who are you? a homosexual

reading an essay by scott tucker i stumbled upon a citation of hannah arendt:

“In this connection I cannot gloss over the fact that for many years I considered the only adequate reply to the question, Who are you? to be: a Jew. That answer alone took into account the reality of persecution… Unfortunately, the basically simple principle in question here is one that is particularly hard to understand in times of defamation and persecution: the principle that one can resist only in terms of the identity under attack. Those who reject such identifications on the part of a hostile world may feel wonderfully superior to the world; but their superiority is then truly no longer of this world; it is the superiority of a more or less well-equipped cloud-cuckoo-land…

(…)

…in the case of a friendship between a German and a Jew under the conditions of the Third Reich it would scarcely have been a sign of humanness for the friends to have said: Are we not both human beings? It would have been a mere evasion of reality and of the world common to both at the time; they would not have been resisting the world as it was. A law that prohibited the intercourse of Jews and Germans could be evaded but could not be defied by people who denied the reality of the distinction. In keeping with a humanness that had not lost the solid ground of reality, a humanness in the midst of the reality of persecution, they would have had to say to each other: a German and a Jew, and friends. (Arendt Hannah: On Humanity in Dark Times: Thoughts about Lessing, Men in Dark Times, 1968, New York, pp. 17-18 / pp. 23, cited in: Tucker, pp. 29)”

far from trying to construct a sameness between jews and homosexuals, i would like to propose that we as homosexuals can learn from other minorities. that is where this hannah arendt citation comes in.

in my opinion homosexuals have to lead a certain double life: politically and towards the predominantly straight society we can not gloss over the fact that we are, as soon as we come (or are forced) out of the closet: homosexuals.

how much we like that label or not is not the question. if we deny that this label exists, we leave a dominant social reality as hannah arendt points out. and then we can not deal with this reality. the only way out is to become un- or anti-social. if that is possible depends on ones independance (socially, psychologically) and wealth. so this path seems not to be open to many. so we might be forced by society into it, but we have to deal with it, otherwise

“we are setting ourselves up for that inevitable judgement day when we will be found guilty of our gayness and will begin again, uselessly, to apologize for it. (Bersani: Homos, pp. 76)”

this is exactly the point where we have to be aware of our homo-ness. and this is where i am so frustrated to have to witness again and again actions of parts of a gay community trying to make us more acceptable to a straight society. strategically (meaning politically) i think we have no other choice as standing for all homosexuals – as much as we might dislike certain formulations of being gay. so i get rather irritated to witness yet another discussion of people trying to tone down the appearance of participants of a gay parade, “because they are over-represented in the media and because they do not show the majority, the real gay, the real lesbian”.

besides the fact that historically the flamboyant ones, the drag queens were at the beginning of a modern western gay identity, we have to be aware of our homo-ness. we are seen as the same – so we have to defend and stand up for every member of the community. or we eliminate the unpleasant ones. repeating the homophobic gesture within our community. so i agree with leo bersani (and judith butler) that with a queer identity we can not make politics. and we have to ask ourselves if by applying the queer label to ourselves if we do not try to evade politics – if we we might just do it to “feel wonderfully superior to the world. (Arendt)”

i have been talking about a double life: the “other half ” would be that we have to be aware that we have the opportunity to construct at least our community differently. of course gender- and queer-theory should inform also our political selfes, be it only the fact that we are a lot more careful concerning identities (also of the ones of other members of society). and it should inform our social lifes, the way we think and live our lifes and deal with other people (regardless of sexual orientation). but we should also be aware of the homo-ness within our community, as bersani makes the point: to often i just see the same mechanism of exclusive group identities employed also in the gay world. so while i make the point for the necessety of a somewhat clear identity in political circumstances, i would also like to make the point that in other circumstences we should not try to construct identities based on exclusion, identities that would like to appear as “natural” or “god-given” – and suddenly it seems to me that the idea of bersani’s homo-ness and its idea of difference as an additional, not separating attribute to ones identity, and the ideas of gender- and queer-theory of identity as something constructed, and eventually something that might can be manipulated could actually walk hand in hand towards the construction of a homosexual community which is…better?

i guess i am just rather tired of hearing stories like the following (although i have to admit that i laughed out loud). it is again from the same text by scott tucker and already old news – but has some connections to the actual and makes for an interesting example:

“According to a story in the Nov. 10, 1989 issue of Philadelphia Gay News, “Gays Help Cops in Tearoom Bust,” “Campus gays and lesbians at Arizona State University (ASU) have been cooperating with police in a crackdown on anonymous men’s room sex… before undercover officers were assigned to the duty, ASU Lesbian and Gay Academic Union adviser Donna Taylor worked with police by giving them “sensitivity training” and background information about what types of men the officers were likely to encounter.” According to Taylor, “It has absolutely nothing to do with sex. These men have no idea what being in the closet is. They’re married, they have the 2.5 kids. This is something they do for kicks, the same as going to a prostitute.” Alas, even after being trained in sensitivity by Taylor, ASU campus Police Chief Doug Bartosh did not quite agree with the expert’s asexual interpretation:”They probably get off on having sex with a stranger with the prospect of getting caught the real thrill rather then the homosexual activity itself.”

“Taylor said ASU’s Lesbian and Gay Academic Union decided to help police in their crackdown to demonstrate that the gay community isn’t responsible for such activity and is just as opposed to it as straights are.” But in this case, “the gay community” – or rather the Vice Squad’s Gay Auxiliary – is very much responsible for collaborating in actions which are certain to destroy some men, and slam the closet door more firmly on many more. “Taylor”, we are informed, “said that she believes the men arrested in such cases are “psychotic” rather than gay men – even closeted gay men – and that what they need most is counseling.” How convenient for those in the helping professions: the state helps those who help themselves, so they counsel the cops in the entrapment of those persons they define as potential clients in need of still more counsel. Can we assume this particular expert, Donna Taylor, has done exit polls of the tearooms to determine which men are “married with 2.5 kids,” or psychological surveys to determine which are psychotic?

But the expertise here is spurious and opportunist. Gay people themselves made a cold and cowardly calculation to cut an embarassing element adrift; to define these men as something, anything other than gay. How dare Taylor suggest that married men have no idea what the closet is? – as though marriage itself is not the most common closet for both gay men and lesbians, the most public face of much private grief. (Tucker, pp.18-19)”

Tucker Scott: Gender, Fucking and Utopia: An Essay in Response to John Stoltenberg’s Refusing to Be a Man, in: Social Text, No. 27. (1990), pp. 3-34

social text journal

16 Responses to “who are you? a homosexual”

  1. n.e.w Says:

    well i must say that after visiting your music blog i have come back to look time and time again as i find your articles well thought through and constructive….where else can one find such clear intellectual articles made easy for the likes of me.
    thanks and will keep on visiting.

  2. Martin Says:

    ^
    What he (or she) said.

    I haven’t had many struggles forced on me in life (they’ve mostly been self-inflicted). But I sure wish everyone could respect each other and tolerate when necessary.

  3. sunbathinglizard Says:

    respect – the often used word. too often it seems to mean respect ME – but maybe that is just hypercritical me. tolerance seems to be difficult at times – especially when we have to express our difference regarding the ones we should tolerate. but of course you are right. to me it just seems it needs a calmness and maybe even a humbleness towards others and oneself that needs quite some strength. grin – to a degree we get to that in the next post…the breastplate of righteousness.

  4. Scott Tucker Says:

    Well, glad to see new readers are finding their way to Hannah Arendt again (and also to my book The Queer Question: Essays on Desire and Democracy, South End Press). Yeah, I’m giving the book’s name and publisher as it was not cited. Cheers, Scott

  5. Scott Tucker Says:

    Postscript: Thanks for the citation of my essay, published in Social Text, No. 27 in 1990. I just wanted readers to know that the same essay was published in The Queer Question: Essays on Desire and Democracy, a collection of my essays published in 1997 by South End Press. By following links, I see one reader made reference to the book Tea Room Trade. In the wake of of Sen. Larry Craig’s arrest in a police sex sting operation in a Minneapolis airport men’s room, many of the classic arguments about semi-public cruising have gotten a big replay. In the Craig case, the cop was well trained in looking for toe-tapping and finger-waving signals. Such discretion hardly seems worth an arrest, and even a direct sexual proposition can always be turned down with a simple “No thanks.” Under a regime of Universal Surveillance, however, why be surprised by fresh vice campaigns?

  6. sunbathinglizard Says:

    thank you scott tucker for your comment!
    i’m glad you found your way here, since i did not find any way to contact you.
    i agree: any advances can be turned down with a simple “no thanks” – so i wonder if it is already the proposition for sex that outrages certain people or if turning down is not accepted in certain straight contexts?

