The long, sordid history of gay conspiracy theory

Today’s right-wing campaign against “groomers” is America’s latest moral panic.

Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer To see also : Hugh Jackman’s wife Fun at Rumors He’s Gay.

Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer

A scare scares America – a scare of sexual decline.

Across the country, Republican state lawmakers are proposing bills to ban discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms, allegedly to “protect” students from the perverted designs of gay predatory teachers. Obvious right-wing activists bandy about groomer as a term of opprobrium, accusing their political opponents of trying to sexually exploit children by calling on ugly stereotypes of gay men as pedophiles. According to PEN America, a third of books banned in public schools over the past academic year include LGBTQ + characters and themes. And in a disturbing sign that an organization that was once confined to the fringes of American politics could be shaping its contours for years to come, about 30 candidates pledging allegiance to QAnon, the extremist right-wing conspiracy theory that predicts a cycle of sex traffickers cannibal children at the heart of the american republic, running for Congress.

Sensing a political opportunity, some Republicans in Washington have seized on the passions brewing in the provinces. During confirmation hearings last month for Ketanji Brown Jackson, Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley sought to outlast each other through accusations that the latest Supreme Court addition betrayed a soft spot for child sex predators during her time as federal district court. judge. Retiring Rep. Madison Cawthorn raised eyebrows with her stories of “the sexual overtones” – specifically, cocaine-fueled orgies – “happening in Washington.” Responding to news of a shortage of infant formula, Elise Stefanik, a third-place Republican, blamed “pedo grifters.”

Moral panic is nothing new in America. “We should learn from our mistakes,” President Harry Truman complained harshly in 1950 when Senator Joseph McCarthy accused him and his administration of intentionally sheltering communist inverters. “We have repeated this kind of hysteria in our history,” Truman continued, ending a series of dates referring to the Salem witch trials, Alien Laws and Terrorists, the Free Anti-Freemasons presidential campaign , a crib. the anti-Catholic Know Nothing movement, the founding of the Ku Klux Klan, and the first Red Scare.

Although McCarthyism would deplete itself many years before the death of its surname in 1957, a concurrent mass wildness, which resonates vividly with today’s obsession for sexual decline at the height of American politics, would continue for decades. In December 1950, just a few weeks after Truman announced his grip on his countrymen’s continuing tendency to moral panic, the Senate inquiry sub-committee released the bipartisan report “Employment of Homosexuals and Other Sex Perverts in Government”. Commissioned in response to the shocking revelation, which was said in passing by an under-secretary of state at a congressional hearing earlier that year, the State Department had dismissed 91 employees on the grounds of homosexuality, the report said, “One can homosexual corruption of a Government office. . ”

During the 1952 election that would see them exert control over both houses of Congress and the White House for the first time since the Great Depression, Republicans fixed a gay problem in the State Department — or, as McCarthy’s colleague called it, Everett Dirks they were colorful, “the lavender lads” —the front and center of their campaign. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover spread rumors that the Democratic presidential nominee, former divorced diplomat Adlai Stevenson, is a fellow with such a violet color . (Hoover himself was not subject to a similar whisper because of his obvious bachelor’s and hobby of collecting antiques – a pursuit commonly associated with gay men at the time – in no way preventing it from ruining the lives and careers of free gay people over the course. of his nearly half-century career as the most powerful man in American law enforcement.) About three months after taking office, President Dwight Eisenhower fulfilled his party’s pledge to “clean up a mess in Washington ”by signing Executive Order 10450, banning the” sexual overturning “convicts – gays and lesbians – from working for the federal government or federal contractors. It was not until 1975 that the gay service ban was lifted, and it would take President Bill Clinton another two decades to overturn the ban on gay people from receiving security clearances.

As the long tail of the “Lavender Ghost” shows, and what the current flurry of bills stigmatizing gay people as lousy sexual predators still shows, the fear of homosexuality has played a big role , but largely unappreciated, in American politics and society. It has affected not only gay people but the country itself, poisoning perceptions of reality and splitting us up unnecessarily. Thousands of eligible people lost their jobs, and countless numbers had refrained from going into public service because of the illogical terrorism homosexuality once inspired in the hearts of most Americans.

