Larry Kramer Rails at Yale’s ‘Conspiracy of Silence’ on Gay History

Gay activist and playwright Larry Kramer was invited back to Yale last week to receive the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the university's Gay and Lesbian Association.

Kramer Kramer used the opportunity to rail at Yale's "conspiracy of silence" on gay history, criticizing an endowment offered to the school by his brother to set up the Larry Kramer Initiative for Lesbian and Gay Studies because it was misdirected, he says, and used for gender theory and 'queer 'studies (Kramer despises the word "queer", calling it adolescent and demeaning). Kramer wishes the school taught more about gay people in history and talks a bit about his new book, The American People.

Here's an excerpt of Kramer's speech:

Here are some of the things that I have uncovered about our history in writing my new book, The American People:

That Jamestown was America’s first community of homosexuals, men who
came to not only live with each other as partners but to adopt and
raise children bought from the Indians. Some even arranged wedding
ceremonies for themselves.

That George Washington was gay, and that his relationships with
Alexander Hamilton and the Marquis de Lafayette were homosexual. And
that his feelings for Hamilton led to a government and a country that
became Hamiltonian rather than Jeffersonian.

That Meriwether Lewis was in love with William Clark and committed
suicide when their historic journey was over and he wouldn’t see Clark
anymore.

That Abraham Lincoln was gay and had many, many gay interactions,
that his nervous breakdown occurred when he and his lover, Joshua
Speed, were forced to part, and that his sensitivity to the slaves came
from his firsthand knowledge of what it meant to be so very different.
And that the possibility exists that Lincoln was murdered because he
was gay and John Wilkes Booth, who was gay, knew this.

That Franklin Pierce, who became one of America’s worst presidents,
and Nathaniel Hawthorne, who became one of our greatest writers, as
roommates at Bowdoin College had interactions that changed them both
forever and, indeed, served as the wellspring for what Hawthorne came
to write about. Pierce was gay. And Hawthorne? Herman Melville
certainly wanted him to be.

That most of the great actresses who endlessly toured America during
the 19th century bringing theater to the masses were lesbians and
occasionally dressed as men. Just like Katherine Hepburn.

That the plague of AIDS was allowed to happen because much of the
world hates us and most of the world knows nothing about us. They don’t
know we are related to Washington and Lincoln.

I needed no queer theories, no gender studies, to figure all this out.

Why can’t we accept that homosexuality has been pretty much the same
since the beginning of human history, whether it was called
homosexuality, sodomy, buggery, hushmarkedry, or hundreds of other
things, or had no name at all? What we do now they pretty much did
then. Period. Men have always had cocks and men have pretty much always
known what to do with them. It is just stupidity and elite presumption
of the highest and most preposterous order to theorize, in these
regards, that then was different from now.

Read the full speech at The Daily Beast.

(image david shankbone)

Comments

  1. MT says

    I have to agree with him. I have always hated the word “Queer.” It is by definition odd and deviant, and gay people are just as normal as everyone else..

  2. lauren says

    i admire and thank larry kramer for his years spent fighting the good fight for gay rights, but his attitude toward yale and the larry kramer initiative is so boneheaded that i’ve lost a lot of respect for him.

    larry kramer seems to believe that “gay studies” is synonymous with reverse-engineering homosexual liaisons between powerful, privileged white men. regardless of whether his allegations are correct, his methodology is uniformly sloppy and his allegations, i believe, say much more about how larry kramer wants people to look at gay people, than about any gay people either now or in the past.

  3. bading says

    I respect and admire Larry Kramer and can’t thank him enough for everything he’s done for our cause. But he needs to accept the paradigm-shift that the internet has wrought. Younger people do not necessarily adhere only to the gay-straight dichotomy. To them, gender and sexuality are fluid states of being. We should not deny them our history because of this.

  4. DonnyB says

    I would love to see his bibliography or any list of sources that prove all those claims. I’m not saying they’re all false, I’m just wondering what exactly he’s using to reach these conclusions.

  5. voodoolock says

    Use of the word “queer” is ageist in denying the brave hard work done by our LGBT pioneers. It also denotes a severe tinge of homonegativity and denial, exemplifying the shame that the newer generation feels about their elders and by extention, themselves.

