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LGBT libertarianism: queer and free

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LGBT libertarianism holds up the rights of all people. A libertarian society is one where everyone is treated the same under the law.

By Will Smith

I’m an outspoken libertarian, and I’m also bisexual.

To my surprise I have, on multiple occasions, stood and watched people’s faces contort in befuddlement as they try to reconcile these two aspects of my life. Many of my friends and colleagues have stared at me, completely floored, as they ask me how I can possibly defend a party that has been accused of being unsympathetic towards the LGBTQ community at various points.

This disconnect stems from a basic misunderstanding about libertarianism. Libertarianism (with an emphasis on a small “l”) is not a party, it’s a philosophy. As an anarchist, I don’t give the actual Libertarian Party much thought. They don’t necessarily represent me. However, that being said, it’s interesting to point out that the LP platform has supported gay rights since the 1980s, decades before the Democrats.

Libertarianism is inherently pro-LGBTQ

Libertarian philosophy holds as one of its basic pillars that individuals have the same rights regardless of race, religion, gender, or orientation; put simply, it treats people like people. Any branch of libertarianism must have at its core a respect and defense of the rights of minorities, including the LGBTQ community. Quite simply, it is impossible to use libertarianism to defend any form of legal discrimination against anyone based on circumstances of birth.

Once you understand this, the idea that libertarianism opposes the rights of the LGBTQ community is laughable, and to claim otherwise is intellectually dishonest. That said, there are the unfortunate few among libertarians that “disagree with that lifestyle” or “love the sinner, not the sin” based on a distorted view of reality or their own personal bigotry. But if they are truly libertarian, they would never defend using the gun of the state to promote their ideas.

Progressives weaponize the LGBTQ community

The confusion towards LGBT libertarianism also stems from another basic misunderstanding of reality: the idea that the Democratic Party, and progressivism in general, give a damn about us. While I would never claim that most individuals of that party are disingenuous in their support for LGBTQ rights, the party itself holds up gay people like my racist uncle holds up his one black friend.

The platform for the Democratic Party is one of political expediency, not philosophical ideals. Ever since they were forced to support LGBTQ rights because of public opinion, they have tokenized our community. This occurrence makes perfect sense; as a political party, what the Democrats really care about are votes, and as LGBTQ rights became more popular they had to start supporting them (even though they used to be as opposed to them as Republicans).

Instead of seeing the LGBTQ community as individuals with inherent rights, many Democrats saw us as a large pill they had to swallow in order to stay in power. In typical political fashion, instead of trying to find legitimate, philosophically-based solutions, the Democrats have entirely focused on using the State to solve our problems.

In the process, they have built up a straw man of the LGBTQ community as one that runs to the state at every turn, to the detriment of progress. Instead of getting the state out of people’s lives and letting us interact voluntarily, they want to get the state involved in our marriages.

They want to force bigoted shop owners to take our pictures and make our cakes. Politicians expect us to turn to the same institution that has been used for generations to deny us our rights, and I, for one, say hell no. Get the state out of marriage. Let the bigots be open about their hate so I can be sure to never give them my money. Treat me like an adult, and stop inflating the idea that I’m helpless and need the state just because I’m not straight.

True freedom comes from equal treatment, not tokenization

I’m proud to be part of a philosophy that holds up the rights of all people: one that is based on ideas instead of politics. A libertarian society is one where everyone is treated the same under the law. It rewards tolerance and benevolence by crushing bigots under the boot of public opinion.

It’s a society where people are treated with respect, and where love isn’t defined by a piece of paper. Libertarianism frees markets and builds a culture where everyone can flourish, free from state coercion. That is how you help the LGBTQ community: not by making special rules and different classes of people, but by helping everyone.

A freed market would do more to improve the lives of those in the LGBTQ community than every government program and permission combined.

It turns out my friends in the LGBTQ community have it backwards: libertarianism is the ideal philosophy for us. To a libertarian, I’m just another person and my arguments stem from my anarchism and leftist leanings, not my orientation. Libertarianism holds up my rights not because someone wants votes or because I’m queer, but because I’m a human being.

Instead of seeing me as someone that needs to have the state use force to take care of me, libertarians know that as a free individual I am able to care for myself and can turn to my community for help. Being bisexual is just a part of who I am.

Libertarianism respects this without making it the only issue and without treating me differently. The real question for people in the LGBTQ community should be, “How can you be part of a party that tokenizes and uses you to stay in power? How are you not libertarian?”

To read more about LGBTQ rights, be sure to check out our cluster page by clicking on the button below.

Updated by Joseph Simnett

This piece solely expresses the opinion of the author and not necessarily the organization as a whole. Students For Liberty is committed to facilitating a broad dialogue for liberty, representing a variety of opinions. If you’re a student interested in presenting your perspective on this blog, send your piece to [email protected], and mention SFL Blog in the email subject line for your chance to be published and be seen!


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