Way, Way Off-Key

The video, posted on YouTube by the Gay Men’s Chorus of San Francisco, begins with a young gay man, Troy Iwata, in tight close-up, looking intensely into the camera. 

“As we celebrate Pride and the progress we’ve made over these past years,” he declares, “there’s still work to be done. So for those of you who are still working against equal rights, we have a message for you.”  

Iwata begins to sing, in a light tenor and with a self-satisfied smirk: “You think we’re sinful / You fight against our rights / You say we all lead lives you can’t respect. / But you’re just frightened / You think that we’ll corrupt your kids / If our agenda goes unchecked.” 

With a fatuous smile he then croons: “Funny, just this once, you’re correct.” And then he dives into the refrain: 

“We’ll convert your children,” Iwata warbles, grinning smugly. “Happens bit by bit. / Quietly and subtly. / You will barely notice it. / You can keep them from disco, / Warn about San Francisco . . .” And so on. 

What the . . . ? 

OK, in the next couple of lines it turns out that he’s not singing about converting kids to homosexuality. No, the premise is that “we”—the “gay community,” naturally—will convert those kids to being “tolerant / And fair.” 

And on it goes. Before the tune is over, fully 81 members of the chorus are in on it, belting out this stupid lyric in 81 little boxes on-screen. “We’ll convert your children,” they repeat. “The gay agenda is here.” And: “We’ll make an ally of you yet.” 

Not with material like this, you won’t. 


Several points. First: the video is titled “A Message from the Gay Community.” Since when does the Gay Men’s Chorus of San Francisco think it can speak for all gay people? 

Second: what as-yet-unobtained “equal rights” is Iwata singing about? In 2021, gay Americans can marry—and do anything anyone else can do. 

Third: to whom exactly is this song addressed? Nobody’s trying to deny or roll back gay rights. Lines like “You think we’re sinful” and “You think that we’ll corrupt your kids” sound like Millennial nostalgia for the heyday of the Religious Right. Oppression envy!

Fourth: even as gay Americans enjoy equal rights, gay people around the world risk being executed by brutal regimes. Trump cared about that, and sought, with an initiative run by Richard Grenell, to eradicate those brutal policies. 

But the Democrats don’t give a hoot about gays around the world. Nor do the well-paid “LGBT activists” in New York and San Francisco. And nor, apparently, do the terminally silly boys of the Gay Men’s Chorus, who labor under the self-congratulatory delusion that with every note they sing they’re bravely battling the hicks and hillbillies—the gun-toting, red-state MAGA-hat wearers—for rights they already have. 

They seem to have missed the detail that Trump never said a word in criticism of gay rights—for heaven’s sake, he even waved a rainbow flag at one rally—and that he enjoys the trust and support of many prominent gay Americans, from Peter Thiel to Dave Rubin.

To be sure, maybe the rights they’re singing about are trans rights—and/or the right to hop from one newly trendy sexual-identity label (“pansexual,” “sapiosexual”) to another. Alas, all too many low-information, low-IQ gays have been fooled by mischievous activists into thinking that this new woke agenda—giving children sex hormones, calling individuals “they” and “them”—is their agenda. 

In reality, of course, none of this has the slightest thing to do with being a gay man—as in (hello!) Gay Men’s Chorus. 

I looked up Troy Iwata. He’s exactly 30 years old. When Obergefell v. Hodges was decided, he would have been 24. Years before that, in the early ’90s, when some of us were publicly—and patiently—making the case that gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military, Iwata would have been an infant.  

At the end of the video, we learn that this farkakte piece of music was written by Tim Rosser (music) and Charlie Sohne (lyrics). I looked them up, too. They look no older than Iwata. 

Which explains why none of them grasp that gay Americans didn’t win the rights they now enjoy by talking down to—and smirking at!—the majority of Americans. 

In fact, the self-styled “queer” radicals tried that in the 1970s and ’80s, when most gays were closeted. Those leftists presumed to speak for all of us. Most of what they said and did was as reckless and stupid as this dopey ditty. 

