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Gays as despised groups

E.J. Graff, author of ‘What is Marriage For? The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution,’ is a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.

Only 20 years ago, Americans overwhelmingly agreed with Davis that same-sex marriage was a ridiculous idea. Only 60 years ago, federal, state and local governments and the mainstream media enforced her beliefs, sending homosexuals to jail and shaming them publicly for their immoral perversions.

What the heck happened? How did a once-despised minority win full formal equality (with some caveats, below)? How did gay people become moral heroes to many Americans while Davis and her like became the ridiculed outcasts?

Lillian Faderman has the sprawling, complicated answer in “The Gay Revolution.” This is the history of the gay and lesbian movement that we’ve been waiting for: compulsively readable, carefully anchored in the historical record, overflowing with riveting stories, human peculiarities and thoughtful analysis of the messy political contradictions that dogged this untidy movement. Other books have purported to explain how the unruly LGBT movement triumphed. “The Gay Revolution” succeeds.

The book opens in 1948, as a respected and beloved journalism professor at the University of Missouri turns himself in to police. After the professor was outed in a witchhunt that involved coercing gay men to identify their sodomitic co-conspirators, a warrant was issued for his arrest. The professor tries to fight back — but it’s the wrong era. He is jailed, shamed and stripped of his reputation, career and pension. And he’s not alone: Faderman shows us one such persecution after another, illustrating the heartbreaking climate for every major national issue on which lesbian and gay people have since triumphed.

We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century.

At a recent presentation, I asked all of the gay male students in the room to raise their hand if in the past week they touched a woman’s body without her consent. After a moment of hesitation, all of the hands of the gay men in the room went up. I then asked the same gay men to raise their hand if in the past week they offered a woman unsolicited advice about how to “improve” her body or her fashion. Once again, after a moment of hesitation, all of the hands in the room went up.

These questions came after a brief exploration of gay men’s relationship to American fashion and women’s bodies. That dialogue included recognizing that gay men in the United States are often hailed as the experts of women’s fashion and by proxy women’s bodies. In addition to this there is a dominant logic that suggests that because gay men have no conscious desire to be sexually intimate with women, our uninvited touching and groping (physical assault) is benign.

These attitudes have led many gay men to feel curiously comfortable critiquing and touching women’s bodies at whim.  What’s unique about this is not the male sense of ownership to women’s bodies—that is somewhat common.  What’s curious is the minimization of these acts by gay men and many women because the male perpetuating the act is or is perceived to be gay.

An example: I was at a gay club in Atlanta with a good friend of mine who is a heterosexual black woman. While dancing in the club, a white gay male reached out and grabbed both her breasts aggressively. Shocked, she pushed him away immediately. When we both confronted him he told us:  “It’s no big deal, I’m gay, I don’t want her– I was just having fun.” We expressed our frustrations to him and demanded he apologize, but he simply refused. He clearly felt entitled to touch her body and could not even acknowledge the fact that he had assaulted her.

The Stonewall riots (also referred to as the Stonewall uprising or the Stonewall rebellion ) were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay (LGBT) community [note 1] against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn , located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan , New York City . They are widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States . [2] [3]

Gay Americans in the 1950s and 1960s faced an anti-gay legal system. [note 2] [4] Early homophile groups in the U.S. sought to prove that gay people could be assimilated into society, and they favored non-confrontational education for homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. The last years of the 1960s, however, were very contentious, as many social/political movements were active, including the African American Civil Rights Movement , the counterculture of the 1960s , and the anti-Vietnam War movement . These influences, along with the liberal environment of Greenwich Village, served as catalysts for the Stonewall riots.

After the Stonewall riots, gays and lesbians in New York City faced gender, race, class, and generational obstacles to becoming a cohesive community. Within six months, two gay activist organizations were formed in New York, concentrating on confrontational tactics, and three newspapers were established to promote rights for gays and lesbians. Within a few years, gay rights organizations were founded across the U.S. and the world. On June 28, 1970, the first Gay Pride marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco [7] and Chicago commemorating the anniversary of the riots. Similar marches were organized in other cities. Today, Gay Pride events are held annually throughout the world toward the end of June to mark the Stonewall riots. [8]

In 1952, the American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) as a mental disorder. A large-scale study of homosexuality in 1962 was used to justify inclusion of the disorder as a supposed pathological hidden fear of the opposite sex caused by traumatic parent–child relationships. This view was widely influential in the medical profession. [16] In 1956, however, the psychologist Evelyn Hooker performed a study that compared the happiness and well-adjusted nature of self-identified homosexual men with heterosexual men and found no difference. [17] Her study stunned the medical community and made her a hero to many gay men and lesbians, [18] but homosexuality remained in the DSM until 1973.

