Apollo at Olympia
Down With LGBTQ!*
LGBT or LGBTQ. They're not
pronounceable words, and therefore not acronyms, but rather initialisms
or alphabetisms. Coming out of nowhere, these letter groups
were immediately obligatory. Somewhere, hidden from public
view, the Powers That Be ordained that all gay and lesbian
organizations and media must begin using one or the other.
They all fell into line: the Human Rights Campaign (HRC); the National
LGBTQ Task Force, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
(PFLAG); Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund; and the Gay &
Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). A September 2015
conference at Harvard will address “Challenges That Remain for the
We have been drawn through the looking glass into a world where nothing
makes sense. There has never been, nor could be, an LGBT
person, an LGBT community, or an LGBT movement, let alone LGBTQ
politicians or an LGBTQ agenda. We are not supposed to
question this identity politics run amuck; we can only add letters to
metastasizing alphabetisms — LGBTQIA, LGBTTQQFAGBDSM....
I maintain that this alphabet soup is a fraud, devised by our enemies
and carried forward by uncritical supporters. Under the guise
the thrust is to erase gay men. Let's take a critical look at
each of the five letters: L G B T Q.
is for Lesbians
In the Gay Liberation movement, and before that the Homophile movement,
“gay” and “homophile” could apply to both males and females.
However, some lesbians felt that this rendered them invisible, and so
names were changed to Gay and Lesbian or Lesbian and Gay.
The main American organizations — Mattachine, ONE, Gay Liberation
Front, Gay Activists Alliance, and National Gay Task Force — were for
both males and females. At the same time, other organizations
were for women only: Daughters of Bilitis and Lesbian Feminist
Liberation. To my knowledge, only one group, the pre-Stonewall Homosexuals Intransigent, was for men only.
In Europe the largest organizations — the Wissenschaftlich Humanitäres
Komitee (Germany: the Scientific Humanitarian Committee)
and the World League for Sexual Reform — were for both males and
females. However, there were also important groups open only
to men: the Gemeinschaft
der Eigenen (Germany: Community of One's Own) and Der Kreis
(Switzerland: The Circle).
From 1932 to 1967 Der
Kreis published a tri-lingual (German, French and English)
monthly magazine, which had subscribers all over the world.
Since Switzerland was a neutral country in World War II, Der Kreis survived,
whereas other movements for homosexual emancipation were destroyed by
Nazism and Stalinism.
I raise the question, whether lesbians and gay men ever belonged
together in the first place. Medical writers and
psychiatrists, beginning in the 19th century, have joined us together,
under the assumption that lesbians and gay men are counterparts of each
other: same-sex lovers, united by a common oppression.
However, this union is open to challenge. It is not apparent
to me that gay men have more in common with lesbians than with other
men, or, for that matter, with heterosexual women, who love men like us.
This point was made in 1958 by “Noel I. Garde” (Edgar Leoni), author of
the seminal gay geniuses book, From
Jonathan to Gide, in response to an editorial in ONE magazine by
Associate Editor Alison Hunter, which urged that men and women in
homophile organizations “learn to work together.” (“Alison
Hunter” was a pseudonym of W. Dorr Legg, who wished to give the
impression that women played an important role in ONE.) “Noel
I. Garde” wrote:
This writer wishes to object to the
basic premise in Alison Hunter's Editorial (July, 1958) favoring closer
relations between the male homosexual and his alleged twin, the female
homosexual. This is based on full acceptance of the negative
Freudian claptrap about homosexuality as being against
something. Thus, according to this nonsense, the male
homosexual, due to some traumatic childhood horror, has rejected the
usual female ideal; likewise, the female homosexual has rejected the
usual male, etc., ad nauseam. Ergo, the two have a common
When the study of homosexuality is freed
from this dogmatic claptrap, when properly viewed as something
positive, the obvious fact will be brought out that the primary,
positive essence of male homosexuality is an inherent and very strong
attraction to the male. Of all females with whom such a male
has the least in common, the Lesbian obviously comes first....
Noel I. Garde, New York, N.Y.
magazine, Letters, September 1958]
In the next issue of ONE, Rolf, the co-founder of Der Kreis, replied:
Dear Miss Hunter:
In your Editorial (July, 1958) you
mention the fact that DER KREIS, the oldest and one of the largest of
all the homophile organizations, does not admit women either as members
or as participants....
The slight accusation unspokenly present
in your above-mentioned editorial is not exactly new to DER
KREIS. We have been “accused” of the “crime” of not admitting
women to DER KREIS repeatedly within the last twenty-five
years. However, I would like to point out that the beginnings
of DER KREIS have much in common with the beginnings of ONE.
