissenting from some zany but chic policy like free transgender surgery for prisoners or global sperm banks for lesbian threesomes. No act of prudent common sense goes unpunished in this climate.
Take my meteoric rise from obscurity at a Cal State to the coveted No. 2 spot on the worldwide enemy list of the Human Rights Campaign (the cabal of rich bundlers founded by Terry Bean, who is now accused of raping a teenage boy.) How did that happen? It was quite random, and if it could happen to me it could happen to you.
So listen to Bobby’s advice.
I came out on a humble little website in 2012, expressing my views as a bisexual dad. I had nothing against gay relationships, but didn’t think same-sex parenting was fair to children. In a reasonable world, one could express this caveat without fearing a totalitarian smear campaign. But who said the world is reasonable? My life was upended. Lest you make the mistakes I made, this is my small gesture of wisdom-sharing.
Here’s Who You’re Dealing With
It helps to take stock of whom you’ve provoked. Gay adults generally underwent an extra layer of emotional development. One could apply the simple term “emotional intelligence.” They are more likely to have engaged in indirect gestures—whisper campaigns, reverse psychology, snooping, even manipulations. These tools were available to them when they could not rely on common assumptions with their peers.
Despite this emotional intelligence, their dating pool is small and unstable, rife with higher incidences of mental health issues (depression, anxiety, eating disorders, etc.) Gays are a major presence in the high and low echelons of society. Isolation and a high-drama social landscape fuel higher rates of addiction and self-destructive behavior in some. In others the old adage, “Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger,” applies in full force.
Freed from the demands of a spouse and crying babies at home, for decades they were in work mode 24 hours a day. They could work extra hours, skip vacations, and throw all their emotional vitality into their jobs. By the 2000s, when gayness lost most of its stigma, scores of middle-aged gay men were in high-ranking positions everywhere: the military, business, law, academia, Hollywood, the government, and even churches.
Where does that leave you, the alleged anti-gay? You have been positioned against cunning aspirants who have a lot of free time, rich friends, minions in places high and low, and a knack for scheming.
Good luck with that. The best I can offer are these points of information.
You Are Now a Public Figure
Once you make a public statement about gay politics, no law in the United States protects you against the backlash. Unless someone says, “I plan to murder you in the billiard room with an axe at 9 p.m. tomorrow,” law enforcement will tell you the threat’s not actionable.
The Human Rights Campaign told three outright lies about me (they claimed falsely that I was “involved” with the Mark Regnerus Study, spoke at National Organization for Marriage rallies, and was affiliated with the World Congress of Families, none of which is true). They blasted such untruths to millions while claiming that I exported hate around the world, next to a “Wanted”-style caricature of my face and a call to put me “on notice.”
It is important to keep records and have your lawyers, if you have them, send notices, just in case there is an opening for you to take action later. But be realistic about how much the law protects you: Very little.
Beware the Fourth Estate
Any press outlet labeled “mainstream” will sandbag your attempts to get equal time in the public square. Between August 2012 and now, I submitted well over 50 editorials to mainstream newspapers, both left-leaning and right-leaning, ranging from 50-word ripostes to 600-word editorials. None of them saw the light of day except a forgotten letter in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Unquoted is better than misquoted if you are just a little guy without a publicist. It could have been worse for me. Mainstream hacks called me up for interviews, because they had received tips, mostly: “This man is an evil bigot so please write about how awful he is.” Still, even lefty rags will not risk their reputation to smear you if you are equipped to dispel their smear and they know it.
You have some options. Do live interviews rather than let them edit a recording of what you said. If you are going to be recorded and edited, keep a full recording for yourself so you can publish a transcript. If possible, insist that journalists interview you over email. Save everything.
If you feel like something is fishy, always say no.
Don’t Trust Anyone Easily
Male eros of all stripes has become warped by the worldwide Web. Imagine how this gets compounded for a small sexual minority. There are a fair number of lonely gay men whose pastimes include masturbating to pornography websites and commenting under pseudonyms. Naturally, not all gay men are like that, but the ones who aren’t like that won’t cross your paths from now on. You’ll largely be interacting with trolls, whose emotional bearings toward other people—both loving and hateful—consist of obsessing about strangers.
