My Big Fat Gay Conservative New York Values

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Julian Wan Freelance Writer
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When I was 18, I came out to my conservative Republican parents, both devout Christians opposed to what they’d dubbed the “gay lifestyle.” My mother filled with fears of my contracting HIV, and my father simply said, “That’s very disappointing.” I cried my eyes out.

But it got better. Over time my parents acclimated. My father remained my role model, and after a chill, my gayness became just another thing my mother could mother me about. A way to show she loves me, a way to keep trying to protect me.

“Wear a condom!” “Don’t do drugs!” “I don’t trust that guy in your Instagram photo!”

Now, in my mid 20s, I work at a left-leaning publication in the heart of downtown Manhattan. Last week, an executive at my company rewarded my team with gift cards to a trendy NYC spa after we completed a demanding project. I booked my appointment the following day.

My masseuse was kind and soft spoken. As I felt him rubbing and stretching my back, he remarked, “You have a lot of built up tension.” I murmured in agreement.

“People are getting it more and more … Donald Trump keeps saying stuff that makes us tense up … and we hold that in us. If we don’t work it out, our body suffers.”

I grimace. I wanted to say, “It’s not Trump, it’s my posture!” But I was wary to disrupt the experience. I wondered where I had felt this before. A feeling that I must go with the common flow — never upending trendy consensus for fear of reprisal.

Oh yeah! Those 10 years I was in the closet. Lying to friends, family, and myself to meet outward expectations. Do I pretend to agree, maintaining equanimity, or do I announce my support for Trump? I decide to shrug it off, because I value difference of opinion, and I pick my battles.

These moments are common in New York. No big deal. This NYC, full of vocal and often smug liberals, is still my home. And I love it. I love the multiplicity of lifestyles in NYC.

I’ve made magnificent friends across a spectrum of human life. A Muslim girl is my best friend, we watch Republican debates together and take shots every time Cruz pounds his podium with three fingers… I cheer for Trump and she laughs as I dutifully call him ‘Daddy’ — like platinum coiffed media icon Milo Yiannapolous. My socialist Jewish friend with a Gender Studies degree romanticizes about what greatness a Sanders presidency would bring — as we share a joint playing Mario Tennis.

Cruz may remark about “New York Values,” but his arrogant lack of familiarity with actual New Yorkers is his peril, not ours.

We value outward secularism while maintaining inward spirituality and religion. We have many Christians, just fewer Evangelicals. Diversity is pronounced in daily life, but we share common values of honesty, hard work, and individuality.

We are not godless, but rather we are a combined population representative of the many religions humanity upholds.

Despite heavy taxation, many New Yorkers are here for the promise of a brighter, wealthier future. Cruz may call this greedy, but unlike Ted and his father, most New Yorkers can’t afford to be professional grandstanders.

New Yorkers believe greatness is achieved through hard work and merit. I see that value embodied in Trump. In Cruz, I hear his father calling him “anointed,” and I see his surrogate Glenn Beck decrying that Americans worship Baal and Moloch — gods of antiquity… Huh?

New Yorkers don’t know what to do with that kind of language. What vision of America does a Cruz presidency promise us? Beyond the positions Cruz adopted after Trump led him there?

Trump understands what Cruz doesn’t. In New York City, you’re allowed to be brash, opinionated, and yourself. People will worship whomever, opine about anything, and wax poetic. But all want safety, opportunity, and freedom to express themselves.

Right-leaning New Yorkers come in many shapes and sizes. I am a gay conservative and know many New Yorkers who defy the prescribed identity politic positions, who are desperate to end the PC culture and smugness that plague this city.

But smugness is not like fire, where Cruz believes he can fight fire with fire by delivering equally smug and prosaic told-you-so’s. His meandering holier-than-thou diatribes are what we dislike in NYC.

So Senator Cruz, how’s this for a New York Value: Don’t tread on me.

This gay New Yorker is gonna vote for Trump on April 19th, and I’ll wear my “Make America Great Again” hat as proudly as a booger on Cruz’s face.