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FUMARE

Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Andrew Sullivan on The End of Gay Culture

Andrew Sullivan has an article on "The End of Gay Culture" at The New Republic online. The article is rather long, but it provides a fascinating insight into gay culture. Here's a rather long excerpt, with some commentary following:

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And then, of course, catastrophe. The history of gay America as an openly gay culture is not only extremely short--a mere 30 years or so--but also engulfed and defined by a plague that struck almost poignantly at the headiest moment of liberation. The entire structure of emergent gay culture--sexual, radical, subversive--met a virus that killed almost everyone it touched. Virtually the entire generation that pioneered gay culture was wiped out--quickly. Even now, it is hard to find a solid phalanx of gay men in their fifties, sixties, or seventies--men who fought from Stonewall or before for public recognition and cultural change. And those who survived the nightmare of the 1980s to mid-'90s were often overwhelmed merely with coping with plague; or fearing it themselves; or fighting for research or awareness or more effective prevention.

This astonishing story might not be believed in fiction. And, in fiction, it might have led to the collapse of such a new, fragile subculture. Aids could have been widely perceived as a salutary retribution for the gay revolution; it could have led to quarantining or the collapse of nascent gay institutions. Instead, it had the opposite effect. The tens of thousands of deaths of men from every part of the country established homosexuality as a legitimate topic more swiftly than any political manifesto could possibly have done. The images of gay male lives were recorded on quilts and in countless obituaries; men whose homosexuality might have been euphemized into nonexistence were immediately identifiable and gone. And those gay men and lesbians who witnessed this entire event became altered forever, not only emotionally, but also politically--whether through the theatrical activism of Act-Up or the furious organization of political gays among the Democrats and some Republicans. More crucially, gay men and lesbians built civil institutions to counter the disease; they forged new ties to scientists and politicians; they found themselves forced into more intense relations with their own natural families and the families of loved ones. Where bath houses once brought gay men together, now it was memorial services. The emotional and psychic bonding became the core of a new identity. The plague provided a unifying social and cultural focus.

But it also presaged a new direction. That direction was unmistakably outward and integrative. To borrow a useful distinction deployed by the writer Bruce Bawer, integration did not necessarily mean assimilation. It was not a wholesale rejection of the gay past, as some feared and others hoped. Gay men wanted to be fully part of the world, but not at the expense of their own sexual freedom (and safer sex became a means not to renounce that freedom but to save it). What the epidemic revealed was how gay men--and, by inference, lesbians--could not seal themselves off from the rest of society. They needed scientific research, civic support, and political lobbying to survive, in this case literally. The lesson was not that sexual liberation was mistaken, but rather that it wasn't enough. Unless the gay population was tied into the broader society; unless it had roots in the wider world; unless it brought into its fold the heterosexual families and friends of gay men and women, the gay population would remain at the mercy of others and of misfortune. A ghetto was no longer an option. [Emphasis added]

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My comments: To recap the above: Gays engage in risky sexual promiscuity. Many contract AIDS and die. Those remaining gays ask the rest of society to support their activity through science and through law.

Sullivan's openness to admit this is shocking to me. The essential element of the homosexual movement's argument is that their conduct is private and that the rest of us should mind our own business. Sullivan admits, however, that this is not true. According to him, gays (at least homosexual men) would die without the support of a sympathetic and financially generous heterosexual society.

Here's a suggestion to Sullivan and his gay friends. Instead of asking society to support your risky sexually behavior, if you don't want to contract AIDS, stop having anal sex with each other!!!!

And because Sullivan and company will likely accuse me of being offensive and intolerant, I'm going to beat them to the punch. I find it offensive that they would engage in private conduct which is destructive to their own lives and society at large and ask me to support it.

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