  7. Scott Tucker Says:

    Yes, indeed, just as you say: “…it is already the proposition for sex that outrages certain people…” But this is very difficult for many straight folks to understand, precisely because ordinary sexual innuendos and outright propositions can be taken in stride in many heterosexual settings. Especially in the more liberal circles or in young hipster scenes. Here there is the question of figure and background: against a background of heterosexual norms and assumptions, of course homosexuals are often submerged or driven to the margins of social life. We should resist the easy view that the United States is one big liberated zone, when in fact the closet is still a functioning repressive institution. Larry Craig, for example, insisted (sitting next to his view in a TV interview after his arrest) that he is not gay. In a sense, Craig is quite right. Being gay is as much a cultural and political choice as it is a plain statement of actual orientation. Craig emphatically stands by his public anti-gay record.
    I do not mean to imply that public cruising is simply the realm of sad losers, conflicted closet cases, and men caught in a time warp. On the contrary, our right to privacy will only be secure when we can also defend the public realm of sexual expression and sexual civil liberties. (As for identifying as gay, homosexual, or queer– or any number of other ID tags– that is a strategic choice in daily life. The fact that many straight folks do not give such choices a second thought proves that heterosexism is not a mere prejudice. No, heterosexism remains a social institution in which actual power relations became taken for granted as the Nature of Things.)

  8. sunbathinglizard Says:

    email is never published, and for the website: i will publish it when it’s up and running.

    interesting to note is that the understanding that identity is a strategic choice is somewhat new – the definition of some men not as homosexuals but as “men having sex with men” is to my observation a rather recent one. and if i’m not mistaken it was born out of the necessity to also reach these men for aids awareness/prevention programs.

    and the combination of identity and “natural” – read: being authentic, will certainly be something that has to be discussed in my little series about hip hop – another very good example for identity politics, especially since it is on many occasions rather irritating.

    yeah – and naïve me thought some years back that the big times of identity politcs were over…

  9. Donna Taylor Says:

    This is the “expert” Donna Taylor speaking. This incident was in 1989, when the world was much different than it is today. At the time, the people in the bathroom the most were married professors who were hitting on students who were under the consensual age of sex. Other professors, at the time, were intent on blaming the gay community and were honestly thinking that the entire gay community of Phoenix were at blame for what was going on at the time. Our LBGAU was just then getting founded and here we were looking at being permanently banned from even attending the college let alone for having a group at the college. The college was very close to being sued by a young student who claimed he was raped by these professors. In order to keep the peace, I stepped in. Laud Humphrey’s Tea Room article was also making the rounds, adding fuel to the fire.

    At least I know that I kept the peace at the time. The officers were afraid they would see purple-skinned lizards with penises or freakish drag queens or lispy young men lusting after them.

    The LBGT community has come a long way in the 18 years that has passed. The people that are frequenting the bathroom at ASU are now truly gay, although I heard that Sen. Craig was supposed to come and make an appearance.

    And by the way, the police asked me to come and talk to them an give them advice. They thought I knew what I was talking about because I AM gay. I have been in a relationship for 25 years with my woman, and we have raised a child.

    But then again, that is not what this blog is about…

  10. sunbathinglizard Says:

    thanky you, donna, for the comment! i am quite excited you found your way to my blog. and i highly appreciate you leaving a comment. and don’t worry – nothing in your comment contradicts what this blog is about.

    and i love the bit about the purple-skinned lizards – could somebody make me a drawing of that? i could use it as a logo…smile

    allright – first there is to note that i only know that much about donna taylor what was cited in scott tuckers article (i tried to find the original article but was not successfull) – and scott tucker already got it from an article. so it is very good having you describing the situation yourself.

    to a degree i think it was a situation where the problem between the world we would like to have and the world as social reality appears – as refererred to in a recent post (https://sunbathinglizard.wordpress.com/2008/01/16/paradise-not-for-you-faggot/).

    so i guess you were trapped in a situation where there was no easy solution – not working with the police would mean your group banned (not good), working with the police would mean getting into trouble for working with “the enemy” (also not good). and usually one has not much space to move in these situations (i do know them).