One of the first challenges to government repression came in 1953. An organization named ONE, Inc. published a magazine called ONE . The U.S. Postal Service refused to mail its August issue, which concerned homosexuals in heterosexual marriages, on the grounds that the material was obscene despite it being covered in brown paper wrapping. The case eventually went to the Supreme Court , which in 1958 ruled that ONE, Inc. could mail its materials through the Postal Service. [25]

In January 1993, President Clinton signed a memorandum directing the Secretary of Defense to end discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the U.S. Armed Forces. The secretary was directed to recommend a policy that could be carried out “in a manner that is practical and realistic, and consistent with the high standards of combat effectiveness and unit cohesion our Armed Forces must maintain.” Les Aspin, Secretary of Defense at the time, asked RAND's National Defense Research Institute to help carry out his mandate by providing a comprehensive analysis of the issues involved in the debate and evaluating different courses of action that could be taken to implement the president's objectives.

Several observations emerged from these visits. In countries that allow homosexuals to serve, the number of openly homosexual service members is small and is believed to represent a minority of homosexuals actually serving. Open homosexuals were appropriately circumspect in military situations: They did not call attention to themselves in ways that could make their service less pleasant or impede their careers. When problems were reported, they were usually resolved satisfactorily on a case-by-case basis. None of these countries reported any impairment in military performance resulting from the presence of homosexuals.

Domestic police and fire departments are perhaps the closest analog to the U.S. military: They are organized with a hierarchical chain of command and they function as teams that train for short, intense periods of hazardous activity. They are different, of course, in that only the military deploys its members on ships or routinely engages in extended field exercises. Researchers visited six cities that have nondiscrimination policies in place: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, and Seattle.

The study team focused on two main issues: How did heterosexuals and homosexuals behave in response to the presence of homosexuals on the force? And what were the organizational strategies used to implement the nondiscrimination policies? They found that

While a decision to integrate homosexuals into the force is not directly comparable to the integration of blacks into the military, the experience of racial integration provides insights into the military's ability to adapt to change. That experience shows that it is possible to change how troops behave toward previously excluded (and despised) minority groups, even if underlying attitudes toward those groups change very little.

E.J. Graff, author of ‘What is Marriage For? The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution,’ is a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.

Only 20 years ago, Americans overwhelmingly agreed with Davis that same-sex marriage was a ridiculous idea. Only 60 years ago, federal, state and local governments and the mainstream media enforced her beliefs, sending homosexuals to jail and shaming them publicly for their immoral perversions.

What the heck happened? How did a once-despised minority win full formal equality (with some caveats, below)? How did gay people become moral heroes to many Americans while Davis and her like became the ridiculed outcasts?

Lillian Faderman has the sprawling, complicated answer in “The Gay Revolution.” This is the history of the gay and lesbian movement that we’ve been waiting for: compulsively readable, carefully anchored in the historical record, overflowing with riveting stories, human peculiarities and thoughtful analysis of the messy political contradictions that dogged this untidy movement. Other books have purported to explain how the unruly LGBT movement triumphed. “The Gay Revolution” succeeds.

The book opens in 1948, as a respected and beloved journalism professor at the University of Missouri turns himself in to police. After the professor was outed in a witchhunt that involved coercing gay men to identify their sodomitic co-conspirators, a warrant was issued for his arrest. The professor tries to fight back — but it’s the wrong era. He is jailed, shamed and stripped of his reputation, career and pension. And he’s not alone: Faderman shows us one such persecution after another, illustrating the heartbreaking climate for every major national issue on which lesbian and gay people have since triumphed.

E.J. Graff, author of ‘What is Marriage For? The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution,’ is a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.

Only 20 years ago, Americans overwhelmingly agreed with Davis that same-sex marriage was a ridiculous idea. Only 60 years ago, federal, state and local governments and the mainstream media enforced her beliefs, sending homosexuals to jail and shaming them publicly for their immoral perversions.

