|Letter from Brussels: Gay Nationalism|
by De Ket in Columns & Opinions , 04 May 2017
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On May 7, we will know who the next French president will be for the coming five years. Polls indicate that, after the first round, only Emmanuel Macron – independent without a party in the centre of the political spectrum – and the far-right Marine Le Pen of the National Front (FN) will go on to the second round. But polls are not always correct, as we now know all too well.
The French electoral system is a perverse system. In the first round, the French vote for their favourite candidate. In the second round that same electorate brings out an anti-vote, to prevent one of the two candidates from winning. Or how the French in the fifth French republic initially voted left or right wing, only to vote the other way around two weeks later. Or how the French have a left and right wing side to them. Whatever is convenient.
On social media and in the press, Marine Le Pen of the extreme right Front National gets a lot of attention. As the most-likely candidate to go into the second round, the French are starting to realise that she could actually make it. Especially if anti Le Pen voters fail to show up in the second round, and her own supporters show up en masse. Her French-nationalist agenda appeals to a lot of French, as is her anti-European rhetoric, and she is saying what a lot of French (and other Europeans) have been thinking about the cumbersome administrative and counter-productive mastodons of the European institutions for a long time.
The phrase gay nationalism is also heard ever more often. According to the polls, twenty percent of French homosexuals will be voting Marine Le Pen. Important representatives of the FN are not keen on the GLBTQX community. However, the number two of her party, the thirty-five-year-old Florian Philippot, is openly gay and single.
The French GLBTQX community was shocked by these statistics. Spokespersons of the French gay movement do not understand how gay people can vote for an extreme right-wing party that opposes gay marriage, and has so many politicians that have a very low opinion of GLBTQXs. Apparently, gay nationalists can put aside this gay hatred and still vote for them.
The only possible explanation is the anti-Islam rhetoric of extreme right-wing candidates, as everyone knows that Islam is sending even more gay hatred into the world than the FN. Gay nationalism in France is not a first. The Flemish party Vlaams Belang also managed to collect a lot of gay votes in the Antwerp community, which at the time had to deal with a growing gay hatred, and an increasing number of incidents. It reaffirmed that fear of Islam and the accompanying gay hatred is worrying a lot of people in the GLBTQX community.
Perhaps gay nationalism is not the ideal response to this rational fear of Islam. But those very same gay people also see that gay hatred is still on the increase, and even more painful, that it is not just Islam that is responsible. As often mentioned here, that hatred also comes from the Roman Catholics. Perhaps the gay nationalists do set their sights on all forms of religion, which are the real source of all gay hatred. Only some religions are better in camouflaging it. Gay nationalists may want to expose this further, but they think only politics can do this. And that is where they are wrong. The interaction between society and religion is more complicated. What remains is convincing these gay nationalist of the long road ahead.
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