When a Gay 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.
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."
I'm very unwelcome in much of the gay community because I breached the cardinal rule—not to dissent.
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-d—not a particular religion, mind you—although Judaism is certainly where I am most comfortable—but 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 university—maintaining 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.
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 or—woman. 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 command—that 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.
Mainstream religions believe homosexuality is a sin, but will all those without sin please stand up?
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 case—there 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 else—with 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 abnormal—but 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?
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 rule—not to dissent. As for being stuck in a conservative closet.... You'd be surprised how many gay conservatives wrote me and said, "Thank you—you wrote what I've been thinking for years."
"Don't ask, don't tell" was and is the right policy for the military.
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 you—what 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 marriage—brings 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 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.
I am pro-life; opposed to gay marriage; to children being adopted into homes that don’t have a mother and a father...
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 characteristic—you 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.