The New York Times reports that some gays are worrying that legalized marriage and their new social acceptance will mean a loss for gay identity and gay culture. Some telling quotes in the article: “The thing I miss is the specialness of being gay.” “There is something wonderful about being part of an oppressed community.”
Hey, maybe Christians now can feel special and and will come to enjoy that wonder!
But seriously, one of the arguments for gay marriage made by early proponents such as Andrew Sullivan is that gay people need to abandon the promiscuity that has tended to characterize their culture–which manifested itself in the AIDS epidemic–and embrace the social order found in marriage.
Do you think, now that gays can marry, that we can return to the ethic of no sex outside of marriage? Studies do show that while pre-marital sex is tolerated, being unfaithful to one’s spouse is still seen as a bad thing. Will gays adopt that ethic, or will the sexual exclusivity of marriage be the next to go–some married gays say they are “monogamish”–in which case, will marriage itself lose its point? Or will gays settle down into married domesticity?
From Capitol Hill in Seattle to Dupont Circle in Washington, gay bars and nightclubs have turned into vitamin stores, frozen yogurt shops and memories. Some of those that remain are filled increasingly with straight patrons, while many former customers say their social lives now revolve around preschools and playgrounds.
Rainbow-hued “Just Be You” messages have been flashing across Chase A.T.M. screens in honor of Pride month, conveying acceptance but also corporate blandness. Directors, filmmakers and artists are talking about moving past themes of sexual orientation, which they say no longer generate as much dramatic energy.The Supreme Court on Friday expanded same-sex marriage rights across the country, a crowning achievement but also a confounding challenge to a group that has often prided itself on being different. The more victories that accumulate for gay rights, the faster some gay institutions, rituals and markers are fading out. And so just as the gay marriage movement peaks, so does a debate about whether gay identity is dimming, overtaken by its own success. . . .
“The thing I miss is the specialness of being gay,” said Lisa Kron, who wrote the book and lyrics for “Fun Home,” a Broadway musical with a showstopping number sung by a young girl captivated by her first glimpse of a butch woman. “Because the traditional paths were closed, there was a consciousness to our lives, a necessary invention to the way we were going to celebrate and mark family and mark connection. That felt magical and beautiful.”
Ms. Kron is 54, and her sentiments seem to resonate among gay people of her generation and older. “People are missing a sense of community, a sense of sharing,” said Eric Marcus, 56, the author of “Making Gay History.”
“There is something wonderful about being part of an oppressed community,” Mr. Marcus said.