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Author Topic: Denneny's First Proposition: the Definition of "Gay"  (Read 28276 times)

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K6

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Re: Denneny's First Proposition: the Definition of "Gay"
« Reply #15 on: Fri, Jan 20, 2006, 05:34 »


It is important that gays fight the assimilation, wherever possible. They should make clear to themselves and to the friendly straights around them, what the assimilation is about. As long as straights themselves are not ready for truly integration (who can be blamed for his nature, anyway?) - we must fight all these snaky and well-meant attempted assimilation and preserve our own culture by all means.
 :=SU

An objective analysis based on power politics would illustrate that we gays will end up as loosers in any policy of integration.Our sexual orientation is only recreational.Whereas the heterosexuals`s sexual orientation,though having all the outward appearances of recreation,also has to do with reproductive biology,with demographics,with shaping the future this entails,and ultimately with politics.Our sexual orientation confers us no such power,whereas the sexual orientation of the heterosexuals confers them for all practical purpose all the power,never mind the formal legalistic details.With no control over demography,not even a normal moral and political authority over our gay youth,we cannot be the equals of the heterosexuals.

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Re: Denneny's First Proposition: the Definition of "Gay"
« Reply #14 on: Thu, Jan 19, 2006, 21:47 »

Quote
K.T., must you be that explicite? Of course it is easier to be nationalistic if the majority permanently opresses you – but it is possible to maintain one's culture also in good times. We only must be aware of our history and of our culture. Even if the majority of gay population would "assimilate" (= commit cultural suicide), there will be still some gays thinking differently and holding the torch of gay culture through time and space… However, I can't deny that some moderate oppression is very favorable for the separationist/separatist movement.

Is it possible to preserve a diasporatic (if that's not a word, it should be) culture absent external oppression? I'm not sure that is, perhaps because I can't think of a historical example. The usual diasporatic exemplars, Jews, the Roma, the Druze, etc. have all of them faced some sort nearly constant outside pressure, and in reaction have stubbornly maintained themselves as a people. In those circumstances where they have been allowed to nearly fully assimilate, and been simultaneously thusly inclined, there certainly has been hue and cry from their leaders about the passing away of the culture. I'm not sure that apostasy need necessarily lead to agnosis, but it is certainly a possible outcome, don't you find?
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Re: Denneny's First Proposition: the Definition of "Gay"
« Reply #13 on: Thu, Jan 19, 2006, 06:27 »

The prize question is now, what should then our basic state goals be and how tight or wide we shall draw the circle of citizenship requirements around Kinsey-6 then?

The Kinsey 6 - or the exclusively homosexual - cannot be denied the status of gay.The other individuals are to be assessed on a basis of predominance of one tendency or another,and on what they display and which is observable in terms of behavior.In other words,the deeds
of an individual determine his status.He may also have feelings,but they do not count if they do not translate into observable behavior,or if they are contradicted by his actions.The minimal in terms of deeds is not necessarily the sexual act itself: outward tendencies should be enough to assess an individual as gay.For example and for a guy,always looking at other guys and paying no attention to women should be grounds enough to regard him as gay.

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Re: Denneny's First Proposition: the Definition of "Gay"
« Reply #12 on: Thu, Jan 19, 2006, 02:31 »

Kinsey Scale: http://www.indiana.edu/~kinsey/research/ak-hhscale.html

One of the first acts of a country which becomes independent consists in defining who are its citizens.Outside any State structure,a human group can do the same.The formal definition of a gay person I am been myself using for many years and in the context of a micronational geopolitical structure reads as follows:

"Is to be regarded as gay anyone who displays exclusive or predominant homosexual tendencies" (art.71 of the Code of the Gay Parallel Republic)

"Is not to be regarded as gay in the sense of the present code the individual who has a descendance whereas it is not demonstrated or obvious that such a descendance was acquired outside the practice of heterosexuality" (art.72 of the above mentionned code)

"Homosexuality does not encompasses the wearing or the displaying of attributes of the opposite sex,nor the will or the desire to belong to that sex" (art.25 of the above mentionned code)

[..] We are compelled to consider where the lines truly are. [..] So then, taken to its logical end, the question ineluctably frames itself this way: how much of what we see as  the unique Gay Identity may be thusly foresworn before, oops, a Gay man has degraded into a 'homosexual' in Denneny's schema. 

