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Gay Wrongs?

Wed 21 Apr 2010 In: Comment View at NDHA

There are certain gay individuals who cause us to avert our gaze in shame. How do we explain "gay" villainy and tyranny?   I think the best tack is to conclude that while these individuals may have been 'biographically and incidentally homosexual,' they actually owed more to other communities of interest, occupations or social and political movements rather than LGBT rights politics. Take Ernest Rohm of the Nazi SA, for instance. Rohm was openly gay, but his warped Nazi version of gay rights included a circumscribed set of rights reserved for gay "Aryans" as an "elite" and in any case, it never found favour with most mainstream German Weimar Republic lesbian/gay rights proponents. Indeed, Magnus Hirschfeld, of the International Scientific and Humanitarian Committee, was one of the foremost Weimar supporters of lesbian and gay rights, and Jewish.  Rohm was betrayed by opponents of his 'revolutionary Nazism" and died in an internal coup, and thousands of gay men went on to die in Nazi Germany's concentration camps.   On the other hand, Roy Cohn and J.Edgar Hoover were altogether more closeted figures. Cohn was a right-wing lawyer associated with the Macarthyite US anti-communist purges of the fifties, while Hoover controlled the Federal Bureau of Investigation for forty years or so. Hoover led a clandestine relationship with his No 2, Clyde Tolson, and connived in persecution and smear tactics against any challengers to his right-wing view of US culture and society...including fledgeling lesbian and gay rights activist groups.   What about criminality? Ronnie Kray was a notorious London gangland figure in the fifties and sixties, proficient with his fist and firearms...and openly gay. Indeed, he once shot a rival small-time criminal for deriding him as a 'fat poof.'  As with serial killers Dennis Nilsen and Jeffrey Dahmer, Kray could be said to belong to distinct social networks or psychopathological profiles that are divorced radically from the mainstream lives and experiences of most gay men. Indeed, in the case of Nilsen and Dahmer, most of their victims were younger gay men.   Indeed, this extends to terrorism, as well. Sam McCrory was a hardened white supremacist and member of the Protestant Ulster Defence Association and Ulster Freedom Fighters, while engaged in sex with men. At 45, he came out publically and now lives in Scotland, understandably estranged from his former colleagues, but unrepentant about his past record of racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism and homophobic self-hatred.   With the exception of Rohm, then, most of the above individuals were not affiliated to identifiable or distinct gay communities of interest during their periods of antisocial or tyrannical or terrorist behaviour. Their repressive, antisocial, criminal and terrorist propensities were expressed outside a framework of gay communal or social ethics that condemns interpersonal violence, let alone homicide. Rohm, Kray and McCrory identified with Nazi, London gangland and Ulster Loyalist paramilitary political and social networks, while Cohn and Hoover were closeted agents of state repression. Dahmer and Nilsen were serial killers and their psychopathologies were and are indistinguishable from predatory heterosexual psychopaths, apart from their choice of victims.   Not only did most of the above not identify with organised gay communities, they also aided and abetted their direct state repression or preyed on vulnerable and isolated members of those communities. In effect, then, they were 'biographically and incidentally homosexual", subordinate to who else and what else they were. Craig Young - 21st April 2010    

Credit: Craig Young

First published: Wednesday, 21st April 2010 - 7:14am

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