Identity Politics Are So Extreme Now that Gays Look Old Fashioned and Conservative


For more than 20 years Godfrey’s restaurant and nightclub has been a prominent part of Richmond’s LGBTQ scene, hosting drag shows, creating a hospitable environment for young people with alternative sexual identities, and participating in charitable fund-raising events that transcend the LGBTQ community. As the restaurant website describes its mission: “RVA needs a space where young people can come together in an environment that is inclusive and safe regardless of their sexuality or gender identity. We hope Godfrey’s is that space.”

Despite its role in mainstreaming gay acceptance in the Richmond community, Godfrey’s recently ran afoul of LGBTQ militants at Virginia Commonwealth University. Now the controversy is spilling out beyond Godfrey’s and dividing LGBTQs along racial, generational, and gay/cisgender lines. Reports GayRVA:

Initially spurred by the debate over whether Godfrey’s could be considered a safe space for the LGBTQ community, the conversation has moved beyond any single venue. Members of the community have begun discussing local bar culture in general, and what a queer inclusive space could look like. Some don’t see any spaces in Richmond that fit the profile.

Some people describe the local LGBTQ bar scene as “anti-queer.” Numerous patrons of gay nightclubs cite “bad experiences” and “really traumatic stories.” A big problem: “predatory behavior” of cisgender males. Another issue: continuing evolution of politically correct terminology. For example, many older gays self-identify as “gay,” not “queer.” 

The issues erupted when two VCU student groups — Queer and Transgender People of Color Collective and Queer Action — launched a protest campaign against Godfrey’s. That campaign began with an open letter listing grievances against the restaurant, including:

  • Lack of gender-inclusive bathrooms;
  • people being policed for using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity;
  • Excessive police force used against patrons;
  • Numerous anti-black incidents with drag performers, staff members, and police officers.

The letter writers demanded that Godfrey’s make bathrooms “gender inclusive,” reduce the presence of police officers, acknowledge the restaurant’s racism, educate staff on issues of “racial justice and trans inclusion,” and apologize publicly.

Godfrey’s owners did not respond well to either the allegations of discrimination or the manner in which the demands were posted publicly. Wrote management in a publicly posted response:

My business partner and I are particularly incensed because of everything that we had to endure as a gay men growing up in the 80’s. We have been personally attacked and our lives threatened and almost every other person at our business has experienced real discrimination in some form or another.  So no, we are not going to bend to you or your groups’ demands because we haven’t done anything to warrant such an action.

As for escorting people out of the nightclub, well… people misbehave and the restaurant evicts disruptive people. Said Godfrey’s staffer Eric S. Kelsey in an interview with GayRVA:

Just this past weekend. I saw two individuals, two white straight males, escorted out by security because they’d snuck liquor into the bar. I’ve seen people from all walks of life in my time there. If they are breaking rules, they are being violent, they are disturbing patrons, they are being destructive, they are too drunk to even function, they are going to be taken out of the bar. And that I think is fair to ask of any establishment. Your main goal is to make sure no one is breaking ABC laws, because if we don’t do anything about it, ABC could come in and shut us down. If somebody’s acting violent, they have to go, it doesn’t matter who they are.

Bacon’s bottom line: As 65-year-old heterosexual Southern white male fitting just about every negative stereotype in the Left’s catechism of intersectionality, my opinion means nothing to the protesters. But I’m offering it anyway. For what it’s worth, I’m a live-and-let-live libertarian. I really don’t care what LGBTQs as long as they don’t infringe upon my right to do what I want to do. The gays I know (most of whom, admittedly, are of the older generation) blend into the community. No one cares that they’re gay, and they don’t waste their lives nursing grievances.

It is a disturbing sign of the times that the ideology of alienation has gotten so extreme that members of VCU’s LGBTQ community would target Godfrey’s, of all places. That’s par for the course, though, for campus leftists who cherish their victimhood and turn upon allies who don’t meet their standards of ideological purity. Some people live in a state of perpetual outrage and always find reasons to justify their never-dying anger. They can never be mollified. But their intolerance wins them no friends and generates no sympathy. In this dispute, Godfrey’s comes across as a law-abiding member of the establishment willing to enforce norms of respectable behavior. They may not want me, but I’m with them.

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10 responses to “Identity Politics Are So Extreme Now that Gays Look Old Fashioned and Conservative

  1. I think when my wife signed up as a VCU adjunct the human resources paperwork had a dozen or more choices under “gender”. My mind was bent by Heinlein and Vonnegut into accepting weirdness decades ago. ‘Tis a world they predicted….Calling Mr. Smith. Mr. Michael Valentine Smith.

