Yesterday, President Obama named Jeremy Bernard, a gay man, as the White House Social Secretary. Bernard is the first male White House Social Secretary in history, apparently.
On Facebook, one of my older gay acquaintances posts that he “sees this as a positive step.” A mutual friend comments to the effect of well, of course! If she ever were in a position to need a social secretary, of course she would never hire anyone other than a gay man. To which the original poster, a gay man (who was in the closet for a large portion of his life), replied: “lol. It is logical, isn’t it? Who else can be such a great party planner.” (The comment thread then deteriorated into snobby comments attacking a nationally prominent leader of the “family values” crowd who is originally from our area, suggesting he would never attend a White House party now that a gay man was social secretary.)
Isn’t that rather stereotypical? And is the appointment of a gay man to such a stereotypically “gay” job really that great of an advancement for gay rights? Wouldn’t it be more impressive to appoint a gay man as, say, a campaign manager, rather than a job which has historically been filled by a woman?
I’m just puzzled by people who, if questioned, would certainly say that they want to end outdated stereotypes against gay men, and yet themselves perpetuate some of those very same stereotypes.