As you are doubtlessly aware, DER KREIS was founded by a woman,
Mammina, who carried all of the burden for several years on her
shoulders alone, until I had the honour of becoming her co-worker.
We worked closely together for several
years until finally we both came to the conclusion that though the
interests of homophile women and men are identical, their ways of
living socially together are — at least in Switzerland —
incompatible. The real reason for this incompatibility
neither Mammina nor myself have ever been able to define
clearly. All I can say is that since the day DER KREIS was
only admissable for male subscribers we have had several “mixed” clubs
at Zurich, all of them very short-lived ones, I'm afraid.
From nearly a quarter of a century of
observation I am inclined to say personally — and, mind you, I'm
speaking only for myself and for conditions in Switzerland — that
generally women of our kind tend to be not only critical but
super-critical of their brothers in kind, whereas the male homophile is
far more tolerant toward his sisters....
Rolf, Editor DER KREIS, ZÜRICH, SWITZERLAND
magazine, November 1958]
Groups and publications for both lesbians and gay men are fine; lesbian
women-only groups are fine; but there is also an urgent need for
all-male groups. What's sauce for the goose ought to be sauce
for the gander.
G is for Gay Men
The definition of “gay man” is neither obvious nor easy. Part
of the difficulty lies in the bisexuality of the human male, amply
demonstrated by survey research, history, anthropology, and animal
Human males are powerfully attracted to other males, erotically and
emotionally. This attraction is not the product of
psychological problems, peculiar life experiences, hormonal imbalance,
or genetic aberrations. The male capacity to love another
male is inborn, a phylogenetic characteristic of our species.
If a man has any libido at all — if he is not a total eunuch — his
libido has a homoerotic component. As Mario Mieli expresses
it: “Homosexual desire is universal.” Therefore, the
• A gay man has recognized and accepted his desire and capacity to love
• A straight man has denied his homoerotic desires, consciously or
unconsciously, or is unable to act on them.
Note that neither definition makes reference to women. Almost
all gay men have had some amount of heterosexual experience, and most
of the rest could, if necessary, rise to the occasion. (It's
easy enough, if you've had practice with other guys — indeed, I suspect
that gay men are less likely to be impotent with women than straight
men are, but that goes off topic.)
At any rate, straight
is an entirely negative term. It does not mean heterosexual,
but simply not gay.
Until some time in the mid-20th century, both gay and straight were
underground words of a criminal subculture. Edwin Sutherland, in The Professional Thief,
one of the classics of American sociology, shows how such words had
meanings that were unknown to straight
(law-abiding) people — and all active gay men were criminals
then. Until recently, males who had sex with each other were
punished by death or imprisonment, in accordance with the
Judeo-Christian moral code, based on a taboo in the Holiness Code of Leviticus.
Immediately following the Stonewall rebellion, and in the earliest days
of the New York Gay Liberation Front, some of us gay men intensely
debated what the goals of our new movement should be and what words we
should use. Many of our discussions took place in the Silver
Dollar, a greasy spoon diner on Christopher Street. Their
hamburgers and coffee weren't very good, but they didn't mind if we
spent hours talking to each other. We all agreed that gay was the word
for ourselves and for our movement. Gay was our word,
and it was always positive. We rejected homosexual as too
clinical, and we rejected homophile
as too conservative and obscure.
Gay as a
code word goes back much further than we thought back then.
Rictor Norton has demonstrated that by the late 18th century, gay and
lesbian, with their homoerotic meanings, were already being used by the
Gay may not
be ideal, and it has acquired negative connotations in recent
years. I'd much prefer the beautiful word, Dorian, which can
be both noun and adjective. But for now, gay is the best we
is for Bisexual
There is no need for this letter. Most men and women have at
least the potential for both homosexual and heterosexual
behavior. Even back in the 1940s, when Kinsey did his surveys
of American sexual behavior, nearly all men who could be considered gay
(2 through 6 on the Kinsey scale) had also had heterosexual experiences.
The issue is gay versus straight: that is, gay versus not
gay. In my early years of involvement in the gay subculture,
I and my friends often had sex or affairs with men who were married or
had girl friends. So what? If they enjoyed sex with
other guys, then they were gay. We would never have said,
“Oh, he's not gay, he's bisexual.”
If bisexual is made into a separate label, then only the Kinsey 6's
(exclusively gay men) would be gay. This would define a gay
man negatively, as being incapable of having sex with a
woman. Many people believe this, but it is false.
