Opinion: What Republicans Could Learn From Being Gay

Commentator Raynard Jackson shares his views on the recent debate over Pres. Obama's stance on gay rights

The LGBT flag is a symbol of pride for many (Source: Thinkstock)

Now that I have your attention, let’s talk. Say what you will about the gay community, but this one thing is clear, “they are masters at communications!” I make my living doing Public Relations, Crises Management, and Strategic Planning, so I know good public manipulation when I see it and the gay community, in this regards, should be emulated by the Republican Party.

Growing up in St. Louis, there was no such thing or word as being gay (yes, I am sure they existed, but they definitely were not publicly known or out).  So, the gay community studied Blacks and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s and made a conscious decision to adopt—some would say hijack—the language of the Civil Rights community.

They went from gay rights to Civil Rights; from gay marriage to marriage equality.  Anyone that knows anything about PR knows that marketing is all about language and communications.  Politics is the ultimate form of marketing. You can ask a girl to have sex with you or you can ask her to make love to you.  Both ask the same thing; but the latter uses a more effective way to communicate your desires than the former.

Early on, gays knew that America was not going to support gay rights, but in light of the experience of the Black community; who could be against “Civil Rights” for gays? But yet, gays never explained and the media never asked where their assertion of “rights” stemmed from.

A “right” indicates something you are entitled to—by birth, by God, by law, by social norms, etc.  Therefore, I would like my gay friends to explain to me the origin of their rights. I believe they have rights as an American citizen, but not because they are gay.  Now, this is what you will not hear the gay community talk about because equal rights is not their real objective—that is a byproduct of their real goal.

Their real goal is to force society to accept their personal lifestyle choices—i.e., being gay, bisexual, transgendered, etc.  Civil Rights for Blacks was never about acceptance, but rather enforcement of the U.S. Constitution.  The Constitution had already guaranteed us the very rights we were fighting for—right to vote, right to live anywhere, right to due process, etc.  We were not seeking to create a special class of rights based on “choices” we voluntarily made (we were born Black—we did not choose to be Black).  We did not choose to come to America nor did we choose to be slaves. So, our Civil Rights movement was about enforcement of the rights we were already guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.  Therefore, in my opinion, there can be no equating Blacks and Civil Rights with gays and special rights! So, for Obama, Sharpton, the NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus to equate gay rights with Civil Rights should be an insult not only to the Black community; but also to all who sacrificed for Blacks to gain the Civil Rights that Blacks were already due.

Former California U.S. Senator and linguist, S.I. Hayakawa once said, “Meanings are in people, not in words.”  Republicans typically think simply because they are right on the issues, somehow the public will understand their positions.  They should learn to be more like the gay community—to understand how words can change the perception the public has on controversial issues.  Gays understood that Americans would not support gay marriage, but who can be against “marriage equality?” What a brilliant PR move!

Republicans need to do a better job of educating the American people that they are not against gay people; they are against “special rights” for gays. If Obama and the Democrats think gay rights is a civil right, then how can they at the same time say they will leave it up to the states to decide the issue?  Huh?  When are they going to introduce legislation in Congress that codifies gay rights as a civil right? Everyone knows that the Democrats have no intention of introducing legislation because this is all an election year ploy!

Let me also help you with the media’s obsessive use of supposed polls that show that a majority of Americans “support” gay rights and gay marriage.  What the media and gays never tell you is that there are currently 35 states that define marriage as between one man and one woman in their state constitutions.  So, the polls are in direct contradiction to the facts on the ground.

This fact is a PR bonanza if the Republicans did a better job of communicating their positions to the public.  To my Republican friends, learn how the gays have used language to advance their cause—in other words, be gay!

The views expressed are those of Raynard Jackson, president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm. He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine, Freedom’s Journal Magazine and U.S. Africa Magazine.

 

ACROSS THE WEB
  • Clarence J Fluker

    You said: Growing up in St. Louis, there was no such thing or word as being gay (yes, I am sure they existed, but they definitely were not publicly known or out).

