The “gay divide”

By Andre Banks and Jon Huggett

Published in letters to the editor of The Economist on 2014-10-25

SIR – Your leader on gay rights celebrated the increasing acceptance and visibility of gay couples (“The Gay Divide”, October 11). However, it was wrong to suggest that it is this acceptance of homosexuality in the West that has “provoked a backlash elsewhere”. Homophobia in Nigeria, Russia, Uganda and other countries is no more a backlash against the West than fascism was a backlash against “world Zionism”, or apartheid was a backlash against communism. Corrupt leaders blame “others” for “our” problems. If it’s not the “perverts”, it’s the Jews, blacks, immigrants, unbelievers, or whomever.

Nor is homophobia “ancient, deep and, in its way, sincere”. The persecution of homosexuals does not follow an historical straight line. Britain arrested more gay men in the 1950s than in the 1930s. Gay men in the 1950s, such as Joe Orton, a British playwright, found the Middle East then to be less hostile than the West.

By the way your 1996 cover “Let Them Wed” was a milestone. One of us used it to raise $3m that year for PlanetOut, the first LGBT firm backed by blue-chip venture capital. It was a leap forward from your report of the gay march on Washington in 1993, which focused on “bare-breasted lesbians” (“some with rings through their nipples”) and “men in leather trousers” (“Cover-up uncovered”, May 15th 1993).

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On gay rights, investor disputes, pumpkin riots: Letters to the editor | The Economist 2014/10/24, 17:21

Andre Banks Co-founder, All Out New York

Jon Huggett Chair, All Out London