    I was queer not long ago, but am now gay and proud of those who came before me.

  6. lauren says

    “Use of the word “queer” is ageist in denying the brave hard work done by our LGBT pioneers. It also denotes a severe tinge of homonegativity and denial, exemplifying the shame that the newer generation feels about their elders and by extention, themselves.”

    the only thing ageist about this whole “queer” debate is the fact that older lgbt individuals use it to infer a host of other issues about younger individuals. also, many people use queer because they feel like for the older generation (including people like l.kramer), lgbt meant G + l if it suited them, and treating bisexual and transgender individuals like pariahs.

  7. Lubin Odana says

    What an odd, cross and rather snobby speech. There is no reference to bisexuality at all – and if he’d bothered to engage with any sort of gender or queer theory, he’d see how historical analyses have tried to show how bisexuality is much more promiment and ‘normal’.

    Also, to use some of his hated queer theory, I find his essentialising a bit tiresome. I am not “related to” Washington and Lincoln. We may have both liked men, but that don’t make them my relatives.

  8. voodoolock says

    I understand the sexual fluidity argument for use of the word, but don’t feel that gayness and sexual fluidity are mutually exclusive.

    I also believe that people should call themselves whatever they want, but agree with Mr. Kramer when he states that the word “queer” does seem “adolescent and demeaning” because is does deny our older generations.

    As far as seeming to focus on White men, that may or may not be Kramer’s limited purview, but I certainly doubt he mandated the institute in his name be held to that limitation.

  9. Pender says

    Wow, that’s quite a take on history. I have no idea if it’s true. If it is, I agree with him that it’s shameful that it isn’t being taught. But I can’t help but feel a little skeptical when I read it.

    100% agreed about the worthlessness (and sometimes outright bigotry) of the “queer studies” industry. It’s a haven for also-ran English professors who get away with claiming things like “there is no such thing as gay people,” or “gayness is nothing more than a way of expressing one’s alienation from society,” which you can imagine as easily coming from Ahmedinejad’s mouth. Sorry, kids, but the science is clear: for men at least, there is such a thing as gayness, sexual attraction with respect to gender is basically binary, and any correlated alienation or rebellion is a reaction to society’s stigma and not the other way around. Queer Studies, like creationism, treats reality as a text that can be interpreted any way the reader wishes, and in the process does a lot of damage.

  10. Dave says

    It’s unfortunate that a smart man who has contributed a great deal to “the cause” (whatever that is) has rendered himself irrelevant via extremism bordering on absurdity. I’m having a hard time telling the difference between his rants and those of, say, Michelle Bachmann.

  11. lauren says

    voodoolock,

    i apologize if my comments seem unduly pointed, but i was hoping you could explain your position on how the word ‘queer’ denies our older generations. i’m really interested in your perspective on this.

    personally, i consider the word, when used as a descriptor (as in, “i’m queer”), to be one of a panoply of options — i’ve never heard anyone argue that everyone MUST exclusively describe themselves as queer, but rather that SOME people feel queerness more accurately describes their sexual/gender identity. if those instances occur, i do agree with you that it would be problematic. but just as terminology changes, i think that it’s important for older generations to understand how SOME young people view their own sexuality.

    with regards to larry kramer in particular, during his tenure of involvement with the larry kramer initiative, he consistently expressed his views that the best use of funds was for the sort of posthumous outing of powerful individuals throughout western history seen above. these individuals, needless to say, are almost always white men, and in fact kramer denigrated the work of many fine scholars looking into the role of race and gender in sexuality in history.

  12. Sal says

    Larry Kramer will whine about anything these days. It isn’t any evidence of a homophobic conspiracy that university history departments aren’t taking his word as gospel. The reason that his theories on gay history are not embraced is that they are conclusory (i.e., merely conjectural).

  13. David in Houston says

    If he can prove any of those outrageous historical claims, more power to him. Right now he sounds like a crazy loon.

    I know there was the series Queer As Folk. But I would never refer to myself or another gay person as ‘queer’. It feels like an out-of-date reference from All In The Family, which never used the term as a sign of affection.

