Straight ‘Daily Caller’ Reporter: Gay People Were So Much More Fun Before They Had Any Rights

PatrickhowleyThe Daily Caller, a conservative blog, recently posted an op-ed piece from straight reporter Patrick Howley lamenting the loss of 'fun gays' at the hands of a progressive agenda interested in, you know, at least trying to push ENDA through Congress.

Titled, "Gays now totally boring, ENDA struggle reveals," the sneering piece longs for the days when "gays were subversive adventurers, trolling the city streets at night on a lustful quest for experience and with an outlaw mentality not seen since the days of the Wild West…"

Writes Cowley:

They were decadently-dressed sexual superheroes, daring Middle America to condemn them as they pranced their corseted, high-heeled bodies around to midnight screenings of great American movies like “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “Pink Flamingoes,” and “Mommy Dearest.” They had an ingrained creativity, a patented sense of irony. They had a brand. They had an identity.

Of course, those days before gays became, as Cowley states, "a bland, tedious, grievance group eagerly seeking government approval," did hold a certain level of freedom, but not without a serious cost.

Equality Matters points out:

What Howley fails to mention, of course, is that much of the gay community’s “outlaw mentality” probably had a lot to do with the fact that gay people were frequent targets of harassment and legal discrimination.

It’s unclear what time period Howley is romanticizing, but the history of the gay community in America is littered with examples of police brutality, government persecution, and intense societal rejection. The Stonewall Riots, widely considered to be the birth of the modern gay rights movement, were sparked in response to regular police raids and harassment at a New York City gay bar.

As a straight man, Howley has the privilege of reminescing on the fun, flirty, and fabulous past associated with post-liberation gay life without concerning himself with the realistic struggles faced by a minority group with which he has no connection.

He finishes his rant with this set of instructions which you're free to take….or not:

To the gays, whose plight and whose stories in this free country are inextricably bound to mine, I say: be yourselves. Live your lives free of the anger and the division that has been forced upon your community by political interests that don’t see any color in life at all, let alone the colors of the rainbow flag. Embrace the freedom this country has to offer, do your part to expand freedom and liberty for others, and cut ties with the unlikable political brand you’ve become attached to.


  1. Jack M says

    This Howley guy looks like he’s about 15 years old. I guess he also thinks black people were more fun before they got rights too.

  2. jimbryant says

    I have to partly agree with Patrick Howley on the disappearance of the subversive, influential gay male. It’s partly due to the fact that we’ve become too PC, too academic, and too segregated as gay men.

    One of the most obvious examples of how we’ve lost our subversive influence is reflected in today’s music scene. Forty years ago, when Lou Reed and Bowie were hitting big, the idea of gay male sexuality permeated the popular music scene. Today, it’s completely absent. Even today’s dance music scene has been taken over by straights.

    This is my theory: as we’ve become more and more segregated into the “gay male scene”, we’ve become less and less influential in the mainstream. Thus, although today we have a thriving gay male scene, our “withdrawal” into this scene has effectively diluted our influence in the arena where influence really matters – ie Main Street.

    As gay men, we’ve basically ceded control of the mainstream to straight guys and their bisexual female enablers, hence the abundance of fake-bisexual women in the music charts.

  3. tbd says

    “…cut ties with the unlikable political brand you’ve become attached to.”

    you first, Howley, you first.

  4. The Milkman says

    In some ways, I understand what he’s saying. His ham-handed, sophomoric expression leaves something to be desired, but I’ve discussed this same thought with friends over the years. The transgressive “otherness” I felt in the 80s and early 90s, the sense of being free from the constraints and expectations associated with conventional “straight” life was intoxicating… possibly because that sensation coincided with my own coming of age, when the enjoyment of it wasn’t tempered yet by injustice or searing loss. It was the realization of the sadness and struggle underlying such in-your-face willful transgression that caused me to start expecting more from my fellow Americans rather than simply ignoring them. Perhaps if this young man had experienced what happened to our community during the Reagan and Bush years… the death, the fear, the anger, the intimidation, the violence, the ostracization… he wouldn’t be quite so quick to wax nostalgic for those outwardly “happy and fun” gays whose humor and bravado masked something much darker.

