not a good gay

I've admired Richard Goldstein for years, largely through his pieces in the Village Voice. This week his essay in The Nation really did it for me.

I'm linking it here because Goldstein has done an excellent job of describing my own social and political posture and my position as a member of a pariah community.

The queer community is the spawn of a marriage between socialism and bohemianism more than a century ago. This heady union, which begat gay liberation, has been all but ignored by the culture.
Some of my friends and relatives will be surprised to know that I am not a "retreating liberal" and I am not a "good gay." I blame over sixty years of a certain amount of dissembling in order to survive in a frightened and frightening world for any appearances which may have encouraged that misunderstanding. I am grateful however to chance, and for the good graces of friends and strangers, that I have become more and more radical over the years. I intend to keep heading in that direction.

What I am now is a leftist and a queer, and for me the two are inseparable.

Hear, hear! This is one coming-out I'd like to see more of! As the Gay Right, armed with avarice and a new-found sense of liberation (which the Left conjured for them), grows in power, this community's values are fated to go even further afield.


But, um, actually I probably overstated the business about dissembling. I thought I had come out as pretty lefty in the sixties, and when I first heard the appellation, "queer," used as a positive

noun, I jumped aboard immediately. I think it's been the world that really

changed; maybe I've just had to react to that, becoming more impatient and

less trustful of its institutions.

If this escaped anyone who knows me, I don't think it's because I was closeting myself.

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Published on June 19, 2002 6:39 PM.

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