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Marine Le Pen: France's Very Own 'Pinkwasher'?

In a 2011 New York Times op-ed, a radical socialist named Sarah Schulman rolled out a term that was almost certainly new to most Times readers: “pinkwashing.” Schulman, whose role as a longtime lesbian activist has earned her a position as “Distinguished Professor” at the City University of New York (despite having no academic degree beyond a B.A. from Empire State College), defined “pinkwashing” as “a deliberate strategy to conceal the continuing violations of Palestinians’ human rights behind an image of modernity signified by Israeli gay life.”

Schulman's point, as I've written previously, was that “gays and others should look past Israel's gay-friendly image (which, she claimed, is the product of an intentional Israeli effort to bolster support abroad), focus on the terrible suffering of Palestinian Muslims at the merciless hands of the Israelis, and stop 'constructing' Muslims as gay-hating.”

The obscene fatuity of the concept of “pinkwashing” should be obvious: Israel is the only gay-friendly country in the Middle East; Islam teaches that gay people should be executed, and many of Israel's Muslim neighborhoods take that injunction very seriously; any gay person who goes to the Palestinian territories and shouts his orientation from a rooftop should expect to be thrown off of that rooftop to his death.

I go into this backstory by way of introducing an April 7 article by Associated Press writer Thomas Adamson. The headline: “'Pinkwashing' populism: Gay voters embrace French far-right.” One need not read past the headline to get Adamson's point: support for Marine Le Pen, head of the right-wing Front National, is growing among gay Frenchmen, and Adamson views those gay Le Pen supporters with the same disdain that Schulman directs toward pro-Israeli gays.

Adamson kicks off his piece with this statement: “A political party that would abolish same-sex marriage — one whose founder wanted AIDS patients rounded up and branded homosexuality 'a biological and social anomaly' — is now winning LGBT votes in France.” It's true that Le Pen promised in February to replace same-sex marriage, which became legal in France in 2013, with civil partnerships, and my own view is that this is unfortunate. If I were French, however, I'd still vote for the woman, because replacing same-sex marriage with civil partnerships is a hell of a lot better than replacing it with mass arrests, acts of torture, and executions. And if the French ship of state isn't turned around tout de suite, that's what'll happen before too long.

And more and more French gays realize it. Apparently, Le Pen's numbers shot up dramatically after last June's jihadist massacre at the gay Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Adamson quoted one “gay artist who lives in a hipster district of Paris and plans to cast his ballot for Le Pen”: “Faced with the current threats, particularly from radical Islam, gays have realized they'll be the first victims of these barbarians, and only Marine is proposing radical solutions.”