  5. Rick says

    He’s kind of right, although he expresses it in a way I don’t particularly agree with…there’s a good bit of truth to it. The gays have lost their edge in begging for acceptance which isn’t to say I’d give up any of my new rights to go back to the way things were, but it is different. Maybe the lost “edge” is the camaraderie that the gay community used to have, the desire to live in the gay neighborhood, to only feel at ease in the gay bars, or maybe not, maybe I just got old and wax nostalgic like many do.

  6. Jay says

    What an ignorant a–hole. The “freedom” he romanticizes was the freedom to be imprisoned for being gay, the freedom to be harassed for being gay, the freedom to be blackmailed and subjected to police brutality, the freedom to be fired and blacklisted from jobs, and the freedom to be regularly condemned by the likes of him and his “conservative” allies.

  7. jimbryant says

    Just to add to my earlier comment above, yes, I do think we’ve become too obedient and non-threatening. When we were legally oppressed, we compensated by exerting our influence as gay men through subversive influences in the mainstream.

    These influences were mostly reflected in the rise of the influential Andy Warhol and a myriad of pop music acts with androgynous or sexuality-bending males (Rolling Stones, glam rockers, Bowie, Lou Reed, Village People etc etc). These acts were huge on the charts.

    With the progress in our rights as gay men, the subversive influence we once had has waned. We’ve had the strait-jacket of social normality placed upon us. Our influence has thus waned because we are no longer outside the tent but, rather, inside it.

    Again, I use the music analogy. There is certainly none of the old derring-do in the music scene today. We no longer hold sway over the mainstream. Our icons are bland, non-threatening entities like Ru Paul and Neil Patrick Harris.

  8. Paul says

    Another right-wing attention-seeker. Believe me – we may be getting all our legal rights finally but there’s NOTHING dull about the lives many of us lead. Guys like this said little twerp are just super-angry because now the gays are really having their cake and eating it!!

  9. Jay says

    Jim Bryant, above, has no idea what he is talking about. Howley isn’t complaining that we’re too “segregated,” he’s complaining we’re not segregated enough. As far as influence in the “mainstream,” you can’t be serious. The “outlaws” he is talking about had no influence in the mainstream. Perhaps on the fringes, but not in the mainstream.

  10. Markt says

    The passing of an established societal hierarchy takes with it both the good and bad. Chekov captured that best.
    And we’ve seen the same effect in the recent past. The development of jazz and Motown changed the world of music. One could argue those incredible creations were, in part, the product of a group without equal rights channeling their energies to make a statement to the world. Now we have rap or whatever.
    Perhaps I’m too old or out of the scene to say, but it does look like a lot less fun.

  11. Cocoamonk says

    …. You know, if you take out a few lines, his parting words honestly aren’t that bad. Supportive really. Of course, that’s if you cut out the B.S.

    “To the gays,- …, I say: be yourselves.- …, do your part to expand freedom and liberty for others, -….”

    Okay, in retrospect, I guess it was more than some lines that needed to be taken out…. Monkeys and type writers situation here I suppose.

  12. Cocoamonk says

    …. You know, the more I read that last post over, the more I think that all that should be left was the be yourself part….

  13. Daniel says

    JIMBRYANT–What? Howley isn’t lamenting the loss of a subversive, influential gay male culture in mainstream pop culture. He’s probably not even old enough or exposed to gay people enough to even understand what the cultural expression of earlier decades was about. I don’t even think he quite *gets* what he wants from us, or how wrong it is to write this kind of open letter in the first place.

  14. Voet says

    I am old enough to have witnessed a major transformation in the LGBT community. Many men of my age self segregated. We had our own bars, sports, and social organizations. While I have heard some gays lament the passing of this scene, I wonder why a straight man would care. I cannot know Mr. Howley’s motives, but I wonder, does he long for the days when frat boys could beat up queers and no one cared? And as gays have become more mainstream and straight men have become metro-sexual, you don’t know who you can get a BJ from anymore.

