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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Unintended Offense. I sent the following email today to Keith Olbermann of the cable-TV show Countdown on Current TV:
As the gay activist who in 1970 offered the term "Gay Pride" as it is now used, and a New Jerseyan, I am offended by Reed Gusciora's referring to "interior decorating" on your program of February 17th. I guess he is heterosexual, so doesn't know how offensive it is to characterize gay men as nelly fruits. You, however, being a media man sensitive to how much language matters, should have stopped him right there and upbraided him, nicely, about promoting the kind of stereotypes that have been a palpable drag (so to speak) upon the lives of gay men. Gay men are subjected to enormous, distortive pressures to be effeminate, and some have been unable to reject such pressures, but have forced themselves to accept a definition of themselves created by outsiders who hate them.
I date back to a time when some men in the gay-rights movement actually opposed me and other advocates of gay marriage on the basis that marriage is a heterosexual institution that we must not copy, but reject, merely because it originated among heterosexuals. Promiscuity was, we were to believe, more natural to men (which is almost certainly true), and thus to be praised and gloried in (which is assuredly false, or at least unwise). Never mind the obvious, that, as we all knew even in 1979, when my organization proposed gay marriage (http://www.mrgaypride.org/Washmar.html — search for "marriage"; one sentence) as part of the essential gay program (not to say "agenda"), "Nobody loves you when you're old and gay". So if you wanted to end your life in a stable relationship with someone you love, you were going to have to form that relationship long before you are old, then retain it into old age. Given the tendency of people to throw away relationships when they prove the slitest difficult, society created legal mandates and benefits to make people persevere past loss of passion, temporary interpersonal friction, temptations to infidelity, etc., so that relationships might endure.
Even with all the legal and cultural incentives to permanence, and punishments for infidelity or simple loss of interest in maintaining a relationship, that are involved in marriage, half of all heterosexual marriages fail, long-term. Inasmuch as perhaps 99.9% of all heterosexual relationships short of marriage fail within one or a very few years, half of marriages surviving "till death us do part" is a remarkable success. It is that kind of success that I and other advocates of same-sex marriage wish to secure for gay relationships.
I don't know if the benefits to society of solid, lasting gay relationships were adequately brought out in the debate in NJ, such as the economic power of a two-income household to weather economic tough times without public assistance, and the savings to governmental healthcare, old-age care, and palliative hospice care that a life partner can provide. But taxpayers could be spared massive amounts of welfare payouts and nursing-home expenditures for gay men if it would simply promote rather than fite stable gay relationships. Doesn't that make good financial sense? Shouldn't fiscal conservatives promote permanent gay relationships that tame the male tendency to promiscuity, promote economic stability and home ownership, and relieve government of all kinds of financial responsibilities toward old gay people? I should think so.

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