  14. crispy says

    “It’s unfortunate that a smart man who has contributed a great deal to “the cause” (whatever that is) has rendered himself irrelevant via extremism bordering on absurdity.”

    Wait, are you talking about Leland Frances/Michael Bedwell?

  15. says

    Everytime I use the word queer to describe myself I do so because it takes the power of that word away from those who would use it negatively.

    Has Larry Kramer every had a moment of happiness is his life?

  16. says

    Larry gets to be an angry old fag stereotype, vituperative and all (neato – I looked up a new word). He has every right to express his anger, just as others have a right to be clueless how 70+ years of legal and social hatred can make a guy cranky, ESPECIALLY if one has lived through the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s.

    Words have multiple definitions in most dictionaries.

    Queer – eccentric, unconventional.

    I’ll buy that one.

    (C)1996 Zane Publishing, Inc. and Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. All rights reserved.

  17. Paul says

    “Queer” started being used in the 80s as a way of subverting prejudice. It implied a realization that you can’t be victimized by a descriptive word when you know and acknowledge that it’s what you are.

    The word was always hard to accept for those with painful memories of being called it in olden times.

    It was eagerly snatched up by academic types and its usage quickly degenerated into a way of casting oneself as painfully inclusive / on the cutting edge of culture. Today the word just sounds trendy-circa-1996 and not a little pretentious. It’s a lazy label.

    I recommend that people move on to exploring and experimenting with other obsolete terms. Hushmarkedry?

  18. says

    “Why can’t we accept that homosexuality has been pretty much the same since the beginning of human history?”

    Because it hasn’t. Homosexuality and the terms used to describe “it,” have both changed. There was a time when middle class men in NY called themselves “queer,” which meant men who liked sex with other men to distinguish themselves from the working class “fairies,” who were effeminate and had sex with “wolves” or “trade,” who were men who fucked either men or women. Those days are gone (see Chauncey). It’s curious that Kramer doesn’t understand that his very objection to “queer” shows that things change.

    Plus I fear that his queerphobia (and theoryphobia) led to his runins with former director of Yale’s program, Jonathan Katz, who is both a queer theorist and an excellent art historian — a trained historian, which is more than you can say for Larry, though I do often love him for his rants. Just not this one.

    And for those of you who criticize queer theory here… well, I suspect that the majority of you have no idea what it is. It’s not for everybody, like most critical schools. But bashing it without understanding it is just silly.

  19. ImAQueer says

    I like the word “queer.” A lot, actually. Partially because I believe in a collective “queer movement,” and would rather not write out LGBTQQIAA… in my attempts to be inclusive- we’re all queer. Also, in my experiences with queer studies, the existence of homosexuals has never been denied- at least, in so far as there are men who like to have sex with other men (and who do so.) But maybe treating “queer studies” as a homogenous whole with no internal debates suits people better; I suppose it would be difficult to sound forceful when you have to admit that some people might actually escape your criticism.
    Also, the notion of “homosexuality” and what men did with each other has not always been the same- it wasn’t even the identity we know it as now until around the 18th/19th century.
    Kramer’s idea of Gay and Lesbian studies is antiquated: we’ve established that other (great) men in history have had sex with men. Score one for our side; but I don’t really get what advances that mode of scholarship have brought to the movement/study of gender, sexuality, etc. since around the 70s and 80s.
    And no, I’m not related to Lincoln and Washington. And I’m not related to Larry Kramer, either. I’m not arguing that what was accomplished wasn’t and isn’t important, but I think there’s more to the idea of queer studies. Not to mention the fact that saying “Lincoln was gay!” and leaving it at that is equivalent to previous presumptions that he wasn’t.

  20. says

    He is probably right about “queer”, and I like his strong positions on gay equality and teaching students about gays in (actual) history.

    But his historical “facts”?

    I don’t think so.

  21. Danny says

    I’ve never understood why so many follow this idiot. Most of his speeches are little more than name-calling and swearing. It may be satisfying, but it is simple-minded and demagogic.

    Also, he called on gay people to riot in San Fran in 1990 at the World AIDS Conference. He of course was no where to be seen, preferring to stay safe while others risk cracked skulls and arrest. Fortunately, no one followed his call.

