Why Jordan Peterson is not necessarily bad for the LGBT community
He may even be a blessing in disguise.
As evidenced by his repeated mentions in mainstream media around the world, Jordan Peterson seems to be the most influential public intellectual in the western world, right now in 2018. His influence appears to have grown even further since I last wrote an article about him back in April. He has legions of dedicated fans, and hosts booked out shows everywhere. On the other hand, he also appears to be a very controversial figure in some circles. In this article, I will focus on one of the main controversial claims of his detractors: that he is somehow bad for the LGBT community.
Is Jordan Peterson against LGBT individuals?
Let’s look at the evidence here. First, Peterson has not mistreated any LGBT individual on the grounds of them being LGBT. Second, he has not even said anything particularly hurtful to the LGBT community, like Ben Shapiro may arguably have. Third, he has not come out in clear opposition to any piece of LGBT rights reform other than Bill C-16, in which his opposition rested on concerns about free speech. While many people may disagree with his stance on this, there is nothing homophobic or transphobic about his justification for opposing the legislation.
In short, there is no evidence at all that Jordan Peterson is against LGBT individuals. In fact, plenty of LGBT individuals are fans of Jordan Peterson, including trans YouTuber Ollie Chadra, who even made a video about it.
But he wouldn’t even support gay marriage!
It is true that there was a controversy last year about Jordan Peterson’s stance on gay marriage. Specifically, somebody asked him for his opinions on this matter during the Australian marriage postal survey last year (the postal survey was like a referendum but voting was by mail). The questioner planned on voting “no” to gay marriage, because they thought that “Cultural Marxists” were behind the push. Peterson did not give a definite answer either way, but seemed to have some sympathy to the questioner’s concerns. Even some of his fans were disappointed with his response.
I also think that any concerns that gay marriage would encourage the neo-Marxist agenda is misplaced, and opposing gay marriage to oppose neo-Marxism is nothing short of an actual own-goal. And this is coming from someone who believes in the urgent need to argue against neo-Marxist ideas to defend liberty and individualism. As I made my case in this video, Peterson’s sympathy to the questioner’s angle shows the gaps in his understanding of neo-Marxism:
On the other hand, it should be noted that nothing Peterson said on this issue was anti-gay in any way. Therefore, even if we have been disappointed by his answer to the gay marriage question, we should not see this as evidence of an anti-gay attitude. In fact, Peterson was even sort of sympathetic to the idea of encouraging gay couples to live in committed relationships. Besides, the idea of gay marriage remains sort of new to many people, having only been legalised in such progressive Western countries like Finland, Germany and Australia last year (2017), and in the U.S. only three years ago (2015).
Is there anything Peterson can give the LGBT community?
One common accusation against Peterson is that his advice is mainly targeted at men, in particular straight men. And it is indisputable that this demographic makes up the majority of his fans. But in fact, his messages are universal. And there may be something particularly important for the LGBT community in there. As I explained in the following video:
“Right now, collectivist ideologies are increasingly popular among some sections of the LGBT community. From what I have observed, such ideologies also often come with an encouragement of victim mentality, that you should blame the ‘system’ out there for oppressing you. Peterson’s message of individualism, of taking charge of your own life, could be a good antidote to this. I’m not saying that there isn’t any discrimination out there. Life remains tough for many LGBT individuals, if we don’t acknowledge this we would be lying. However, the victim mentality, living life feeling like the whole world is against you, would only make things even worse. It makes people depressed, and depressed people can’t live up to their potential. It is therefore unsurprising that I have seen quite a few LGBT individuals say that Peterson has been of great help to them.”
With the proliferation of ideas stemming from critical theory and other related theories from the Western Marxist cannon, minorities (including but not limited to LGBT) are increasingly being “encouraged” to see themselves as systematically “oppressed,” while seeing some other segments of the community as their oppressors. I am, in fact, really concerned about this development. I am concerned about how it will affect the mental health of individuals. This surely isn’t a healthy attitude to live with. I am also concerned that the “progressive” side of mainstream news media isn’t picking up on this issue. The very people who should be helping minorities are effectively neglecting one of the biggest detriments to their mental health.
In conclusion, Jordan Peterson is not perfect. Nobody is. But he does have something to offer. Even for LGBT individuals. And the idea that he is an enemy of the LGBT community? It’s just a myth.
TaraElla is a singer-songwriter, independent journalist and author, who is passionate about liberty and equality. She is the author of the Moral Libertarian Horizon books, which focus on developing a moral case for freedom-based politics in the 21st century.