I think, the Queer People exists as such independently from any attempts to establish criterions about what it is. Whereas we might argue about certain traits and practices to be more or less desireable for gay individuals or the gay community, we must recognize that this people already exists and is pretty diverse. As it would be foolish to attempt to determine who is e.g. anthropologically an Italian by physical measurements, it's an ungracefull enterprise to draw the border line around the diffuse Queer People by detailed examination of daily habits, promisquity, political views etc.   

"Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories... The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects [..]. While emphasizing the continuity of the gradations between exclusively heterosexual and exclusively homosexual histories, it has seemed desirable to develop some sort of classification which could be based on the relative amounts of heterosexual and homosexual experience or response in each history... An individual may be assigned a position on this scale, for each period in his life.... A seven-point scale comes nearer to showing the many gradations that actually exist." Kinsey, et al. (1948). Sexual Behavior in the Human Male"

We must accept that by the very nature of the issue, it is not possible to undisputably separate the gays from non-gays per definition – this does not work this way. However, when being forced to establish criterions for becoming a citizen of a gay state,  we are free to set the definition as it would suit us and our fellow citizens the best. The only thing we must be aware of is that such criterions are indeed arbitrary and would either exclude much of the Queer People out of becoming citizens, or include certain amount of people, whos "queerness" might be rightfully questioned. The affiliates of the gay state would will be only a part of the Queer People. The prize question is now, what should then our basic state goals be and how tight or wide we shall draw the circle of citizenship requirements around Kinsey-6 then?

0- Exclusively heterosexual with no homosexual
1- Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual
2- Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual
3- Equally heterosexual and homosexual
4- Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual
5- Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual
6- Exclusively homosexual

I would suggest that we should less concentrate on the question "Who is gay?" but rather on the question "Who is gay enough?" In that respect I would suggest that the following 4 criterions are required and sufficient to certify a person as qualified for becoming gay citizen:

1) Emotionally exclusively or predominantly homosexual (Kinsey-4 to 6),
2) Physically exclusively or predominantly homosexual (Kinsey-5 to 6),
3) Acknowledging queer/gay/lesbian identity as a distinctive part of own personality,
4) Accepting the constitution of the souvereign entity as binding for his/her behaviour.

By introducing a detailed work of further limitations we might come to the less joyfull result, the the most gays fail to meet the qualification criterions. I for my part would invariably miss the criterion of stately prescribed promisquity and lax morals. =))

We also must acknowledge, that there will be a considerable amount of people, who couldn't be regarded as proud homosexuals (instead being frightened, unhappy and maybe mentally cracked), but who still belong to our race and for who we shall feel certain responsibility as well.

[..] To complicate matters further, there is a generational divide on these questions. [..] those younger people just now entering the community seem to perceive a far broader 'band of connotation' sourrounding the meaning of the word 'Gay' than was common hitherto. I don't think we can begrudge them that: The shift comes necessarily and not just from the passage of time, or some ahistorical understanding on the part of the kids, but also from the broader range of experiences of Gay people nowadays. Those of us who are 'of a certain age' usually cannot point to any of our peers and say that they came out in high school to little familial or social drama. Some kids now -- the lucky little bastards ;) -- do actually accomplish that. It's no surprise then that they expect more leeway in this whole 'Gay' thing.

There was also an interesting article published in TIMES Magazine ("The Battle Over Gay Teens", Oct. 10, 2005): http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1112856,00.html

Well, it might be also a phenomenon related to the youth as such. With 20, the world rotates mostly about less phylosophical questions than with 40, I guess. When I was 20, I also regarded my being gay solely as a matter of diviant "bed" preferences – now with 33 I know better. Similarly, the today youth will, no doubt, make their experiences and decide whether being gay is an important issue or not.

I would argue that the definition becomes more important as we gay folks gain civil rights that closer approximate those of our str8 cousins, not less. [..] The Assimilationists would have it that victory has been achieved when nobody cares whether or not you're Gay. Those of us who hold any view other than the assimilationist one... well, we'd have to call that goal one that actively seeks cultural genocide, wouldn't we? Winning can be a real bitch, can't it?

