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Thursday, April 01, 2010

 
State of the Gay World. April 1st was the 41st anniversary of my founding Homosexuals Intransigent! as a student organization at the City College of the City University of New York. Later this year, we will commemorate the 41st anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Yet the biggest gay story this past week was that Ricky Martin finally — finally — "came out" as gay. I have heard no one in media realize that tho society met this "news" with a general "Well, duh!", Martin himself agonized over the decision for years. What people do not adequately appreciate is that while someone's being gay is no big deal for most outsiders, it is the biggest deal in the world to maladjusted gay men who are scared to death (sometimes, alas, literally) of being "found out" or "outed", and who cannot "come out" for years, or even decades — still, nearly 41 years after Stonewall.
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This is why the very most basic stance of HI! was that gay men must be honest about their nature. I required everyone who wished to become a full (voting) member of the organization to sign a membership pledge never to deny being gay, and merely making that pledge was liberating. OK, perhaps in an extreme situation, such as being surrounded by a gang intent on gay-bashing, we could forgive a denial, but as a general rule, everyone was expected to be open. Not in-your-face. Just open. If someone asks, tell the truth. Come to meetings and dances, hand out flyers on campus. Be as open and normal about your orientation as you are about anything else quintessential to yourself: gender, race, ethnicity, intelligence, interests — anything.
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I also, decades ago, insisted that it doesn't matter if all the world around you accepts homosexuality; if you don't accept your homosexuality, you will still be miserable. Courage is self-magnifying and self-perpetuating. Cowardice, however, is equally self-magnifying and self-perpetuating.
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This is why I have always taken the stance that self-acceptance and acceptance of other gay men is the first, indispensable task each of us must undertake and triumph in. It doesn't matter if the laws change — because they have — and doesn't matter if societal attitudes change — which they have, in most parts of the United States and many other advanced countries. That outside-in stuff doesn't matter. What matters is the inside-outward process of coming bravely, happily, comfortably to accepting yourself and celebrating your homosexuality.
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When I proposed in spring 1970 that the week of events leading up to the first annual march commemorating the Stonewall Riots be called "Gay Pride Week", tho 'the other Craig' (Rodwell) had just assumed the unifying label would be "Gay Power", I understood (as perhaps did the rest of the organizing committee, since they adopted "Gay Pride") that it doesn't matter how much power you do or do not have. If you are not proud in yourself, nothing else matters. An isolated gay man in a rural area of the United States or any part of most of the Third World has no Gay Power. But he could have Gay Pride. And absent Gay Pride, Gay Power means nothing. It's like fame and money to showbiz losers who drown their sorrowful self-hatred in drugs, and lose decades of their lives, if not their life itself, because at heart, they hate themselves.
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So, even tho essentially every commentator, in late-nite talk-show monologs and other media, said of Ricky Martin's admission, "Yes, we already knew [and we were always fine with it]", Ricky Martin wasn't fine with it. Clay Aiken wasn't fine with it. Neil Patrick Harris wasn't fine with it, but didn't come out until outed. The cowardice of such celebrities, in hiding for years, contributes to the terror young gay men and boys feel about being detested and shunned — or worse — if they should be found out. How many kids have committed suicide who might have held out and come to accept themselves if gay men in the public eye had come out before they killed themselves in tears?
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How many more young gay men will kill themselves from fear and self-loathing because society can count on the fingers of at most two hands the number of very famous gay men who are not suffering for having come out?
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The LGBTI...etc. movement is monstrously deformed and worse than useless. It is actually destructive, for confusing people about what they are and should want from life. The first responsibility of any organization intended to help gay men must be to help them accept their homosexuality and their manhood. The L... movement does exactly the opposite: it tells them to reconceptualize themselves as something less than and other than men, as some kind of intermediate "third sex" lunatic whose only place in society is in a demimonde of unending confusion and depravity.
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All such organizations should be destroyed, replaced by organizations OF gay men, run entirely BY gay men, FOR gay men ONLY, and dedicated to helping gay men find their manhood, their normality, and place in the general world as normal men oriented to men. Self-segregation-OUT is as natural to gay men as to blacks, Orientals, Hispanics, and other groups who may have friends of other groups but naturally enjoy most, the company of others most like themselves. Yes, birds of a feather really do flock together. Look to the sky during migration seasons. Geese do not fly with grackles. Pigeons form flocks of pigeons. The occasional sparrow or seagull may join in pecking at pizza crust or bread tossed by people eating lunch on park benches, but pigeons do not retire from that repast to a collective home with other birds. Just pigeons. Pigeons especially do not flock with falcons.
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But gay men are taught to subjugate themselves and their interests, in their own organizations, to people who are not just not like them but actually their enemies, who use them, abuse them, take their money to redirect it and the organization's efforts to alien issues, and insist that they need to change to be more like their enemies. They actually permit women who hate men to tell them that they must hate their manhood and make themselves into "better people", without any manhood whatsoever. No "patriarchy", no "male privilege". No, they must psychologically castrate themselves, and become some kind of gender-neutral "being", controlled by a "higher consciousness" that "rises above" their (disgusting) natural manhood. Vulnerable, self-doubting, self-loathing, young gay men can be very seriously damaged by participation in the "LGBTQI... community", a "community" that neither does nor ever can exist.
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Legal changes, as to eliminate discrimination in the military and achieve marriage equality, may be all to the good, but they must not serve as the be-all and end-all of a genuine Gay Movement — no L, no B, no T, no Q, no I, just GAY (or Homosexual). Of what value is the right to marry if the bulk of gay men can't find anyone fit to marry, nor feel themselves deserving of love?
