Nicholas F. Benton, pioneer gay liberation activist of the Stonewall era and for 22 years the founder, owner and editor of the award-winning Northern Virginia general interest weekly newspaper, the Falls Church News-Press, wrapped up a 100-part weekly series entitled, “Nick Benton’s Gay Science,” last week that ran weekly from Oct. 15, 2010 to Sept. 7, 2012 on the web edition of the Falls Church News-Press (fcnp.com), and reprinted weekly in the Washington, D.C.-based gay community news magazine, Metro Weekly.
Benton announced to friends assembled in Falls Church, an inside-the-beltway suburb of Washington, D.C., for an informal “Gay Science Wrap Party” last Friday that the series will soon be published in book form, tentatively entitled, “The Gay Science Papers, A Gay Pioneer’s 100 Weekly Columns Published in Washington, D.C, October 2010-September 2012 on How Same-Sex Erotic Attraction is Natural and Indispensable for the Progressive Humanizing of Society.”
The columns challenge contemporary assumptions and values of urban gay culture and the impact of the hedonistic 1960s counterculture on shaping it, arguing from history dating from Plato and King David forward that, as Benton wrote in his 100th part, “Contrary to the shallow conceits of current, hedonistic urban gay culture, we gay souls have been a major, constructive factor in civilization since before the beginning. Sensitive to the plight of women, children, the elderly and downtrodden in savage patriarchal male chauvinist, war-mongering cultures, we worked to build the institutions over eons that have advanced compassion over cruelty, science over superstition, beauty over corruptions and equality over tyranny.”
“Preponderant qualities of heightened empathy,” he wrote, “and compassion for the underdog, of an alternate sensual perspective (our same-sex erotic attraction being a natural derivative of humanity’s powerful impulse for empathy and not a variant of the drive for reproduction) applied to all aspects of life, and a constructive non-conformity account for the amazing contributions our ‘tribe’ has brought to the benefit of all humanity for thousands of years.”
Benton drew heavily on the work of gay historic and literary giants including Oscar Wilde, Christopher Isherwood and Tennessee Williams, and many others, in his 100 columns. They can be viewed at nfbenton.com.