What an amazing article on gay rights, particularly in New York, but in general, as well.
That’s why the celebrations in New York last June, while merited, must be seen as provisional. That’s also why Democratic leaders who profess fierce advocacy of gay civil rights must be held to account. Back in a day that was only yesterday, too many of them also fell silent—and when it counted most. While same-sex weddings are indeed a happy ending, they are haunted by the ghosts of many gay men, too many of them forgotten, who died tragically and unnecessarily while too many good people did nothing. Like Andrew Cuomo, those good people could yet make a big difference and, in the bargain, exorcise the multitude of past sins they keep hoping the rest of us will forget.
One of the hardest things to get across to students is that when I was growing up, no one knew anyone who was gay. Of course we all did, but we didn’t know we did, and no one talked about it. No one knew Freddie Mercury was gay. No one knew Elton John was gay. It is almost impossible – now that trans kids are coming out at 5 years old, & articles about them are showing up in major media sources – how entirely verboten homosexuality was, even in the 80s, when it was all over our culture.
It wasn’t even a closet. No one was denying the closet: honestly, it was more like the whole house just didn’t exist.