3: My Second Coming: 1973-1992
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Once out of the Army and finally living my own adult life—own apartment, car, record collection, writing plans, chess repertoires—it would not take too long, just two years, before I would “formally” come out and “join” the gay lifestyle, if there is such a thing.
will have to develop what that means.
But I eased into it with a soft landing, from an approach that started
in environmental social activism. I had
been following the controversy over strip mining, and the rumors (still
persisting today) that coal companies would turn most of
In the mean time, I would make the usual attempts to “date girls,” meeting them in the shelter an organized “fun” of singles clubs.
I moved away from home I would move into other areas of social activism,
sometimes to “meet people.” The Sierra
Club would lead me to the People’s Party of
would spend a lot of energy making myself comfortable: moving into
Center dispensed a Philosophy, developed by guru Paul Rosenfels. The Philosophy was popularly and notoriously
known as “The Polarities,” regarding psychological mating between “masculines” and “feminines,” but
it was much more. A central concept was
psychological surplus and psychological creativity (as opposed to conventional
adaptive behavior like “work”), but these goals could be achieved ultimately
when one could, however independently, meet the real needs of other
people. A second duality, perpendicular
to the “polarity” axis would be the subjective-objective line, combining with
polarity in a kind of “Nolan” chart to produce balanced and unbalanced
personalities. Unbalanced personalities
like me become focused on their capacity to follow their own chosen ends rather
than remain loyal to others, and feminines like me
focus on their ability to perceive, feel, and discriminate (“notice differences”)
rather than operate, wage conflict, and lead.
The theory amounted to nothing less that a secular version of Biblical
morality, brought down to the level of the individual’s own aims.
I wanted to straddle both worlds. I made plane trips to the west coast and got involved with a UFO group, “Understanding,” made a boy friend. I would be the wide-range messenger in a world increasingly troubled about its indulges. This was the time of gas lines, oil boycotts, and urban financial crises, stagflation, recession, super inflation. What was called into question was whether we, as a whole society, were living beyond our means, exploiting others around the world. We might have to sacrifice. If so, people would be affected differentially, based on their lifestyles and obligations to others. Hence the separation between me and others who say me as not having others to be responsible for.
would eventually get out of the City and try a new life in
was also in
would become a buddy myself, working with the
Eventually, I would move back to the DC area, as economic hardship associated with lower oil prices and mergers and downsizings. I would, as I downsized my life, question my own motives, a few years into the epidemic. I had no family to support and felt I could be viewed as expendable. And perhaps I wasn’t playing fair: I would “hang around” younger men and refuse to feel attracted to someone my own age—ironically I saw this as an infringement on my capacity to feel, at least in the world of aesthetics. The sight of potential male perfection, that was exciting the way a perfect symphony is exciting; by comparison, procreation and baby-making, which to many people is a great Mystery, had always come across to me as mundane and something everybody did, with little control of the roll of the dice. In time, I would understand that perhaps I held this view because I was living in a technological society that allowed me to, when compared to all earlier times, where living things were equated to economic and cultural assets.
I would wonder if I really had the right to live the way I did, and I felt that this was one question no one dared to face. For gay rights had been treated by the political process like everything else, as a matter of an oppressed or disadvantaged or aggrieved “group” getting what it was entitled to through the democratic political process, even if that meant forced sacrifices from others. Conventional politics, even in a democracy with a strong constitutional system like ours, tends to encourage voters to support candidates and parties who will give them what they want on their own specific adaptive issues; so it then tends to lead to coalition (“solidarity”) building and special interests, at the sacrifice of principles. It was easy to feed this argument (for gays) with provocative research written up by Chandler Burr and others, to the effect that homosexuality, especially in men, had a largely biological component. Indeed, “gay rights” in the late 60’s naturally aligned itself with the collectivist thinking and coalition building of the Left; it was not until the 1980’s that the gay community, motivated by AIDS, would begin to appreciate a theory of individual rights as the intellectual foundation for equal rights for gays.
writers like George Gilder, however, would start to force a debate on
sexual freedom as a test of the limits not just of individual rights but of
social standards and order. Men needed
to be tamed by women (else the “sexual princess problem” comes about). Other writers like Warren Farrell would point
out that men were really the disadvantaged sex because of what was expected of
them. And it was Paul Rosenfels of the
would remain a bit schizophrenic about all this, withdrawing and then coming
out again—once to Catholic Charities when offering to take in a Cuban refugee
in 1980 (denied), once during a voir dire for jury
duty, once to an opponent in a chess match in a dinner between games of a
Sunday doubleheader, once in a personal confrontation with a representative of
Campus Crusades for Christ.
But I would, in the 1990’s, be able to help bring the individual rights perspective on gay issues to a head, in my own way.
ÓCopyright 2000 by
 Gilder, George. Men and
 Farrell, Warren, Ph. D. The
Myth of Male Power.
Paul (introduction by Dean Hannotte). Homosexuality:
The Psychology of the Creative Process.