Commentary

If We're Scrubbing History of Controversial Figures, Look No Further Than Gay Rights Activists

By Bill Donohue | June 14, 2021 | 5:19pm EDT
An LGBT activist raises a fist. (Photo credit: JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)
An LGBT activist raises a fist. (Photo credit: JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

To many Americans, gay pride month is about giving due recognition to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons and queers (LGBTQ). These are Americans who have been marginalized because of their status and are seeking an end to it. To be sure, there is near unanimity that bullying of any kind is unacceptable and that unjust discrimination should not be tolerated. Beyond that, the issue gets thorny, though there is a reluctance on the part of elites to admit it. 

Today more than ever before, gay activists have succeeded in gaining the support of a large swath of government officials and an even bigger slice of corporate America. It is not an exaggeration to say that these key decision-makers see no reason to tap the brakes on any issue of importance to the LGBTQ community. To that extent, the gay rights movement has been a stunning success. 

The Biden administration is leading the way, offering full-throated support to gay pride month. For example, the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican is flying a gay rainbow flag, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is front and center celebrating the "beauty, bravery, and vibrancy" of this movement. 

Similarly, corporate America has signed on to gay pride month in a way that is startling. The biggest banks, department stores, airlines, professional sports teams, liquor and beer companies, hotel chains, TV networks, newspapers, tech companies, and pharmaceutical houses are all on board without reservation. There's the rub—without reservation.

It is one thing to recognize the equal dignity of all Americans—this is a staple of Catholic teachings—independent of their sexual orientation; it is quite another to endorse everything associated with the gay pride agenda. 

For example, why is it necessary for those elites who want to show respect for LGBTQ people to remain silent about the child abuse that is taking place in the name of gay pride? To be specific, anyone who sanctions sex transitioning for minors is promoting child abuse, whether it is intentional or not. Most teens who express a desire to transition will change their mind if given time. Moreover, hormone blockers are irreversible and the next step is sex reassignment surgery. From what we know, the results, in terms of wellbeing, are not auspicious. 

Another issue that must be addressed is a close look at who the founders of the gay rights movement were and what they stood for. Their profile is not inspiring.

Harry Hay is regarded by many as the founder of the gay rights movement. He not only endorsed adults having sex with minors; he said the young men would love it.

"If the parents and friends of gays are truly friends of gays," he said, "they would know from their gay kids that the relationship with an older man is precisely what thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen-year-old kids need more than anything else in the world."

He was also a supporter of NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association), the gay pedophile group.

Brenda Howard is responsible for the first gay pride march held in 1970. Known as the "Mother of Pride," the bisexual was a devotee of sadomasochism, bondage, and polyamorous relationships. Gilbert Baker created the rainbow flag. He was an anti-Catholic bigot drag queen who went by the name "Busty Ross," a play on Betsy Ross.

Allen Ginsburg is known as among the first intellectuals associated with the modern gay rights movement. He was a strong defender of NAMBLA, the organization committed to normalizing child molestation. Larry Kramer founded ACT-UP, some of whose members crashed St. Patrick's Cathedral during a Sunday Mass and spat the Eucharist on the floor; he was also a NAMBLA advocate. Harvey Milk, the famous San Francisco activist and politician, was heralded by President Obama. According to the gay author Randy Shilts, who wrote a book about him, Milk also had sex with minors. 

Last year, statues of iconic Americans were destroyed by urban anarchists. Every effort was made to eradicate historic figures from American history texts and annual celebrations in their name came under fierce attack. The elites, almost without exception, stood by and watched; some applauded. 

If these Americans are worthy of being scrubbed from our history, why should those who founded the gay rights movement not be excised as well?

Make no mistake about it, the Catholic League is opposed to censoring American history, regardless of the profile of those who shaped it. Ditto for those who crafted the gay pride movement. Even seriously flawed persons are capable of making notable public achievements. And judging those who lived long ago by today's standards smacks of ethnocentrism. 

The duplicity, though, is repugnant. Why is it okay to trash Harry Truman but not Harry Hay? Those who launched the cancel culture—they are all on the left—cannot now claim that what they started should stop at their doorstep. If they want to recognize flawed gay leaders, let them recognize flawed American heroes.  

The best path forward is to cancel the cancel culture and stop with selective moral indignation. 

Bill Donohue is president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of eight books and many articles.

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