They pulled stunts like disrupting a Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and throwing the Host on the floor. I even remember signs at Pride marches that promised: yes, we do want to convert your children.  

It was puerile. And it was wildly counterproductive. Instead of conducting themselves like adults and making mature arguments, they behaved like toddlers throwing temper tantrums. For the fist-pumpers in the streets, who were vetting inarticulate rage at their parents, this wasn’t activism; it was therapy. And for the people running the show, none of this was about trying to win reform, but about using the marginalized gay population as the leading edge of a Marxist revolution.  

In the 1990s, thankfully, the grown-up gays increasingly spoke up. Closeted gays—more conservative, on the whole, than anyone imagined—came out. Together we won over America—patiently, civilly, and respectfully. Lesson learned. 

But in this new woke atmosphere, all of that seems to have been dropped down the memory hole. 

After the Gay Men’s Chorus posted this song on its YouTube page, it received a few dozen thumbs-ups—and thousands of thumbs-downs. Surprise! After a few hours, they yanked it down. But it remains up at other YouTube pages—such as those of the International Organization for the Family and the Evangelical Dark Web. Surprise again! 

Stupid never dies. 

Not long after pulling the video, the people who run the Gay Men’s Chorus—courageous activists that they are—closed their offices and ran home in fear of being ripped to bits by violent Christian mobs. Meanwhile, even as the public outrage over the video was still building, the leftist and queer media were fighting back, applauding the song as “clever” and “extremely funny” and dismissing critics as far-right bigots who were deliberately misinterpreting the lyrics. 

Or were they? Information posted posted on social media seemed to indicate that several members of the Gay Men’s Chorus are registered sex offenders. And right here at American Greatness, Debra Heine revealed that in 2016 Rosser and Sonne, the tunesmiths responsible for this disaster, put on a musical about pedophilia in Afghanistan, “The Boy who Danced on Air.” 

Secular Afghans and Afghan-Americans, noted Heine, were livid, accusing the show “of romanticising child sexual abuse and child rape.” (Of course, among woke queers nowadays, the idea of responding with anything other than approval to another culture’s social practices, however abominable, is racist and xenophobic.) 

Although some chuckleheaded Broadway types cheered the play (“thrillingly fresh”—Theatermania), it went too far for the New York Times, whose reviewer, Jesse Green (author of a memoir about gay fatherhood), complained that some scenes “suggest romance more than predation” and criticized the lyricist for his “glibness” (an attribute also on display in the tune performed by the Gay Men’s Chorus). But there’s more: the star of “The Boy who Danced on Air” was none other than—small world—Troy Iwata. In response to the Afghan complaints about the play, he took to Instagram to apologize for taking part in a show that “romanticised sexual assault and misconstrued an entire culture and its people.” 

Odd that he should have decided, five years later, to team up again with Rosser and Sonne for another wildly ill-advised effort to turn pedophilia into entertainment. 

 A quick sidebar. One thing that the Gay Men’s Chorus video does is celebrate the city by the Bay as the gay Mecca, the gay Oz, the civic embodiment of freedom for all: parents who “warn about San Francisco” will end up visiting the city and become gay “allies.” News flash to the songwriters and chorus: when people hear San Francisco nowadays, they don’t think of gays or cable cars or Tony Bennett—they think about homeless people in tents and feces and syringes on the streets. 

 In closing, just one question: what are the chances that the fools who wrote and sang this unbelievably off-key anthem—and who dared to present it as a message from all gay Americans, most of whom are undoubtedly appalled by it—will learn the right lesson from this outrageous misfire? They sure didn’t learn anything from the reaction to “The Boy who Danced on Air.” And so far they seem not to grasp that they deserve all the opprobrium they’ve gotten, and more. Because the most virulent gay-hater in the world couldn’t have come up with a better way than this to try to undo all the progress that gay Americans have made in the last few decades. 

About Bruce Bawer

Bruce Bawer is the author of While Europe Slept, Surrender, and The Victims' Revolution. His novel The Alhambra was published in 2017.

Photo: Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

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