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It's the internal, the interior, not the external nor exterior, that most matters. If you respect yourself, you will behave respectably, and thereby earn respect. If you do NOT respect yourself, it doesn't matter how the law or society may change around you. You will still be miserable, behave disgracefully, and fail in relationships. Indeed, even if you do manage to silence that little voice that tells you you're not a man, and not worthy of love, you might still never be able to find a permanent, loving relationship, because everybody else is crazy.
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The Gay Movement must become a Sanity Movement rather than the INsanity movement is now is. Those "Bisexuals" should be confronted: "You're NOT 'bisexual'. You're just a self-despising, lying HOMOsexual." Those "Transgendered" people have to be told, "There is no such thing as a 'transgendered' person, no way a woman could be born into the body of a man. Such talk is just insane. Your 'real' gender is what you were born. Grow the f* up." Those "Queers" should be told, "Queer is the exact equivalent of 'nigger'. It cannot be 'reclaimed' or 'recast' or 'legitimized'. It is always insulting. Why would you want to call yourself 'Queer'? Plainly you think there is something bizarre about homosexuality. You have accepted the lie, and incorporated it into your personality. Grow the f* up."
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So, where do we stand, 41 years after I founded Homosexuals Intransigent!? Still at the back of the bus. But with a difference: blacks always knew they were black. And almost all of them, even most of those who could "pass" if they had to, never had a problem being black. Alas, many did think less of themselves because society thought less of blacks. And yes, some did "pass", and many did straighten their hair. To this day, some blacks are concerned about "good hair" and skin liteness or darkness, lite being preferred over dark. Immersion in a group unlike oneself can cause serious identity confusion and problems of self-esteem, even in so large a group, so largely self-segregated socially as blacks in the United States. Small wonder, then, that gay men, and especially isolated gay men who have no mini-Gay World around them, are so confused about so much.
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A Gay Movement must be one part activist drive, agitating for legal and social reforms; and one part support group, helping the maladjusted become well-adjusted. Support groups cannot incorporate outsiders. Smoking-cessation support groups do not allow smokers to lite up during sessions. And a burn-victims support group would never permit an outsider to bring a lited torch into the meeting room. But the pretense is that gay men can welcome everyone in the world into gay bars and organizations without doing any harm whatsoever to the internal dynamics of male-male relationships. Bullsh*.
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People learn how to be people, from other people. What they learn from others can reinforce their own nature, or subvert it. Even when the otherness of others is fully appreciated, being surrounded by otherness can still distort one's own personality. But when a person is told that those others are NOT others but the same as you, he can become very confused indeed.
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Gay men need to be alone with gay men a LOT of the time. And gay organizations need to reinforce gay men, not subvert them. The actual gay movement isn't even a gay movement, but some bizarrely concocted LGBTQI...whatever movement, in which gay men aren't even first in line, much less importance. They must always play second fiddle to lesbians, who are the exact opposite of everything they are. Yet they are told that they are "the same" as lesbians, so have an obligation to lesbianize themselves, give up their identity as a man, and conform to something that bears no relationship whatsoever to their internal reality nor what they want from life. That must stop.
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You cannot say that it's OK for men to want to be with men without at the same time saying that it's OK for men NOT to be with women. As soon as an organization imposes upon gay men the obligation to be with women, in that organization, it proclaims (a) that men and women BELONG together, which simultaneously proclaims (b) that men and men WITHOUT women is WRONG. You'd think that that would be obvious, but when you're dealing with seriously damaged people who have been psychosexually deformed by constant pressure to be what they are not, nothing is obvious to them. Their own gender isn't obvious to them, even if they can see, directly and in a mirror, that they have a man's body and a man's sexual organs; even when they can feel their male organs with their hands, and feel the sensations men feel thru those organs. No, it's like those crazy anorexics who look at an emaciated, nearly dead skeleton in the mirror and think they're fat. The ability of the human mind to delude itself is astonishing.
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Gay men need to be taught how to be gay, how to be a man, and thus how to be a gay man. They cannot learn that from lesbians, self-denying "bisexuals", or sexual-anorexic "transgendered" loons, who persuade themselves, when they look in a mirror, that they are seeing a woman.
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Gay men cannot learn to respect themselves by calling themselves an ugly name, "queer". They cannot accept the naturalness and normalness — indeed, ordinariness — of homosexuality by accepting a term that means bizarre and abnormal.
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In short, the present gay "Movement" is, as it has always been, fundamentally misconceived and destructive of the very people it was presumably supposed to help. Legal changes and social changes have not brought self-acceptance, and now heterosexual society is much more accepting of homosexuality than are homosexuals. Grotesque but true, as is demonstrated by the case of Ricky Martin. Homosexuality just isn't very important to well-adjusted straight people, so arouses no serious anxieties in them. But it arouses enormous, monumental, stupendous anxieties in young men for whom it is the most important thing in life. How do some people in "the Movement" deal with that? They say that their orientation is NOT the most important thing in their life, but of course it is. What sex you are, and what sex you have, are absolutely fundamental to the personality.
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Gay men need not an "LGBTQI..." movement that tells them that they are freaks fit only to associate with other freaks, but a GAY or HOMOSEXUAL MEN'S movement that tells them they are normal, natural, reasonable, and right to be gay, and they can be good people who do good in the world by treating each other well and giving attention and affection to people they are attracted to. When will gay men have such a movement?



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