K.T., must you be that explicite? Of course it is easier to be nationalistic if the majority permanently opresses you – but it is possible to maintain one's culture also in good times. We only must be aware of our history and of our culture. Even if the majority of gay population would "assimilate" (= commit cultural suicide), there will be still some gays thinking differently and holding the torch of gay culture through time and space… However, I can't deny that some moderate oppression is very favorable for the separationist/separatist movement.
« Last Edit: Thu, Jan 19, 2006, 02:34 by Mogul »
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Re: Denneny's First Proposition: the Definition of "Gay"
« Reply #11 on: Wed, Jan 18, 2006, 18:39 »


I would argue that the definition becomes more important as we gay folks gain civil rights that closer approximate those of our str8 cousins, not less. We are compelled to consider where the lines truly are. For example, it was once widely held by a great many real, live Gay people that to ape the monogamous relationships of str8s was itself, inherently non-gay.

Monogamy and marriage (where it exists for gays) will fit us as a saddle would fit to a cow.But they won`t jeopardize our identity.All the more
that most gays won`t adhere to either anyway.Much the same way heterosexuals themselves aren`t really monogamous.And in my part of the
world,a slight majority of heterosexuals no longer marry.Gays should normally follow such modern trends,towards the abolition or marriage rather than towards its extension to gays.Irrespective of my sexual orientation - I am a Kinsey 6 gay male - I always considered monogamy and marriage as ridiculous and hypocritical.

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Re: Denneny's First Proposition: the Definition of "Gay"
« Reply #10 on: Wed, Jan 18, 2006, 18:20 »

As the commomplace goes: words mean things. And while connotation generally operates within a narrow band surrounding 'meaning,' just where within that connoted territory any particular person's understanding shall plant its flag will, of course, vary-- regardless of the author's skill. Seeing as how we are speaking of the word 'gay' in a political context here, I agree with Denneny that it is then, of vital importance just what we mean by 'gay.'

One of the first acts of a country which becomes independent consists in defining who are its citizens.Outside any State structure,a human group can do the same.The formal definition of a gay person I am been myself using for many years and in the context of a micronational geopolitical structure reads as follows:

"Is to be regarded as gay anyone who displays exclusive or predominant homosexual tendencies" (art.71 of the Code of the Gay Parallel Republic)

"Is not to be regarded as gay in the sense of the present code the individual who has a descendance whereas it is not demonstrated or obvious
that such a descendance was acquired outside the practice of heterosexuality" (art.72 of the above mentionned code)

"Homosexuality does not encompasses the wearing or the displaying of attributes of the opposite sex,nor the will or the desire to belong to
that sex" (art.25 of the above mentionned code)

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Re: Denneny's First Proposition: the Definition of "Gay"
« Reply #9 on: Wed, Jan 18, 2006, 17:56 »

As the commomplace goes: words mean things. And while connotation generally operates within a narrow band surrounding 'meaning,' just where within that connoted territory any particular person's understanding shall plant its flag will, of course, vary-- regardless of the author's skill. Seeing as how we are speaking of the word 'gay' in a political context here, I agree with Denneny that it is then, of vital importance just what we mean by 'gay.' That definition is not quibbling over semantics, nor is it solely (or even chiefly) an exclusionary exercise in Identity Politics.

I would argue that the definition becomes more important as we gay folks gain civil rights that closer approximate those of our str8 cousins, not less. We are compelled to consider where the lines truly are. For example, it was once widely held by a great many real, live Gay people that to ape the monogamous relationships of str8s was itself, inherently non-gay. It was a practice that was even thought by some to be at least mildly 'anti-gay.' I think most will agree that stance has changed over the years, but is it still 'more gay' to have open relationships? I'd argue that it's not, but I don't entirely dismiss those who find that it is. And what about adopting kids? Yes, of course, we should have every right to do so, but if we go ahead and do it, are we foreswearing part of the Gay Identity? So then, taken to its logical end, the question ineluctably frames itself this way: how much of what we see as  the unique Gay Identity may be thusly foresworn before, oops, a Gay man has degraded into a 'homosexual' in Denneny's schema.

