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Confessions of a Gay Conservative: An Interview with Steve Yuhas

San Diego journalist Steve Yuhas is a gay conservative. In this interview he speaks candidly about Gay Pride parades, gays in the military, and why he's against gay marriage.

The Steve Yuhas Show


When a G
ay Pride weekend raged in the San Diego, California neighborhood of Hillcrest, Steve Yuhas, who is gay, derided the event in a San Diego Union-Tribune opinion piece: "Floats ... topped off with gyrating men wearing little more than thongs follow cowardly politicians who believe that the gay vote is so important that they march in a parade where words like 'fag', 'queer' and 'dyke' are used interchangeably with 'homosexual' and 'gay'"—the very same language for which straights could be "charged with hate crimes.... After the countless men in dresses, shirtless women, politicians and adoptive parents who use their children as political statements march down Sixth Avenue to Balboa Park (the same park where the Boy Scouts have been booted) the festivities begin with booths selling everything from sex toys to X-rated videos."

No wonder Yuhas ended up being flamed by a firestorm of emails for his Union-Tribune piece. "An odd way to bring gays into the mainstream" was published on Sunday, August 1, at the height of gay pride weekend.

I'm very unwelcome in much of the gay community because I breached the cardinal rule—not to dissent.
It is, Yuhas wrote, "the one weekend where all the eyes of the media are trained on gay folks and they take every opportunity to summon every stereotype that they demand straight America dismiss and conduct themselves in a way inconsistent with every public decency law on the books." Meanwhile, Yuhas said, "enamored" or "fearful" or "complicit" journalists, having failed to report the debaucheries, quote organizers that such "festivals are positive for the gay community and helpful in sending a message to the nation that gay people are just like everyone else, we just happen to be gay."

Who is this columnist who uses a mainstream media outlet to puncture the bubble-zone of silence round the bacchanal of gay pride weekend? Who is this San Diegan who dares to call "pride" a shame?

Meet Steve Yuhas, self-styled gay conservative.

McCoy: Although Jewish, you went to a Catholic college; how did it influence you?

Yuhas: [Editor's note: Steve Yuhas requested that the word G-d not be spelled out in his responses, which were communicated by e-mail, in accordance with Jewish tradition]. I graduated from St. John's University, an all-male Catholic Benedictine college in central Minnesota. It did influence me because it solidified my belief in G-dnot a particular religion, mind you—although Judaism is certainly where I am most comfortablebut it did make me realize that G-d is ever present. And that even under bad circumstances—we had a pedophile-priest scandal that rocked our universitymaintaining the faith was important and brought everyone through the tough times.

How was it serving in the military under "don't ask, don't tell" policy?

I served in both the Army and the Marine Corps. I left the Marine Corps after breaking my back.... I'm a life long member of the Disabled America Veterans, all before I'm old enough to run for President! "Don't ask, don't tell" was and is the right policy for the military. There is absolutely no reason that gays should have a need to "come out" during their service. The military is not a social club, nor is the military a summer camp—private lives are kept private and it was a non-issue in all of my service.

Mainstream religions believe homosexuality is a sin, but will all those without sin please stand up?
What bothers me most about "don't ask, don't tell" is that gays use it as a way to show that the military is "firing" gays from service when, in fact, upwards of 90 percent of discharges for gay people is a result of the gay person walking into their commanding officer and telling on themselves. Gay activists act like there are witch-hunts going on, and that is simply not the case. People who admit to their commander that they are gay are given honorable discharges. They are entitled to all of the benefits of any other honorably discharged serviceman orwoman. And that is a mistake. If you go to your commanding officer or sergeant major and admit that you're gay, knowing full well that you're going to be discharged, you should certainly not receive an honorable discharge as if you've completed your contract. When you're in the military you do a job and you are rated on how well you do that job. There is nothing about your private life—unless you bring it to the attention of your commandthat makes any effect on your career. If gay people feel that they have to go to work and talk about their private sexual behavior with members of their command, then they should be working at a donut shop instead of the military.

You wrote that being gay means: "you're just like anyone else except you simply fall in love with someone different than most people do." Is that how it happened for you?

I am in a long-term relationship with an active-duty Marine; I cannot elaborate further.

 "Less queer, more quotidian" you wrote—why don't more gays in their pride show themselves off that way?

