Magazine article Out

Editor's Letter

Magazine article Out

Editor's Letter

Article excerpt

Recently I was introduced to a writer at a low-key bar in New York, the kind of place that fosters genteel networking and mutual favors without making a scene of it. He was in the middle of writing a book, and we chatted about that for a while before attention turned to my own sorry excuse for a job. Although not gay himself, my new acquaintance made a bold and lively pitch for an article about the critical role of homosexuals in history-as communicators, go-betweens, peacemakers. I enjoyed his argument but shrank when he got to talking about homosexuality as the "third sex," a special and rather exclusive group allotted a special and rather exclusive mission. I'm sure he didn't intend to sound patronizing-it's an idea that gay men and women have embraced for themselves at useful moments-but these kinds of affirmations leave me cold. I prefer to take my place among other men and women, gay or straight, and to be judged alongside them too. Peacemakers are great, but frankly, I don't want anyone to think of my sexuality as exceptional, for better or worse; in fact, I'd rather they didn't think of it at all, if that means judging me on criteria they wouldn't use for others. We are, of course, a long way from that happy day-you have only to imagine the unlikelihood of a gay president to appreciate how sexuality still colors attitudes-yet die distance is shrinking. And not because we are special, but because we are the same. That it is even possible to put together a list of the 50 most powerful gay men and women in America (page 47) is testament to the changing climate in corporate boardrooms and executive suites, once the preserve of white, straight men and their closeted doppelgängers (There are still some of those, sadly, as Charles Kaiser's illuminating essay on the gay divide in Washington, D. …

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