Central to this fear has been the sense that gay people, by virtue of the secrecy that was once intrinsic to their existence, operated through underground. (At the signing ceremony for the Parental Rights in Education law, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law by critics, Florida governor Ron DeSantis declared that opponents of the measure “support sexually abusing children in kindergarten” and ” camouflage their true intentions. ”) The fear changed dramatically during World War II, when the concept of national security became a major concern and the federal government began to develop a bureaucracy for managing confidential information. If, before America rose as a global superpower, if the conventional view of homosexuality held him immoral and mentally ill, by the time the Cold War broke out, he had been elevated to the threat of national security, by gay men they are allegedly more vulnerable. blackmail and therefore potential enemies of the state. Sexual and political nonconformity came to be combined, and “sexual deviant” was taking place in the American political imagination that was contested by, and often intertwined with, the communist imagination. In fact, the situation of the homosexual was worse. A communist could leave the party, repent of his evil ways, and inform his fellow soldiers. Medically paralyzed, morally condemned, and legally barred, the homosexual has never been able to escape such fate.

Forced to live in secret, gay people became the fodder for all sorts of political agendas and social concerns. What some lightly referred to as “velvet mafia” operating in some artistic fields such as fashion and entertainment at one time had sinister significance. Gays have been accused of subverting schools, communities, even entire nations, and in the context of this long and ignorant history the current hysteria over malicious “groomers” working stealthily to corrupt the nation’s youth must be understood. To understand America’s latest moral panic, homophobia needs to be recognized not just as a form of prejudice as anyone else but as a conspiracy theory.

The American penchant for associating sexual and gender nonconformity with political malice dates at least as far back as the 1800 election. Shortly after Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams for the presidency, a pamphleteer backed the first accusing ‘ the last of possessing “a latent hermaphroditical character, lacking the power and tenacity of a man, or the tenderness and sensuality of a woman.” But the conspiratorial thinking that characterized many of the popular discussions about homosexuality did not come until the early 20th century. Incredible explanatory power would be attributed to “the love that dare not speak his name” as the driving force behind the decline and fall of ancient empires, the rise of fascism, the development of communism, and a host of other events and phenomena. periodic and widespread. This was a function of two trends associated with western modernity: the growing understanding of gayness as a characteristic of human identity (rather than just a set of sexual acts) and the growing power of the popular press. A series of high-profile cases involving gay men in the corridors of power combined a cultural and political archetype – one whose literary implications would explore in his 1955 essay appropriately titled “The Homosexual Villain” – with far-reaching consequences across the globe country. western world.

Gay rights activist Frank Kameny, second in line, protested against the exclusion of gays in the army in 1965.

Photo: Bettmann via Getty Images

Like many stereotypes concerning sexual decline, the origins of the gay conspiracy mythos can be traced to Germany. In November 1906, the editor of a Berlin-based newspaper, Maximilian Harden, began publishing a fuselage of attacks against Prince Philipp Eulenburg, a friend and adviser to the last German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II. Eulenburg, Harden claimed, was sitting in the middle of a homosexual clique exercising a malignant and perverse influence over the German ruler. As evidence, Harden referred to a collection of personal letters he had received, where Eulenburg and his confederates address one another through a series of wonderful disorders. (Eulenburg was called “Philine,” and Wilhelm was referred to as Liebchen, or lover.) According to Harden, the late chancellor Otto von Bismarck called the kaiser a “camarilla of pardons”, treating him pacifist and foreign policy internationalist who would lead imperial Germany to ruin. (One of the Harden men named as part of this gay conspiracy, the French ambassador to Berlin, was referred by the head of the city’s police department as “king of the pederasts.”) Loyalty not to king and country but rather to By their very perverse nature, these men, Harden wrote, were responsible for nothing less than “national evil” that endangered “danger to the father’s land.” In a language that would come to be used against gay men decades later when they were devastated by a deadly disease, liberal politician Friedrich Naumann referred to it as “an international sin infection.”

Featuring a series of libel trials and military court fights lasting three years, the “Eulenburg Affair” was the first gay panic of the modern era. More than 50 journalists from around the world came to Germany to cover the scandal, which was similar to Oscar Wilde’s 1895 trial for the adverse cultural and political impact it had on what was is still a nascent popular concept of the “homosexual,” a term coined less than three decades earlier. Harden’s claims were amplified by another relatively new phenomenon: the popular “yellow” press, which was hungry by scandals, who were eager to arm the accusations against what he portrayed as a weak, lithe dictatorship. In the words of one newspaper, the Eulenburg sphere was “the true carrier of this petty and disorderly policy of reconciliation … the after-effects of which are still suffering today.” Another called for the army to be “mercilessly” cleansed from homosexuals. Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow insisted that Wilhelm remove those “disgusting horns” as part of a necessary “cleaning process”.