  15. Fenrox says

    @JimBryant, I disagree, the radical hasn’t gone anywhere in our culture. We are in no way normalized, it’s more of an illusion based on how far we have come in such a short amount of time. Big Freedia, L1ef, Maclemore, Katy Perry, Gaga, Adam Lambert, et al. are still queering up the music scene, we still have crazy sex obsessed psychos like TIM and Michael Lucas freaking out.

    Also, I really hope a lot of you try some gay history classes or books, this has happened 3 times now and we still seem pretty queer. I doubt we will ever be homogenous with straights, and if we did who would care as the whole world would have to queer up to meet us there?

  16. pedro says

    These people are such hypocritical bullsh*tters! This guy is pining for the years past when gay people were at the margins of society whose only encounter with the mainstream was as minstrel trendsetters…How dare gays demand a place at the center of American life? How dare they demand equal treatment under the law? We liked you better when you stayed in your closets and only dared showed your face to be our cultural court jesters.

    Of course he wrote this piece to complain about the ENDA vote in the senate…He reminds me of those people now complaining that gays should not want marriage but instead accept civil unions…yet these same people a decade ago were adamantly against civil unions. What this guy is actually saying in his faux acceptance and condescending manner is ” You f*ggots need to get back to back of the bus.”

  17. dommyluc says

    Straight conservative reporters were so much more fun when they had brains, which was like, you know, NEVER!
    As the great Tbogg would say, “Eat a big bag of salted dicks.”

  18. Jerry says

    So what if we are just as boring as you, Mr. Howley? Do you want to regulate us to be fabulous. May I, in the most humdrum way possible, invite you to STFU.

  19. chuckles says

    we were okay when we were the funny (odd) guy on tv and movies, the flamboyant hairstylist or florist, the artsy, creative home decorator. However, the more mainstream we have become, wanting the same things they’ve always had — kids, secure career, home, a Hoover vacuum for a wedding shower present, the more entrenched hardline straight people have become against us. We are cool if we are the sideshow. So, his comments are very offensive. It is the year 2013. We are still fighting to pass ENDA. We have protection in only 17 states. What will our progeny think of us?

  20. john patrick says

    If Patrick wants “prancing” in “high heels,” he is free to put on high heels and prance about the city himself. He can be the “fun” he misses seeing from people who are gaining the rights he thinks they should not have. Sounds like he wants gay people for amusement, not as peers and equals. Also sounds like he is not aware that the people he found so amusing are not the only people who are gay.

  21. pedro says

    To all the older gays pining for a more subversive gay culture…who the f*ck is stopping you? You remind of those African-Americans who complain about successful blacks joining the mainstream and “acting white”. If you want to remain at the margins have at it. But do not stand in the way or complain about the rest of us who choose something different or even, I dare say mainstream The idea that equal rights is robbing gays of their uniqueness is only the mantra of kapos, quislings…and homophobic bigots trying a new strategy since their direct bigotry is proving to be so unpopular. If you guys think the idiot who wrote this piece wouldn’t sleep well in the old America where sodomy was against the law nationally…you are fooling yourselves.

  22. JackFknTwist says

    I could get excited about this but, quite honestly, it is irredeemably boring.

    As they say in Quebec: “Je me souviens.”

    Go watch the documentary “How to survive a plague”….learn your history from that if you’re too dumb to already have known about St.Vincents and ACT UP, and the pharmaceutical companies and Ronald Regan and Ed Koche……..
    As they say in Quebec: “Je me souviens.”

    Yeah, it was all fun; Stonewall was just a party after all…….
    So now we are boring because some have achieved a degree of “almost equality”, almost able to marry, almost protected from discrimination, still ‘inherently defective’, almost no kid bullied at school because he’s gay;
    Yea, “almost equality” is so dull.

    Well Patrick Howley , I don’t know what little cocoon block of Manhattan ( insert city) you live in, but you need to know that there’s a bigger world out there…..and the St.Petersburg gays don’t quite see the fabulous side of being those “decadently dressed super heroes” you refer to.