What the heck happened? How did a once-despised minority win full formal equality (with some caveats, below)? How did gay people become moral heroes to many Americans while Davis and her like became the ridiculed outcasts?

Lillian Faderman has the sprawling, complicated answer in “The Gay Revolution.” This is the history of the gay and lesbian movement that we’ve been waiting for: compulsively readable, carefully anchored in the historical record, overflowing with riveting stories, human peculiarities and thoughtful analysis of the messy political contradictions that dogged this untidy movement. Other books have purported to explain how the unruly LGBT movement triumphed. “The Gay Revolution” succeeds.

The book opens in 1948, as a respected and beloved journalism professor at the University of Missouri turns himself in to police. After the professor was outed in a witchhunt that involved coercing gay men to identify their sodomitic co-conspirators, a warrant was issued for his arrest. The professor tries to fight back — but it’s the wrong era. He is jailed, shamed and stripped of his reputation, career and pension. And he’s not alone: Faderman shows us one such persecution after another, illustrating the heartbreaking climate for every major national issue on which lesbian and gay people have since triumphed.

We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century.

At a recent presentation, I asked all of the gay male students in the room to raise their hand if in the past week they touched a woman’s body without her consent. After a moment of hesitation, all of the hands of the gay men in the room went up. I then asked the same gay men to raise their hand if in the past week they offered a woman unsolicited advice about how to “improve” her body or her fashion. Once again, after a moment of hesitation, all of the hands in the room went up.

These questions came after a brief exploration of gay men’s relationship to American fashion and women’s bodies. That dialogue included recognizing that gay men in the United States are often hailed as the experts of women’s fashion and by proxy women’s bodies. In addition to this there is a dominant logic that suggests that because gay men have no conscious desire to be sexually intimate with women, our uninvited touching and groping (physical assault) is benign.

These attitudes have led many gay men to feel curiously comfortable critiquing and touching women’s bodies at whim.  What’s unique about this is not the male sense of ownership to women’s bodies—that is somewhat common.  What’s curious is the minimization of these acts by gay men and many women because the male perpetuating the act is or is perceived to be gay.

An example: I was at a gay club in Atlanta with a good friend of mine who is a heterosexual black woman. While dancing in the club, a white gay male reached out and grabbed both her breasts aggressively. Shocked, she pushed him away immediately. When we both confronted him he told us:  “It’s no big deal, I’m gay, I don’t want her– I was just having fun.” We expressed our frustrations to him and demanded he apologize, but he simply refused. He clearly felt entitled to touch her body and could not even acknowledge the fact that he had assaulted her.

E.J. Graff, author of ‘What is Marriage For? The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution,’ is a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.

Only 20 years ago, Americans overwhelmingly agreed with Davis that same-sex marriage was a ridiculous idea. Only 60 years ago, federal, state and local governments and the mainstream media enforced her beliefs, sending homosexuals to jail and shaming them publicly for their immoral perversions.

What the heck happened? How did a once-despised minority win full formal equality (with some caveats, below)? How did gay people become moral heroes to many Americans while Davis and her like became the ridiculed outcasts?

Lillian Faderman has the sprawling, complicated answer in “The Gay Revolution.” This is the history of the gay and lesbian movement that we’ve been waiting for: compulsively readable, carefully anchored in the historical record, overflowing with riveting stories, human peculiarities and thoughtful analysis of the messy political contradictions that dogged this untidy movement. Other books have purported to explain how the unruly LGBT movement triumphed. “The Gay Revolution” succeeds.

The book opens in 1948, as a respected and beloved journalism professor at the University of Missouri turns himself in to police. After the professor was outed in a witchhunt that involved coercing gay men to identify their sodomitic co-conspirators, a warrant was issued for his arrest. The professor tries to fight back — but it’s the wrong era. He is jailed, shamed and stripped of his reputation, career and pension. And he’s not alone: Faderman shows us one such persecution after another, illustrating the heartbreaking climate for every major national issue on which lesbian and gay people have since triumphed.

We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century.

At a recent presentation, I asked all of the gay male students in the room to raise their hand if in the past week they touched a woman’s body without her consent. After a moment of hesitation, all of the hands of the gay men in the room went up. I then asked the same gay men to raise their hand if in the past week they offered a woman unsolicited advice about how to “improve” her body or her fashion. Once again, after a moment of hesitation, all of the hands in the room went up.