According to historian Robert Beachy, “More than any single event or publication, the Eulenburg scandal spread and popularized the idea of ​​homosexual identity.” And it was an identity perceived as inextricably linked to conspiracy, betrayal, and moral corruption. Homosexuals were confederates in what one Swiss journalist called “new Freemasons” crossing national borders, hidden enemies of the state in favor of cosmopolitanism and diplomacy over nationalism and martial virtue. During one of the libel trials that prompted his articles, Harden complained that because of the fame of the Eulenburg faction, the German government’s general view in foreign courts is that “they are homosexual … and for that reason, our political party need not worry our part. ”

Huge in the way QAnon has incorporated a new generation of extremist right-wing media outlets dedicated to exposing the corrupt sexual peccadilloes of America’s corrupt ruling class, so too did Eulenburg’s love affair with a mass media moment mobilizing and popularizing. passions. By stirring up public anger over an elite circle of “pederasts,” the popular German press had unprecedented influence over traditional institutions of authority such as the monarchy, the aristocracy, and the army. In 1914, five years after the unrest, the Berlin correspondent for the New York Times noted that “the turmoil caused by Harden’s disclosures was the most startling victory achieved in the name of modern German public opinion. seen her again. ” Some blamed the attitudes fueled by the scandal over the policies that plunged the Continent to war. In 1933, the year when another authoritarian and militant political movement came to power in Germany, pioneering gay sex researcher Magnus Hirschfeld reflected that the Eulenburg relationship was “nothing more than a triumph of the eventual trend at World War I events. “

Whatever the accuracy of these claims, the verdict of one liberal German newspaper at the time of the scandal would be clear: “There can be no more offensive accusation made against a man than an allegation of abnormal sexual orientation. It ruins him psychologically and socially. ”

The myth of the treacherous homosexual would probably be reinforced by two other political scandals, both from the German-speaking world. In 1913, the intelligence service of the Austro-Hungarian Empire discovered that its own counter-espionage commander, Colonel Alfred Redl, was spying on Czarist Russia. Redl was given a pistol to commit suicide, and after his death, encouraged the narrative regime combining his homosexuality with his betrayal. Citing evidence obtained after plundering his “homosexual pleasure cave with thick perfume,” Austro-Hungarian authorities claimed that the Russians had blacklisted Redl to work for them. When Russia declared war on Austria-Hungary the following year, Redl’s betrayal story exploded into legend as self-serving generals blamed the dead colonel’s battlefield on the dead colonel. Redl’s disgrace was so infamous that his two surviving brothers changed their surnames, and in an article about Redl’s case published more than a quarter of a century after his suicide, the then New York Daily News from the highest circulation American newspapers, denounced it as “The Murder of a Million Men” who had betrayed his country “so he could buy a car for love.”

Redl’s affair convinced generations of western spies (most prominent among them, Allen Dulles, the first civil director of the Central Intelligence Agency) that gay people are inherently vulnerable to betrayal. According to documents revealed in the Russian government’s archives in the early aughts, however, Redl’s betrayal was prompted by what his Vienna neighbor Stefan Zweig called “the pleasures of the senses,” not the pleasures of male flesh. Like many traitors, Redl had very expensive tastes, so that “no effort” was needed to recruit him, in the words of an officer of the Italian intelligence service, to whom Redl also sold secrets. Redl’s gayness is also probably unknown to his Russian handler, who referred to him as “the love of women.”