    Well, at least now we have his claim that virtually everyone in history was gay. How did FDR not make his list?

  22. says

    And he is right about homosexuality not changing in history. When one gay man saw some hot dude walk by he got a “boner” 500 years ago, 1000 years ago, just like today. Nothing’s changed.

  23. Derrick from Philly says

    “….working class “fairies,” who were effeminate and had sex with “wolves” or “trade,” who were men who fucked either men or women. Those days are gone (see Chauncey…”

    Well, then I’m getting out off this big ball of crap before Larry Kramer. What’s left without trade?

    Is that all there is, is that all there is?

    If that’s all there is my friends then let’s keep dancing….

    No wolves or trade…shiiit…bye.

  24. mike says

    Larry Kramer, you cranky queen! There you were during the “liberated” 70s and early 80s indulging yourself on all the sex and drugs you couldn’t possibly handle. Why, you practically LIVED at the St. Mark Baths. Then, along came AIDs and poof! Overnight you morphed into our own Aunt Prudence, righteously railing against those same bath houses (SHUT THEM DOWN, you yelled, sometimes tearfully in a Glenn Beckish sort of way!) and railing against anybody who dared to criticize your newly-puritanincal attitudes towards sex. Larry, honey, personally I prefer the word “queer”. It’s a hard word, a tough word, a mature word, an in-your-face word. “Gay” is too wussy, too high-schoolish, too tea-dancey, too white-partyish. I claim the “Q” word because by doing so, I make it mine and it empowers me because it can no longer be used to hurt me or demean me. The “G” word is a limp-wristed attempt to sanitize not only my sexuality and humanity, but to sanitize the centuries of hatred, oppression and brutality queer men and women have suffered at the hands of heterosexual tyrants. Larry, it’s time to retire. Go on, head out to that golden pasture you so richly deserve. Otherwise, STFU!

  25. Contrarian says

    I’ll leave the whole gender studies/terminology debate to others. However, Mr. Kramer’s views on history border on the fanciful/delusional. So Mr. Lincoln had a nervous breakdown because of a male affair of the heart?? How about, just for starters, a shopaholic shrewish wife, generals who wouldn’t fight, thousands of maimed casualties, a broken Union, and an adored child dead because of filthy water at the White House and consequent typhus. The evidence about Washington is what exactly? He lived in an age when affectional feelings between men were often more openly talked about, or at least found their way into letters, in a platonic way. There were also heavy duty religious and social taboos which worked against actual physical relations, no matter the emotional feelings. Hawthorne (at least in his youth) and Pierce were both “attractive” by the standards of the 19thC., but so what if they were college mates? Proves nothing.

  26. Ira Sachs says

    I was at the event on Saturday, and of all the disturbing elements in his speech, the part that was most unconscionable was that Larry actually believes that just because his brother gave the school a lot of money, he, Larry Kramer, should be able to decide exactly how LGBT issues should be taught at Yale. Thank goodness there are checks and balances in the university’s use of philanthropy, or every rich person with a checkbook would have the right to decide what’s being taught on our campuses, including paranoid, reactionary (and, still, honorable in so many ways) Larry Kramer.

  27. anon says

    This is a man who complains about sunny days in June and would rant about puppy dogs and rainbows. He’s like an Internet troll, only in real life.

  28. Mr. E says

    Wow, just lost respect for him. This rant has show how out of touch and ignorant of the subtleties of history.

    I also prefer the term ‘queer.’ To me it is a inclusive term that does not deny the identities of our bi and transgender brothers and sisters. As a politic, ‘queer’ is also inclusive of all people who are for HUMAN rights and sensitive to homosexual issues. In fact, I believe a straight person can be queer. I like the term ‘queer’ because I don’t really want to be ‘normal,’ I like being a bit different.

    And Kramer’s take on history is absurd. The word homosexual was invented around the turn of the 20th century. Prior to that, peoples identities as far as same sex relations were vastly different than they are today. People were held to much stricter norms. It is unfair to call these people in history ‘homosexual’ or ‘gay’ and equate them to our sense of identity today. BUT, i think it is ok to point out that they MAY have had same sex relations. Men have been sucking other mens cocks since the beginning of time.

