Dads Against the Divorce Industry

DA*DI is devoted to reinstating the societal valuation of Marriage and the traditional, nuclear American Family, with particular emphasis on the essential role of FATHERS.

DA*DI offers contemporary reports and commentary on culture; its aberrations and its heroes.

Conservative Christianity is not
the cause of gay problems.

Ritual murder and exposure are back in the news: The atrocious beating death of gay college student Matthew Shepard in Wyoming (for which I, as a longtime proponent of capital punishment, of course demand the death penalty) demonstrates once again the dramatic differences between gay men and lesbians. ... Completely missing from the major media's avalanche of formulaic liberal outrage was any reference to the gay-male practice of cruising, which is constantly going on with indefatigable energy virtually everywhere in the industrialized world. Rock star George Michael's arrest in a Hollywood public toilet in April this year was quickly suppressed by the major media and given significant coverage in the United States only by the tabloids. Despite the recent turn by some gay male writers toward reexamination of gay hedonism, the issue remains unconfronted by gay organizations and their media supporters, who dismiss or deride Christian conservatives' claim that there is a negative "gay lifestyle."

Thanks partly to the flock of posturing Hollywood personalities who swooped in on the case, Shepard's death was immediately transmogrified into a moral parable of sweet, saintly gay boy set upon by bigoted thugs and crucified for his homosexuality. But the truth seems to be (from the scanty evidence thus far) that Shepard was attracted to his assailants because they were thugs. Does anyone really believe that Shepard, educated in Switzerland, thought those two, barely literate hoodlums were gay or that he left the bar with them for cozy tea and conversation?

It used to be called "rough trade" -- the dangerous, centuries-old practice of gay men picking up grimy, testosterone-packed straight or semi-straight toughs, sometimes moonlighting as hustlers. Before Stonewall, urban newspaper obituaries were coded for such typical scenarios as "the 49-year-old unmarried antiques dealer was found bound and gagged in his ransacked, lavishly furnished apartment." These grisly spectacles are unheard of in lesbianism, where incidents of assault and battery seem dully limited to actual lovers (women can't cut the apron strings, even when masquerading as S/M chains).

Gay activism, by tilting too much toward politics, has ended up obscuring basic psychology -- which novice gays like Shepard desperately need. Rainbow flags and upbeat slogans about "tolerance" are not going to help a frail, confused young man in dark encounters with sociopaths. Gay activism is as spiritually undeveloped and lacking in common sense about human nature as feminism was in the period of date-rape hysteria in the late 1980s and early 1990s (one of the long battles that my reform wing of feminism finally won in the U.S., though date-rape propaganda still seethes in backwater British feminism).

Hate-crimes legislation -- which I have consistently opposed as a fascist intrusion into constitutionally protected, dissident thought -- would not have protected Matthew Shepard, whose assailants were low-rent outlaws and whom the bombastic excesses of gay activism lulled into a false sense of security about the world. No law will ever fully protect gay men who pick up strangers.

Cruising isn't love; it's hunting -- where the stalker can suddenly become the prey. This game is sensationally exciting, but it comes with heavy risks, including death. As a lesbian with a male brain, I see the hypnotic allure of cruising and have indeed celebrated it as gay men's heroic act of defiance against (as D.H. Lawrence would put it) home and mother and everything in morality and custom that enslaves the sex impulse.

But let's get real. On the biological level, constant cruising illustrates Mother Nature's profound sex differences: Men do it, and women don't. On the psychological level, cruising shows that gay men are perpetually hungry for a masculinity that should reside confidently within them but clearly does not. What exactly was Matthew Shepard looking for when, after living in Europe and on the East Coast, he returned to his father's macho alma mater at the University of Wyoming? What symbolic family drama of reconciliation or profanation was at work? Until gay activism gets some psychological depth (available to us through great literature and art), it will have nothing persuasive to say about gay life.

Conservative Christianity is not the cause of gay problems. On the contrary, the present religious extremism about homosexuality is the direct result of the major media's 20-year-long liberal stranglehold on gay issues, which have been simplistically framed as a conflict between enlightened, humane tolerance and reactionary, redneck repression. As a militant free-speech advocate, I have warned again and again that when "offensive" speech is silenced by well-meaning, liberal authoritarians (as it was in the campus speech codes early this decade), any argument is forced underground and eventually emerges in far more fanatical and uncontrollable form.

When the major media become uncritically hostage to gay activism (as happened last year in the sickeningly one-dimensional overkill about Ellen DeGeneres' coming-out TV episode), opposition must take strident form to get heard. It is vulnerable individuals on the front line, like Matthew Shepard, who pay the price for the thoughtless war games of the gay political establishment and their paw

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