    But maybe your unique incisive deconstruction of our gay life will open our eyes to the pathetic dullards we have become with our insistence on being OUT not lurking in shadows, by our choice on becoming married or becoming gay Dads and bringing our kids to school when we could be “prancing our high-heeled bodies to midnight screenings”……
    I promised I would not get upset by this swamp slime but I’m a volatile gay.
    I know his writing is the worst trolling but those in our community who have struggled all their lives in the interests of justice and equality, who have fought for civil rights ( not acceptance) deserve more respect than this piece of verbal diahorriah.(Sp. !!)
    And as for ‘wanting to be accepted’…..

  23. Daniel says

    While Mr. Howley may not have meant to, he is bringing up a grievance one often here’s here in Boston, NYC and Montreal from Queer activists.

    The debate about gay marriage HAS in fact made gays strive to be the same as opposed to different. Being queer inherently means differentiating yourself from the mainstream and the push to wear a suit and tie, get married, have kids, live in the suburbs, vacation in the mountains etc. etc. is diminishing queer culture.

    I don’t agree with those queer arguments and Mr. Howley does gloss over the negative aspects of gay cultural history but his argument is not a new one.

  24. NY2.0 says

    It looks like this Howley guy misses the days when we we’re easier to be caricatured and seen as the deviants that should be segregated from the rest of society. Just another opinion from a priviledged straight white male who does not have the life experiences but ofcourse thinks he knows.

  25. chuckles says

    geez @Pedro, I bet you do the NY Times Crossword puzzle in ink AND on Sunday, no less! LOL I like new words and yep, these were new to me.
    [kah-poh] Show IPA
    a Nazi concentration camp prisoner who was given privileges in return for supervising prisoner work gangs: often a common criminal and frequently brutal to fellow inmates.
    Also, ka·po.

    [kwiz-ling] Show IPA
    a person who betrays his or her own country by aiding an invading enemy, often serving later in a puppet government; fifth columnist.
    1940; after Vidkun Quisling (1887–1945), pro-Nazi Norwegian leader

  26. Kev C says

    I agree with him. I remember when gays were actually gay. But it’s the political ethos, mindset, culture that everyone has be a load, Or act like rappers, or be rappers. Gay rappers, yo yo yo b*tch, I’m gay. Yeah, the liberal/Democrat mindset is inherently anti-gay and turns people into sad, marxist robot rappers.

  27. Tristram says

    … And pirates were all swashbuckling tricksters who buried treasure and swam with mermaids under tropical waterfalls.

  28. woody says

    If Patrick wants a more fun, colorful, edgy society, he should bring that to world himself.
    In London, loads of straight people are much more daring than straight Americans and go out in what’s close to costumes when they hit the pubs. It’s great.
    If you want a more fun society, take on some of the burden yourself Patrick. It’s not our responsibility to make your life more interesting.

  29. Will says

    “They were both gayer and happier when they didn’t have rights.” Sounds like someone’s planning to write the next Gone with the Wind.

  30. Will says

    Is it bad that I agree with him a little? Especially “We see a community with tremendous potential for creativity and expression fronted by catty little Buzzfeed writers in glasses that should have gone out with Elvis Costello.”

  31. says

    Extremely condescending heterosexism, an expression of humanity’s ugliest impulses. Unfortunately, not only Straight bigots hold this attitude: plenty of “queer” academics talk about wanting LesBiGay folk to stay in their place, too. These pitiable people are in love with a discriminatory status quo; obviously, social progress is threatening to them. I just hope their retrograde mentalities die off before they do . . .

  32. Kev C says

    Democrats envision gays as being soldiers and married couples, and not fabulous queens. It’s very dull and anti-gay. Meanwhile, sad soldier Bradley Manning is transforming into a female. And the Obama administration put him in jail.

