The differences between social conservatives and liberals are extensive and multifaceted. However in my opinion when watered down to the very basics, social conservatives want everything to stay the same and are wary of change while social liberals embrace change and welcome differences. Although it’s a little simplistic it’s a definition that tends to hold true.
Gay rights has always been one of those issues that has very clearly divided people. If you were pro gay marriage you were liberal and if you were anti gay marriage you were conservative. Simple and straight forward. However with gay marriage acceptance growing amongst people of all backgrounds, it’s starting to become much less of a divisive issue. The change started slow and back when Ellen came out and was steady through the days of Will and Grace. In the last couple of years though the tides have quickly turned in our favor. Now that gay marriage has become legal across the country it deescalates the issue to some respect. Obviously we’re not there yet but it’s not impossible to foresee a future where both presidential candidates support gay rights. Now that our make it or break it issue is off the table (or soon will be) for the first time we’re given the chance to stop and think about our other political opinions. As this slow process starts I think we’re going to see that many gay people are more conservative that they previously let on. In some cases there will be gay people who for the first time realize they are more conservative then even they realized.
I’ve already started to notice it amongst my friends and acquaintances when talking about the growing Trans rights movement. For decades we as gay people have asked the straight community to accept and respect us even though many of them didn’t really understand our lifestyle. We would shame and ridicule (rightly so) anyone who shunned us. I’m fascinated to watch how we will handle it now that the tides have turned. As gay people we are being asked as part of the larger general population to accept and respect Trans people even though we don’t necessarily understand their lifestyle. It will interesting to see if we can practice what we’ve preached. So far it looks like some gays aren’t quick to jump on board. I hope we as a community don’t turn into a bunch of hypocrites but only time will tell.
It should be noted that I still don’t consider myself to be conservative. However I have realized that some people around me are. One other thought is that they are becoming more conservative with age… but that’s a theory for another post.