Rainbow-Coloured Obama?

Posted: May 14, 2012 in bisexuality, Identity, metrosexuality, Racism
Tags: , , ,


You can’t have failed to have heard the news. Obama, who originally took a firm stance against gay marriage, preferring the traditional view that marriage is between a man and a woman, has done a U-turn. His recent statement in favour of equal marriage has sent teh gayz into spasms of emotion similar to a reanactment of Torch Song Trilogy.

Andrew Sullivan, who has also done some U-turns in his life, as he used to be a Republican but now is all over poor Barack, said, choking back the tears:

‘I do not know how orchestrated this was; and I do not know how calculated it is. What I know is that, absorbing the news, I was uncharacteristically at a loss for words for a while, didn’t know what to write, and,… there are tears in my eyes.

So let me simply say: I think of all the gay kids out there who now know they have their president on their side. I think of Maurice Sendak, who just died, whose decades-long relationship was never given the respect it deserved. I think of the centuries and decades in which gay people found it impossible to believe that marriage and inclusion in their own families was possible for them, so crushed were they by the weight of social and religious pressure. I think of all those in the plague years shut out of hospital rooms, thrown out of apartments, written out of wills, treated like human garbage because they loved another human being. I think of Frank Kameny. I think of the gay parents who now feel their president is behind their sacrifices and their love for their children.’

I think the ‘gay lobby’ and their media supporters have been very clever here. It looks to me as if Obama didn’t have much choice. The tide of opinion was growing in favour of gay marriage. To continue to oppose it would have lost him votes. But his basic political manoeuvre has been adopted and appropriated and turned into a huge victory for the gay rights lobby.

Not only that, they have transformed Obama from a quite cautious, traditional family man into ‘THE FIRST GAY PRESIDENT’! The photo of him on the Newsweek cover with a rainbow halo is nothing if not striking, and… gay. The conflict with Obama has been buried in a pile of rainbow dust and everyone is happy…and gay.

But I notice a few problems with this gay rhetoric. One of course is that speeches such as Andrew Sullivan’s above privilege ‘gay’ people and the ‘gay’ identity over all other minority gender and sexuality identities. If you are bisexual, or trans, where do you fit in to this big gay festival? Trans people’s rights are not prioritised in America. Murders and violence against trans people happen at a far higher rate than the ‘gays’ would care to mention. And some gay people are as transphobic – and biphobic – as any straight ‘homophobe’.

The second thing I notice is Sullivan, and Newsweek, are tying the knot with Obama in a quite sickly way. It is as if ‘gay’ politics are the only politics in the world. What about Obama’s healthcare policies? What about foreign policy? That is all swept aside for the Big Issue – gay marriage. The way Sullivan suddenly decides he is part of Obama’s ‘family’ is comical. As if now things such as ethnicity and racism play no part in American society (or indeed in gay politics which can be racist). They are all one big happy family, bro!

Indeed racial analogies have been used by gays in their campaigns for gay marriage a lot. The ‘back seat on the bus’ metaphor has been doing the rounds for a while, as has the references to ‘apartheid’. (click on image to enlarge)


I think it’s pretty grim to be honest. And Obama may well be feeling a bit pressured by this group of white, middle class liberals (the gays and their allies), to perform to their tune. When he also has to woo black voters, republican voters, and… yes, homophobic voters! As I have said before the right have caricatured Obama as the metrosexual president and this latest move will have only made matters worse from their point of view. I would not want to be in Obama’s rainbow coloured shoes just now.

One person who is keeping rather quiet about this turn of events is [redacted]. He has been vocal against gay marriage, though he seems to have softened a bit recently (not to the extent of Obama though). Back in 2008 [redacted] suggested that the gay marriage campaigns in America were ‘on the rocks’ so it could be that he just doesn’t want to admit that he has been proven wrong. Or at least that times have changed. Also there are some ‘gay politics’ going on in the UK that even I don’t understand. Maybe [redacted] has some juggling to do as well as Obama.

Me, I don’t welcome the news from the States. But I am not going to lose sleep over it either. I would celebrate with my ‘bros’ if Obama closed Guantanamo like he said he would. But I don’t think I have Andrew Sullivan or many liberal white gays on my side there.

  1. redpesto says:

    The second thing I notice is Sullivan, and Newsweek, are tying the knot with Obama in a quite sickly way. It is as if ‘gay’ politics are the only politics in the world. What about Obama’s healthcare policies? What about foreign policy? That is all swept aside for the Big Issue – gay marriage.

    Well this is the problem for (ex?)right-wingers like Sullivan: if the Republicans keep campaigning on ‘God Hates Fags’, then all the gay right-wingers in favour of the 1% or ‘The War on Terror’ either have to keep schtum or vote for the guy promising them some form of civil rights. As soon as Obama can get gay marriage legalised, they can sod off back to endorsing Republicans and supporting Guantanamo, just as LGBT Tories took full advantage of Labour’s equality legislation while still endorsing slash-and-burn economics. So when that happens, the ‘gay lobby’ are going to have a problem on their hands (see also ‘Tory feminism’).

  2. marc2020 says:

    It’s interesting to note that apparently the “Obama is the first gay president” tag line is actually a riff on something that was said when Clinton was in office when he was proclaimed by some to be the “First Black President” so there another racial analogy (you probably already knew that but it was news to me someone I follow on twitter pointed it out).

    Also yeah with this Obama has pretty much cemented his second term which is good in a way as its usually with term 2 that presidents seek to properly etch there names into the history books, maybe because they know that whatever happens now the pressures off they don’t have to worry about re-election. Hopefully he’ll make good on allot of those promises he made right back at the start of his administration.

    On the actually subject of gay marriage I have very little to say as it doesn’t really affect me but any form of social progress is good right? Allot of the arguments against gay marriage always come off as pretty weak and pathetic.

  3. redpesto says:

    QRG: I saw the thing about ‘the first black president’ but I didn’t know what to say about it I was a bit stunned! was it because Clinton liked jazz???

    No, it’s not about Clinton’s horn– sorry, his saxophone-playing. It’s more to do with his familiarity (or understanding or ease) with black people and culture; about how he ‘gets’ African-Americans. It’s ‘blackness’ as performative rather than racial/genetic. Sasha Baron Cohen got that much right with Ali G. Curiously, even David Beckham has been described as ‘black’ in this respect. So Obama could be the ‘first gay president’ in the same way that Clinton was the first ‘black’ one.

    On the other hand, I’ve no idea who the ‘gay Rosa Parks’ is in this context – and you have to bear in mind that the Stonewall riots are a much better analogy to the ‘back of the bus’ moment.

    • yes quite. and the violence against trans people is more like stonewall AND the issues facing black people over history in America. But that problem is not solved by gay marriage as far as I know.

  4. QRG-

    have you seen the TIME magazine cover with a mommy and her 3 year old son sucking on her boob?

    I think the cover is part of a bigger trend….

    I think this is more “shock” than anything else. After all print media is dying and like a wounded animal, they are gonna try and fight until the end….

  5. elissa says:

    Great point made within that article: if the boy had not stared into the camera while sucking on her nipple, the whole drama over the photo would have fizzled to zero.

    Now imagine a 75 year old male being in the same photo shoot with the mom….no way Time would ever put that on their cover!

    GMP has a similar article up on Obama being the “first gay president”. I replied with a Mark Simpson quote, which prompted a reply that Mr. S is heteronormative…..it’s all about presentation I guess 🙂

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