  33. JackFknTwist says

    Dear Mr. Howley,
    You may not be familiar with an old Victorian dude, his name was Charles Darwin. He wrote a book about evolution called : “On the Origin of Species”.
    It posits the radical idea that all species evolve.
    Now he didn’t have anything to say on homo-homus but I believe his theory may well apply to the “decadently dressed sexual superheroes” you mention.
    Maybe their plumage evolved once they had campaigned and achieved some of their civil rights……
    But I still see them in the downtown hedgerows a-preening and a-loving.
    Some people believe they have evolved into cyber-gays…….but that’s just a rumor……no one has yet captured such a creature.
    But it’s a good book for your next marvellous expose.

  34. Tyler says

    Kev C, get lost. We know you’re Rick and we know you hate gay men, so you have no interest in contributing anything positive to this discussion. And take your aliases Litper and Jim Bryant with you.

  35. UFFDA says

    Another day, another opinion. So what? Mine is that all lamentations over how “subversive” we were and now are not is total BS. Now we are more able to go about our lives without being stalked by ignorant prejudice. We’ve made a solid beachhead in the sunlight. Now it’s more likely that gay people can go about their lives without having to consider themselves part of some seperate community. Screw subversive. Just be yourself.

  36. Bill says

    Three thoughts:
    1. I think it was an attempt at humor but conservatives just can’t do humor.

    2. The point I think he’s trying to make reminds me of years ago when I lived in Pittsburgh and a very nice, upscale lesbian cabaret opened on Pittsburgh’s South Side. My then-partner and I eagerly took a lesbian friend to the new club and afterward asked her what she thought of it. Her reply; “I think I liked lesbianism better when it was in the basement instead of the living room.”

    3. Hey, at least he’s cute!

  37. litper says

    please don’t mix me with trans queens like Kev C… I am me and i’m just against gender things being mixed with gay issues

  38. bobbyjoe says

    As African-Americans began to gain more rights after the Civil War, bitter white people who missed the “fun, happy” image of blacks they had turned that idiotic nostalgia into a whole cottage industry: blackface. Maybe Patrick Howley could do the same for his shallow, stupid nostalgia and invent “gayface.” No. wait, I just looked at his picture– it looks like he already has.

  39. Shelly says

    As a middle-aged lesbian who’s lived my whole life outside the urban lgbtq “community”, I’ve never had any interest in “subversion” or being anybody other than the more or less ordinary person I am. I think what has happened is that there now more balanced media exposure to the wider experience of lgbtq people who do not/never did have anything to do with Gay Culture as such but who nevertheless are demanding equal treatment under the law, whereas in the past the straight community/media were oblivious to our existence even though I strongly suspect we’re much more numerous than our more “fabulous” and “subversive” brothers and sisters who heretofore have gotten the spotlight.

  40. Rick says

    I have to agree with Pedro and Chuckles.

    I would add, though, that straight “liberals” are still only willing to accept us as long as we are safely put into a “gay” box. This is why virtually ever gay character on network television is a atereotypical effeminate queen, whether on Modern Family or elsewhere.

    This society has learned to “tolerate” gay men and to “accept” them, but only so long as they don’t claim to be men and to be respected by other men AS MEN. It continues to be the case that nothing is as threatening to straight society–and sadly, nothing is as threatening to effeminate cay men–as the notion of a man who is both masculine and attracted to other men sexually and emotionally.

    When we overcome THAT obstacle, we will have made REAL progress, both in the larger society and among gay men, themselves, but not until then.

  41. BrokebackBob says

    His colorful language made me think he secretly wants to get rear-end bare-backed by one of the “adventurers” he doth protest too much over. He seems so enthusiastic about the “forbidden love” that he wouldn’t care if his “adventurer” was HIV+

  42. jakeinlove says

    There is some truth in this. Once upon a time as long as we had fashion, music, and the arts in general. We had a way to communicate and employ. We were unique.

    Nowadays we’re so busy trying to live everyday mundane lives, married with children, that it’s a little funny. Yes our rights are very important and I am happy for the progress. It’s just a peculiar observation.

  43. Tyler says

    Rick, Litper and Kev C: they’re all the same person, so don’t even bother with them. This troll is so hateful that he feels the need to promote hateful ideas under as many different names as possible. What a loser.

