National Commentary

Nick Benton’s Gay Science No. 49: Sensibility, Alternate Sensuality, Constructive Non-Conformity

Those who will read these installments in their eventual book form will appreciate that with their publication week-to-week, it’s often necessary to recapitulate central themes, as each week brings new readers unfamiliar with what had gone before.

Foremost among these themes is the notion that homosexual orientation, per se, is but one part of an individual’s total distinctive personality and identity. As total persons, homosexuals are created as among the most beautiful in spirit on the planet, who bring important, unique gifts. Without us around, humanity suffers. We’re naturally generated as a portion of the universe’s evolution designed to bring unique features necessary for the ultimately harmonious unfolding of life.

Same-sex erotic attraction is but one manifestation of the homosexual’s total complement of special gifts. Others I have described as a heightened sense of empathy that can be called “gay sensibility,” an alternate sensual perspective, and a constructive non-conformity.

The straight world is not entirely devoid of these qualities. On the contrary, it is our purpose as homosexuals, working with the social emancipation of women, to heighten these qualities for civilization as a whole. But we homosexuals gain from appreciating that they constitute the core of our total personhood, that they are our tribal identity, so to speak.

Our natural adversary is the tyrant, the tyrannies great and small derived from unchallenged straight male dominion. That domination is over women, children and subjugated peoples, and derived territorial and resource perceived requirements that cause wars. That is how nature, in its human social form, is organized – 93 percent of it, roughly, that is.

We homosexuals are that percent which stands in the way of male dominion’s total lust for conquest and control. We liberate the oppressed, as our great poet laureate Walt Whitman wrote, “The attitude of great poets (that’s us!-ed.) is to cheer up slaves and horrify despots” (“Leaves of Grass”). We attend to the widows and orphans, we construct and operate the institutions of mercy and fairness. We emancipate abused women and boys whose fathers train them to fight and die in their wars or become their dulled corporate clones.

Because we are homosexual, we are not obsessed with species reproduction and territorial dominion, but have an alternative sensual perspective directed more to beauty and forms that elevate and humanize the spirit. When a straight brute walks into a room, he orients immediately, in his constant urge to reproduce, to any attractive women there. When a gay person walks into the same room, he or she orients instead toward whether the drapes and the carpet match.

In terms of constructive non-conformity, we are challenged to recognize that we will never, nor should, fit in to male-dominated society, but that it is in our very core to counter its influence in a myriad of ways – from camp and acting out, to public service, scientific discovery, invention, education, design and higher art in myriad forms. These are all ways in which “constructive non-conformity” gets expressed, and the natural impulse of the unbridled straight male is always threatened by this at one or another level.

When emancipated women and gays rule the world, we will impose a lasting, if uneasy, peace that will eventually evolve into a more humane, enlightened and productive species.

It should come as no surprise that we’ve been responsible for the very notion of “virtue” in global civilization for millennia, as derived from our “founding fathers,” Plato and Socrates, persisting and evolving into the notion of the “Christian prince (or princess)” as expounded by Erasmus during the Renaissance (“The Education of the Christian Prince”), as contrasted to the tyrant. From that developed modern concepts of democratic republics (after Plato’s “The Republic”) that underpinned the Constitution of the U.S. and the enlightened, universal humanitarian values contained in the United Nation’s “International Declaration of the Rights of Man,” championed after World War II by one of us, Eleanor Roosevelt, and advanced by another, U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold. All this was, and is, us.
What’s the point? It’s so that waves upon waves of new homosexuals, whether they want to call themselves that or not, that nature propagates in each new generation, can know that this is who they are, this is the tribe into which they’ve been born.

They need to know it is this, and not the current, dominant so-called “gay culture” definition which says it’s really only their sex drive that matters, that lures them into the mindless club scene of drugs, musical monotony and thoughtless promiscuity.

The club scene dulls the sensibilities, destroys the passion for real creativity, and routinely creates the most dreaded fate of all, to become hopelessly jaded.
Gay people naturally have the most gentle, beautiful spirits in creation. We love to sing, laugh and bring comfort to the afflicted. But alas, we are not immune from the brutality and injustice of male dominated society, and can become inflicted with its traits.

To be continued.