These questions came after a brief exploration of gay men’s relationship to American fashion and women’s bodies. That dialogue included recognizing that gay men in the United States are often hailed as the experts of women’s fashion and by proxy women’s bodies. In addition to this there is a dominant logic that suggests that because gay men have no conscious desire to be sexually intimate with women, our uninvited touching and groping (physical assault) is benign.

These attitudes have led many gay men to feel curiously comfortable critiquing and touching women’s bodies at whim.  What’s unique about this is not the male sense of ownership to women’s bodies—that is somewhat common.  What’s curious is the minimization of these acts by gay men and many women because the male perpetuating the act is or is perceived to be gay.

An example: I was at a gay club in Atlanta with a good friend of mine who is a heterosexual black woman. While dancing in the club, a white gay male reached out and grabbed both her breasts aggressively. Shocked, she pushed him away immediately. When we both confronted him he told us:  “It’s no big deal, I’m gay, I don’t want her– I was just having fun.” We expressed our frustrations to him and demanded he apologize, but he simply refused. He clearly felt entitled to touch her body and could not even acknowledge the fact that he had assaulted her.

The Stonewall riots (also referred to as the Stonewall uprising or the Stonewall rebellion ) were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay (LGBT) community [note 1] against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn , located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan , New York City . They are widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States . [2] [3]

Gay Americans in the 1950s and 1960s faced an anti-gay legal system. [note 2] [4] Early homophile groups in the U.S. sought to prove that gay people could be assimilated into society, and they favored non-confrontational education for homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. The last years of the 1960s, however, were very contentious, as many social/political movements were active, including the African American Civil Rights Movement , the counterculture of the 1960s , and the anti-Vietnam War movement . These influences, along with the liberal environment of Greenwich Village, served as catalysts for the Stonewall riots.

After the Stonewall riots, gays and lesbians in New York City faced gender, race, class, and generational obstacles to becoming a cohesive community. Within six months, two gay activist organizations were formed in New York, concentrating on confrontational tactics, and three newspapers were established to promote rights for gays and lesbians. Within a few years, gay rights organizations were founded across the U.S. and the world. On June 28, 1970, the first Gay Pride marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco [7] and Chicago commemorating the anniversary of the riots. Similar marches were organized in other cities. Today, Gay Pride events are held annually throughout the world toward the end of June to mark the Stonewall riots. [8]

In 1952, the American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) as a mental disorder. A large-scale study of homosexuality in 1962 was used to justify inclusion of the disorder as a supposed pathological hidden fear of the opposite sex caused by traumatic parent–child relationships. This view was widely influential in the medical profession. [16] In 1956, however, the psychologist Evelyn Hooker performed a study that compared the happiness and well-adjusted nature of self-identified homosexual men with heterosexual men and found no difference. [17] Her study stunned the medical community and made her a hero to many gay men and lesbians, [18] but homosexuality remained in the DSM until 1973.

One of the first challenges to government repression came in 1953. An organization named ONE, Inc. published a magazine called ONE . The U.S. Postal Service refused to mail its August issue, which concerned homosexuals in heterosexual marriages, on the grounds that the material was obscene despite it being covered in brown paper wrapping. The case eventually went to the Supreme Court , which in 1958 ruled that ONE, Inc. could mail its materials through the Postal Service. [25]

gays as despised groups

E.J. Graff, author of ‘What is Marriage For? The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution,’ is a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.

Only 20 years ago, Americans overwhelmingly agreed with Davis that same-sex marriage was a ridiculous idea. Only 60 years ago, federal, state and local governments and the mainstream media enforced her beliefs, sending homosexuals to jail and shaming them publicly for their immoral perversions.

What the heck happened? How did a once-despised minority win full formal equality (with some caveats, below)? How did gay people become moral heroes to many Americans while Davis and her like became the ridiculed outcasts?

Lillian Faderman has the sprawling, complicated answer in “The Gay Revolution.” This is the history of the gay and lesbian movement that we’ve been waiting for: compulsively readable, carefully anchored in the historical record, overflowing with riveting stories, human peculiarities and thoughtful analysis of the messy political contradictions that dogged this untidy movement. Other books have purported to explain how the unruly LGBT movement triumphed. “The Gay Revolution” succeeds.