To complicate matters further, there is a generational divide on these questions. While those of us in our 30s and 40s seem perfectly happy to reframe US Supreme Court Mr. Justice Stewart's definition of obscenity to fit 'gaiety'-- that is, "... I know it when I see it...." -- those younger people just now entering the community seem to perceive a far broader 'band of connotation' sourrounding the meaning of the word 'Gay' than was common hitherto. I don't think we can begrudge them that: The shift comes necessarily and not just from the passage of time, or some ahistorical understanding on the part of the kids, but also from the broader range of experiences of Gay people nowadays. Those of us who are 'of a certain age' usually cannot point to any of our peers and say that they came out in high school to little familial or social drama. Some kids now -- the lucky little bastards ;) -- do actually accomplish that. It's no surprise then that they expect more leeway in this whole 'Gay' thing.

So the question for us middle-aged Gay people becomes whether or not we want being Gay to matter, even for the youngsters. The Assimilationists would have it that victory has been achieved when nobody cares whether or not you're Gay. Those of us who hold any view other than the assimilationist one... well, we'd have to call that goal one that actively seeks cultural genocide, wouldn't we? Winning can be a real bitch, can't it?
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Re: Denneny's First Proposition: the Definition of "Gay"
« Reply #8 on: Wed, Jan 18, 2006, 13:34 »

While homosexuals trying to pass for straights are not gays according to Denneny's usage of the word, identification is a transient thing -- an act of will. These persons exclude themselves from the gay people by not identifying as gay. They can, of course, end this exclusion through a simple declaration.

Some people with homosexual interests - even in a certain number of cases claiming to be gay - could nevertheless not be regarded as such.
Because these homosexual interests of theirs are merely peripheral,and associated only with recreational purposes.Comes a situation of tension which forces them to choose between the recreation and the more earthly things acquired by way of the heterosexual privilege,they will discard the recreational before they do the same with interests which to them sound more real socialy,materialy,if not financialy.And they could prove more zealous if not vicious in the defense of an heterosexual interest to which they have reasons to believe they are not entirely part of,owing to their part time homosexual behavior.

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Re: Denneny's First Proposition: the Definition of "Gay"
« Reply #7 on: Wed, Jan 18, 2006, 05:30 »

Quote
We must of course clearly separate between the human behaviour and human identity. I agree with Mr. Denneny's theses in this point wholly. Only by coming out a homosexual individual regains his/hers dignity as a person. Being "gay" is indeed about one's identity, whereas "men fucking men" are homosexuals trying to "pass" for straights. How much self-hatred and inferiority complexes must be withinn a poor homosexual soul, who regards the words "straight" or "straight-looking" as a compliment? Ugly ducklings they are, alltogether!

Well said, Vicky. Although I think Mr. Denneny's first proposition is indisputable (indeed, I agree with 99% of Denneny's essay), it is necessary to acknowledge his peculiar use of the word "gay", even if one will not agree with it. Denneny's political analysis does not concern itself with persons who engage in homosexual behaviors. His gay politics pertains to persons who identify themselves as gay.

While homosexuals trying to pass for straights are not gays according to Denneny's usage of the word, identification is a transient thing -- an act of will. These persons exclude themselves from the gay people by not identifying as gay. They can, of course, end this exclusion through a simple declaration.
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Re: Denneny's First Proposition: the Definition of "Gay"
« Reply #6 on: Tue, Jan 17, 2006, 23:39 »

To my knowledge, Ulrichs was the first to consider us really as a kind of a race, the "third sex". He has created an elaborated theory dealing with the various types of Urnings, as he has discovered that there were not only the effiminate ones, but also macho ones and some in between. It is remarkable that this man was able to make some reasonable conclusions at that time, as he certainly didn't have the possibility to make systematic research à la Kinsey. 

