"I would not choose to be any one else, or any place else."
October 17, 2012 9:05 AM Subscribe
"Look, goddamn it, I’m homosexual, and most of my friends are Jewish homosexuals, and some of my best friends are black homosexuals, and I am sick and tired of reading and hearing such goddamn demeaning, degrading bullshit about me and my friends." - Merle Miller.In 1970, two years after Stonewall, Joseph Epstein wrote a cover story for Harper’s Magazine, Homo/hetero: The struggle for sexual identity, that came to chilling conclusions: "I would wish homosexuality off the face of this earth." His incendiary language prompted author/journalist/writer Merle Miller to come out of the closet in the New York Times Magazine, with an angry and poignant plea for dignity, understanding and respect: "What It Means to Be a Homosexual." 40 years later, that essay helped inspire the launch of the "It Gets Better" campaign. Via
Miller's piece generated a record-setting 2,000 letters and later was described as "the most widely read and discussed essay of the decade." He expanded it into a short book, On Being Different: What It Means to Be a Homosexual, which was republished on September 25.
Charles Kaiser: When the New York Times Came Out of the Closet (Adapted from the book's Afterword.)
Dan Savage: The Magazine Article That Changed Everything for Gay People. (Adapted from the book's Foreword.)
Tim Teeman, of Gay City News:
Epstein, now 75, is a contributing editor at the conservative Weekly Standard and a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. He was “unavailable for comment” when I tried to speak to him, so I sent three questions by email. Did he stand by his original piece, or regret it or any aspect of it in hindsight? Had his views changed or evolved over the years? And would he write about the subject again, now that Penguin is republishing Miller’s landmark essay? No answer.
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