Gay rights activists have not traditionally found a political home on the right. Yet gay activist and alternative-right icon Milo Yiannopoulus wants to change that, arguing that while the Republican party may not love homosexuality, Islam wants gays dead, and therefore gay people should support Trump (who Milo calls "Daddy").
This was the theme of "WAKE UP," billed as "the most fab party at the RNC," which brought Milo together with controversial activist Pamela Geller who has gained notoriety for her "Draw Mohammed"cartoon competition as well as billboards in New York which read: "In the war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."
The event was panned by media outlets such as Salon in a piece which shrugged off the event as a "virulently anti-Islam party at the RNC" and The Nation, which slammed it as "Islamophobes, White Supremacists, and Gays for Trump—the Alt-Right Arrives at the RNC."
Teen Vogue said the event "perpetuates Islamophobia." The Nation's piece revealed the alarmingly open presence of white nationalists at the event and the seemingly small numbers of gay people who showed up.
Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who spoke at the event, referred to Europe as "Eurabia" and said, “Islam is the problem."
But critics who were aghast at this flagrantly un-PC stance, completely missed why sections of the LGBT community are turning to Trump.
If they would have looked to France, they would have seen that gay support for the far right has already happened there. In 2015 a national scandal occurred when it emerged that the winner of France's largest gay magazine's beauty contest was an outspoken supporter of France's right wing Front Nationale.
As early as 2012, 26% of the gay community in Paris supported the Front Nationale, as opposed to 16% of straight people.
The rationale is startlingly simple. Milo’s cult status as an online provocateur has been generated by making controversial statements and pushing the accepted boundaries of discussion. He has been able to tap into the large and growing alt-right movement — a disparate collection of mostly young white males who support socially liberal policies but who hold the left in contempt for their perceived abandonment of liberal values when it comes to human rights abuses committed in the name of Islam.
Because of this, Milo and others make the argument that only the right will stand up to defend gay people against Islamist extremism.
The movement also partially consists of white nationalists and racists, who are able to maintain their foothold because they have consistently spoken out against radical Islam (and indeed Islam in general.)
Put simply, people would rather be racist than dead.
"If you're like us, the massacre in Orlando last month was a giant wake-up call," the flier for the event read. "As gay Americans, we could no longer stay silent about a barbaric ideology that wants us dead and that actively threatens the freedoms of all Americans."
So far, so good.
However the ideology in question is not Islam, as Geert Wilders would argue, but is Islamism, the theocratic political project which seeks to impose the religion of Islam over everyone in the world and implement sharia governance, complete with hudud punishments. This ideology does threaten the freedoms of all Americans.
Tarring all Muslims with the same brush is not only morally wrong, but also facilitates the very thinking propagated by the Islamic State and other Islamist groups –- by dividing the world into two camps, Muslims and non-Muslims.
However, the refusal of the elites around the world — with a few notable exceptions such as the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron — to correctly name and challenge the issue has created a vacuum.
People know there is a problem and know that it needs to be tackled.
When the Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups such as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) object to billboards calling on Muslims to talk to the FBI if they become suspicious of terrorism, when President Obama and Hillary Clinton point blank refuse to name the ideology at fault, people will start to draw their own conclusions about who is to blame and take action accordingly.
Therefore in the absence of leaders who are not afraid to name the problem as one of Islamist extremism, people will be drawn to someone with a clear message offering simple solutions, like Trump's proposed ban of Muslims entering the country, which was praised at the "WAKE UP" event.
"After what happened in Orlando, I can’t imagine not being for Donald Trump right now,” the founder of the LGBT group "Twinks4Trump" which was involved in the event said. “This election will not be about bathrooms or who’s going to bake our wedding cakes.”
Milo took to the stage wearing a T-shirt saying, "We shoot back" with a submachine gun in rainbow colors emblazoned on its front. This powerful image will be a sweet and soothing balm to a section of the LGBT community which is looking for answers.
The way in which the argument was put forward at "WAKE UP" was a simplistic misunderstanding, blaming the entire faith of Islam for the actions of a subset of its practitioners.
Rather than mocking and dismissing this event, those who oppose such rhetoric would do well to start addressing the issue at hand in a serious and committed way, beginning with naming it — Islamist extremism — and ending with destroying it.
Because in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.