But although ancient Greeks didn't generally categorize their fellow citizens because of their sexual preferences, they certainly were aware that sexual behaviour isn't just a matter of choice, but rather a matter of one's inner nature. For example, in the often-quoted "Symposium" Plato lets Aristophanes contribute the following passage to the discussion:

"Aristophanes is the next speaker:--

He professes to open a new vein of discourse, in which he begins by treating of the origin of human nature.  The sexes were originally three,
men, women, and the union of the two; and they were made round--having four hands, four feet, two faces on a round neck, and the rest to correspond. Terrible was their strength and swiftness; and they were essaying to scale heaven and attack the gods.  Doubt reigned in the celestial councils; the gods were divided between the desire of quelling the pride of man and the fear of losing the sacrifices.  At last Zeus hit upon an expedient. Let us cut them in two, he said; then they will only have half their strength, and we shall have twice as many sacrifices.  He spake, and split them as you might split an egg with an hair; and when this was done, he told Apollo to give their faces a twist and re-arrange their persons, taking out the wrinkles and tying the skin in a knot about the navel.  The two halves went about looking for one another, and were ready to die of hunger in one another's arms.  Then Zeus invented an adjustment of the sexes, which enabled them to marry and go their way to the business of life. Now the characters of men differ accordingly as they are derived from the original man or the original woman, or the original man-woman. Those who come from the man-woman are lascivious and adulterous; those who come from the woman form female attachments; those who are a section of the male follow the male and embrace him, and in him all their desires centre. The pair are inseparable and live together in pure and manly affection; yet they cannot tell what they want of one another.  But if Hephaestus were to come to them with his instruments and propose that they should be melted into one and remain one here and hereafter, they would acknowledge that this was the very expression of their want.  For love is the desire of the whole, and the pursuit of the whole is called love.  There was a time when the two sexes were only one, but now God has halved them,--much as the Lacedaemonians have cut up the Arcadians,--and if they do not behave themselves he will divide them again, and they will hop about with half a nose and face in basso relievo.  Wherefore let us exhort all men to piety, that we may obtain the goods of which love is the author, and be reconciled to God, and find our own true loves, which rarely happens in this world. And now I must beg you not to suppose that I am alluding to Pausanias and Agathon (compare Protag.), for my words refer to all mankind everywhere."


We must of course clearly separate between the human behaviour and human identity. I agree with Mr. Denneny's theses in this point wholly. Only by coming out a homosexual individual regains his/hers dignity as a person. Being "gay" is ideed about one's identity, whereas "men fucking men" are homosexuals trying to "pass" for straights. How much self-hatred and inferiority complexes must be withinn a poor homosexual soul, who regards the words "straight" or "straight-looking" as a compliment? Ugly ducklings they are, alltogether!  :=SU

("Symposium": http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/1600 )

P.S. Karl Heinrich Ulrichs was encarcerated in Minden because of his resistance against Prussian annexion of Hannover, not because of same-sex love.  >:)
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Re: Denneny's First Proposition: the Definition of "Gay"
« Reply #5 on: Tue, Jan 17, 2006, 18:33 »

Karel Ulrichs (1825-1895) & Karel Benkert (1824-1882):

Quote
Yet it isn`t more than one hundred fifty years ago the very first proud gay in the heart of Europe was known by name and nickname. The credit for this goes to the German Karel Ulrichs (1825-1895). The word homosexuality hadn`t been coined yet. Men doing it with men were simply pederasts, sodomites or queers. Ulrichs was just such a sodomite. He loved men and liked getting it up the ass. And precisely that was punishable in Prussia. That`s why he fabricated his own coming out at 37. Instead of remaining a secret sodomite, from 1862 on he began to call himself openly a Uranian, a person of the third gender". He came up with these new names to describe men with a male body but of feminine character.

 In August 1865 Ulrichs considered it was time for an emancipation society for equal rights, the Society of Uranians. It didn`t get past an attempt. So in 1867 on his own he attended the yearly meeting of the German lawyers union in Munich with an open protest against Uranians discrimination. The attempt failed and he landed in jail for a couple of months. Nevertheless Karel Ulrichs is the first who told the world loud and clear he was a Uranian, that he was of sound masculine ànd feminine character and abone all considered this completely normal. Karel Ulrichs was such a loud proud Uranian, that a contemporary of his, Karel Benkert (1824-1882) didn`t dare call himself one. The eternal bachelor Benkert prefered to stay anonymous (he even changed his last name to Kertbeny), didn`t want to have anything to do with effeminate men (on the day he died his lips were still sealed when it came to his own sex life) and thought a separate third gender" was nonsense (he thought himself completely normal). Kertneby would rather be caught dead than call himself a Uranian and in his turn came up with his own terminology.