  44. says

    Oh, please. He should get out of Washington D.C. more often; queer people aren’t as boring as he seems to think we are, even those of us who actually support and take advantage of equal rights.

    It’s very weird that a straight guy born in 1989 would be nostalgic for something he never even remotely experienced (because he’s not gay and wasn’t born). It’s one thing for gay people to have mixed feelings about the inevitable changes brought about by greater assimilation, but coming from a straight 20-something it’s just condescending and icky. You didn’t earn the nostalgia, little buddy.

    And, really, young D.C. conservatives who pen juvenile columns to get attention are probably the last people on earth who should judge anyone for not being fun enough.

  45. David says

    Why do so many of you have your panties in a wad? Many of our own say the exact thing. I know many gays here in SF who preferred being marginalized because it meant they weren’t part of the mainstream.

  46. db says

    To all the people saying he’s “partly right” or such crap. If I’m not being beaten up, denied equal access and actively discriminated against I’m willing to give up that subversive quality.

  47. Henry Holland says

    Like others have said, there’s a bit of truth in what he wrote buried in the nonsense.

    Here’s an example of how things have changed. When I came out in the early 80’s, I fell in with a group of mostly older guys who loved classical music, opera and musicals. Meeting someone in the standing room at the Met or the San Francisco Opera or seeing someone who looked gay at Los Angeles Philharmonic concerts, it was a way to meet other gays in the pre-Internet days.

    One thing a lot of the older guys identified with was the outsiders in the opera plots, the people who were persecuted for being different, such as Cio-Cio San in “Madama Butterfly” or Violetta in “La Traviata”.

    Now, I see far fewer gay guys in their 20’s and 30’s at the opera or symphony, they don’t *need* to pretend to like Mahler and Wagner to meet other guys. :-)

    I think we’re at a transition point between being ghettoized and being able to live a “Leave It To Beaver” life in a suburb. I have zero interest in having kids or living in a suburb, but I know three people/couples that jumped at the chance to have kids and move out to a suburb an hour away, that’s fine, I’m just glad they have that option now.

  48. says

    @David: It’s one thing for those who lived outside the mainstream, by necessity, to miss some aspects of the subversive days. They created rich lives in the margins. It’s quite another thing for a straight-privileged 20-something to advise us to stay subversive cause our flamboyant ways might amuse him. Ain’t our job to hang on to our marginalization to keep young straight conservatives entertained. If we hang on to subversion, it’s to amuse ourselves, not some D.C. nerd.

  49. Shelly says

    Exactly, Henry Holland, except I would add we’re at a point where many if not most feel free to live openly and honestly without ghettoizing at all in the first place. I never have.

    It’s pure statistics — in any given population, most people are going to be ordinary, i.e.., “boring.” If only a tiny, self-segregated percentage of that population is visible and that percentage has developed cultural affectations, this becomes the broad stereotype not only for the mainstream culture, but also for that small percentage living within their own little ghettoized bubble. As more and more people come out and are visible, “suddenly” they look more “boring” owing to the fact that most people statistically just *are* “boring.” So, both the ghetto and the mainstream lament and whine, but nothing’s really changed beyond perceptions.

  50. KB says

    He just wants to be able to pick out the queers a bit more easily. Nowadays, there’s no way of knowing….we’re everywhere…. oh so frightening!

  51. Just_a_guy says

    Oh lawdy, the fun sambos are gone. Sad that we don’t have relaxed mammy aunt jemimas any more with their big happy approach to life. Why did black people have to associate them self with serious policltical rights already; they’re so boring now!

    Sound any less offensive when applied to race?

    Based on early comments to this post, we haven’t condemned this know-nothing twerp nearly enough.

    fowl you, Patrick Howley. May this piece of ignorant hatred forever tarnish your name, sorry.

  52. rebarb says

    What an ignorant self-satisfied little twit! I well remember the time he alludes to, and while there was a certain amount of fun to be had it went hand and hand with brutal repression by a hostile straight community in the form of police raids on Mafia owned bars who neglected to pay protection money,arbitrary dismissal from ones employers and rejection by friends and family members!