You may become a figment in strangers’ minds. If your online photographs are good-looking and you are male, gay men will fantasize about you, even if they despise your politics. If (1) you are female or (2) you are a male with ugly online photographs, gay men will savage you at every turn, personalizing vitriol as if they know you. (See “JoeMyGod” or “GoodAsYou” for the gladiators of invective in action, like Joan Crawford and Bette Davis on steroids … perhaps literally.) In their mind, they do know you—they “know” people through disembodied Internet exchanges, so they find this normal.
Feed obsessions as little as possible. You do not have to open every email. You can get by without listening to people who presume familiarity with you based on nothing but what they read on hateful websites. Expect the worst. There will be people who contact you with sympathetic messages from every corner of the globe. Some of these are spies for Big Gay. Others are authentic supporters who applaud you for having the courage to say what they secretly feel.
You do not want to distance yourself from everyone because you may need support later. But assume that someone who sends a supportive email might be doing psychological operations for Big Gay. This is why, for instance, I went back and forth with a gay UCLA grad student who wanted to interview me for his dissertation. He seemed nice but in the end I could not trust anyone within a brisk walk of the Williams Institute. Reveal nothing you don’t want the other side to use against you.
Some of your sympathizers have been battling gays for decades; they may force you to defend things you do not agree with. For instance, I received countless messages from people who wanted me to opine about ex-gay therapy, scriptures, and transgenderism. At the beginning stages of this whirlwind I was imprudent about tangents.
You cannot avoid the baggage of recent history. People who will want to help you are often folks who have been fighting Big Gay a long time and deserve some respect for their war wounds. I try to calm the ripples caused by things like Mass Resistance’s takedown of fellow family activists from last October. Some allies berate me for supporting civil unions, still calling myself bisexual, or endorsing foster-care eligibility for some gay couples. You have to disagree with such people without burning bridges and without adding to your mounting stress.
Then there is the endless hate mail. Professional trolls lay bait. It allows them to change the topic and distract you. You cannot control what they say, and to a certain extent, you cannot control what the public will hear. The safest thing to do is simply not to react to them.
Dump Social Media
Innumerable online puppets make a living by profiling and harassing people on their enemies list. You may want to change the topic, but the topic has changed you. Independent blogging is no longer a good idea, because it amounts to dumping free content on the web. Stalkers who hide from public scrutiny will abuse free stuff whether they are for or against you.
Big Gay has a large staff of “social media experts.” They love free blogs because left-wing “watchdog groups” cut them checks to sit at home and scan your postings for words to clip out of context.
It became clear to me by 2014 that there were handlers assigned to me in particular. Ad hominem is their game; Google is where they play to win. Their mode of operations is to compile a dossier of quotes with a high Google ranking. They hope journalists will drop these nuggets into articles and attribute them to you, even if quotes are completely misleading, you have deleted them, or the vast majority of what you write is temperate and logical. GLAAD’s profile on me was composed entirely of out-of-context lines clipped from my blog; my public speeches and widely read publications gave GLAAD’s hit men very little ammunition. None of the money quotes reflect the full range of their original blog posts, and the vast majority of them are no longer even online anymore.
Trolls have a short attention span and are often eager to get back to their porn; if you run a personal blog, they can do a quick search, cut and paste a few things, and then report to their employer that they were doing a heckuva job fighting against anti-gay hate. Don’t give them free stuff. Don’t blog. Don’t do Twitter or Facebook or Instagram. At best, have a mild and innocuous LinkedIn profile. Remember that Big Gay is making money by demonizing you. They are raising money by positioning your misquoted words to their funders. Meanwhile, nobody is compensating you.
Publish your stuff in places that have good editors. Don’t publish on your own. Work on a book or something that can come out in print and isn’t free fodder for lazy guttersnipes doing a simple Command+Shift+F search on your document. You are a rare hero who stood up to a diabolical force most people fear worse than death. You need to get rewarded.
You Will Lose a Lot of Friends, But Don’t Apologize
Big Gay commands sympathy and has hogged the national dialogue for at least a decade. People are busy and lack the time to hear you out. You have courage. Most people do not like courage; they prefer not to be hassled or inconvenienced.
Letting go is an art. If you spoke well and did the right thing, that will have to be your fount of comfort in what will, undoubtedly, be a harrowing time. If you really feel like you’ve changed your mind, then say so. But do not apologize. Big Gay smells blood in the water and calls in the piranhas.