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Gay Conservative

"I agree with 95% of the Republican platform. I believe in local government. I'm in favor of individual rights rather than group rights. I believe free markets lead to free people and that the country needs a strong national defense. My life doesn't have to be about being a homosexual. It doesn't have to be entirely about that."
Congressman Matt Skinner, The West Wing

This trope is about homosexual political conservatives, typically in settings where homosexuality and conservatism are at least somewhat incompatible, as they appear in fiction. It's much more common in American than in European media, since the European brand of conservatism does not necessarily go hand in hand with the religious right. Typically this is done for one of the following reasons:
  1. Drama: The (assumed) tension between what a gay person should want politically, and the assumed Conservative position on gay rights generally, and perhaps gay marriage in particular.
  2. Polemic: The assumption that a gay person can not be conservative without being a traitor to his gayness. This implies that all conservatives are anti-gay, and that all gays have to believe and support the same politics, even on issues that have nothing to do with homosexuality. note 
  3. Token: Gay conservatives are considered exotic and strange. In a Cast Full of Gay, they might be the Token Conservative (and prone to the usual problems with the Token Minority trope). Like the second form, this one has implications of being a Category Traitor.
  4. Defensive: This has the precise opposite problem of reason #2. Instead of attacking gay conservatives, these works promote and defend them. The conflicts with conservative ideology and homosexuality are ignored, hand waved, or minimized.
  5. Satire: When conservatives are mocked and satirized, such as a politician who runs on a "traditional family values" platform and publicly decries homosexuality as depraved, despite being secretly gay and getting action on the side. An example thereof may well be an Armored Closet Gay. This can overlap with #1 or #2.

See also Author On Board and Strawman Political for some of the ways this trope can go bad. Compare Blonde Republican Sex Kitten.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • An early issue of Ex Machina had Mayor Hundred meet a gay couple, one of whom was a Republican politician. He joked that when, at a young age, he heard about a group of Republicans break party lines to fight for gay rights, he decided then and there he was going to be a Republican.
  • Transmetropolitan's Show Within a Show "Republican Party Reservation Compound" seems to be about a cultural reservation for conservatives, who have some trouble living up to their values. To the point of using technology from The City to have kids.
  • Horndog had one of these in its second issue.

    Film 
  • Played for laughs in the remake of The Stepford Wives: A Flamboyant Gay character becomes Straight Gay through phlebotinium-related means and becomes a candidate for the Republican party. His friends immediately figure out something's wrong, and that it is his boyfriend, a through-and-through conservative gay, who's behind this. It gets even funnier when the phlebotinum is removed after he gets elected, wherein he reverts to a Camp Gay completely out of sync with Republican positions.
  • Albert Goldman from The Birdcage admits to some conservative views, although, this was probably done to put on a show for the Keeleys.
  • The Spike Lee Joint Get on the Bus has Kyle, a gay, black Republican who essentially faces persecution from all sides. Having fought in the Gulf War, he was intentionally shot by his own platoon because of his sexual orientation and his race, and at least one other black character in the movie disapproves of him for these specific reasons.
  • In Long-Term Relationship, Glenn's boyfriend Adam turns out to be Republican. This is mainly played for laughs and isn't really much of an issue in their relationship. Well, except for their lousy sex life turning out to be the fault of Republican preconceptions of a "traditional" relationship, but that's resolved in the end by marriage.

