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Michael Bronski Essay Blogs

From the ABC's Hungry Beast (2009): "If more than half of all Australians support same sex marriage, you'd at least assume that gay people would be in favour of it, right? Monique [Schafter] found out this isn't always the case. She spoke to a selection of gay people opposed to same sex marriage to find out why they held this view."

But Monique isn't alone, and for the record, I sincerely doubt that most Australians believe in "gay marriage," although I do accept that some polls are laughably unscientific.

Below are some don't-hide-them questions:

Who is seeking approval?

Eve Tushnet, a self-identified lesbian, holds the position that "homosexual activists are merely picking up on a trend begun by and for opposite-sex couples." In her view: 

Same-sex marriage is just the next step in the divorce culture. The belief that marriage is merely the way that our culture expresses its approval of atomistic adults' sexual and romantic partnerships isn't new - it's the same "me generation" worldview that produced "fatherless America."

It is my contention that some leftwing homosexual activists are hungry for approval, and that they're consciously or subconsciously trying to mirror traditions.

Approval-hungry homosexual activists who "speak" for the "gay community" like the feeling of dressing up, making vows, and pretending that redefining the "m" word will make them sanctified citizens. Though apparently astute in the art of public relations, many are easily tripped up when confronted with facts. And perhaps, some of them are trying to create "happy family" experiences because of their own wounded backgrounds.

Critical thinkers, like Tushnet, by way of contrast, see the dangers in trend-picking causes or romantic imagery traps. One can't simply manufacture or "lawyer" in an institution that grew out of complex ancient heterosexual/religious customs, without inviting problems.

Who is for tolerance?

"Labor Senator and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong is openly gay and she also opposes same sex marriage," reports SBS World News Australia. But - preach the gay activists - this is an unacceptable position.

Indeed, the fact that Wong's sexuality and her opposition to same-sex marriage received a mention in the same sentence is most revealing. It would make more political sense to ask why the climate change guru travels on pollution-making planes and believes in "global warming," than to highlight her sexual preferences.

Ben-Peter Terpstra has provided commentary for The Daily Caller (Washington D.C.), NewsReal Blog (Los Angeles), Quadrant (Sydney), and Menzies House (Adelaide).

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

A Queer History of the United States3.73 · Rating details ·  638 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews

Winner of a 2012 Stonewall Book Award in nonfiction

The first book to cover the entirety of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history, from pre-1492 to the present.

In the 1620s, Thomas Morton broke from Plymouth Colony and founded Merrymount, which celebrated same-sex desire, atheism, and interracial marriage. Transgender evangelist Jemima Wilkinson, in the early 1800Winner of a 2012 Stonewall Book Award in nonfiction

The first book to cover the entirety of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history, from pre-1492 to the present.

In the 1620s, Thomas Morton broke from Plymouth Colony and founded Merrymount, which celebrated same-sex desire, atheism, and interracial marriage. Transgender evangelist Jemima Wilkinson, in the early 1800s, changed her name to “Publick Universal Friend,” refused to use pronouns, fought for gender equality, and led her own congregation in upstate New York. In the mid-nineteenth century, internationally famous Shakespearean actor Charlotte Cushman led an openly lesbian life, including a well-publicized “female marriage.” And in the late 1920s, Augustus Granville Dill was fired by W. E. B. Du Bois from the NAACP’s magazine the Crisis after being arrested for a homosexual encounter. These are just a few moments of queer history that Michael Bronski highlights in this groundbreaking book.

Intellectually dynamic and endlessly provocative, A Queer History of the United States is more than a “who’s who” of queer history: it is a book that radically challenges how we understand American history. Drawing upon primary documents, literature, and cultural histories, noted scholar and activist Michael Bronski charts the breadth of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history, from 1492 to the 1990s, and has written a testament to how the LGBT experience has profoundly shaped our country, culture, and history.

A Queer History of the United States abounds with startling examples of unknown or often ignored aspects of American history—the ineffectiveness of sodomy laws in the colonies, the prevalence of cross-dressing women soldiers in the Civil War, the impact of new technologies on LGBT life in the nineteenth century, and how rock music and popular culture were, in large part, responsible for the devastating backlash against gay rights in the late 1970s. Most striking, Bronski documents how, over centuries, various incarnations of social purity movements have consistently attempted to regulate all sexuality, including fantasies, masturbation, and queer sex. Resisting these efforts, same-sex desire flourished and helped make America what it is today.

At heart, A Queer History of the United States is simply about American history. It is a book that will matter both to LGBT people and heterosexuals. This engrossing and revelatory history will make readers appreciate just how queer America really is.
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