    But you gotta love the name. Queer and Transgender People of Color Collective. That’s Michael PALIN material. SNL could not do them justice, for them you need the full Monty (Python).

    • Well said. I can see John Cleese’ reaction in my mind.

      But the more general thought that comes to mind is how groups divide into splinter factions when they lack a really threatening common enemy. Take our political parties today; the only thing keeping the Dems united is regaining control over the House, if not also the Senate, in the face of this unusual President; and as for the Republicans, that Freedom Caucus crowd is on a suicide mission but just doesn’t get it. Take 1968, fresh in mind with all the 50th anniversary reminiscences, and how shocking that year was to the generation that survived a Depression and two wars and was ready to pursue another one down to the last cratered rice paddy. Take those student protesters at VCU and other Virginia campuses who “demand” whatever’s on the list this time, particularly if it involves race and gender policies, because they don’t understand the enormous educational opportunity they risk squandering. The wierdness of the protests at Godfrey’s strikes me as just another confirmation that all’s basically right in the world. Silence, quiet calm, on the VCU campus would be scarier.

      • Acbar, as is your habit, above you’ve made a most interesting observation all around, particularly the last three sentences:

        “Take 1968, fresh in mind with all the 50th anniversary reminiscences, and how shocking that year was to the generation that survived a Depression and two wars and was ready to pursue another one down to the last cratered rice paddy. Take those student protesters at VCU and other Virginia campuses who “demand” whatever’s on the list this time, particularly if it involves race and gender policies, because they don’t understand the enormous educational opportunity they risk squandering. The wierdness of the protests at Godfrey’s strikes me as just another confirmation that all’s basically right in the world. Silence, quiet calm, on the VCU campus would be scarier.”

        Picking up on that comment, there was a lot of “Silence, quit calm” on the surface of the 1950’s while the “Greatest Generation” (who I admire otherwise), went about destroying much of our planet, its water, land and air.

        By 1960, for example, if you could stand the stink, you could walk across the Potomac river below Key Bridge, hopping across on raw sewage afloat like lily pads until you gained the far shore.

        But doing so, you couldn’t fish, fall in, or swim. Otherwise cholera, vomiting and diarrhea might result. At least the crap flowed down stream in most spots, not dammed up like many other earlier free flowing rivers.

        Then there was the air. Take Baltimore. Its air hung thick and sullen like a plague over that city that was otherwise grey until it looked afire once the sun passed beneath the yardarm.

        Then there was the rape of the land as commented on in Shocker: Positive Signs from Washington Metros posted on September 19, 2018.

        Why, this result?

        I suspect that the attitude of the greatest generation bred it.

        And that its attitude likely arose from twin experiences. The depression raised them poor. The war forged that poorest generation into the greatest. They next came home world conquerors thirsting for wealth they’d never had.

        Remember too these WW II kids had conquered the World against the evilest of enemies. They’d done it on their own with massive and wondrous machines fueled by logistic trains beyond comprehension. They’d invented those war machines then used those incredible tools with amazing skills that quite literally saved the world. They came home Gods. Masters of the universe. And forgot for a while that peace is not war.

        Then came the big equally astounding surprise. The 1968 protests driven by the idealism of flower children rose up smiling before it morphed into riots, shootings and assassinations driven ultimately by a hardened self righteous ideology riven by tribal instincts of the worst sort, and nihilism.

        Today, 50 years after those children rose they unleashed primal powers that are still hard at work trying to dismantle Western Civilization without a clue as to what comes next, beyond the Burning Next Time.

        The irony is that, along with way, those flower children saved much of our world that would have been otherwise been lost before their idealism morphed into ideology, tribal instincts, and nihilism driven by the usual suspects, power, greed, and lust that now eat its young along with everyone else.

      • Reed, as you well know, the “Greatest Generation” knew how to follow orders. Orders were to trust those in charge; trust the government; trust authority; leave the trash floating in the Potomac because those in authority were not doing anything about it. And the consequence — I like your juxtaposition: “Today, 50 years after those children rose they unleashed primal powers that are still hard at work trying to dismantle Western Civilization without a clue as to what comes next, beyond the Burning Next Time. The irony is that, along with way, those flower children saved much of our world that would have been otherwise been lost before their idealism morphed into ideology, tribal instincts, and nihilism . . ..”

