Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.
March 18, 1959, Vol. IV, No. 21
Revolt of the Homosexual
By Seymour Krim
STRAIGHT GUY: You say I can talk frankly to you. O.K. Why have so many fairies come out in the open recently? Wherever I go I run into them—the Village, East Side, Harlem, even the Bronx.
HOMOSEXUAL: We no longer have the energy to hide. You can’t know the strain on a person in always pretending. As Donald Webster Cory says in the “The Homosexual in America,” we have been the great unrecognized minority. That time is ending. We want recognition for our simple human rights, just like Negroes, Jews, and women.
SG: You actually think you’ll be accepted on your own terms?
H: Certainly. For years homosexuals in this country have cringed behind a mask of fear. Legally they’re criminals, morally they’re considered perverted, psychologically they’ve tortured themselves. Courageous gay people are now beginning to realize that they are human beings who must fight to gain acceptance for what they are—not what others want them to be.
SG: Let me be blunt. Do you think it does your cause any good to see platinum-haired freaks swishing along 8th Street screaming at the top of their voices? Are you naïve enough to believe the rest of us see anything sympathetic in this?
H: You’re the naive one because your experience is limited. Such homosexuals are in the minority, as much as a camping prostitute compared with most women.
SG: But you’ll admit that most homosexuals are much more effeminate in their actions than ordinary men?
H: I doubt that modern psychology concedes such a thing as an ordinary man or woman. But let that pass. It’s true, I think, that we are more aesthetic or perhaps outwardly fastidious than most men. But then it’s been pointed out that American women have become increasingly vigorous. Does this make them any less female?
SG: Not necessarily, though my ego would like it better if they were more dewey. But they still go for men, not their own kind.
H: That’s not completely true. Many women have a deep hatred for the presumption of superiority that the modern straight man puts on.
SG: I won’t argue with you. The important thing is that the essential sexual need for each other is still there and will remain. It may sound obvious, but God or nature obviously intended men and women to make it with each other.
H: That seems logical on the surface. But when you look at history you’ll see that there’s never been a culture without homosexuality. It’s always existed: among the Greeks, Romans, even the American Indians. I believe it is a fundamental part of human life.
SG: Then why do you think it’s always been outlawed? I’m fairly sophisticated, but I believe society had no choice in condemning sodomy. Let’s face it: if homosexuality were encouraged the family would disintegrate, a farce would be made of every moral principle on which we were raised, and the perpetuation of life itself could conceivably be endangered.
H: Editorial-page gas! The human race can certainly withstand a comparative handful of homosexuals if it’s going to survive. Nuclear weapons are obviously a much closer threat. As for the family’s falling apart, homosexuality is only one tiny cause among hundreds for the tension people have in living with each other today. I have little sympathy for your so-called moral principles. Morals change as we view life differently, and it’s right that we abandon them when we can no longer see their truth…
SG: I can’t see this occurring in my lifetime. No matter how sloppy-liberal I ever get I’ll always see homosexuality as anti-masculine, perverse, a short-circuit of nature’s obvious logic in creating two sexes. And a pathological Star of David for those who have to carry it.
H: You’re the prisoner of what you think is your honesty. We live in a torn-open age where each minority is determined to proclaim itself as good as the self-appointed judges of a life which no longer provides a rational basis for their prejudices. We homosexuals will be in the leadership of this revolt, with this phrase of Wilhelm Reich’s as a motto: “That which is alive is in itself reasonable. It becomes a caricature when it is not allowed to live.”
SG: You make it sound like a holy crusade, when you really feel inside–from what faggots have told me—that you’re miserable and almost unworthy to live.
H: But that’s the point. We’ve finally rebelled against feeling this way because our human nature can no longer stand it. Look out for people whom you have driven to such an extreme! We refuse to live any longer as exotic pets. We refuse to be discriminated against in job situations and in the Army and Navy. We refuse to be fired from government service as “security risks” and then have the New York Times refuse to print the details. We refuse to marry in order to disguise what we are, and we refuse to pretend any longer to enjoy a heterosexuality that is foreign to most of us to accept old-fashioned socially-induced suffering. But accept it or not, we will force our way into open society and you will have to acknowledge us.
[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]