Being lucky enough to live in a progressive city and work with (and for) fellow progressives, I sometimes trick myself into forgetting just how deeply I, as an openly queer person, am hated by some folks. Here in the United States, these people are largely (though certainly not always) Republicans. LGBTQ+ people are so maligned, apparently, that plenty of people don't even want to risk being perceived as trying to get our vote. And this is how we end up in a head-scratching situation where Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel is stumbling over herself to reassure her committee of more than 150 conservatives that she wasn't really trying to create a safe space for LGBTQ+ people in the party… while launching an initiative aimed at recruiting LGBTQ+ voters.
What? Exactly. On Nov. 6, McDaniel appeared at an event held at Mar-A-Lago (of course) and announced the launch of the RNC Pride Coalition, which in partnership with Log Cabin (a group for conservative LGBTQ+ people) would work on outreach for queer voters, as reported by Metro Weekly. The goal was that these LGBTQ+ voters would switch from voting Democratic to Republican, ideally in time for the midterms, and for things like canvassing and organizing for Republican candidates. You (literally) couldn't pay many queer people—including me—to help the Republican party, so it's largely moot, but that didn't stop far-right branches of the party from melting down over the potential of being remotely inclusive to LGBTQ+ voters.
QAnon Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, for example, lost her mind on Twitter, arguing that rainbows are actually "God's sign" and that trying to be inclusive to LGBTQ+ people is just "identity politics." And according to Greene, identity politics is for Democrats, not Republicans—because she would never see being straight, cisgender, and white as an identity, mind you.
Here's that tweet. (And yes, of course, she shared a link to The Daily Wire.)
In addition to our QAnon Congresswoman, Republicans were really, really upset that McDaniel allegedly didn't clear this initiative with the entire committee. People immediately worried they might be perceived as remotely inclusive, and some went as far as to call for McDaniel's resignation.
Within a few hours, according to Metro Weekly, McDaniel emailed to follow up and reassure those concerned that the Republican party is remaining just as archaic as ever. McDaniel stressed that, among other shameful attributes, the Republican party is still committed to its harmful stances on immigration, same-sex marriage, and religious exemptions for discrimination protections. Lovely!
"We are actively committed to fighting the radical left on culture issues," McDaniel reportedly wrote, noting that this includes advocating for "religious liberty," the ever-dubious "family values" and "Republicans of faith."
"We would never, ever organize or communicate with organizations that undermine our values," she continued. "You have my word on that. The goal of this new outreach is simply to get more voters to vote Republican in 2022. That's it." McDaniel noted that the Trump campaign included LGBTQ+ outreach, and this is merely a continuation of that effort, claiming that the party is also trying to reach more evangelicals, Jewish people, and Catholics, as well as more young voters and veterans.
If these people didn't hold positions of enormous power and privilege, their loathing of LGBTQ+ people would almost be funny—almost.