  29. Malo says

    LK is a heroe. Never forget it. Most of us are alive because of him. His “extremes” saved us. Saved us! Talk to any MD in NYC, they will tell you so. You can traced back to him. Furthermore, his books and essays have inspired millions of Gays and Lesbians around the world. Please! And you? What have you done? Go learn some history…

  30. says

    MALO, of course he’s a hero for the work he did on AIDS, and I love hearing him rant. I have huge respect for him.

    That doesn’t mean I have to believe every word that comes out of his mouth. Neither theory nor history is his forte.

  31. JT says

    MALO : He might have been good with AIDS issues, but on other subjects he’s a retard. I think Mozart was a musical genius, but I sure wouldn’t want him deciding he’s a medical expert and performing surgery on me.

  32. Madm@ says

    KEVINVT I like it

    I think his extraodinary claims require extraordinary evidence.. and if he had it he could get Rachel Maddow to do a piece on it and quit bugging yale. He needs to realize that homosexuality =/= queer always, I would consider homosexuals that try to completely recapitulate the heterosexual couple complete with marriage and kids as not really queer, but I do identify as queer.

    I think he is looking into historical situations and reading what he wants. The problem is heteronormative presentations of history adding power to this cultural idea that heterosexuality is a timeless thing that has existed unchanged since creation. It hasn’t, and neither has homosexuality.

    “Men have always had cocks and men have pretty much always known what to do with them.”
    WTF is this? so he just wants to talk about the history of MSM? should have just given the $$ to the Kinsey institute :b

  33. Kevin says

    He’s starting to sound like a gay version of Leonard “black people are sun people and white people are ice people” Jeffries. Next he’s going to tell us that a gay man invented space travel 3000 years ago but the straights kept it under wraps.

  34. says

    Larry Kramer has always been infuriating and mostly wrongheaded. I do think it was wrong of Yale to ignore the desires stated in the endowment and to use their preferred terminology rather than Kramer’s, but his lack of graciousness and common sense here is typical of him.

    And yet–

    The number of supposedly gay people making blatantly bigoted, virulently anti-gay language in describing him makes me sad. Keep your self-hatred to yourself, please.

  35. JT says

    LOL about space travel, Kevin. Anyway, with all the really unquestionable great same-sex lovers in history (from Solon to Alexander to DaVinci, Bacon, Turing…on and on), why does Kramer grab at these questionable claims? And then he insults the public by claiming they all hate us because they don’t know we’re, in a sense, descended from Washington and Lincoln. More people know how many of the world’s greats preferred their own sex than you’d think, Larry. But you wouldn’t know that, in your tiny ghettoized Manhattan world where you see the larger heterosexual society as one-dimensional ignorant cartoon characters.

  36. Anthony in Nashville says

    How did he or his family get their money? You’ve got to be loaded to make a major contribution to Yale.

    I generally agree with Kramer, but I’m wondering if he has written about the fact that his wealth buys him credibility that others aren’t afforded.

  37. whiteraven says

    If you were at the GALA dinner Saturday night when Kramer gave his speech you would have gotten a better sense of the degree to which his speech was pungent, excessive and uncalled for.
    Yale organized the Gay and Lesbian Alum Reunion to direct a greater focus on LGBT issues at the school. There was a 4 day conference with over 500 hundred alum, many of whom are the movers and shakers of successful industries and businesses. The event was meant to be one of celebration and a marked commitment to dedicating more energy and resources to not just improving the quality of life for Yale’s LGBT students, but to organizing efforts that would spearhead the future of the entire queer movement.
    Even Rick Levin, the University’s President, attended the conference and its related events. Before Kramer was given his LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD, University Provost Peter Salovey spoke highly of him and apologized for the University’s former attitudes towards the initiative and other efforts to bolster queer studies. What Kramer wanted 11 years ago for LKI was an unsound plan that the then much more conservative Yale was hesitant to enact. Additionally, Kramer’s demands were often ridiculous, and if you’ve worked at a University such as Yale or other Ivies you would know that a million dollar investment is hardly enough to foster the start of an entirely new discipline (a kitschy non-peer reviewed “Gay History” as Kramer wanted it).

