The Politics of Pim

Being Gay Helped This Murdered Dutch Politician in Many Ways

But there's a major difference between Fortuyn and his American cousins. He was a feminist, while our homocons are dedicated to the preservation of male power. Fortuyn's outsider image stemmed from his sense of the political elite as an old-boy's club. He wanted to replace it with something else entirely, whereas Sullivan merely wants in—this is a major part of what he means by the term virtually normal. That's not a standard Pim aspired to. He had no beef with gay people who flamed or fornicated, whereas American homocons turn their anger on their own kind. This stance has taken them far in the media, always eager to be entertained by a homophobic aperçu delivered by a homosexual. In the Netherlands, that sort of shtick would be seen for what it is: minstrelsy.

The anxiety that still surrounds homosexuality in this culture is what makes our gay right so brittle, and so set against any queer who doesn't meet the standard of respectability. But the saga of Pim Fortuyn shows what can happen in a society where the energies of gay people are unleashed. The potential for leadership asserts itself, and if the result isn't always pretty, call it an unintended consequence of success. The goal of the gay movement is to liberate gay people. What they do with their freedom is something else again.

Richard Goldstein's book The Attack Queers: Liberal Society and the Gay Right(Verso) will be published next month.

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