Michael Wolraich's picture

    The Myth of the Gay Fascist: Don't Ask, Don't Tell

    I've written a couple of posts recently about the phenomenon of right-wing projection. Projection is a Freudian concept according to which people project their own feelings of hostility onto the targets of their hostility. It is a psychological defense strategy that enables people to disown their feelings of hatred and intolerance by attributing them to the people they hate.

    One of the most virulent forms of right-wing projection targets homosexuals. In the post civil rights era, homosexuals are the only minority that many Americans still openly admit to hating. In consequence, the level of projection against homosexuals is more extreme than against any other group. Conservatives may call Obama a racist, and they may accuse illegal immigrants of seeking to re-conquer the Southwest, but it's very rare for prominent right-wing leaders to accuse African-Americans or Latinos as a whole of malice towards white people.

    But accusations that homosexuals are vicious and intolerant are still common. The most twisted of these projections is the myth of the Gay Fascist. Thousands of homosexuals died in the Holocaust, and the Nazis imprisoned some 50,000 others. Yet in 1994, two conservative writers, Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams, sought to prove that Nazis were not intolerant of homosexuals; the Nazis were homosexuals. The Pink Swastika scrapes together a mound of alleged homosexual influences on Nazi doctrine, from Plato's Republic to Gnosticism to paganism--"In pagan cultures, homosexuals often hold an elevated position in religion and society."  This rambling collection of syllogistic fallacies is the likely inspiration behind Pat Robertson's claim that "many of those people involved with Adolf Hitler were Satanists; many of them were homosexuals. The two things seem to go together."  (It doesn't get any eviler than Homosexual Nazi Satanists.)

    The myth of the Gay Fascist has just been revived in the context of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. Bryan Fischer of the 3.4 million member American Family Association expressed his concern that gay soldiers would be too vicious. He explained,

    Hitler discovered that he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough to carry out his orders, but that homosexual solders basically had no limits and the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whomever Hitler sent them after. So he surrounded himself, virtually all of the Stormtroopers, the Brownshirts, were male homosexuals.

    Incidentally, Pink Swastika author Scott Lively argued against repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell last year on the grounds that it would lead to a mass exodus of heterosexuals from the armed forces and a "homosexual takeover of the military branches." (If that happened, it would certainly mean the end of khaki camouflage fatigues.)

    Lively also participated in a conference in Uganda to warn its citizens of the threat from the gay agenda. In addition to the Nazis, Lively added Rwandan extremists to the list of genocidal homosexual movements. After the conference, he boasted that he had delivered "a nuclear bomb against the gay agenda in Uganda." His boast proved apt, if somewhat anachronistic, when the Ugandan Parliament subsequently voted to increase the penalty for sodomy to death by stoning. That should stop those murdering homosexuals. (Fortunately, international pressure has been intense, Uganda is reconsidering the bill.)


    I'm currently writing a book about right-wing paranoia, How Bill O'Reilly Saved Christmas, and Other Right-Wing Persecution Fantasies, to be published in October. For updates, click the I Like button on the book's fan page.


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