    Larry Kramer has given the above speech to Yale time and time again. Since 2003 he has visited the school almost every year, invited by the Yale LGBT Co-op, Yale’s faculty and its College Masters to give talks. His criticism has stayed the exact same, even in the face of an institution that has admitted to coming to terms with its own weaknesses.

    The point then isn’t that Kramer criticized Yale, but that he did it for the millionth time. When students, alum and faculty were ready to admit that the university had not done enough institutionally in the past (which is far from the truth, Yale has one of the best Lesbian and Gay studies program in the world), Kramer was still adamant to prove that he was wronged and mistreated.
    Even in the face of an apology from the provost and president.

    He is a selfish man who does not know how to get beyond his own ego.

  38. Bill says

    If your making heterosexuals angry you are doing something right. Larry great job.

    To the self-hating, can’t think on your own, need a heterosexual to think for you gay people, gay people have always loved people of the same sex whether there was a word for it or not. I got boners looking at muscular men before I knew the word gay, homosexual or any other synonym. Don’t tell me gay men need a word in order to get boners from other men. Or that gay people need to have sex with someone of the same sex and declare it in order for them to be gay. Sex is not the start and finish of homosexuality. The people that say you need a word for homosexuality in order for there to be homosexuality are parroting heterosexuals. Have you noticed when you tell heterosexuals you are gay and they change? In their mind you are the one that changed when in actuality their opinion of you did. That is the basis for the whole you need a word for homosexuality in order for there to be homosexuality. Sex is the foundation of heterosexuality. Heterosexuals are projecting when they and their gay lackies say sex is central to gay identity.

    Alexander Hamilton and Herman Melville were definitely gay. Don’t knock Larry Kramer, he’s great and his scholarship is worth it. Often times gay people are the only ones that can tell if someone from the past was gay because no definitive evidence exists.

  39. says

    Many commentators here have said that they think the term “queer” is “inclusive.”

    But, as soon as you say that you don’t identify as queer or hate the term for your own reasons they suddenly become as exclusionary as possible. They like their word as a blanket identifying label for everything. The sheer generality of this label actually blurs and under-analyzes the very REAL differences between, say, people with intersex conditions and male homosexuals and transgenders. Even within each supposedly discrete experiences there is much difference and diversity and disagreement.

    All these terms–“queer,” “gay”–are problematic because they are often based on who people think they are instead of what they do in their lives.

    I’m not interested in identity.

    I’m interesting in doing, loving.

    Labels are stupid because our lives are dynamic and the worse thing for me is to have to fit into a narrow stereotype.

    And there are indeed stereotypes of “queer studies/queer theory people”: these are people who never, ever take the time to actually criticize the prose style of the scholars that they hold dear like Judith Butler.

    I find all of these term-happy people borderline oppressive (but not as oppressive as homophobic bigots).

    Please, leave me out of your politics.

    My aim is not to be discriminated against for anything, including who I love and have sex with and how I express my love and sense of self on any given day.

    In the recent court cases related to gay marriage I NEVER, EVER, EVER heard or read the word “queer” in those briefs.

    Why?

    Because most professional people (outside of the narrow, insular world of ‘queer studies or queer theory’) wouldn’t be caught dead saying “nigg*r marriage” or “queer marriage” or “fagg*t marriage” or “bulldagger marriage” in some naive, vain attempt to reclaim a word from oppressors.

    This reclaiming contention is the weakest analytic possible and it ignores the continuing power of hateful terms like queer and fagg*t for young people especially. Recent murders and suicides of young people bullied, literally, to death underscore how these labels are never–poof–easily or thoroughly reclaimed.

    Try to reclaim this hate-speech is like bubbling yourself off from the way most of the professional world speaks of homosexuals: as “LGBT people” (or some variant) or as “homosexuals.”

    Outside of the law and governmental forms, labels are hardly useful to me.

    I identify as Josh and that’s it.

    As for Larry Kramer’s speech at Yale: he and all the other homosexual and lesbian scholars couldn’t care less about poor folks and actually giving money where it is most deserved. They are elites who care about their own little Ivy league world.