        It’s been said, “The 1960s did not end in 1970. They haunt us even now.” So should we blame the idealism of the 1960s for today’s ideologies, tribal instincts, and nihilism? I think there’s a link, yes. We need aspirational goals for society — and we fought wars, starting with our Revolution, to live up to those goals — yet when peace finally came in the 1950s we realized we ourselves were not living up to our own goals at home. So, yes, IMO it required a great upheaval to apply our stated national aspirations to ourselves, and that upheaval is far from finished and still costs us and breeds resentments. “It is … altogether good to embrace the Sixties’ great achievement: that America belongs to all its citizens, not just some. … But in order to do so, we must acknowledge the wreckage the Sixties left behind.”

  2. Welcome to the world of modern higher education. And its results.

    Meanwhile, tuition goes through the roof to make higher education’s administrators and research professors rich as Goldfinger for not teaching at all, or teaching, if they do teach, why straight boys and girls, and white men, are outdated at best and likely bad, too.

  3. Homeless Zombie Apocalypse

    I have seen the same political and cultural division between older and younger gay people, and actually between older and younger in other groups — today’s younger people are subject to brainwashing by the cult of Identity Politics, which functions much like a fundamentalist religion.

    I’ve created several videos about or touching on this issue, including how Identity Politics is a modern day fundamentalist religion — see my YouTube Channel here:
    ttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-a8gJBeYMPLdCkfI5LPUhw

    Good for Godfrey’s for having none of the nonsense of the ridiculous bullies.
    People need to keep standing up to the bullying of the fundamentalist Identity Politics fanatics. Identity Politics is tribalist, divisive, and the irony is it is also profoundly racist, in its superficial and hateful attempt to paint people into corners, either as victim or oppressor, based solely on their race or other superficial characteristic.

  4. I find it fascinating that those on the left full bore support identity politics…. until they get eaten. And if you are not blessed with the correct identity du jour you will get eaten. It’s an awesome social phenomenon I find so so entertaining. I imagine it won’t be long before they come for the old white men Warner and Kaine… how dare Virginians have two old white dudes representing POCs and especially WOCs?

  5. Dear All,

    The Left used to engage in sometimes useful, class-based politics. Its rhetoric was inclusive and based on a belief in human rights, remember, “ain’t I a man?” It was reformist. It mostly opposed foreign wars.

    Now it is all based on racial and sexual hatreds and Marcuse’s call for “polymorphous perversity.” In fact, its support for endless immigration and offshoring of jobs immiserates the American working class. Its leaders are members of the so-called meritocracy and it expresses contempt for those who are not, if they are White, that is. It is profoundly uncivil, disgusting, lying, intolerant and persecuting. It has become a blight or cancer on society. Its qualms against foreign wars are gone, too. This Left, indeed, threatens the peace of the world. To paraphrase Simon and Garfunkel, “where have you gone, Eugene McCarthy?”

    President Trump is the rather tardy whirlwind who emerged from the Left’s sowing the wind, beginning in the late 1960s, forward. The Bushes delayed, but did not stop, the great reaction. Confronted with it and unable, as yet, to stop it, the Left has melted down utterly at his advent.

    Sincerely,

    Andrew

  6. To understand what is happening in America today, including its current plague of Identity Politics used to destroy fellow citizens without reliable proof, consider this:

    When Thucydides spoke of the Golden Age of Athens he summarized some of its great strengths, often using the words of Pericles. Here is a very brief and highly paraphrased summary of their conclusions:

    “Our ancestors (some of whom died in our defense, and who dwelt in our country without break from generation to generation) handed Athens to us free and vibrant by reason of their public and private spirit and energy that built Athens and defended her as well by their valor. So we now possess what they spared no pains to be able to bequeath us, a mother country that can be furnished by us with everything that enables her to depend on her own resources whether for war or peace. And its fruits are beyond measure.

    For example:

    Our constitution does not copy those of our neighbors but rather it is the pattern they imitate. Its administration favors the many of us instead of the few. That is why it is called a democracy.

    And, if we look to our laws, they afford equal justice to all in our public and private affairs. Hence, advancement in our country’s public life falls to the reputation we earn for capacity. Class distinction is not allowed to interfere with our merit. Nor does poverty bar the way.

    And, if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition, and the freedom he enjoys in public life extends to his private life. Thus, far from exercising a jealous surveillance over one another, we do not feel called upon to be angry with our neighbor for his doing what he likes, or even to indulge in those injurious looks which cannot fail to be offensive although they inflict no real harm.