    it just shows that finding a way between “utopian ideals” and “pragmatism” is certainly not that easy – and there are many other examples to show that. how these two approaches could have could have brought together in this situation i do not know. and i do not know what i would have done in this situation. maybe some reader can come up with a really creative solution?

    what i would be interested in would be the reaction of the (organised) gay community in phoenix at the time – what was their take on the situation? did they have any?

    and now i have to come back to your last sentence (but then you knew that, didn’t you?).
    if you have the feeling that this blog is not about lesbians living in steady relationship and raising a child you are right in the way that this is not an experience i made or that i witness in my circle of friends (well, there are steady lesbian relationships). so i am dependent on input from, well, you. but it could be something this blog is about. but you would be wrong if you would have the impression that i do disregard steady relationships and/or raising children. to put it blunt and very simple: if someone decides to live monoganous or decides to live as a sexual libertin is a personal decision. and everybody should respect it and i would find it silly to judge one better then the other. but i might critizise reasonings that try to establish that one style of living would be better then the other. or to cite m: it can be very adventurous having a lover every night, and it can be very adventurous having the same lover every night.

    but there is another topic hidden underneath. actually a topic i am planning to one day address in this blog. i already thought about it reading scott tuckers article and thought somebody else might be blunt and comment on it. it is very icky and usually not well received only mentioning it (ha! again i know what i talk about). but nobody did. so i will put my foot in. the deciding phrase here is: “They thought I knew what I was talking about because I AM gay.” first i would like to state that someone is an expert the moment this has been ascribed to from someone else. but i find it interesting the way you formulated this sentence, donna. and of course i would like to ask back: did you know what you were talking about? this should not be misunderstood as an accusation – i just wonder. putting myself in a situation where i would have to be a specialist for certain woman to woman sex i would feel uneasy (but since having been put in the place of a specialist, i guess i would try to explain instead of pulling out). i just wondered already when reading scott tucker’s article (or, more precise, the part of the article he cited), if part of the uneasyness surrounding that whole story is because you are a lesbian woman? and the way you formulated it, there seems to have been an uneasyness.
    and yes, that hidden topic of the sometimes very problematic relationship between gay men and gay woman raises here its ugly head. so i have another question i would like to ask you, donna: do you think that this has been a part of the problem? or am i just wildly specualting in the wrong direction?
    (the ironic thing here is that the “real tearoom specialist” would be a non-gay, married man (according to laud humphries). )
    to make that clear: i am not critizising you stepping up as a specialist – and additionaly seemingly nobody else stepped up. i just wonder how you viewed it at the time.

    so it would be great to get some more background information on this whole story – and i would also highly appreciate that some readers of this blog might share their views, too.

  11. Donna Taylor Says:

    Actually, the gay community ignored it. I was president of the gay community center at the time. They didn’t get involved at all for fear the Phoenix police would shut down the local bars and raid them all again. (Bar raids in Phoenix at the time were very, very common.) Remember, these were people who had jobs and were hiding their identity for the most part.

    The lesbians wouldn’t talk to the gay men, and I wanted to make a difference. So, here I was, trying my best to solve the school problems (I was going to school, in a new relationship, raising a child, and working forty hours a week.) I had nobody to help me or support me. The few gay people I knew were involved only in gay politics when it suited them.

    So, yes, it did play a part. Gay identity back then is much, much different than it is now. People back in the 70’s and 80’s were not willing to come out at all.

    And how I made it to this site–a guy I graduated from college with pointed this put to me…

  12. sunbathinglizard Says:

    thank you! so we all get a better picture. very good.

    and it inspired me to think about some more topics for this blog. looks like i should do that full-time: still so much to explore and write about…

  13. Scott Tucker Says:

    Scott Tucker here again: Responses to Donna Taylor, sunbathinglizard, and Norman, in that order.

    Donna, I must quote you: “This incident was in 1989, when the world was much different than it is today. At the time, the people in the bathroom the most were married professors who were hitting on students who were under the consensual age of sex.” Where to begin? I do not agree with the view that history consists of a simple “progressive” timeline, whether we’re talking about the gay movement (what’s left of it), or the class struggle, or the meltdown of the planet.

    In some ways the world is better now for some gays, but in other ways a world of sexual generosity and of erotic friendships (quite distinct from actual sex) is once again at risk. Not only at risk from the usual crusading censors and the usual fundamentalists (the obvious enemies), but also from “progressive” social climbers of all sexual orientations who view marriage as the inner sanctum of morality.

