Very interesting interview with Larry Kramer about the differences between the generations of Gay Men….
Hard as it is to believe, this generation really grew up in a different, safer, more accepting time …
Those of us who are older had a very different experience- and they have no idea what it was like during the AIDS Crisis or growing up when it was still, as Lord Alfred Douglas said, “The love that dare not speak its name”.
And Gay Men, like most Americans, don’t really care about or want to know their history….
Larry Kramer’s ground breaking play from the outbreak of the AIDS crisis opens on Broadway this week….
From Salon.com interview with Thomas Rogers:
Rogers: I saw a preview of the play last night with a friend. I think many of the ideas in the play will seem exotic and a little dated to a lot of young gay men.
Kramer: Like what?
Rogers: Like the idea of promiscuity as a political statement and that it would be treasonous or controversial for gay men to tell other gay men not to have sex, or to have sex with a condom. What do you think young people should take away from the play?
Kramer: It’s our history. We’re gay. This was part of our history. This was the most horrible thing the gay population ever lived through. And yet it also represented — later on, with ACT UP, and the getting of AIDS drugs — the most spectacular achievement the gay population ever had. We gays did that.
I don’t know why so many gay men don’t want to know their history. I don’t know why they turned their back on the older generation as if they don’t want to have anything to do with them. I would like us to get beyond that.
Rogers: But do you really think that lack of interest in history is particular to this generation?
Kramer: You tell me.
Rogers: Well, I’m 27, and I know that my formative images of gay life had nothing to do with AIDS. Ellen came out of the closet when I was in junior high and “Will & Grace” made gayness seem like a consumer identity more than anything else. Gayness wasn’t really linked with sickness is my mind, and so those early AIDS battles, I think, seem very alien to a lot of young people’s experiences.
Kramer: I don’t know. I could understand what you’re saying. Sometimes when I go to schools, kids say that they’re taught to be non-confrontational or non-participatory now, almost like it’s not cool to have opinions and express them, which is sad. I hope we’re coming out of all that.
MORE: The problem with gay men today – Interviews – Salon.com.
One response to “The Problem With Gay Men Today : Salon.com Talks to Larry Kramer”
I like this. It is interesting, the views of youth today. I’m white with a black daughter. I know a bunch(well, almost a bunch) about black, gay, and any civil rights stuff and she is totally disinterested. For the kids today it’s history. It’s gone. It’s someone’s else’s stuff. I finally understood it when I realized that it wasn’t a church. While we may hold it up high and honor the past, to the kids it is just the past.
Even within the so called communities there are differences of opinion and outlook. I remember reading the Stonewall Riots Book and the comments of some conservative gay men. They were appalled that so many gays(in their opinion) were childish, weird, grossly effeminate. They saw their own selves as just people that happened to be gay. Like Del Martin & Phyllis Lyons said in their book Lesbian/Women, paraphrasing here, “At first, we thought to act like one is the man and the other is the woman. After a while we realized we were just people.”
I think that the majority of kids today just think(what we want them to think), that people are just people. Part of it is that we think(still) that there is still a black culture, a gay culture, a white culture, an Indian culture. Sometimes there is!
Our kids will actually have their own battles to fight. My daughter doesn’t really know black people and where she’s going to college is equal and OK but still divided. They still have ‘camps’ of people.
If you ask me we should honor the past, we should lift up those people that did great things for our behalf. Unfortunately that’s just my singular opinion. Thanks again for a great post.