Brandon isn’t our LGBT correspondent. He’s not even the only LGBT employee of Vox.com. He is a young writer who we think has talent who’s going to receive a lot of editing and a lot of guidance.
Brandon applied for the news-writing fellowship, a one-year position focused on helping inexperienced writers develop aggregation and reportorial skills. Contrary to some garbled reports, before hiring Brandon I read a lot of his previous work. Brandon’s past writing was often quite pointed and personal, and not a fit for Vox — and I told him so. The writing fellowship requires a very different approach.
But something that often happens to young freelance writers on the Internet is that they end up writing reams of their most controversial opinions before they ever get a chance to do basic reporting or benefit from a routine relationship with an editor. So as part of Brandon’s writing test, I asked him to do eight news articles and two explainers — more than 5,000 words of original content, in all. He needed more editing, training and direction. But he showed himself a strong, fast writer who really wanted to learn. And that training is what the fellowship is there for.
It kind of makes me crazy when someone appears to assume that only Christian conservatives are authentic religious voices, and that finding a gay conservative evangelical Christian strikes some sort of “balance.” It’s the same mindset that seems to have led the President of the United States to conduct his “religious outreach” mostly among conservative evangelicals who are minority folk or who have some other reasons for playing nice with Democrats. Obama really ought to know better, and so should Ezra: there are these people called mainline or liberal Christians around, too, and if you are trying to give Christians a voice in progressive venues, you might want to start with them instead of always looking for an unconventional conservative.
This is what sent Mark Joseph Stern to his fainting couch? I had not seen this Time piece, but its sheer humanity made me want to stand up and cheer. Brandon Ambrosino will do more to change minds and turn hearts than a thousand cartoonishly militant Mark Joseph Sterns.
Good for Vox for hiring someone who actually thinks and reflects to cover gay issues, and who tries to see the other side, even if he ultimately disagrees with it, versus Slate, which satisfies itself with employing someone who mistakes outrage for integrity. If Brandon Ambrosino is the Martin Luther King of the gay rights movement, then Mark Joseph Stern is Stokely Queermichael.
Matt Baume thinks he’s just a bad writer:
Brandon’s not especially insightful. He doesn’t have any particular talent for constructing an argument. There’s nothing all that compelling about what he has to say. There’s no reason to suffer through his work. His only distinction is that he’s a gay guy who writes with disdain for other gay guys. And as anyone who’s ever read the comments on Queerty can tell you, there’s nothing all that unusual about that.
I’m really staggered by this pile-on. It’s not about the quality of his work. It’s about policing the discourse to permit only one gay perspective rather than many. It’s a stultifying, ugly, petty piece of ideological police-work. It repels me as much now that we have made so much gains as it did when exactly this kind of leftist viciousness hounded me in my twenties as well.