March 10th, 2008

Enterprise Bridge

Better living through epidemics?

Andrew Sullivan wrote an essay for The New Republic called The End of Gay Culture. He talks about how, as homosexuality has become more and more widely accepted in America, its culture has broadened and diversified, and assimilated into the rest of American culture.

And he makes a horrifyingly striking point about how that came about:
Instead, it had the opposite effect. The tens of thousands of deaths of men from every part of the country established homosexuality as a legitimate topic more swiftly than any political manifesto could possibly have done.
Andrew suggests that the AIDS epidemic itself helped speed mainstream acceptance of homosexuality. The public health issue forced it to be a legitimate topic of discussion, no longer possible to ignore. To find new ways to identify and treat the disease, the gay community had to reach out to get attention and funding and research. It wasn't just P.R., it was survival. And the rest of society could no longer sweep the identities of its gay children and cousins under the rug, not when their deaths were part of such an issue.
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