History, Real and Revised

In her New York Times review, Alexandra Jacobs complains, “This is overwhelmingly a gallery of the white male gaytriarchy, with lesbians and people of color mostly on the sidelines.”

Because gay (mostly white) men who were the primary targets of the purge of federal employees during that time don’t deserve to have their history told. Is that clear enough?

More. Rob Wolfe complains in the Washington Monthly that Kirchick is insufficiently intersectional. But in criticizing Kirchick’s views against making everything about the entire progressive agenda, he shows why Kirchick has gotten it right. Wolfe writes:

Kirchick has written a comprehensive and deeply humane work of history, but he doesn’t extend this question to the present day. His other writings suggest, unfortunately, that this may be because he lacks the same compassion for some of today’s marginalized groups. In a 2019 Atlantic article titled “The Struggle for Gay Rights Is Over,” Kirchick proclaimed that America is becoming a “post-gay country,” where same-sex marriage is legal, an “out” gay man can be a credible presidential candidate, and 70 percent of Americans say homosexuality should be accepted. With so many victories, Kirchick accuses present-day activists of “mission creep”—of pushing forward with largely irrelevant struggles, refusing to accept that they have already won. He writes, “For many of those whose political identities have been shaped by crusades against government discrimination and pervasive societal ignorance, victimhood is too essential an identity to be so easily discarded.”


3 Comments for “History, Real and Revised”

  1. posted by Edward TJ Brown on

    When was equal opportunity/AA a substantive policy/law for civil servants?

  2. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    When was equal opportunity/AA a substantive policy/law for civil servants?

    After numerous legal battles, in 1975 the Civil Service Commission announced new rules stipulating that gay people could no longer be barred or fired from federal employment because of their sexuality. However, Executive Order 10450 (1953) banning gays and lesbians from national security employment, remained in effect until 1998, when President Clinton rescinded the order.

    The federal-level changes did not affect state or local level civil servants.

  3. posted by Edward TJ Brown on

    Thanks. I was also thinking of how racial and sex-based discrimination in the civil service might help explain why most, if not all, of the gays in the book were white men.

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