    But all this ease in our private relations does not make us lawless as citizens. We are constrained by our laws and equally by our own private sense of disgrace. To assure this we refresh ourselves often from business and do so with games. We also throw our city open to the world, and never by alien act do we exclude foreigners from the opportunity of learning or observing here in Athens, although we know full well that the eyes of our enemy may occasionally profit from our liberality.

    And we trust less in system and policy than to the native spirit of our citizens, and we do so knowing full well that the education chosen by our rivals goes from their cradle to old age by painful discipline that seeks exclusively after manliness. Rather, instead, here in Athens, we live exactly as we please and yet we are just as ready to encounter every legitimate danger as fearlessly and competently as our rivals, indeed more competently by reason of our liberality and democracy, giving us freedom and much else to lose.

    So Athenians do not allow their wealth to unnerve their spirit or their poverty to shrink them from danger. Instead we inherent the traditions of our ancestors who resolved not to lose Athens but to build her, and hence so nobly fought and died for her with the result that we, as their survivors, are also ready to suffer as they did in her cause.

    This is not all. We cultivate refinement without extravagance and knowledge without effeminacy. Wealth we employ more for use than for show. We place the real disgrace of poverty not in owning to the fact, but in our declining the struggle against it, so as to transcend it.

    Because of all this, the admiration of the present and succeeding ages will be ours since we have not left our power without witness. Instead we have shown it with mighty proofs. Far from needing a Homer for our eulogist, we have forced every sea and land to be the highway of our daring, whether for evil or good, we have left imperishable monuments behind us.”

    ——–

    More than three centuries of hard and history making innovative work brought Athens to the peak of its power, and culture, and system of free governance by its citizens in a combination that changed the history of the world, the human race, and the very definition of civilization still strong and vibrant to this day some 2500 years later.

    Still, despite all of its strengths, the fall of Athens was rapid.

    The rot and corruption that destroyed Athens was put on steroids by reckless war and spread beyond repair with the space of decades. Here is how Thucydides describes the roots of that corruption and how it ruined the city state of Athens.

    “Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them. Reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal supporter; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice, moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; inability to see all sides of the question and incapacity to act on any of them. Frantic violence became the attribute of manliness; cautious plotting a justifiable means of self-defense. The advocate of extreme measures was always trustworthy; his opponent a man to be suspected. To succeed in a plot was to have a shrew head, to divine the plot was shrewder, but to try to provide against having to do either was to break up your party and to be afraid of your adversaries … even blood became weaker than party, from the superior readiness of those united by (party) to dare everything without reserve (for the party) sought not the blessings derived from established institutions but were formed by ambition to overthrow them; and the confidence of the members in each other rested less on religious sanction than upon complicity of crime.

    The fair proposals of an adversary were met with jealous precautions by the stronger of the two, and not with generous confidence. Revenge was held of more account than self-preservation. Oaths of reconciliation, being only offered on either side to meet an immediate difficulty, only held good so long as no other weapon was at hand; but when the opportunity arose, he who first ventured to seize it and to take his enemy off his guard, thought this perfidious vengeance sweeter than an open one since, considerations apart, success by treachery won him the prize for superior intelligence … the cause of these evils being the lust for power arising from greed and ambition; and from these passions proceeded the violence of parties once engaged in contention (but each contender always disguised his true intentions in the false name of the public good as they sought prizes for themselves alone, and stopped at nothing in their struggles for ascendancy and engaged in direct excesses).

    Thus religion was in honor with neither party; but the use of fair phases to arrive at guilty ends was in high reputation. Meanwhile the moderate part of the citizens perished between the two, either for not joining in the quarrel, or because envy would not suffer them to escape. Thus every form of iniquity took root in the Hellenic countries by reason of the troubles.”

    (This is Adapted and Edited version of The Landmark Thucydides earlier edited by Robert B. Strassler from Richard Crawley’s original translation.)

    Perhaps more that any other man, the orator, statesman, and general ALCIBIADES brought ruin to Athens. The despicable personal qualities and character of ALCIBIADES has come to forever represent the classic lesson on the personality type that so often claws its way to power and destroys not only a highly successful democracy but also an entire people and culture, no matter how admirable both may be before their ruin.

    See RMF 3rd comments to The Ironies of Virginia’s Growing Diversity, posted July 22, 2015.

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