    Live-Action TV 
  • This happens in an episode of Brothers and Sisters as well; the Gay Conservative in this case is set up on a blind date with a gay liberal, and is not amused by his date's anti-conservatism. Somewhat of An Aesop in this case as the liberal tried to win points with the conservative by bashing Republicans as he assumed all gay men would be receptive to that rhetoric.
  • On Coupling, Jane goes on a "date" with a gay man who turns out to be a big Margaret Thatcher supporter, causing liberal Sally to spout "How dare you say that. You're gay! You're on our side!"
    • In the short-lived American version, the gay man was explicitly a Republican.
  • In an episode of Law & Order, a man being questioned by the detectives mentions that he knew the victim through an association of gay conservatives. When the detectives look at him in disbelief, the man replies "You don't have to be straight to believe in a sound fiscal policy."
  • Leon, Roseanne Connor's sarcastic, condescending ex-boss and future business partner in Roseanne, is a gay Republican (though he apparently admires Hillary Clinton).
    • Later, her mother Bev, also conservative, comes out. In the finale, Rosanne reveals that it's not her mother but actually her sister who is gay.
  • In one episode of The West Wing, Josh spends the entire episode debating gay issues with Republican Congressman Matt Skinner. At the end of the episode, Skinner tells Josh to stop beating around the bush, and ask the question he really wants to know: how Skinner can be gay and a Republican. The answer is that the Congressman agrees with the conservative stance on most issues, with gay issues being an exception. He also indicates that he hopes to change Republican attitudes toward gays by being a good soldier. He gets a little comeuppance when the majority leader (who Josh had cited as an active example of what he sees as the homophobia inherent in the Republican party) smarmily tries to patronize him with a pat on the back and a "Good job, Congressman" — only for Skinner to give him the evil eye and snap back, "Take your hand off my shoulder, Congressman."
  • The transparently closeted Beverly Leslie from Will and Grace is a Republican.
  • Sharon Tyler in Wonderfalls is a conservative lawyer and closeted lesbian whose sexuality and political position is usually played for laughs - up until network interference came into play and canned her storyline from the last few episodes.
    "So, how long have you been using the Republican party as a lesbian dating service?"
  • An episode of Saturday Night Live during the 1988 George H. W. Bush-Michael Dukakis presidential election had a sketch called "The Gay Communist Gun Club", where the hosts basically shot down potential members for not meeting all three criteria (gay, communist and love guns). At the end, they endorsed Bush as their presidential candidate.
    "While he didn't meet all of our criteria, we figured two out of three wasn't bad."
  • Stephen Colbert's right-wing political pundit persona in The Colbert Report is played as a thinly repressed homosexual.
  • On Smash Tom's boyfriend John Goodwin is a conservative lawyer. Tom finds this when he has a fundraiser for a conservative state representative.
  • Made for TV Movie Citizen Cohn is a biopic of high powered, McCarthy-Era conservative lawyer, Roy Cohn, a closeted gay who eventually died of AIDS, while denying he had it to the end. As close to real life as we can get here.
  • In an episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, Penn talks to a gay republican. He comments that, to him, a gay republican is like a Jewish Nazi, but apart from the joke, sympathizes with him.
  • Sullivan St. James and Cyrus Beene on Scandal.
    • Subverted in one episode where a Republican political candidate is plagued by rumors that he is gay. Olivia points out that his chances of winning will actually improve if he comes out because the uncertainty is costing him more votes than being openly gay would. In the end it turns out that he is straight and has been having an affair with his brother's wife for the last ten years.
  • In an episode of The Newsroom, Will interviews a homosexual man who is a senior member of Rick Santorum's staff as part of an attempt to paint Santorum as a bully and a homophobe. It backfires rather spectacularly, with the man making an emotional statement that he is more than his sexual orientation and agrees with Santorum on every other subject. However, as with The West Wing example above, Will still gets in one last question to underline the point that Santorum is, in Aaron Sorkin's view, a homophobe.
  • In Parks and Recreation, Marcia Langman's husband Marshall is Camp Gay despite both of them being part of Pawnee's Moral Guardian brigade. He seems to be a parody of Republican U.S. congresswoman Michelle Bachmann's husband Marcus, who is rumored to be gay despite running a gay curing camp.
  • In the latter seasons of The Office US Series, Angela marries a US Republican senator whom Oscar immediately realises is gay. Oscar and the senator have an affair before he comes out on national televison simultaneously divorcing Angela and leaving Oscar for another man
    • In a deleted scene the senator also states that he'll be switching to the Democratic party, as opposed to helping make the Repulicans look more gay-friendly

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Chase Talbott, radio co-host (and former partner) of gay liberal Mark Slackmeyer in Doonesbury.
  • Cynthia of Dykes To Watch Out For, a lesbian example. While initially a conservative student of Ginger's who would frequently argue with her in class, her struggle to find a place to fit in (her ultra-religious parents freaked out when she came out, and "the Republican group on campus thinks I'm a perv, and the gay group thinks I'm a traitor!") was explored more in-depth.
    • Earlier strips also touched on Mo being unable to accept that there could possibly be gay conservatives. While Cynthia was the first actual conservative in the cast, her girlfriend Sydney was enough of a materialist and capitalist to be a foil for the highly principled Mo.
    • At one point, Cynthia says "I wanted to join the Rainbow Republicans, but they were only * fiscal* conservatives".
  • In a strip from the gay comic The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life Of Ethan Green, there's a Gay Republican at brunch, who, though handsome, annoys everyone with his political insights. Someone suggests that he might like to take up mime.
  • In Tom the Dancing Bug, this strip argues that the "new gay stereotype" for men is middle-aged, married, conservative, and Armoured Closet Gay.

    Theater 
  • In Angels In America, two of the main male characters are gay Republicans (one is based on Real Life political figure Roy Cohn). Both are in the closet and struggle with their identity but end up in very different places.
    • Louis is rather surprised (and amused) to discover that Joe is a Republican during their first discussion, scoffing "Well, oh, boy. A gay Republican." Joe, still incredibly far in the closet, is taken aback by the assessment.
  • Rod of Avenue Q, a closeted gay Republican investment banker. The musical doesn't expound on his political views so much as Republican is just... part of his personality. The writers of the show said they actually received mail from gay Republican investment bankers who loved the character and in some cases, were in the closet themselves so Rod gave them inspiration.
  • There is a character who fits this trope description in the play The Normal Heart. That play was produced in 1985.
  • The revue "Infinite Joy," which consists of William Finn compositions not used in his other shows (such as The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), has a song titled "Republicans" about a man having sex with a gay conservative.
    To be in bed and screwing a Republican
    Is damned unappealing, but I can't help but feeling that it's nice to have the roles reversed.