I'm opposed to gay pride events, period. My point was that, if there is going to have to be a pride festival or parade, that the parade should highlight the normal people who happen to be gay instead of the extravagant and over-the-top performances that are counter-productive to the gay cause. But there is no room in the gay community for dissent or different thought regarding pride or politics... if gays are seen to have dissent in their community, there won't be a need for the groups who purport to represent the gay community. There is a lot of money to be made pretending that gays vote in a single voting block and think alike—if it ever became public that it wasn't the casethere would be some unemployed activists and we couldn't have that.

What would you say to the objection that "at their pride events, gays drop their façade of normalcy"?

I would say that if you took a look around at the gay people, you know that most of them are just like anyone elsewith the possible exception of those who end up representing us on television. It is abnormal for men to wear women's clothing—I don't think anyone would disagree that cross-dressing is abnormalbut most gay people don't do that. I would imagine that many of your readers know a gay person or two, work with them or see them around the neighborhood. I'd put money that many of the interactions are just like any other—with the possible exception of the flamboyant gay men or manly gay women. Those are not the norm. And for those who think they are [the norm], I can do little to change their minds except continue on my quest to prove that one can be a gay social conservative and believe in traditional American values, just the same as someone who has been divorced or committed adultery. No doubt that mainstream religions believe homosexuality is a sin, but will all those without sin please stand up? I don't subscribe to the notion of a sliding scale of sin, so my sin of being gay is just the same as any other sin - the only difference is, that for some reason, many believe mine to be worse than theirs.

What's it like in San Diego for a gay conservative? Do you come out of one closet only to hide all alone in another?

"Don't ask, don't tell" was and is the right policy for the military.
Surprisingly, I think of all the gay people in San Diego I am probably the most well known to both the gay community and to the straight community. I will say this: I've never been discriminated against for being gay by anyone in the straight community. I'm an active Republican and have never felt uncomfortable at a Republican event. The only place and time I'm ever abused, verbally or otherwise, is from gay activists who believe that I'm a traitor to the gay cause. Many of the responses to my U-T editorial opened by calling me a Nazi or an Uncle Tom or some other epithet that paints me as a traitor. I actually received a letter from a local gay business that I'm not welcome there. I never went anyway so no big deal. The visceral hate that sprang up as a result of my opinion piece was extraordinary. No sooner had the editorial been published than people from within the gay community activated their email rosters demanding that the U-T retract my piece and to never publish me again. Truth be told, I'm very unwelcome in much of the gay community because I breached the cardinal rulenot to dissent. As for being stuck in a conservative closet.... You'd be surprised how many gay conservatives wrote me and said, "Thank youyou wrote what I've been thinking for years."

What is "gay conservatism"?

It can be summed up this way: to be gay and conservative are not mutually exclusive. Traditional American and conservative values don't belong to any particular group. I am pro-life; I am opposed to gay marriage; I am opposed to children being adopted into homes that don't have a mother and a father; I'm a fiscal conservative, I'm for school vouchers, decreased taxes and a strong foreign and national defense policy. If that isn't conservative I'm not sure what is. But for some reason, some decide that what I do in the privacy of my home makes me less conservative than another. But if I'm not a conservative—I ask youwhat am I?

 Why do you oppose gay marriage?

Marriage is a union between a man and a woman [and] has been - religiously and traditionally—for thousands of years. I don't believe that you change the institution of marriage simply because a few gays want to get married. What bothers me most about the whole debate over marriage is that gays will say: "we have a right to get married because we're consenting adults and we love each other." Fine, but what about three consenting adults getting married? They say: "No, we don't advocate that." Well, why not? If gays believe that the line between gay marriage and heterosexual marriage is arbitrary and baseless, why then should there be any line at all? Either society has a right to set limits and standards on marriage or it doesn't. I think it does, and I think that the line should be drawn where it always has been: and that is to say that marriage is a heterosexual institution

Marriage—even gay marriagebrings up the question of children. "Wouldn't it prove to America that gays are just like everyone else," you wrote, "if the grand marshal was not a drag queen or a liberal gay activist and if children were not used as political props to bolster their parents need of validation as being good parents despite the fact that they are exposing them to debauched behavior and decadent displays in public?" Are such people fit to be parents? If a straight couple similarly corrupted their children's morals, couldn't they be charged with child abuse and have their children taken away?

