December 13th, 2011
Paul Varnell was an outspoken activist and early leader in our community. But Paul’s contribution was unique in a way worth mentioning.
After DADT and with GOProud as comparison, gay Republicans such as Log Cabin are enjoying a moment of acceptance. But when Paul founded the Chicago Area Gay Republican Organization in 1984 (which, if I recall correctly was one of the local groups which merged in the 90s to become the national LCR organization) being Republican publicly within our community was to invite contempt and abuse. Paul did it anyway.
Paul went on to also found the Independent Gay Forum, a site for expressing and apply conservative or non-Progressive ideology to issues in the gay community. This was not an act without criticism. That didn’t stop him.
Most of our heroes and leaders know what it feels like to face adversity from anti-gay conservatives. Paul did too. But he also knows the feeling of being condemned, opposed, and hated by those within our community who could not see the value of thinking independently rather than blind loyalty to the Democratic Party.
Paul, through tenacity and consistency cut a clearing in our political jungle where others could grow and develop a political voice other than the expected, and by that all of our community was enriched.
(side note: I appreciate the IndyGayForum, but if you ever wonder why we monitor the comments, it’s in response to the hate circus that dominates their comment threads)
Karen Ocamb shares some of her recollections:
When I first started freelancing for Frontiers magazine in the late 1980s/early 1990s, I was intrigued that the gay publication printed opinion pieces from conservatives and people who were more independent-minded than most of the left-leaning gay community. I didn’t know that the late publisher Bob Craig was a Republican until one-time “moderate” Republican Gov. Pete Wilson vetoed the gay rights bill he promised to sign. Bob quit the GOP and became something of a mash-up between Libertarian/Independent/Democrat.
Perhaps the most prominent consistent voice for Libertarian/Independents on the Frontiers Opinion page was Paul Varnell, a one-time academic-turned-activist-turned-columnist, mostly for the Windy City Times. Some of Paul’s columns would drive liberals and leftists crazy. There were angry letters to the editor and even some staffers would throw up their hands, vexed beyond words. But that’s what made a Paul Varnell column so interesting to read: he made you think, especially if you disagreed with him. He forced you to analyze why you disagreed. For those of us who think thinking is fun, it was a great intellectual exercise that often yielded new thoughts.
Rest in peace, Paul. We are appreciative of what you gave us.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.