Brian Clowes: The Protocols Of The Elders Of Gayness

Brayan_smallBrian Clowes, noted Catholic commentator, contributor to The American Spectator, and top exec with Human Life International, published an annoyingly hand-me-down expose on the “gay agenda” this week, trotting out, like so many angry anti-gays before him, the gay rights manifesto After The Ball as a kind of gay Protocols of the Elders of Zion. From Clowe’s essay at LifeSiteNews:

… Homophile strategists are very adept at manipulating public opinion with an arsenal of six tactics that are based upon deceptions and half‑truths:

  • Exploit the “victim” status;
  • Use the sympathetic media;
  • Confuse and neutralize the churches;
  • Slander and stereotype Christians;
  • Bait and switch (hide their true nature); and
  • Intimidation.

… Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen clearly laid out this agenda in the marching orders of the movement, After the Ball:  How America Will Conquer Its Fear & Hatred of Gays in the 90s.[1] This volume is an absolute treasure chest of information for those pro-family stalwarts who are actively engaged against the homosexual rights agenda.

By far the most popular homophile tactic is the claim to victim status, which is a very powerful, almost paralyzing, weapon that gives them a distinct advantage in the public square …

Just for the record: I have never read After The Ball, and I’ve never heard it discussed by actual gay people. Only by gay-obsessed bigots like Brian Clowes.

Meanwhile, I wonder if Clowes is sufficiently self-aware to note the irony in accusing LGBTfolk of claiming “hiding their true nature,” claiming “victim status,” and especially of “slandering and stereotyping Christians.” Virtually every piece of anti-gay legislation to be passed in the United States in the last decade has squeaked through the polls by “hiding its true nature” beneath tricky legalese. And if that’s a stretch, Clowes should at least realize that his entire career, at this point, consists of pleading special “victim” status for conservative religionists, and of “slandering and stereotyping” gay people. Why, in this very piece Clowes writes:

[Homosexual activists] have lulled people into thinking that the wider society will not be adversely affected by their radical social agenda. Homosexual strategists have, in many cases, toned down their extreme rhetoric and have cloaked their agenda in soothing language.

… engaging, in other words, in a massive conspiracy. Apparently, Clowes doesn’t object to stereotype and slander in general, but only to stereotyping and slander against those with whom he happens to agree. 


  1. NealB says

    After the Ball was an excellent examination of the ways in which the gay rights movement of the 70s/80s had succeeded in advancing gay rights in spite of not really moving the needle much toward general acceptance of gay men and women by the majority. It’s main tenet, IIRC, was that the gay community, by-and-large, and its leadership, then, failed to properly characterize anti-gay bigotry, by mis-identifying it as a fear of gays (homophobia) rather than calling it what it really was, hatred. The main idea, again, IIRC, was that the gay movement then was really playing the victim for our oppressors, rather than fighting the oppression itself. One of the main ways we could do that was to call homo-haters what they were, and to consistently, persistently, vilify them as the bullies and thugs that they are. Sociology 101 tells us that human beings don’t like thugs and bullies, so, until we, as relentlessly as possible, identified homo-haters as the villain in the equation (rather than just, perhaps reasonably, frightened of gays) there would be no real progress toward changing hearts and minds of the public-at-large.

    Whether it was widely read, or not, After the Ball’s theories gradually became practice as more and more of us realized how timid and accommodating we’d been of the scorn and violence we’d endured our whole lives, that the main problem was fear of gays, but hatred.

  2. Oliver says

    “Just for the record: I have never read After The Ball, and I’ve never heard it discussed by actual gay people. Only by gay-obsessed bigots like Brian Clowes.”

    Well, just for the record I have two large walls full of books, from top to bottom, and I’ve never even heard of this book. I wonder if that’s because, according to Nielsen Bookscan, this book has only sold a few thousand copies.

  3. Reed Boyer says

    I’ve read “After the Ball.” I even have a copy in “the gay section” of my many many many many many bookcases.

    And I agree with Neal B.

    The book should be re-issued. Or perhaps Towleroad or another excellent site might make a deal to publish it as an e-book.

  4. DavidGroff says

    I remember this book. The irony here is that when it was published, back in the previous millennium, it was decried by many queer activists as cravenly accomodationist and assimilationist. If Mr. Clowes read some of the more activist gay-agenda books, he’s have a seizure.

  5. Just sayin' says

    Another Katholic neanderthal looking for attention but cloaking self-pity with the usual righteous indignation bullcrap that Katholics use as a cover for being found morally wanton and depraved. He should be ashamed of himself and his church.

  6. says

    “I remember this book. The irony here is that when it was published, back in the previous millennium, it was decried by many queer activists as cravenly accomodationist and assimilationist.”

    And I was among them. “After the Ball” is PATHETIC. That the phobes present it as living proof of “The Gay Agenda” is laughable.

  7. Brad says

    Exploit the “victim” status;
    Use the sympathetic media;
    Confuse and neutralize the churches;
    Slander and stereotype Christians;
    Bait and switch (hide their true nature); and

    Hmmm. This ‘agenda’ looks almost like a textbook example of what the Christianist homophobes are using today to keep LGBT people in their second-class place.

  8. kit says

    Wait — how is it HIDING my true nature to come OUT of the closet? If we all go back in the closet, will we be showing our true natures? I’m so confused!
    Also, f*ck him.

  9. Jason says

    From gay archivist literature regarding Gay Marriage: This grand struggle over one word has ever put symbolism over substance, sentiment over sense, “respectability” over true self-respect. What might have been an effort to win legal respect for a range of human relationships was instead made a “gay issue.” By gay people themselves — finding it “strategic” to play oppressed victims.