The book opens in 1948, as a respected and beloved journalism professor at the University of Missouri turns himself in to police. After the professor was outed in a witchhunt that involved coercing gay men to identify their sodomitic co-conspirators, a warrant was issued for his arrest. The professor tries to fight back — but it’s the wrong era. He is jailed, shamed and stripped of his reputation, career and pension. And he’s not alone: Faderman shows us one such persecution after another, illustrating the heartbreaking climate for every major national issue on which lesbian and gay people have since triumphed.

E.J. Graff, author of ‘What is Marriage For? The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution,’ is a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.

Only 20 years ago, Americans overwhelmingly agreed with Davis that same-sex marriage was a ridiculous idea. Only 60 years ago, federal, state and local governments and the mainstream media enforced her beliefs, sending homosexuals to jail and shaming them publicly for their immoral perversions.

What the heck happened? How did a once-despised minority win full formal equality (with some caveats, below)? How did gay people become moral heroes to many Americans while Davis and her like became the ridiculed outcasts?

Lillian Faderman has the sprawling, complicated answer in “The Gay Revolution.” This is the history of the gay and lesbian movement that we’ve been waiting for: compulsively readable, carefully anchored in the historical record, overflowing with riveting stories, human peculiarities and thoughtful analysis of the messy political contradictions that dogged this untidy movement. Other books have purported to explain how the unruly LGBT movement triumphed. “The Gay Revolution” succeeds.

The book opens in 1948, as a respected and beloved journalism professor at the University of Missouri turns himself in to police. After the professor was outed in a witchhunt that involved coercing gay men to identify their sodomitic co-conspirators, a warrant was issued for his arrest. The professor tries to fight back — but it’s the wrong era. He is jailed, shamed and stripped of his reputation, career and pension. And he’s not alone: Faderman shows us one such persecution after another, illustrating the heartbreaking climate for every major national issue on which lesbian and gay people have since triumphed.

We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century.

At a recent presentation, I asked all of the gay male students in the room to raise their hand if in the past week they touched a woman’s body without her consent. After a moment of hesitation, all of the hands of the gay men in the room went up. I then asked the same gay men to raise their hand if in the past week they offered a woman unsolicited advice about how to “improve” her body or her fashion. Once again, after a moment of hesitation, all of the hands in the room went up.

These questions came after a brief exploration of gay men’s relationship to American fashion and women’s bodies. That dialogue included recognizing that gay men in the United States are often hailed as the experts of women’s fashion and by proxy women’s bodies. In addition to this there is a dominant logic that suggests that because gay men have no conscious desire to be sexually intimate with women, our uninvited touching and groping (physical assault) is benign.

These attitudes have led many gay men to feel curiously comfortable critiquing and touching women’s bodies at whim.  What’s unique about this is not the male sense of ownership to women’s bodies—that is somewhat common.  What’s curious is the minimization of these acts by gay men and many women because the male perpetuating the act is or is perceived to be gay.

An example: I was at a gay club in Atlanta with a good friend of mine who is a heterosexual black woman. While dancing in the club, a white gay male reached out and grabbed both her breasts aggressively. Shocked, she pushed him away immediately. When we both confronted him he told us:  “It’s no big deal, I’m gay, I don’t want her– I was just having fun.” We expressed our frustrations to him and demanded he apologize, but he simply refused. He clearly felt entitled to touch her body and could not even acknowledge the fact that he had assaulted her.

The Stonewall riots (also referred to as the Stonewall uprising or the Stonewall rebellion ) were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay (LGBT) community [note 1] against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn , located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan , New York City . They are widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States . [2] [3]

Gay Americans in the 1950s and 1960s faced an anti-gay legal system. [note 2] [4] Early homophile groups in the U.S. sought to prove that gay people could be assimilated into society, and they favored non-confrontational education for homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. The last years of the 1960s, however, were very contentious, as many social/political movements were active, including the African American Civil Rights Movement , the counterculture of the 1960s , and the anti-Vietnam War movement . These influences, along with the liberal environment of Greenwich Village, served as catalysts for the Stonewall riots.