The next gay man to confirm the apparent connection between political and sexual corruption was Ernst Röhm. The founder of the Nazi paramilitary Sturmabteilung – or SA, also known as the “Brownshirts” – was unapologetic about his homosexuality. Although this made him the target of left-wing attacks, with one Social Democratic newspaper publishing his close correspondence with other men, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was content to ignore his cruel lieutenant’s deviation from sexual norms. After all, he said, the SA was “not a moral education institution for noble young women, but a formulation of experienced fighters.” Shortly after taking power, however, Hitler began to see the SA as a threat, and in 1934, he ordered the execution of Röhm and his leading deputies in the infamous “Night of the Long Knives” “Night of the Long Knives”. In a passionate speech before the Reichstag, Hitler referred to the feature he had quietly tolerated for years as the reason for the abolition of the Röhm cabal, denying

within the SA sect that shared a specific, common orientation, which formed the nucleus of a conspiracy not only against healthy moral Volk concepts but also against state security. A review of promotions conducted in May led to the appalling discovery that, within some QA groups, men are promoted without regard to National Socialist and SA service but simply because they belong to this orientation circle.

The connection between Nazism and gays – most famously in The Producers, with its crunching musical number, nelly Hitler and Busby Berkeley included “German soldiers dancing through France, played by chorus boys in very tight pants” – one that was taken seriously in the upper reaches of the US government. A few weeks after America entered World War II, the Office of Strategic Services, the CIA’s predecessor, considered drafting “patriotic homosexual men,” who would otherwise be barred from military service, for infiltration purposes to high Nazi rule. A few months later, the New York Post made its first outing in American politics when Massachusetts senator David Walsh was named patron of an all-male brothel near Brooklyn’s Navy Yard and, allegedly, many sailors , Nazi spies. Commenting on the case, newspaper columnist and radio host Walter Winchell (who in 1933 accused Hitler of being “homosexual, or as we say Broadway bullies – fairies in and out”) about “swastika swishery”.

The development of the homosexual villain reached a milestone in 1948, “the year,” John Cheever observed, “everyone in the United States was concerned about homosexuality.” At the heart of their concern was Alfred Kinsey’s study of Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, which found that 10 percent of American men were “more or less homosexual” for a period of at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55. american american report. Homosexuality was no longer a rare aberration, associated only with criminals and other suspects, but one to be found “in all age groups, at all social levels, in all possible occupations, in cities and on farms, and in the most remote areas. from the country. ” Homosexuality was a surprisingly widespread if invisible threat. “If these figures are more or less accurate,” noted a leading psychiatrist, “then the ‘homosexual outlet’ is the most prominent national disease, shadowing cancer, tuberculosis, heart failure, and infantile paralysis.”

The same week the Kinsey report prompted a national opening of toilet doors, a young author by the name of Gore Vidal published his third novel, The City and the Pillar. Its title is a reference to the biblical myth of Sodom and Gomorrah, the book being the first major work of American fiction to give sympathetic attention to a gay main character. Later that month, another semi-autobiographical novel by an outspoken young gay man, Other Voices, Other Rooms Truman Capote, made the Times best-seller list, largely prompted by his disgraceful author photo who has come here. “There’s a lot of queers here,” observes one of Vidal’s characters from New York City. “They seem to be everywhere now.”

That June, Congress passed and President Truman signed a bill into law providing for an indefinite commitment of “sexual psychopaths” (an ambiguous category including habitual homosexuals) at St. Elizabeths Hospital, a mental institution. And later that year, homosexuality played a prominent if underground role in the nation’s first live congressional hearing on television, where a senior editor of Time magazine and former Soviet spy Whittaker Chambers told the House Un-American Activities Committee that the High status state. Department official Alger Hiss had been a co-conspirator in the communist underground. Hiss and his allies began a whispering campaign claiming that Chambers, who had previously confessed to his FBI “homosexuality” in secret to the FBI, had a despised love for revenge against Hiss, and that the play was between the two man has in many prominent minds established a connection between communism, betrayal, and sexual deviance.

The politician who exploited this presumed contact most effectively was McCarthy, whose humiliating February 9, 1950 speech to the Republican women of Wheeling, West Virginia, alleging an extensive communist conspiracy in the State Department was pursued a few weeks later by the revelation that 91 were gay. people had been fired from working there. Of the 25,000 letters sent to McCarthy’s office in the following weeks, only one of four was primarily concerned with communist infiltration; the vast majority denied “gender poverty.” McCarthy read the public mood and tailored his message accordingly. The State Department announced that in April, it had been beset with “Communists and queers who have sold 400 million Asiatic people to atheist slavery and who have the American people in a hypnotic trance, going blind toward the same precipice.” According to a Washington columnist for the New York Daily News, “US foreign policy, even before World War II, was dominated by an all-powerful, super-secret inner circle of educated, high-social sexual misfits. The State Department, all easily exploited, all susceptible to homosexuals in foreign nations. ” In attributing a national disaster to a gay brick, the article was a direct echo of what one German paper claimed at the height of the Eulenburg scandal: “Since 1889, German policy, especially foreign policy, has been under the control of nowhere , effeminate, Eulenburg inconclusive soft soap. This backbone eunuch-and-homunculus policy without a backbone, without juice and strength, has greatly diminished Germany’s prestige and influence in the world. ”