    My reply: The reality is that there were and are gay people living in St. Louis of every race an economic background. Please do further research. You can begin here: http://web.me.com/stevenbrawley/www.stlouisgayhistory.com/Introducing.html

    You said: So, the gay community studied Blacks and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s and made a conscious decision to adopt—some would say hijack—the language of the Civil Rights community.

    My reply: The reality is that yes, organizers in the gay community learned many valuable lessons from the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. Not only did they learn lessons from the civil rights movement but they also helped engineer it, particularly people like Bayard Rustin who was the chief architect of the 1963 March on Washington.

    You said: They went from gay rights to Civil Rights; from gay marriage to marriage equality.

    My reply: The reality is that it was done intentionally to help explain that entering into the legal contract of marriage should be equal for any American citizen. Marriage in all states is a legal binding contract that comes with nearly 1,000 legal benefits. To assert that only some Americans can enter into a legal contract and others cannot is the opposite of equality.

    You said: Early on, gays knew that America was not going to support gay rights, but in light of the experience of the Black community; who could be against “Civil Rights” for gays? But yet, gays never explained and the media never asked where their assertion of “rights” stemmed from.
    My reply: The reality is that statement continues to perpetuate the idea that ‘gays’ are not also Black people. This is not true.

    You said: A “right” indicates something you are entitled to—by birth, by God, by law, by social norms, etc. Therefore, I would like my gay friends to explain to me the origin of their rights. I believe they have rights as an American citizen, but not because they are gay. Now, this is what you will not hear the gay community talk about because equal rights is not their real objective—that is a byproduct of their real goal.

    My reply: The reality is that if you believe gays should have the rights of all other American citizens, that would include the right to enter into the legal contract of marriage and receive all benefits of the union – taxes, inheritance, etc….

    You said: Therefore, in my opinion, there can be no equating Blacks and Civil Rights with gays and special rights!

    My reply: The reality is that no one is asking for ‘special rights.’ It is not a special right to want to enter into a marriage with whatever consenting adult that you want to be with. It is not a special right not to want to be fired or discriminated on your job just because of who you love when you are not at work. To be given the exact same legal options and protections as any other adult is not special.

    You said: So, for Obama, Sharpton, the NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus to equate gay rights with Civil Rights should be an insult not only to the Black community; but also to all who sacrificed for Blacks to gain the Civil Rights that Blacks were already due.

    My reply: The reality is that it is an insult to Black gay people that you continue to try to make it an ‘us’ versus ‘them scenario. All American are due equality.

    You said: Gays understood that Americans would not support gay marriage, but who can be against “marriage equality?” What a brilliant PR move!

    My reply: The reality is that hopefully the language helps communicate that giving someone else the opportunity to get married of find peace through protection under the law steals nothing away from them.
    You said: Republicans need to do a better job of educating the American people that they are not against gay people; they are against “special rights” for gays.

    My reply: Again, no one is asking for special rights. Gay men and lesbians want to be able to do fall in love and spend the rest of their lives with that person and have the same legal protections as anyone else. On the television show The Bachelor a man marries a woman that he has just met several weeks before and they can get married and have legal protections. There are gay and lesbian couples across the United States who have been together for years and do not have the same legal means to do so. That is not equal.

    You said: To my Republican friends, learn how the gays have used language to advance their cause—in other words, be gay!

    My reply: It may be more beneficial for everyone to come together and learn from each other to advance equality for all people. Straight up!

    You may also read my response to the Obama announcement on the Root DC here:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/therootdc/post/applauding-president-obama-for-his-announcement-on-same-sex-marriage/2012/05/10/gIQA6utWFU_blog.html

    • Ghurt

      You forgot one more thing the author said that we choose to be gay and he did not choose to be black that is the thing that gets me most that ignorant people would think that this is something you choose. We like the author were born whatever color we are and gay we did not make a choice about our sexuality except to live honestly.

  • Samuel

    Come on BET, stop being so damn liberal. Gee I came to this site for more encouragement in the black community but, as always end up getting indoctrinated. Republics and Democrats won’t learn shit about being gay, so stop trying to sugar coat it. I’m sure TD Jakes, and a whole lot of African-American pastors would reject such ideas.

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