Yes to bisexuality in practice. No to making it a separate
T is for Transgender
I object to the “T” because transgender/transsexual goals are
incompatible with mine. The issues are complex, and deserve a
full discussion in the gay media. So far there hasn't been
any. Statements critical of the received transgender
narrative have been censored and suppressed, blasted as “transphobia” —
apparently a new form of bigotry.
A case in point: Ronald Gold was one of the leading members of the Gay
Activists Alliance in its heyday in the early 1970s. He is
the man most responsible for getting the American Psychiatric
Association to drop “homosexuality” from its list of
disorders. Asked to write a column for Bilerico, a leading
LGBTQ internet site, Gold submitted a brief article: “No” to the notion
of transgender. Bilerico accepted and published it, and
almost immediately a flak storm broke out. Bilerico fired
Gold, apologized to readers, and deleted the offending column, which
went down the Orwellian memory hole until gay scholar Wayne R. Dynes
retrieved it. In my opinion, Gold's article
expresses good common sense; it is direct, truthful, and in no way
I regard the transgender credo — “a woman's soul trapped in a man's
body” (ANIMA MULIEBRIS CORPORE VIRILE INCLUSA) — as mystical
nonsense. In his entry, Incarceration Motif, in the
Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, “Warren Johansson” (Joseph Wallfield)
traces this motif back to Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1824-1895), the
grandfather of gay liberation. Ulrichs derived the notion
from Heinrich Hössli's 1836-1838 book, Eros: die Männerliebe der
Griechen (Eros: the Male Love of the Greeks). In turn, Hössli
took the notion from an article in a Munich newspaper, discussing the
kabbalistic belief in the transmigration of souls. The idea
is that gendered souls, male and female, are zooming around up yonder,
waiting to enter into bodies. Once in awhile — oops! — a
female soul ends up in a male body. Thereby, a
transsexual. This kabbalistic belief is portrayed in the
play, The Dybbuk, in which the heroine ends up with two souls inside
her: her own female soul and the male soul of her dead lover.
A powerful and haunting movie of The Dybbuk, with actors from the
Yiddish theater, was made in Poland in 1937.
As someone who advocates the liberation of sexuality, I cannot approve
of “change-of-sex” surgery — which is not a change of sexuality, but
its eradication. Why use euphemisms? Castration is
castration, not a transformation of male into female.
My goal is to free sexuality from superstition — but the transsexual
narrative is rife with irrationalism. It is a crazy world,
indeed, when we are compelled to believe that a castrated man is really
a woman, or that sex can simply be “reassigned” like a clerical
Up to a point I can accept the viewpoint of J.S. Mill, that the state
has no right to hinder an individual's freedom, even to prevent him
from harming himself (Liberty). But there are also doctors
and therapists involved. As long as medical malpractice is
punished, those performing “transsexual surgery” should lose their
licenses and be sent to prison.
It may be hard to save adults from their folly, but we should be
concerned for children who are caught in the transsexual
trap. Last June a documentary, Growing Up Trans, was
broadcast on PBS television. In one unforgettable episode, a
bewildered but perfectly fine little boy is surrounded by his mother
and a group of female therapists, who are proposing he go on drugs that
will prevent puberty — chemical castration in preparation for surgical
castration when he's old enough. This is truly a crime
against nature. It is through puberty that boys grow into men — and
sometimes feminine boys become masculine men.
Whether transsexualism is a hoax, a delusion, or both, it is no ally of
mine or of other gay men.
Q is for Queer
Queer is so obviously wrong, that arguing against it is almost
demeaning. Here we have a word that was and still is one of
the most hateful in the American language. “Dirty queer” is
what many gay men heard as they were being beaten to death.
Although “queer theorists” talk of “reclaiming” the word, this is
impossible, since it never belonged to us in the first place; it was
always the word of our enemies.
Although queer is clearly understood as referring to men, it is women
who have been its strongest promoters. Eve Kosovsky Sedgwick,
in her over-rated book, Epistemology of the Closet, used the word
often. In a Gay & Lesbian Review interview
(September-November 2015) B. Ruby Rich proudly takes credit for coining
“New Queer Cinema” in 1982 to label what she saw as a new cinematic
phenomenon. If these women can call gay men queers, why
shouldn't we call them cunts? — and yet historically, cunt has been far
less pejorative than queer.
In the same issue of GLR Larry Kramer tells his interviewer, Matthew
Hays, “Don't use the word queer. I loathe it.” This dialogue
Matthew Hays: Why do you loathe the word “queer”?
Larry Kramer: Because I am not queer. I am gay.
MH: Some see “queer” as an inclusive word that embodies gay, lesbian,
bi, trans, and so-on. You think it's that offensive?
