It appears that in order to be a humanist one must also be a feminist and pro-gay. Please discontinue my membership." This letter to the editor of The Humanist was the briefest sponses to two articles on gays in the military by Leo N. Miletich and myself in the May/June 1993 issue. As it zeroes in on the essentials, I'll advance a conviction of my own:
Humanism is a fart in the wind if humanists themselves remain aloof from social change. And when humanism becomes one more philosophical mask for the dehumanization of women and queers, then feminism and queer liberation become the true face of humanism.
Sgt. 1st Class B. R. Ward (Retired) sent this response, which I quote almost in full:
Look, in The Humanist I want to
read of reason and logic, enhanced
socialization--not Queer City. If
The Humanist is going to turn into
a propaganda release for a gang of
terminally diseased, perverted,
child-molesting, disgusting faggots,
you can kiss my rosy red ass
goodbye. If you can't understand
this and plan on more propaganda
for a bunch of shit-chute fuckers
and dick-sucking, diseased faggots,
refund my subscription....
And Leo N. Miletich reads like
he is a flaming faggot, disclaimers
Here is honest hatred, unalloyed and uncensored. Liberal heterosexuals may have the luxury of dismissing such pronouncements as extreme or eccentric. Queers, on the contrary, know all too well that such hatred is radioactive throughout our culture. If a token queer gains a regular column in The Humanist at this late date in history, anti-gay bigots may well perceive the propaganda of a "gang." Speaking as a shit-chute fucker and dick-sucking diseased faggot myself, I must draw attention to Ward's intellectual kinship with George Will, the Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist who wrote: "Journalism seems reluctant to clarify that the primary reason for the AIDS epidemic is that the rectum, with its delicate and absorptive lining, is not suited to homosexual uses."
That single sentence--which I quote from "Straight Talk About AIDS," published in the New York Daily News of June 4, 1987--is so rich in obfuscations that I must wait to do it justice in a later issue of The Humanist. For the moment, I ask readers to read it again. If, as is likely, a fair percentage of you regard such words as common sense in 1993, then some credit must go to the many journalists such as George Will back in 1987 and earlier who were not at all "reluctant" to blame AIDS on queers.
In response to Miletich's article, O. J. Cunningham addresses the following warning to the editor:
You should recognize that he has
leveled libelous canards against
our military while protesting what
he, dubiously, calls unfair criticism
against gay people. You do not
trash our military.
Two personal guesses, if I
may. (1) Miletich never served in
our military or if he has it was not
on a voluntary basis. (2) He is
probably gay--certainly lacking in
masculinity. Let's omit such articles
in the future.
About the only criticism gay people have not received from our enemies is the charge once leveled at Jews--that we drink the blood of babies. But the frequent charge that we are prone to molesting and corrupting the young amounts to something similar, and likewise reduces us to social parasites. The military is a bastion of bigotry, and the evidence for this is abundant in the current congressional hearings. Cunningham seems to believe that there is no moral authority higher than the Pentagon, in which case every libelous canard the top brass direct at queers becomes gospel truth. You do not trash our military--there you have it: the Eleventh Commandment.
An openly queer foe of militarism may be a person of no account, but in the second paragraph of his own article, Miletich explicitly informed readers that he is a critic of the military ban on gays "from the straight side," that he has "never been intimate with another man," and that he spent three years in the US. Army "as a volunteer" And what do folks like Ward and Cunning, ham do with such information? Ward insists Miletich is "a flaming faggot--disclaimers or no" At least he seems to have read the disclaimers. Cunningham, on the contrary, seems to suffer from selective amnesia--or else he, too, read what Miletich wrote and is also calling him a liar. Some folks plainly believe that a straight military veteran who opposes the ban on gays is a creature who cannot and must not exist, as fictional as a unicorn, as unnatural as a queer.
The same folks share an implicit faith that the quintessence of masculinity is strictly heterosexual and that such masculinity is quintessentially enshrined in the military. Though all this is cultural mythology, such myths have real...