  10. Shelly says

    I read it back in the day and still have it kicking around here somewhere. I remember it by and large as an examination of how we could better market our cause based on, well, marketing strategies and I recall a lot of examples of effective PSA’s against racial bigotry and how we could take what’s working there and get it to work for us. And as already noted, most of this stuff has become the backbone of our media strategy such as it is. But, honestly, any decent ad-man woulda come up with the same stuff regardless of whether an apparently not-much read book from the late eighties articulated it to the masses.

    And without dredging up my copy from wherever it’s hiding in my library, though I do recognize the first strategy listed here as having been discussed, the way he’s slanted the others renders them unrecognizable to me, but I suppose that’s to be expected.

    At the time I first read it, I thought it was a really good strategy. Nowadays, twenty-twenty hindsight shows up the long-term flaws in some of it. But, that’s how it goes.

  11. says

    Yes, indeed ironic that the book was greeted as excessively — the whole idea was that we should market ourselves as “just like straight people,” i. e. non-threatening, so dress conservatively, don’t talk about sex, etc. Definitely throw trans people under the bus.

    And it is indeed the famous “gay agenda” the right always harps about. Not my agenda!

    It reminds me of NAMBLA, which only the right seems to remember. They’re convinced that NAMBLA marches in every gay pride parade and that the real gay agenda is about pedophilia.

    But I bet if I were to ask my college student gay kids what NAMBLA is they’d have no clue.

  12. jaragon says

    I read “After The Ball” and still have a copy of it somewhere- and the whole point was to make gays acceptable by straight society by making our culture more mainstream.

  13. says

    I remember After the Ball. It was an interesting thought piece. The suggestion I liked most was being more explicit with the names of our organizations. The Human Rights Campaign would have been scolded by the After the Ball authors for making invisible the gay nature of its mission, if I remember their argument correctly.

    Mr Clowes’ bullet points don’t sound familiar, at least not from After the Ball. As mentioned upthread, the bulleted strategies look like they’ve been ripped from the Christianist playbook.

  14. Dave says

    The Catholic church is in the business of psychological warfare and use black propaganda to destroy LGBT people. If you don’t know what psychological warfare is google it and lean what the Christians are doing to covertly destroy LGBT people.

  15. Cassandra says

    Johnson – Atheism is a prejudice as destructive and foul as homophobia. Bear in mind, that homophobes characterize homosexuality as a disease of the mind to this very day. You are walking in their footsteps.

  16. says

    Kosnik, et al., took care of the RC arguments against gays and lesbians in “Human Sexuality” (1977) by re-examining the biblical passages used by homophobes.

    The book was banned by the Church and its author “silenced.”

    Try to find a copy.

  17. gleeindc says

    Interestingly enough, I had a friend who claimed to have been in a relationship with one of the After the Ball authors. He told me just how closeted the man was and how the relationship was all done basically in the same closet.
    As for the stereotyping Christians, given the number of comments from “Christian” leaders lately (putting gays and lesbians in pens, they should be put to death, the president sides with satan, etc.), there is a real problem with their public image and the “stereotype” seems to fit the lunatic fringe concept.

  18. BZ says

    After the Ball should be understood as a product of its time. Ronald Reagan and then Bush I had occupied the White House for 12 years by defeating a series of weak Democratic opponents (Jimmy Carter, Fritz Mondale, Michael Dukakis.) There was a debate raging in the Democratic party about whether to continue advocating for the constituencies and causes of the left (e.g. Labor and social justice) or to tack back to the center by recognizing that Reagan had succeeded in shifting the country to the right. Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) were major voices advocating that if the Democrats wanted to win, they could not keep nominating milquetoast liberals whom the Republicans would easily defeat.

    Bear in mind, this was during an era that the Democratic party didn’t want to be seen embracing LGBT. They would condescend to take our money, but only as long as we didn’t ask for much in return. Also, the community had suffered through the AIDS crisis, spawning a wave of confrontational activism. By the early 1990s ACT-UP had largely come and gone, followed by Queer Nation. There were many in the gay community who had plenty of reason to be furious with both political parties and saw little hope that working within the system was going to have much promise to advance LGBT rights.

    After the Ball was published in this context. Its authors were aligned with the centrist DLC faction that was advocating jettisoning those portions of our community that were just too outre to ever be accepted by mainstream America. They believed the way we would gain our rights would be to settle down and project an assimilationist image that gays and lesbians were Just Like You, with the 2.5 adopted kids and the Subaru in the driveway of their suburban tract house.

    The activist wing of the LGBT community was apoplectic when this book was published. We were at the time fighting hard against the Culture Wars inititatives like Amendment 2 in Colorado and Ballot Measure 9 in Oregon, which would have permanently prohibited any gay-positive legislation from being passed ever again. After the Ball seemed like a betrayal of the activist wing, undermining our ability to defend ourselves against this right wing onslought. In the end, it was much discussed but not much read. I did read it, along with Urvashi Vaid’s companion book Virtual Equality which hit pretty much the same themes.

    What ultimately happened is that Clinton won the election, and with the Democrats in the White House the perceived need for in-your-face ACT-UP-style activism faded for many years. It was replaced by a complaisent, get-out-your-checkbook approach that greatly benefited organizations like the HRC but didn’t really move us much toward our goal. For all his words, Bill Clinton still signed DADT and DOMA into law.

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