Tuesday, March 27, 2007


From the LA Times via the Houston Chronicle, playwright and founder of the bombastic gay rights agit-prop group ACT UP, Larry Kramer, opines on hardcore homophobia and how it's not going away:

Gays do not realize that the more we become visible, the more we come out of the closet, the more we are hated. Don't those of you straights who claim not to hate us have a responsibility to denounce the hate? Why is it socially acceptable to joke about "girlie men" or to discriminate against us legally with "constitutional" amendments banning gay marriage? Because we cannot marry, we can pass on only a fraction of our estates, we do not have equal parenting rights and we cannot live with a foreigner we love who does not have government permission to stay in this country. These are the equal protections that the Bill of Rights proclaims for all?

Why do you hate us so much that you will not permit us to legally love? I am almost 72, and I have been hated all my life, and I don't see much change coming.

I think your hate is evil.

What do we do to you that is so awful? Why do you feel compelled to come after us with such frightful energy? Does this somehow make you feel safer and legitimate? What possible harm comes to you if we marry, or are taxed just like you, or are protected from assault by laws that say it is morally wrong to assault people out of hatred? The reasons always offered are religious ones, but certainly they are not based on the love all religions proclaim.

Click here for the rest.

There is no rhyme or reason to homophobia. It is totally irrational. People who hate and fear gays clearly have some heavy and weird psychological issues stuck deeply in their brains. As Kramer observes, religion, in terms of theology, cannot possibly justify the dehumanizing rhetoric, the violence, and the continued unabashed discrimination against homosexuals.

I was once homophobic myself, years ago, until I came into close contact with gay men when I entered the theater. I look back on those days and wonder what the hell was wrong with me that I would have such disdain for people who had never wronged me in any way. I have no answer. I have no idea why I felt that way. I mean, maybe it was social conditioning; maybe it was the way being tagged as gay in public school is the worst possible label a student can have. But that's no answer. It's just speculation.

One thing is clear. I got over my homophobia by being around lots of gay people, and by immersing myself in a subculture that tends to celebrate gayness. It strikes me that this is the key, somehow, to ending this psychotic scourge on our people. As far as specifics go, however, I have no idea.