    Video Games 
  • In Grand Theft Auto IV, one of the in-game TV channels has a highly Anvilicious cartoon called Republican Space Rangers that takes all of the jingoism and militarism of the Bush administration and applies it to a bunch of Space Marines killing aliens for shits and giggles. They are revealed to have gay affections for each other while taking time off in their spaceship.
    • There is also politician Bryce Dawkins, who, despite the fact that he built his career on family values and anti-gay legislation and is married with children, has a romantic relationship with Niko's friend, Bernie Crane.

    Web Comics 
  • Heather, the lesbian right-wing folk singer from Wapsi Square.
  • Meighan in Fans!!, both lesbian and an avid supporter of George W. Bush.
  • Politically Inqueerect is about a pair of these. Most of the humor comes from the fact that they're an Odd Couple rather than the fact that they're conservatives, though.
  • Penny and Aggie had an arc in which Penny was contemplating what could happen in her future. One of them involved her being in a relationship with Aggie, who had changed from a super-liberal to a conservative in that time.
  • Robin in the Dumbing of Age universe is a Congresswoman running on a conservative, "family-values" platform but obviously still attracted to Leslie like her Shortpacked! self was.

    Web Original 
  • Danny Brady from Shadow Unit is a Log Cabin Republican.
  • This Cracked article, co-written by a lesbian, mentions this among the expectations that the gay community has for its members.
  • Geri, a character on the lesbian web series 3Way, really hates flag-burners. Of course, that doesn't necessarily make her a conservative, but it's still hardly the sort of thing you'd expect to hear a gay character admitting.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad! episode had Stan unknowingly join the Log Cabins. And featured the musical number "We're Red and We're Gay." [1]
    Jeff and Paul like hot pectorals
    And good old fashioned Christian morals
    Hey hey hey hey
    We're red and we're gay!
    ~
    It's true we can't wed
    But we support the Fed
    We like each other's butts
    And big old spending cuts
    We like to pack fudge and heat
    • This becomes a double subversion when Stan finds out that Greg Corbin hasn't come out to his partner, Terry Bates, as a Republican.
  • The short lived cartoon Freakshow had one of these; Log Cabin Republican was a gay Republican, which is why he was part of the traveling freakshow. When agitated, he would turn into the incredibly powerful and incredibly gay Burly Bear.
  • Log Cabin Republicans have been referenced in The Simpsons. A pink elephant balloon is floating through town and we cut to the Log Cabins discussing what their logo should be- "Something that says we're gay and Republican!"- just as the pink elephant floats in. "A little on the nose, don't you think?"
    • They also give away "A gay president in 2084" bumper stickers ("We're realistic").
    • Waylon Smithers is a weird example. The idea that he was gay grew out of his loyalty to ultra-conservative Mr. Burns, but to this day it's not clear if he's a gay or just "Burns-sexual," (he was shown getting mad at one-shot character John for stiffing him on a date). Although he supported Mr. Burns (technically No Party Given but obviously Republican) in his run for Governor, he sabotaged Sideshow Bob's run for Mayor due to conflicts with his "choice of lifestyle" (a phraseology which itself is generally associated with anti-gay conservatism).
    • Burns is technically No Party Given when he's running, but when Sideshow Bob is running, Burns is explicitly Republican, so we can backdate that.
  • On South Park, Herbert Garrison has been all over the map. He always showed conservative, homophobic and racist opinions and actions, being an Armoured Closet Gay for several seasons, but even after coming out, he kept all those opinions. He's springboarded in and out of being a Boomerang Bigot, at one point becoming a transsexual out of internalized homophobia (in Real Life, this is a depressingly common accusation leveled at actual transsexuals by gays and lesbians, even though statistically 2/3 of transsexuals are gay or bisexual WRT their identified gender). At other times he's campaigned for gay rights. Just... don't expect consistency from the guy.
    • Big Gay Al shows some right-libertarian tendencies. One episode revolves around his efforts to be a scoutmaster in the Mountain Scouts. When the boys sue the Scouts to have their anti-gay policy overturned, Al stops the suit as it's on the point of victory—because he feels that the Scouts should be able to decide who their scoutmasters are, even if their policy is wrongheaded. Of course, as this was the libertarian show creators engaging in an Author Tract (although libertarians are not conservatives in the traditional sense of the word).
  • On Drawn Together, the show gets a negative review by an Entertainment Weekly writer who happens to be a part of every group that the show has made fun of. As a result she is conservative, lesbian and homophobic.
  • Clay Puppington on Moral Orel is more bisexual, but is extremely conservative to compensate (as is everyone in Moralton).


Fur and LoathingThe War on StrawGodwin's Law
Gay Best FriendQueer as TropesGay Cowboy
Gambit PileupAdministrivia/No Real Life Examples, Please!Ghetto Name

alternative title(s): Gay Conservatives
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