I am pro-life; opposed to gay marriage; to children being adopted into homes that don’t have a mother and a father...
I think there are a lot of loving gay parents out there. I don't believe that [their children] are being abused or should be taken away, but I do question the judgment of parents who take their kids to a gay pride event where sexuality is on display. We seem to sexualize our children much too early and it is bad enough that they see it on television, but to experience it on parade is too much for any child to comprehend. I don't think that children should be adopted by single people nor do I believe same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt. Biology should prevail in questions of parenting and last I checked it took a mother and a father to make a baby and I think, perhaps, nature and G-d had a plan that the mother and the father would raise them. Just because there are some good or okay single or gay parents out there doesn't mean we should make it the norm for children.

As a gay social conservative, what would you like to see happen legislatively? Who will you vote for in the upcoming elections?

I think we have enough laws dealing with sexuality and I'd like to see sexuality removed from every part of the public laws where it has been elevated to the same level as race. I find it offensive for gays to say that being gay is the same as being black. Race is an immutable characteristicyou can look at a man and know he is black; sexuality is a behavior—you have to make an effort to tell people that you're gay. Race and sexuality are not the same, and I hope that more black activists would take action in not allowing gays to pervert the message of equal rights and equality [by having] Martin Luther King, Junior's image carried by men in dresses in gay pride events. It is a perversion and disgusting and, frankly, I don't know why more blacks don't object to the use of his image and message in the struggle for sexual elevation.

I will be voting for George W. Bush in the upcoming Presidential election. As for other local races, I haven't decided.

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October 13, 2004

JAMES MCCOY is a free-lance writer based in Clinton, Mass.

This interview was orginally published in San Diego News Notes(www.sdnewsnotes.com), ©2004 September 2004. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

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READER COMMENTS
11.10.04   alexander caughey says:
Hi Jonathan, My thick skin and patient manner would require more than a lightening bolt to unseat me, over the matter of a gay conservative. That my efforts have provoked a reply from you, should confirm that the US Army is also able to respond (unofficially) when the matter of conservatives who are also gay, springs to our attention on a Catholic website. Equal rights, to enable all to find their place in society, must also be seen in action and not just in words. Radicalised action groups have been part of American society since colonial days, when the settlers saw fit to dump tea in Boston harbour!!!That the poor Indians, Jews, Women, African Americans, have used what ever techniques would bring their woes to the attention of the population and political elite, should enlighten all that those who continue to press for equal human rights, of whatever persuasion and whatever rights, are simply following well established American traditions in developing American democracy, so that it is able to maintain its progressive walk into becoming more democratic. I am sure that you are aware that Jews are still denied membership of certain country clubs and golf courses. The Catholic Church practises what it preaches, for despite the sex scandals, some 98 pct of the one third of Catholic clergy, who also happen to be homosexual, honour their vows and live as they are expected. I suspect that these priests and all homosexuals have much in common, in that as human beings, they will live as badly or as well as all heterosexuals. Alex, happily celibate!!

11.09.04   Jonathan Kinsman says:
Well, hello Alexander! It seems Mr Yuhas has riled your dander a bit!What I got from the interview (and commentary in the Union Tribune) was not as extreme as your reaction seems to indicate. I apologize if I am in error, but, boorish or perverted behavior by one cultural subgroup (your 'cheerleaders' example) does not excuse or justify the goose-stepping tactics of the POLITICAL movement of Queer Nation or Lambda or any other (fill in the blank) gay-lesbian alliance. It isn't about gender, it's about political (and thus, cultural) acceptance. Here in America, one does not see stickers on the rear windshields or bumpers of autos advertising, "HEY! I'm a HETEROSEXUAL!" There is no 'code' logo (the gold = sign or rainbow strip) to advertise sexual preference for us "normal" types (whatever that means!).I think Yuhas and Al Rantel (KFI radio host in Los Angeles) mean when they speak and write from a conservative, religious, viewpoint is that sexual preference is A) not political, B) not anyone else's business, C) does not lead to special (ie, court imposed, as opposed to majority approved, acceptance) treatment, and, D) deserves special status as a legal 'minority' (and all the attendant benefits that the Federal system awards such designated groups).In Mexico, men who perform the homosexual act are not considered homosexuals. Only the receiver of the act is called a 'marisposa' (or, butterfly, a derogatory term). This is true in many Latin countries. Who knows (I don't and maybe you do) Alexander the Macedonian's culture may have had some similar twist to the "who's gay and who's straight" game.In Hellenic Athens, a strange kidnapping ritual of young boys by older men (acted out with the parents' approval and histrionic weeping and wailing) was part and parcel of that culture. Yet, I believe those men did not see themselves as 'homosexual' in our modern understanding of the term. Bisexual maybe.Greek certainly.Adoption and child abuse are different issues. If it is all related, then only criminals can teach Criminal Law, only communists can conduct graduate seminars on Marx and Engels, and, (God forbid!) only former politicians can comment on American election returns and what they mean.Good to read from you my friend,Jonathan