After the Stonewall riots, gays and lesbians in New York City faced gender, race, class, and generational obstacles to becoming a cohesive community. Within six months, two gay activist organizations were formed in New York, concentrating on confrontational tactics, and three newspapers were established to promote rights for gays and lesbians. Within a few years, gay rights organizations were founded across the U.S. and the world. On June 28, 1970, the first Gay Pride marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco [7] and Chicago commemorating the anniversary of the riots. Similar marches were organized in other cities. Today, Gay Pride events are held annually throughout the world toward the end of June to mark the Stonewall riots. [8]

In 1952, the American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) as a mental disorder. A large-scale study of homosexuality in 1962 was used to justify inclusion of the disorder as a supposed pathological hidden fear of the opposite sex caused by traumatic parent–child relationships. This view was widely influential in the medical profession. [16] In 1956, however, the psychologist Evelyn Hooker performed a study that compared the happiness and well-adjusted nature of self-identified homosexual men with heterosexual men and found no difference. [17] Her study stunned the medical community and made her a hero to many gay men and lesbians, [18] but homosexuality remained in the DSM until 1973.

One of the first challenges to government repression came in 1953. An organization named ONE, Inc. published a magazine called ONE . The U.S. Postal Service refused to mail its August issue, which concerned homosexuals in heterosexual marriages, on the grounds that the material was obscene despite it being covered in brown paper wrapping. The case eventually went to the Supreme Court , which in 1958 ruled that ONE, Inc. could mail its materials through the Postal Service. [25]

E.J. Graff, author of ‘What is Marriage For? The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution,’ is a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.

Only 20 years ago, Americans overwhelmingly agreed with Davis that same-sex marriage was a ridiculous idea. Only 60 years ago, federal, state and local governments and the mainstream media enforced her beliefs, sending homosexuals to jail and shaming them publicly for their immoral perversions.

What the heck happened? How did a once-despised minority win full formal equality (with some caveats, below)? How did gay people become moral heroes to many Americans while Davis and her like became the ridiculed outcasts?

Lillian Faderman has the sprawling, complicated answer in “The Gay Revolution.” This is the history of the gay and lesbian movement that we’ve been waiting for: compulsively readable, carefully anchored in the historical record, overflowing with riveting stories, human peculiarities and thoughtful analysis of the messy political contradictions that dogged this untidy movement. Other books have purported to explain how the unruly LGBT movement triumphed. “The Gay Revolution” succeeds.

The book opens in 1948, as a respected and beloved journalism professor at the University of Missouri turns himself in to police. After the professor was outed in a witchhunt that involved coercing gay men to identify their sodomitic co-conspirators, a warrant was issued for his arrest. The professor tries to fight back — but it’s the wrong era. He is jailed, shamed and stripped of his reputation, career and pension. And he’s not alone: Faderman shows us one such persecution after another, illustrating the heartbreaking climate for every major national issue on which lesbian and gay people have since triumphed.

We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century.

At a recent presentation, I asked all of the gay male students in the room to raise their hand if in the past week they touched a woman’s body without her consent. After a moment of hesitation, all of the hands of the gay men in the room went up. I then asked the same gay men to raise their hand if in the past week they offered a woman unsolicited advice about how to “improve” her body or her fashion. Once again, after a moment of hesitation, all of the hands in the room went up.

These questions came after a brief exploration of gay men’s relationship to American fashion and women’s bodies. That dialogue included recognizing that gay men in the United States are often hailed as the experts of women’s fashion and by proxy women’s bodies. In addition to this there is a dominant logic that suggests that because gay men have no conscious desire to be sexually intimate with women, our uninvited touching and groping (physical assault) is benign.

These attitudes have led many gay men to feel curiously comfortable critiquing and touching women’s bodies at whim.  What’s unique about this is not the male sense of ownership to women’s bodies—that is somewhat common.  What’s curious is the minimization of these acts by gay men and many women because the male perpetuating the act is or is perceived to be gay.

An example: I was at a gay club in Atlanta with a good friend of mine who is a heterosexual black woman. While dancing in the club, a white gay male reached out and grabbed both her breasts aggressively. Shocked, she pushed him away immediately. When we both confronted him he told us:  “It’s no big deal, I’m gay, I don’t want her– I was just having fun.” We expressed our frustrations to him and demanded he apologize, but he simply refused. He clearly felt entitled to touch her body and could not even acknowledge the fact that he had assaulted her.