  40. Mr. E says

    Bill, read a book. Go to school. Open your mind to the fact that sexuality is actually much more fluid than you apparent gay/straight dichotomy.

    Josh, here’s a label for you. ‘Fucking pervert’ You may not like labels but you sure are perpetuating a stereotype by linking you name to a cock shot.

  41. Mr. E says

    Bill, it is obvious that you must have lived your entire life in a tiny little bubble in some small town in middle America. I hate to disappoint you but we live in a very big world with many different ways of thinking and doing things. Break out of your bubble! Even for men things are not always back/white. If HIV education and outreach used your dichotomous philosophy there would have been thousands of men we never could have reached…

  42. says

    Unfortunately, both Towleroad and The Daily Beast don’t present Kramer’s speech in the context of what else was said that evening. His comments discounting the value of queer studies and and even the word “queer” itself were especially antagonistic after the keynote delivered by Dr. Eliza Byard, Executive Director of GLSEN. I had the pleasure of attending the GALA dinner that evening, and I posted a few comments about it on my blog: http://www.homo-neurotic.com/

  43. says

    “Words have multiple definitions in most dictionaries. Queer – eccentric, unconventional. I’ll buy that one.”

    Well, I won’t! Eccentric, unconventional, those are personality traits that have nothing to do with being born LGBT. Your shame is showing.

    “Everytime I use the word queer to describe myself I do so because it takes the power of that word away from those who would use it negatively.”

    Hello? Just saying you’re taking power away doesn’t make it true. All the time, I hear the words “queer”, “dkye”, “faggot” and “tranny” used by Gay and Straight people alike, along with the word “bitch”, and every time, no exception, the usage is demeaning and derogatory! Just the other night on MSNBC, Michael Musto said former Mayor Rudy Giuliani looks like a “tranny”, and he definitely didn’t mean it as an endearment. LGBT folk using potty mouth on other LGBT folk is nothing but a thinly-veiled attempt to identify with the oppressor. All you anti-political correctness crusaders, WTFU! You’re not fooling anybody. Please find something more constructive to do than giving bigots tacit permission to disrespect me and my kind.

    Larry Kramer rocks hard!

  44. Rood says

    Last Saturday I happened to meet Larry Kramer in New York City, and he was most gracious, considering that he was in deep mourning over the loss of another friend.

    However acerbic his remarks may seem, I love and admire him for forcing us to question every notion, every term, every assumption. But Mr. Kramer is much more than a mere gadfly. What he has done, that he has, not the least of which is the miracle of Women in Love. We must honour him and give him his due.

  45. roger ramjet says

    “Younger people do not necessarily adhere only to the gay-straight dichotomy. To them, gender and sexuality are fluid states of being….Posted by: bading”

    Apparently it’s not just Young people, but old farts in powdered wigs too.

    BTW: WTF is up with you people who are hating on Kramer?

    Your self loathing, projected as “Nuanced Young Sexual Fluidity” Is just crap.

    The man is an LGBT hero. And he’s light-years ahead of his detractors…which obviously include some posting here. You will learn, one day, what your passivity and non-chalance has wrought.

    Watch and learn. That is all Kramer is saying.

  46. Mark says

    “Queer” is disrespectful to older “gay identified” men like Larry because one effect of it’s usage was to create generational distance at a time when “gay” men’s communities were being annihilated by neglect. It often functioned as an internal “community generated” insult to injury.

    Some lesbians adopted it to celebrate the demise of men and would write letters to the editor about their lack of sympathy for the “PDM’s”, the Poor Dying Men. For me, anyone who uses “queer” provides cover for anyone who still privately holds those sentiments.

    The fiction that AIDS brought “the community together like never before” was only partially true. That take on AIDS was a necessary expedient promoted to garner resources since Reagan made a distinction between “the innocent victims of AIDS” (children) and gay men.

    “Innocent victims” was Republican code for “screw you, buttf*cker you’re going to be the perp in our scenario.” And even Obama’s new HIV Strategy hasn’t freed you from that plantation. Nope, you are just getting more “attention” directed at your Perpitude.

    No community rally around that one, is there? So, please learn your history!

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