The idea of ​​”Homintern” – a play on the Comintern, or Communist International – was invented in the late 1930s to refer to a particular set of gay English writers between the two world wars. After Guy Burgess, a flaming gay British diplomat, was taken to the Soviet Union in 1951, this sleek portmanteau took on a whole new meaning. If Redl was the archetype of the treacherous homosexual selling the secrets of his country threatened by blackmail, Burgess became a classic nuclear-era inverter, the sinister queer who destroys his country by encouraging his enemies. The following year, an article in the conservative magazine Human Events darkly warned of the threat that the “International Homosexual” poses to the free world. Echoing Marcel Proust’s timeless observation (and Kinsey’s scientific validation) of gayness as a phenomenon “numbering his adherents everywhere, among the people, in the army, in the church, in prison, on the throne,” the article’s author claimed, “This conspiracy has spread all over the world; permeated all classes; operating in armies and in prisons; has permeated the press, movies and cupboards and almost completely dominates the arts, literature, theater, music and television. ”

Like anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, which have blamed Jews for communism and capitalism, for being “rootless cosmopolitanists” and national chauvinists, the Homintern concept offered a frame that could be ideologically adapted for streamlining events complex and annoying. In 1967, New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison accused gay businessman Clay Shaw of plotting to assassinate President John F. Kennedy. Garrison privately told reporters that the murder was a “homosexual charge homicide” committed by a right-wing, anti-communist “high status fags” goterie. In a cover story for Confidential, a scandal magazine that pioneered the practice of dating close-knit gay people in the early 1950s, a Garrison researcher wrote, “Two shocking parallels tie the different suspected conspirators together turn: overt homosexuality and frustrated attempts to liberate Cuba, leading to the Bay of Pigs relationship. ” Although the jury took less than an hour to acquit Shaw, Oliver Stone made Garrison’s reckless prosecution in the basis of his 1991 film JFK, and repeated the libelous case against Shaw in his 2021 documentary JFK Revisited.

No president was more obsessed with the gay threat than Richard Nixon, an interest that offers a window into his paranoid, conspiratorial thinking. Time and again in conversations with his aides, fortunately kept for posterity by his White House tapping system, Nixon is heard blaming “fagots” for everything from the fall of ancient Greece (“You you know what happened to the Greeks. Homosexuality destroyed them ”) to ruin women’s fashion (” One of the reasons fashions have made women look so terrible is because the goddamned designers hate women “) . The obsession went beyond just locker-room talk. It was partly in the hope of finding evidence of a secret non-existent gay life from the Pentagon Papers Daniel Ellsberg that Nixon ordered to break into his psychiatrist’s office, the event that led to his presidency being dissolved.

Nothing less was an icon of American right than Ronald Reagan once smeared with the brush of homosexual conspiracy. Early in his first term as governor of California, Reagan was rocked by a scandal involving alleged homosexuality among his staff. “Because he came out of the Hollywood scene, where homosexuality was almost the norm,” Reagan’s head of communications at the time, Lyn Nofziger, recalled, “I also feared the rumors would imply that he, too, was one. ” As I reveal in my book Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington, Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign was almost expelled by accusations by opponents within his own party that he was “manipulated” by a Manchurian candidate by a “right-wing” cabal of homosexual advisers. The allegations were taken so seriously by Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee that he ordered a team of top reporters, including Bob Woodward, to investigate. Although the Post revealed the presence of several close-knit gay helpers, the attribution that they were doing something wicked was lacking proof, and Bradlee killed the story days before Reagan was nominated. Nevertheless, the fear that Reagan would be considered too much intercourse with gays – or perhaps even gay himself – helps explain why he remained silent about the AIDS epidemic throughout his first season .

