This post is snippets of an informal conversation with Mr K, which I’m posting while on vacation. I don’t necessarily endorse any of these views, and may oppose some of them. I won’t be around to respond to comments for a couple weeks.
The queer counterculture that manifested for example as the house ballroom culture of 90s New York or as the disco movement in the 70s barely exists anymore, with LGBT spaces having been filled largely by young trans women, most of whom are headed towards university degrees, often in STEM, which is an enormously unrealistic path in life for most people of the original gay counterculture.
As for gay men, what we have instead looks a lot more like assimilation to a normative way of living than it looks like genuine acceptance. Consider for example how flamboyance and to an extent male femininity continues being stigmatised.
I’m just pointing out that the history of the gay counterculture does not look at all like a great victory for the counterculture
it looks more like a crushing defeat, largely from the AIDS epidemic, and then the establishment turning out to be somewhat merciful and allowing us to assimilate if we can. Not all of us can, and then the situation really does look rather damning.
Gay people can assimilate to be accepted, adopting a mainstream lifestyle only differing with regards to the sex of their long term partner, whom they may marry and, in USA probably even adopt children with
pursuing some white collar job like accounting or journalism or another of the jobs mentioned in Scott Alexander’s blogpost there
I would say they ([most aspects of gay counterculture]) have become more stigmatised over the past few decades
the modern concept of homosexuality as being just sexual attraction isolated from any other aspects of personality is a recent invention and has no basis in fact
expecting a gay man to act as a straight man except for dating is pretty darn repressive
it perpetuates a pressure of conformity, because the fervent denial of stereotypes beyond all reason serves to perpetuate a stigma on stereotypical behaviour
so like I was, lots of gay men are desperate to disprove the stereotypes by being very much just regular guys. It’s a burdensome performance in the long run
this kind of stigma is widely recognised in the gay community, sometimes discussed as a kind of internalised homophobia. What’s less openly discussed is how the opportunity and pressure to assimilate has resulted in fewer “inner victories” against societal pressure, removing the counterculture that built confidence and toughness through hardship and substituting it for having gay people repress themselves into conformity.
fiery support provided a counterpoint to the societal pressure, but the current form that LGBT advocacy takes is predominantly not a fiery support for countercultural living, but a fiery support for the right to assimilate into normality. It does not have the same effect at bolstering people’s conviction in their right to live as they want.
I guess the post-AIDS gay movement could be said to have won, but that is an entirely different movement from the one we think of when we think of historical gay movement (eg. stonewall riots, harvey milk, gay liberation front, first pride parades, etc). The gay counterculture died to AIDS in the 80s.