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Dan Savage Discusses 'What It Means To Be Homosexual' 40 Years Later: VIDEO


Forty years ago, a magazine editor named Merle Miller broke new ground by publicly coming out in a New York Times article called "What It Means To Be Homosexual." Discussing that essay's recent republication — Penguin put it out last year with a new foreword by Dan Savage — Emily Greenhouse at the New Yorker wrote:

The article was published on January 17, 1971. It was extraordinary. Miller had not intended to write anything personal—"I have no taste for self-revelation," he later wrote—but it seems to have spilled out from his pen, his typewriter, a reasoned and reasonably furious demand for respect. "I am sick and tired," he wrote, "of reading and hearing such goddamn demeaning, degrading bullshit about me and my friends." It was a great deal more than that, but in a way, Miller's anger was it: a simple, loyal appeal on behalf of himself and his bullied friends.

In the video AFTER THE JUMP, Savage himself discusses Miller's impact on gay culture and what it means to "be different" in these more inclusive, though not necessarily less dangerous, times.

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  1. http://www.ehrensteinland.com/htmls/library/epstein.html

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jan 17, 2013 10:59:59 AM

  2. Ok I love Dan Savage, physically. I have known him for almost my whole life and I find him JUST as attractive as I did as a kid.

    But what the hell!? He looks like he is taking a poop and yelling at it.

    Posted by: Fensox | Jan 17, 2013 11:23:31 AM

  3. Nice. Towleroad's Naughty Language nanny-software is configured so you can't even QUOTE THEIR OWN ARTICLE WITHOUT THE COMMENT BEING FLAGGED AND DELETED! How stupid is that?

    But at least now I know who Merle Miller is. I used to run into his name in older books but always as if he needed no introduction, that of course you knew who he was. And now finally I do.

    That statement Merle Miller made about what he was "sick & tired" of, the one Dan Savage latched onto as the most powerful sentence, the one that's apparently too profane for TR commenters to use, pretty much says it all.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jan 17, 2013 11:27:40 AM

  4. This is a great video and message. Lots accomplished in the past 40 years.

    Posted by: AriesMatt | Jan 17, 2013 2:02:33 PM

  5. The Orphan Child Archetype

    The Orphan Child is the major character in most well known children's stories, including Little Orphan Annie, the Matchstick Girl, Bambi, the Little Mermaid, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, Cinderella, and many more. The pattern in these stories is reflected in the lives of people who feel from birth as if they are not a part of their family, including the family psyche or tribal spirit.

    Yet precisely because orphans are not allowed into the family circle, they have to develop independence early in life. The absence of family influences, attitudes, and traditions inspires or compels the Orphan Child to construct an inner reality based on personal judgment and experience.

    Orphans who succeed at finding a path of survival on their own are celebrated in fairy tales and folk stories as having won a battle with a dark force, which symbolically represents the fear of surviving alone in this world.

    The shadow aspect manifests when orphans never recover from growing up outside the family circle. Feelings of abandonment and the scar tissue from family rejection stifle their maturation, often causing them to seek surrogate family structures in order to experience tribal union.

    Posted by: I'm Layla Miller I Know Stuff | Jan 17, 2013 3:51:41 PM

  6. Identifying with the Orphan begins by evaluating your childhood memories, paying particular attention to whether your painful history arises. Through affirmation of the feeling that you were never welcomed as a family member, the healing process can begin through developing an effective life roadmap in order to fulfill tribal wholeness.

    Therapeutic support groups become shadow tribes or families for an Orphan Child who knows deep down that healing these wounds and connecting to the missing pieces are demanded for one to move on to adulthood and move forward with life.

    Films: Margaret O'Brien in The Secret Garden; Victoire Thivisol in Ponette ; Hayley Mills in Pollyanna; Harvey Milk in Milk, Coco Before Chanel; Anne of Green Gables; Anne of Avonlea; Oliver Twist; Matilda; Memoirs of a Geisha

    Posted by: I'm Layla Miller I Know Stuff | Jan 17, 2013 3:52:00 PM

  7. The Wounded Child Archetype

    The Wounded Child archetype holds the memories of the abuse, neglect, and other traumas that we have endured during childhood. This may be the pattern people relate to the most, particularly since it has become the focus of therapy and accepted as a major culprit in the analysis of adult suffering.