One of the reasons why the claims of a right-wing gay cabal ruling Reagan did not succeed is that, by 1980, political homophobia had taken a new look. The rising prominence of gay people in the years after the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion, and the concurrent rise of the religious right in response, fundamentally changed the politics of homosexuality. Once gay people were allowed to work in the federal civil service in 1975, the accusation they were secretly plotting to overturn the government on behalf of foreign taxpayers lost its charge. Although they would still be formally barred from receiving security clearances for another two decades, in the eyes of a vigilante public, gays posed less of a threat to the nation’s security than they did to the integrity of the family. Homophobia still had a plot twist, to be sure, but the scary machinations of the “Homintern” were updated to a “homosexual agenda” whose goals (equality in marriage, military service, and the workplace) were now out in the open. .

In surveying the breadth of American history, the cyclical waves of anti-gay hysteria are forming a pattern, with periods of progress and visibility provoking cultural backlash and political oppression. Historian John D’Emilio has likened World War II to a national “come-out experience” as the mass mobilization brought millions of gay people, who appeared to be isolated as sexual minorities, to connection with each other for the first time. This heightened social awareness of homosexuality, described in post-war American literature and given the imprimatur of science in the Kinsey Report, conflicted with Cold War nuclear concerns, creating a “Lavender Ghost” whose effects would be felt for decades. Similarly, a post-Stonewall emancipation of gay liberation contributed to the rise of the Christian right, Anita Bryant’s Save Our Children campaign, and the revitalization of social conservatism more broadly. What Vanity Fair lauded as “the Gay Nineties,” a period of unprecedented gay cultural prominence and a follow-up to what Frank Rich described as the “Gay Decades” of the 70s and 80s, was followed by a campaign to insert anti. gay discrimination to the US Constitution in the form of an amendment that bans same-sex marriage. Today, seven years after the Supreme Court legalized gay unions, two years after it banned discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, and with the Cabinet member openly confirmed by Parliament, which Openly gay, we witness only the latest sex-themed news. hysteria in a country that is unfortunately open to them.

Also uniting these panics is their character as expressions of anti-elite populism, with homosexuality being cited as a trait that was once commonplace with a revolutionary viewer seeking to destroy America’s moral foundations. It is common practice among people who do not have the power to devise conspiracies that explain their deficiency. From McCarthy fans to today’s QAnon diehards, anti-gay panic carriers speak the language of eviction, anger at the confusing changes happening around them in a country they no longer know. “The paranoid style is an old and recurring phenomenon in our public life that is often associated with movements of dubious discontent,” the historian Richard Hofstadter famously wrote in 1964. In the minds of the public grasped by this complex, “America has been to a great extent. take them away and their kind, even though they are determined to try to repossess it and prevent the final destructive act of undermining. ” In our age, that last destructive act is perpetrated by liberal elites who control impulses of power and prey on American children and turn them gay.

For those involved, the moral panic over “pinking” accomplishes what earlier iterations of the Homintern did, like any conspiracy theory: to offer soothing, straightforward explanations for confusing phenomena. If the latest anti-gay hysteria could be attributed to one statistic, this is the one reported by Gallup last year that the percentage of adults who identify as different from heterosexuals has doubled over the last decade by 3.5 percent 2012 to 7.1 percent. Much of this increase is due to the 21 percent of Gen Z who identify as LGBTQ +. While it is certainly possible that the LGBTQ + proportion of Americans born between 1997 and 2003 is twice as many as the millennials and nine times greater than those who grow up in infancy, a more likely explanation is that social acceptance of abnormal sexual orientation and gender identity has increased, as has the rise. young people’s tendency to claim those trends and identities for themselves — or at least experiment with them.

For a high minority of Americans, the huge social progress gained by gays and lesbians over the last 75 years — the most dramatic transformation in the status of any minority in history — is extremely disturbing, as is the growing visibility of trans people. And for the purpose of explaining this dramatic transformation the “groomer” discourse has increased. As gay people marry and serve openly in the army with no adverse consequences for the rest of society, the anti-gay movement has become increasingly desperate, to the extent that it is now creating hysteria about pedophile elites. In an earlier period, when gay people were forced to lurk in the middle of the shadows as communist agents, this rhetoric was deadly effective. Today, almost every American knows someone who is gay. Fortunately, we no longer live under the Homintern scare.

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