LK: I do. It's like calling blacks “niggers”.
In addition, queer is unacceptable because of its core meanings: queer,
odd, spurious, worthless, deviant (dictionary definitions).
Gay men are not worthless. Sex between males, in historical
perspective, is healthy and good, not deviant or spurious.
I am not alone in opposing queer. Most gay men, and
especially those who were active in the homophile and gay liberation
movements, also strongly object to it. A section in my
personal website has critiques of queer by John Rechy, Wayne R. Dynes,
Stephen O. Murray, Arthur Evans, and myself.
Since queer is so blatantly wrong, I'm amazed that any gay men have
acquiesced in it. I can only attribute their acquiescence to
self-hatred, low self-esteem, or the “protective stupidity” that George
Orwell called Crimestop:
“Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct,
at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the
power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors,
of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to
Ingsoc, [English Socialism] and of being bored or repelled by any train
of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical
direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.”
(George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four)
In sum, queer was foisted on us by our worst enemies, aided and abetted
by feminists and academics. We should oppose its use in every
When I was in the Gay Liberation Front (1969-1971) I favored a
multi-issue approach: all forms of oppression were related, and all
were ultimately caused by class society, capitalism. When I
later joined the Gay Activists Alliance (1969-1981) I came to
appreciate the logic of the single-issue approach. GAA was
concerned with gay rights, period, and it was far more effective and
influential than any of its predecessors.
I believe that gay men need to establish the validity and beauty of
male love, which comprises love, sex, and friendship. We must
preserve our heritage, which includes a noble tradition and much of the
world's greatest literature.
We should seek to destroy for all time the taboo on sex between
males. All sexual superstition, all theological morality,
must be replaced by rational, secular ethics.
Gay men need to explore and rediscover how to relate to men.
This requires all-male spaces, as it cannot be done where feminist PC
cops are present.
Of course, we'll need allies, but we should get our own act together
first. We'll need our own publications: literate and free from the
pernicious sex industry described by Ian Young in his Stonewall
Experiment. Rather than striving for an indiscriminate
inclusivity, we should build a vanguard of intelligent, courageous, and
principled gay men.
Our best allies may prove to be other men, with whom we could unite in
reversing encroachments on male liberty. Thanks to
state-enforced feminism, almost no all-male organizations or spaces are
left. YMCAs are now for both males and females, but YWCAS are
still for females only. There are still women's colleges in
the U.S., but no men's colleges (except rabbinical colleges).
All of the Ivy League men's colleges have gone co-ed, and yet half of
the Seven Sisters colleges are still for women only. Here in
Boston there are a dozen health clubs for women, but not a single one
It used to be that every small town had an Elks Club or similar
fraternal organization, where males could socialize with each
other. They no longer exist. In my home town, the
Elks Club was a grand building with stained-glass windows, which, with
its parking lot, took up an entire city block. Here my father
taught me how to play pool in a huge room filled with regulation-sized
pool and billiards tables. Then all fraternal organizations
went co-ed; the Elks club, a shadow of its former self, was forced to
give up the old building and moved into a small, nondescript modern
We might also fight on behalf of American boys, who are being
emasculated by female teachers. (Christina Hoff-Sommers, The
War On Boys) Millions of these boys — often the most vigorous
and intelligent — are being poisoned by the drug Ritalin, prescribed to
treat a phony diagnosis, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
Gay men have a right to male companionship. We have a right
to be ourselves, and as men — with men — for men — to fight for our own
reconsider our goals and go back to using words that mean something.
Myself, I'll settle for the G.
Homosexual Behavior Among Males: A Cross-Cultural and Cross-Species
Homosexuality & Civilization, 2003.
Wayne R. Dynes,
Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, 1990.
Wayne R. Dynes, Arthur
Evans, John Lauritsen, Stephen O. Murray, and John Rechy, “Critique of
the Word Queer”.
Ronald Gold, “No to
the notion of transgender”.
Hoff-Sommers, The War Against Boys, 2001; revised edition 2015.
Hubert Kennedy, The
Ideal Gay Man: The Story of Der Kreis, 1999.
John Lauritsen, A
Freethinker's Primer of Male Love, 1998.
John Lauritsen and
David Thorstad, The Early Homosexual Rights Movement (1864-1935), 1974;
revised second edition 1995.
Rictor Norton, The
Myth of the Modern Homosexual, 1998.
Symonds, A Problem in Greek Ethics, 1873 (available on Rictor Norton's
Ian Young, The
Stonewall Experiment, 1995.
* Copyright 2015 by
John Lauritsen. Comments welcome.
I write books and am
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