I'm a trans woman, a full-blown member of the LGBT community. By default, my choice of primary political party affiliation must be Democrat. The GOP has established itself in opposition – even violent animosity – against me and every other gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans person in the country. I can't understand the Log Cabin Republicans, gay members of the party that desires to oppress them. They're like the gay versions of House Negroes.
Regardless of what conservatism may have meant in the past, it currently stands against equal rights and justice, firmly on the side of oppression and judgment. Conservatives have placed themselves in opposition to Thomas Jefferson's defining statement of American values: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." Every effort of LGBT people to indulge in these rights, which conservatives take for granted in regards to themselves, is met with determined resistance by them. The oppression – frequently but not always unintended – is often invisible for these conservatives. In the same way, many white people have no understanding of how our culture oppresses black people, and many men are clueless about how it oppresses women. Those individuals who do not take this stand are drowned out and neutralized by those that do. Votes count for something, and actions speak louder than words.
This is not to say that conservatives have bad intentions. Often, their intent is only to support the institutions that have supported them, in our culture, for decades or centuries – religion, law, tradition, marriage, family, and so on. I have no trouble with that; in fact, I support them, too. The difference lies in that I believe there is room for all of us. I support those institutions not just for the majority, but for all of us.
When it comes to LGBT issues – to allowing gays to marry, to antidiscrimination laws, to universal health care, to fair taxation, etc. – I believe that we create a better society when all are welcome within it. I have experienced the social pressure to conform to a norm that is unnatural to me. I know the isolation and desolation of the closet. As a compassionate human being, I want to do all I can to relieve that pain for all. I also believe that the society we will create from granting gays, lesbians, and trans people an equal place at the table, will not be an immoral hell, but a healthier, happier, and more peaceful society. I believe that everyone should have the right to express themselves, not only within the parameters of this nation's First Amendment, but also in respect to the way they present their own gender. I believe that everyone has a right to safety within their own community, and given the bullying and abuse of gender variant children on schoolyards, and the frequency of gay- and trans-bashing incidents, we must counter the demonization of LGBT people wherever we find it. In fact, as a trans woman, I'm an activist just by showing up.
These beliefs are born in the conviction that people do not choose to be gay, or trans. I know I didn't choose to be trans; it was something I fought hard against for 40 years. It's born in an intimate knowledge of my own morality and genuine family values, and in the proximate knowledge I have of the values and morality of the gays, lesbians, and trans people of my acquaintance. It's also born in my own religious conviction, in the words of Jesus: "Judge not, lest ye be judged." "Do unto others as ye would have them do unto you." "Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" "God is love."
Ultimately, it comes down to two worldviews. One values unity of culture, the comfort and ease of living in a world where every interaction with another human is predictable – it orients around a status quo; the other values the variety of diversity, enjoys engaging with and is curious about people one doesn't understand, and orients around openness, love, and acceptance. I embrace the second. I also recognize the need for balance. Without some unity of culture, it's hard to find our place in the world, but without diversity, culture is boring and oppressive.
In sum, my liberal views on LGBT issues come from both prior conviction and resistance to discrimination. They come from native belief and self-preservation. But even if native belief weren't there, the needs for safety and self-determination trumps all; even if my beliefs were conservative, I would still ally with liberals in my own defense, and in the defense of those who share my condition.
* Standard note: I value dissenting opinions as crucial to the maintenance of freedom and democracy. While I would like to write convincingly, to influence opinion and sway the balance of power my way, I also consider the conservative viewpoint to be important and meaningful. I do, however, believe that political discourse does not have to be nasty and vicious. I prefer to listen to and respect my political opponents. I ask the same from them.