    Choosing the Wounded Child suggests that you credit the painful and abusive experiences of your childhood with having a substantial influence on your adult life. Many people blame their Wounded Child, for instance, for all their subsequent dysfunctional relationships.

    The shadow aspect may manifest as an abiding sense of self-pity, a tendency to blame your parents for your current shortcomings and to resist moving on through clemency.

    Posted by: I'm Layla Miller I Know Stuff | Jan 17, 2013 4:11:24 PM

  8. The painful experiences of the Wounded Child archetype often awaken a deep sense of compassion and a desire to find a path of service aimed at helping other Wounded Children. From a spiritual perspective, a wounded childhood cracks open the learning path of clemency.

    Films: Diana Scarwid in Mommie Dearest; Dean Stockwell in The Secret Garden; Natalie Wood in The Miracle on 34th Street; Leonardo di Caprio in This Boy's Life; Jon Voight in Midnight Cowboy.

    Fiction: Native Son by Richard Wright; Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.

    Religion/Myth: The Amazons (warrior women of Greek myth who, as children, had their right breast removed to facilitate the use of bow and arrow, their chief weapon)

    Posted by: I'm Layla Miller I Know Stuff | Jan 17, 2013 4:11:53 PM

  9. Layla, these are fascinating insights. And they give us a lot to think about. I hope you continue to post on Towleroad.

    Posted by: Mary | Jan 17, 2013 4:27:37 PM

  10. Layla, would it be possible for you to recommend a book or article on this subject? I'd like to read more about it.


    Posted by: Mary | Jan 17, 2013 4:32:47 PM

  11. Jungs, Jungians, and Homosexuality (amazon.com)


    In many instances, homosexual men share the psychological fate of immigrants, of illigetimae children, of members of minority groups or other types of outsiders.

    They almost always feel themselves to be rejected, even despised and they have corresponding inferiority complexes.

    This ends up leading to feelings of persecution that may be justified since they are condemned on the basis of religious and moral principles

    Posted by: I'm Layla Miller I Know Stuff | Jan 17, 2013 5:11:47 PM

  12. www.myss.com/library/contracts/four_archs.asp

    The Child, Victim, Prostitute, and Saboteur are all deeply involved in your most pressing challenges related to survival. Each one represents different issues, fears, and vulnerabilities that you need to confront and overcome as part of your Sacred Contract.

    In doing so, you come to see these four archetypes as your most trusted allies, which can represent spiritual as well as material strengths. They can become your guardians and will preserve your integrity, refusing to let you negotiate it away in the name of survival. Keep in mind that, like all archetypes, their energies are essentially neutral, despite the negative connotations of their names.

    (Although the Child itself sounds positive, variants such as the Wounded, Needy, or Orphan Child have a similar negative tonality.)

    Posted by: I'm Layla Miller I Know Stuff | Jan 17, 2013 5:21:22 PM

  13. I never liked Savage and I still don't.

    Posted by: andrew | Jan 17, 2013 6:26:29 PM

  14. We know. You remind us everytime there is an article posted about him. Your dislike has been registered now and for future reference. No need to keep reminding us.

    Posted by: DAN | Jan 17, 2013 6:43:40 PM

  15. Every small gay town publication need a "Mr. Nobody" who everyone thinks is "Mr. Somebody" It unifies the community.

    Posted by: Gary | Jan 17, 2013 8:45:59 PM

  16. Every gay blog needs a "Mr. Nobody Troll" who thinks he's "Mr. Somebody".

    Posted by: LIZA | Jan 18, 2013 12:07:16 AM

  17. Who is actually.

    Posted by: Gary | Jan 18, 2013 1:57:07 PM

  18. Smh.

    Posted by: Misael | Jan 20, 2013 2:21:08 PM

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