So on Wednesday May 6, 1868, as the first man ever, Karel Kertbeny wrote down the words homosexual" and heterosexual" in an anonymous letter to Karel Ulrichs. Today the word homosexual is 132 years old and has been invented by a secret queen who came up with it so as not to have to belong to those Uranians, a bit like calling yourself gay these days.
« Last Edit: Tue, Jan 17, 2006, 18:35 by Ninja_monkey »
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Re: Denneny's First Proposition: the Definition of "Gay"
« Reply #4 on: Tue, Jan 17, 2006, 09:32 »

I was completely unaware of that, K6. Thankyou. That would tend to contradict the bizarre notion that gays, in the sense of a gay identity, did not exist prior to the twentieth century.

A gay identity prior to the 20th century ? Would be difficult to confirm.But I think that it existed,only that it left little or no trace.Probably the
same with the idea of a gay country,which could have appeared at the same time the concept of the nation-state became an accepted geopolitical idea among heterosexuals.The word gay is now,as far as I know,used and understood worldwide,with slight variations in writing or pronunciation.In Poland,for example,they say "gej" (pronounce geh-i).

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Re: Denneny's First Proposition: the Definition of "Gay"
« Reply #3 on: Tue, Jan 17, 2006, 09:15 »

I was completely unaware of that, K6. Thankyou. That would tend to contradict the bizarre notion that gays, in the sense of a gay identity, did not exist prior to the twentieth century.
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Re: Denneny's First Proposition: the Definition of "Gay"
« Reply #2 on: Tue, Jan 17, 2006, 09:08 »

The word "gai" (gay in English,same meaning as in French) was apparently in use and in its current acceptance (for us) in the 17th century and
in France.

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Denneny's First Proposition: the Definition of "Gay"
« Reply #1 on: Tue, Jan 17, 2006, 04:37 »

What exactly does the word "Gay" mean, anyway? For many it is simply a euphemism for "homosexual," a word that, for no apparent reason, lacks the sting of the more clinical terminology. One might, if pressed, trace the origins of this usage to British Palare slang. Indeed, a remarkable number of Palare words seemed to have seeped into common English usage. So today everyone knows that "gay" means "homosexual" just as everyone knows what is meant by checking one's "basket." This is the common, everyday use of the word, but not too long ago it meant something rather different.

In 1981 Michael Denneny wrote an essay entitled "Gay Politics: Sixteen Propositions." Originally published in the magazine Christopher Street, it was later re-published in the Christopher Street Reader (a book which can often be found quite inexpensively at second-hand book dealers).

Denneny's first proposition is as follows: "Homosexuality and gay are not the same thing: gay is when you decide to make an issue of it."

In other words, there are men (perhaps you have encountered one or two of them) for whom what they do in bed is quite secondary, even irrelevant, to who they are as a person. These are men who happen to be homosexuals. There are also men (I happily count myself among them) for whom being being gay is a defining, central part of their identities. They are gay men, not men who are gay. Denneny put it this way:

"Whether or not being gay is a central part of one’s identity — one’s felt sense of self in everyday life, who I am — is not a theoretical question. It is a fact and can be ascertained by fairly elemental self-reflection. There are Jews for whom that fact is an accident of birth and nothing more; blacks for whom the most monstrous aspect of racism is its bewildering irrelevance to who they are. But there are also gays, Jews, and blacks who know themselves as this particular gay man, this particular Jew, this particular black. Such people experience their humanness through being gay, Jewish, or black; they do not experience their humanity apart from its concrete manifestation in the world. The following analogy can illustrate, not prove, this position: one can be an athlete through being a pole-vaulter, football player, or swimmer; one cannot be simply an athlete without taking part in some sport."

"One can argue about whether one should gain a significant part of one’s identity in this way; whether one actually does, however, is a fact. Facts, of course, can change. Eight years ago I did not experience myself primarily as a gay man; today, if I spend more than four days in a totally straight environment, I feel like climbing the walls. I experience myself as a fish out of water, as a “homosexual alien,” in the words of the Immigration Service."
Stonewall was a riot.
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