    If we had a serious separation of religion (any religion) and the state, then marriage would indeed become optional– but civil unions would be the secular standard for those who chose that particular contract. In a decent social democracy merely being a couple (married or unmarried) should give no special claims to citizenship– and surely no greater claim to human rights.

    I happen to be in a relationship which has lasted over thirty years. But what does that mean? I often find the social world of couples bleak and suffocating, and I feel blessed by friends who are stubbornly single. Social solidarity means more to me than anyone’s marriage (with or without the usual priestcraft).

    There is a deep irony in the fact that Donna Taylor took great pains to tell the world (and the cops, lest we forget) that many men busted in the bathroom were married or in the closet. This was the dark side of gay liberation– or, as the gay poet Robert Duncan wrote in a somewhat different context, “the shadow cast by the Enlightenment.” In Taylor’s upbeat ideology, self-affirming and happily coupled gay and lesbian people would not be caught dead– or merely entrapped– in sex stings and in tea rooms.

    Donna Taylor takes pains all these years later to claim that the men who spent the most time cruising in the tea rooms were, indeed, marked men. Legally and sexually marked men. Fair targets for the law and for the helping professions, apparently. Her story is that these men were “married professors hitting on students who were under the consensual age of sex.”

    Really? At a state university, she claims most of the students who were cruised in the men’s room were under the consensual age of sex. Stop and consider. Even in Arizona at that time, I doubt her recollection can be true to the facts in this case. We would have to have the facts before us, however, which Taylor again fails to provide.

    We do know that ages of consent have varied from state to state in this country, and indeed the disparities don’t end there. The very term “sodomy”, for example, was defined by law in some states to include both anal and oral sex (and Latin phrases such as “per os” and “per anum” were used rather than plain English). But cross a state line and suddenly the sodomy statute meant buttfucking only. Cross another state line and buttfucking was just fine between one man and one woman in legal marriage, but not between members of the same sex forbidden by law to marry. Cross another state line and the legal age of consent dropped to seventeen for heterosexual couples, but rose to twenty one for consensual sodomy between members of the same sex.

    This patchwork of prejudice, sexual panic, and police fiefdoms was enforced not only by the usual vice cops and zealous prosecutors, but also by many members of the “helping professions.” Including prison psychologists, social workers, and others with highly dubious degrees. If the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) helped to cement the ideological framework of repression in 1969, why must we assume that text is a gospel of enlightenment in 2007? The grounds of “expertise” are open to question.

    Donna Taylor never questions the Majesty of the Law in the case of tea room sex stings, and in her account “the age of consent” is the court of final appeal. Nothing of the kind, in fact. Like patriotism, sodomy laws and the ages (plural) of legal consent have been the refuge of scoundrels, and the hobby-horses of politicians. Infantilizing university students serves no good cause, least of all the sexual volition and integrity of the young.

    Donna Taylor says quite sweepingly, “Gay identity back then is much, much different than it is now. People back in the 70’s and 80’s were not willing to come out at all.” She portrays herself as a Lone Ranger of sexual politics back in 1989, but especially in the context of responding to a police crackdown on public cruising. She takes no responsibility for throwing “married men” to the mercy of cops and courts, but only for distinguishing those lost souls from upstanding members of the gay community. But who were they? We can only guess, given Taylor’s memory.

    In plain fact, plenty of people stormed out of the closets in the 70s and 80’s. They took up a whole range of public positions across the political spectrum. Especially in the bigger towns and cities, but some of the bravest came out under fire in small towns and rural areas as well. Arizona State University may have been a moral and political wilderness for married gay professors, but that patch of territory was not improved by tea room busts and vice squads. Taylor has not yet reckoned with her collaboration, and with the consequences of her actions.

    To sunbathinglizard: I do not sympathize in any way with the “difficult” position Donna Taylor took in 1989. In my view, it was one of the paths of least resistance. She had enough courage to be an open lesbian in Arizona at that time. Good, as far as that goes. But she joined the mission of the state to make marked men of those married professors. In this “small” episode we will find currents of a much bigger story.

    I don’t find the subject you raise– about the relations between gay men and lesbian women– “icky” at all. Complex, of course. Gender is not irrelevant to the story Taylor is telling, but the real ground of contention goes beyond gender. We are talking here about a real and deepening political conflict which goes well beyong Taylor, Tucker, and Company.