  53. Peter says

    Patrick Howley claims to be an investigative reporter. Clearly, the stuff he hasn’t investigated include his attempt to apply the “blacks should know their place” argument to the LGBT community. I’m just waiting for this louse to pull out the “I’m not homophobic, I’ve got gay friends” argument next.

  54. Bobubye says

    This comment may have been written by a ‘straight guy’ but my experience suggests that some ‘Boomer’ Gay Guys feel the same way. I came out at 40; married to a woman for 18 years. One of my first encounters with gay guys elicited this comment: “Being gay was so much more fun before guys like you started coming out of the closet.”

  55. mike/ says

    he is the wrong person to deliver this message, hence it is not really well taken. plus, being straight he can’t inherently understand what he’s writing about.

    after ‘living’ the 70’s & 80’s there is a ‘letdown’ hearing the boring news reports about ENDA, SSM, etc. every day. great progress? Yes!

    There was an article today or yesterday in the NYT about how ‘mysterious’ underground New York has disappeared.

    being responsible, mainstream & acceptable like everyone else is reactionary to fight for everything we fought. AND it really is boring…

  56. FFS says

    Some of us still rock that hard, thankyouverymuch. Even boring, hateful, fearful vaginaphobes, like Rick, deserve equal treatment under the law.

    Remember when Republicans weren’t the scum of the Earth? Oh, right. Yeah, me neither.

  57. emjayay says

    He has of course no idea whatsoever what he is talking about. But since he brought it up, times change. It’s not just out gay people who are different. Besides the fact that only the gayest gay people were out, and now everyone is, the cultural context is different. A lot of the ideas of the hippie subculture of the 60’s and the not unrelated coming out of gay people in the 70’s have permeated the culture. Everyone is looking at their phones and computers. It’s a different world in a million ways.

    I was at the opening of Pink Flamingoes in San Francisco. The theater was full. All kinds of people of the John Waters set were there, making for one of those all-us-freaks-together-having-a-big-screaming-party kind of deals. Just wouldn’t happen that way now. Then there were the Cockette shows (pretty much the same crowd).

    Then, as others have been pointed out, there was mostly everywhere else with perceived gay people being routinely fired and beaten up. And not in the military. And not getting married.

    Times change.

  58. Robert says

    We haven’t become boring…you and a lot of other people have come to realize we are not some crazy stereotype, we are not a subversive culture we just want to live and love like everyone else…and if that makes us boring then so be it. There is no reason we need to be some dancing monkey for your entertainment.

  59. Endoritos says

    When you have straight guys walking shirtless down city streets with tribal tattoos and looking like hustlers/Colt models – it’s rather hard for gay people to keep raising the bar.

  60. Jake says

    When we had no rights, oh I remember that era so fondly.

    We hung-out in the bars, and in relative isolation. We weren’t out at work because we’d get fired. We had to deal daily with constant assaults to our integrity. The in-fighting and helplessness was rampant. We didn’t care one bit about “marriage”, because most of us just figured it was an impossible emulation of what straight people did. Most of our time was spent looking for sex, since real love was basically untenable.

    Oh, those days were just such a hoot !

    I particularly loved all the suffering in silence, all the hush-hushed suicides of gay youth, the perpetual shaming of us from outside and inside “the community”, the acceptance that we were all probably going to die of AIDS anyway, the perception that the future didn’t matter, the constant hiding.

    Times have changed. Just the other night an acquaintance I was speaking to openly wept when he found out that my partner of five years and I can’t wed in the state we live in. Big bear of a truck driver with a wife and three kids. I’d really like to see this reporter say that crap to him. Really.

  61. stevetalbert says

    I just LOVE old Stepin Fetchet shorts. As for Corsets at Rocky Horror Midnight shows,,, those were all straight guys…no gay guy would be that sad… just saying.

  62. Randy says

    Howley is (in the quotes you provided) is right, and there are plenty of gay people who say the same things.

    Being gay has become relatively much easier in recent years, and it’s allowed a range of significantly more boring and conservative people to be gay (publicly). The movement is a victim of its success, and has suffered considerably as a result.