11.07.04   g0ysDOTorg says:
Quote But if I'm not a conservative—I ask you—what am I? - Steve YI think the answer is obvious: Real conservatives are LIBERTARIANS| http://lp.org . I'm old enough now to see the trend the Republican Party has had over the last 2 decades of shifting to the left. I registered to vote as a republican -- however, having seen the trend long enough & having done 6+ years of research into blatant government fraud - I vote almost exclusively LIBERTARIAN. What is amazing is this: The libertarian party simultaneously boasts the best of the Left & the Right while knowing where the acceptable borders of government belong. Here in the USA, those borders are clearly laid out by the CONSTITUTION - who ALL public officials swear an OATH to uphold & defend. If their hearts are not to the keeping of THAT oath ... then I ask: What else matters? The prophet said: "The people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.". That statement applies to every politician & public official who takes steps to violate their Constitutional oath. If you think Steve is "conservative", then I dare you to check out the posturing of http://g0ys.org - but i'll warn you in advance: We're a narrow path surrounded by two wide ditches. For those of you who know someone who is struggling with their sexuality & what they "think" the scriptures say about it: g0ys.org offers a powerful re-evaluation of traditional thought on the subject. See, Steve Y spoke of his being "gay" being a "sin". Well, then perhaps for him - it is. After all, a person who violates a weakened conscience sins no matter what the subject matter is. If you think wearing wool & poly pants is a sin, then for you -- it is indeed. However, the Scripture makes clear that what measure we use - will be measured back to us; -- Then if a CLEAR (see the term "clear"?) theological path can be established that encompasses the facts & a reasonable rendering of the text -- it is indeed possible to discover that not only are same-sex relationships N0T SIN, but there is at least (1), maybe (2) detailed within the Scriptural text itself! (David & Jonathan ARE WITHOUT A DOUBT, REPRESENTATIVE OF A SAME SEX MARRIAGE: Swearing Covenant, Nakedness, Physical Intimacy, Swearing Oaths in Ref to 'Seed', Executing an Estate, Transfer of Kingdom, Adoption of Children [IT's ALL THERE!]) Galatians 3:28 makes it clear that GENDER collapses into a SINGULARITY in Christ. Eliminate gender & the issue of "sexual orientation" collapses also - leaving it ALL as HOMO (like) sex. Romans 2:1 anyone?- good day

10.14.04   alexander caughey says:
Who knows, may be Mr. Yuhas will be adopted by the Republican Party as the acceptable face of the gay community. That the vulgar extremes of gay expression, seen at Pride Parades, should be counted as an example of the gay community at its most normal, must make me consider the flaunting that goes on, when football team cheer girls exhibit their willingness to be equally vulgar. One man's meat, another's poison, so to speak and so to be, when trying to understand why there should not be equality under the law for all human beings trying to live in loving relationships. Condemning promiscuous behaviour in all its manifestations is understandable and even to be encouraged but not when with the same breath, condemning those who are living in a loving human relationship, in need of the same human rights granted to those who also living in similar fashion but are from opposite sexes.Civil unions will be the compromise and even in a society as fanatically religious as the United Sates, there must come a time when hypocrisy is recognised for its faceless expression of hatred, camouflaged in the reactions of indignant holier than thou practitioners of dubious religious expression. That adoption is also about the recognition that most child abuse is practised within the family, by the parents, extended family and family friends, must suggest that it is not the sexual identity of the potential foster parent but the suitability to raise a child. With so many children in the care of the authorities, I cannot believe that we can visualise the circumstances being any worse with gay couples raising adopted children. That Alexander the Great could function as a successful general and fully fledged member of the gay soldiers mess, must suggest that a Spartan type gay battalion might create some creative thinking to enable the White House to find a way out of its self imposed dilemma in Iraq. Or would a successful gay battalion be too much for the US Army to bear, when bearing arms of its dead heroes.

10.13.04   Godspy says:
San Diego journalist Steve Yuhas is a gay conservative. In this interview he speaks candidly about Gay Pride parades, gays in the military, and why he's against gay marriage.

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