By Sally Marks
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Extra info for The Myths of Reparations
The human need for romance, for erotic affection, is basic to storytelling. Most narrative art, from Ulysses to Carousel, from The Sheik to Love’s Labours Lost, celebrates it; and it is everywhere about us in our daily lives, in the touch of strolling couples, in scandals and wedding announcements in the newspapers, in acceptance speeches on awards nights. This is why the younger and less worldly gays are surprised when straights express irritation at the slightest public show of gay romance. Gays think there’s room for everyone; most straights are willing to make room for gays on the condition that gays pretend they don’t exist.
But Mother was a series of interrogations, moralistic harangues, and grouchings. She would even attempt making corporal correction upon us (we would simply head for the dining room and run around the table until she wore out or caught my littlest brother Tony). Two less alike parents there never were. Yet they agreed on the basics: love them, give them culture, and treat them for life as if they were permanently stuck at the age of eight. Parents are tyrants, even the nice ones. I recommend taking the offensive as surely and early as possible, never letting up—and my system works, for I had a reasonably cute childhood, an amusing adolescence, and a profitable teenage career.
Yet, despite straights’ lack of comprehension and outright intolerance, gays inevitably comprehend straights, because, whatever our sexuality, we all grow up within the straight culture as participators. You can be homosexual from birth, but you can’t be gay unless you voluntarily enter the gay world, a culture all its own. Gays understand straights; but straights don’t understand gays any more than whites understand blacks or Christians understand Jews, however good their intentions. Gay is a unique minority: strictly elective.