    Taylor and I are politically at odds in too many ways to spell out here (though her own text may be suggestive to careful readers). The first socialist group I ever joined was the Lavender Left, a coalition of lesbian, gay and bisexual reds which which gained momentum during and after the first National Lesbian and Gay March on Washington in 1979. Indeed, gay socialists were key organizers of that march. Even within the Lavender Left, there were conflicting views among feminist women and men about the full meaning of feminism. But we had much clarity and consensus about sexual politics when considering agents of the state. Our sexual politics were indeed at odds with anti-porn crusades, crackdowns on cruising, vice squads, and the cult of marriage.

    Has the gay movement “progressed” in the years since 1979? There is no simple answer, unless one is a very simple minded “progressive.” No answer is adequate, however, which ignores the scramble for wealth, status and and power by many gay and lesbian people themselves. The Human Rights Campaign (to mention only one gay national group) does not so much advance human rights as the special class interests of some lesbians and homosexuals. Why be surprised? A class divided society will cut right across every social movement without exception (including any socialist movement, in my view).

    Taylor had no moral or political problem tossing married professors overboard, so busy had she become with gay respectability. But from a class conscious point of view, professors are only a fraction of the folks busted by vice cops and hammered by judges. The majority of people entrapped by police for sexual crimes and misdemeanors are working class and lower middle class. The majority are not busted in university tea rooms but in roadside dragnets and truck stop raids, in public parks and in military barracks, in the streets and in the alleys of a hundred cities. What happened at Arizona State University in 1989 is just one episode in a continuing saga of repression and resistance.

    Whenever the power of the state is mobilized, consider the power of class. Even our notions of privacy and the public world are deeply infused with class bias and class control. I cannot say that Donna Taylor and I have any argument on such issues, since she simply ignores them entirely.

    To Norman: I have no argument with your fine sentiments about humanity in general, precisely because you have put the question on a metaphysical plane where I refuse to follow. Hannah Arendt was a worldly political philosopher, and so her point was grounded in the actual history of Europe during World War Two. When the Nazis were actively attacking any solidarity between Jews and “Aryans,” then common humanity could only be found in active resistance and rebellion. Not in the official and abstract religion of humanity, but only in political action against the “Aryan” delusional system.

    Arendt was also willing to criticize the official religion of humanity espoused by the founders of Israel when that faith conflicted with facts on the ground, including the brutal treatment of Arabs and Palestinians. Arendt acknowledged that one group of stateless persons had created a state, but had thereby created another group of stateless people. This made her a pariah among many Zionists, though she had once been active in Zionist efforts to aid Jewish refugees. Her reflections on state power comforted almost no one.

    Among those people who do read her works, many cannot be bothered to experiment with her way of thinking. Besides, she is safely dead and can no longer reply to her critics– except through the words she took pains to write in the twentieth century, and which we might take pains to read in the twenty first.

    Reading and writing have limits. “In the beginning is the Act,” as Rosa Luxemburg once wrote. The risk of action is likewise the risk of unintended consequences and of riskier understanding.

    Not one cent and not one vote for the parties of war and empire!

    For democracy and socialism,
    Scott Tucker

  14. sunbathinglizard Says:

    thanks scott! i will write a reply as soon as – i know what to write. for the information of the other readers: norman asked me to delete his comment, since he wants to re-write it. now i have quite something to think about – thanks again.

  15. norman Says:

    To the response of “who am I” a question asked for years and as yet no one seems to have the answer either scientists or those who sit in silence in forests for all their lives.Lets twist this around and rather ask “who am i not”
    the pope,madonna,billionaire,white trash,rapper gangster and someone who is inactive in the world(passive)bearing in mind the passive also works wonders in its own realm.
    Did u support the Darfur question active/passive…i am not/did not and so we determine who we are by our actions only as words are a mere dream either instilling love or hatred understanding or confusion.It is by our actions that we are judged just as you are only only as good as the last success.
    Looking at the case of Nelson Mandela whilst in prison we heard few words but we knew that the empathy was there waiting hoping wanting till his final release after no compromise.It was his strength and his doing that spoke a thousand words.
    On the other side we look at Martin Luther King and hearing his words..”i have a dream”well short lived as he was murdered and yet we hold our breath in anticipation of whether a group of people today will stand up and be counted(doing) and let his words no longer just being a dream but a reality in Obama.It will be this action that we find a realization of this dream.Here we also have the fact that actions will have consequences and with some of the best intentions it may fail but then it is due to the way of life that the world expresses.
    So i am saying i am not “gay” (jew/muslim)i am a whole lot more but as the world wants to place me in their slot, that they may feel comfortable, thats ok but then they must also let me to be part and parcel of that paradise as “gay” in this context is a mere sexual function.Being part of the humanity starts with all those who procreate as they take the most demanding role of bringing into the world a new soul.It will be their doing that will bring about a great/discarded person but then again does this enter the equation when they are banging away.Should we wish to enter a vocation we need to study and get all the papers needed(ask the swiss)and so i propose that all those wishing to produce enter a schooling of parenthood,by law,and have to obtain papers before ploughing ahead.Hey look at all those broken homes,discarded children,children left devoid of that parental love and guidance.As hetrosexuals are contributors so are gays and we all have a role to play but then its all in our humanity the way we play the game.
    After all we are all teachers to each other whether we like it or not there is that action and reaction so we all have so much to learn to get to the answer …who am i ….who am i not!
    to the blog i say great stuff and will visit again and again(teaching and learning irrespective of your intention) and to my fellow homo-textuals be true to who you are be active and follow your dream.
    to Donna
    yes times were different and we have learnt from your experience and that it may not have been the solution to a complex situation but then we have a new century.

  16. sunbathinglizard Says:

    first: thank you to scott and norman for raising their voices.
    rereading the comments it is interesting to note that differnces of perspective 8especially between scott and norman) is somehow echoing what josé gabilondo is pointing out as a problem.
    then i would like to clarify /answer to some points.
    i do symphatize with donna taylor’s postion for two reasons: first, and that has to do with how i see this blog, i symphatize because i want to know more. this blog is obviously not really an “opinion blog” in the sense that i rather just want to present material concerning topics i do find interesting. i don’t really want (and sometimes can not) give answers to many questions raised here. less because i do not have an opinion (i have many), but because i would like to incite my readers to think about the stuff presented – and the ideal case maybe come forward with their opinions (which happens in this case).
    of course i am aware that already by the selection and the way i present it a certain worldview emerges – but i also think that there are already too many publications online and offline telling you what to think. i am also aware that in certain cases this might be taken as an opt-out, as avoiding to take a stance. this might be true – but at the moment i am personally more interested in searching and learning about the topics presented here then taking action via this blog.
    the second reason i symphatize with donna taylor is that i do knowmyself. or more to the point: i know that i do not know myself. i have already taken (and not taken) action that looking back i ask myself how could i? and i fear that back in the days when i was at university i might would not have had much compassion with the men busted in tearooms – maybe my thinking would rather have been along the lines of: good for them, now they are forced out of the closet. additionally i have to add that in this whole discussion i have to admit that i realized also that somehow i have to take care to take tearoom-busts seriously. where i grew up and where i live now, this danger is just not taking place. hardly anybody will make a fuss about it (although it did change to a more conservative view in the last years). so i have to admit that there is a tendency that i do not take it as seriously as i should. and yes, i also have to admit that sympathizing with donna taylor’s position had the rather negative effect of forgetting to focus on the ones who got busted.

    then: the “ickyness” i am referring to might be again based on my rather different experiences: in the homosexual political group i was at the time a member there were no women. the segregation bewteen lesbians and gays was rather strict – already having lesbian friends was something frowned upon. the distrust came at the time from both sides and had to a degree valid reasons. to my knowledge there have not been that many “mixed” political groups in the 70s and 80’s in europe – division was the flavour of the day, different agendas. this has been overcome only in the last 15 years or so – especially with “gay marriage” there has been a common agenda (and i do have my suspicions that “finding together” has also something to do with the re-raising importance of social class). so the icky-ness for me comes in that at the moment to my feeling there seems to be a certain tabu to point out the history of the difficult relationship between lesbians and gays – i suspect because the problems that existed at the time between us have never been solved, but rather we trie to forget about it. something i find regrettable – if we would have found together by finding a way discussing these problems, we would have learned a lot. and part of terming the topic “icky” is that i always found it embarassing that back in the days it was so difficult to find common ground…
    (and i just realize that i will have to cover that topic once more detailed in this blog).

    so – these were the point i wanted to clarify this time around – of course that should not mean that the discussion is closed. far from it…

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