Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Uncivil Division

I continue to work through Some Dance to Remember (see my previous post).  I've encountered several other passages that I want to share, but I'll limit myself to just one.  This section (page 309) is a really interesting insight on the impact of AIDS.  There's a temptation to talk of the 'gay community' (I too am guilty of sometimes using this shorthand phrase) but this section is a reminder not only of the 'otherness' of homosexuality, but then the sub-cultures within that identity and then the division of sexual practice based identity within those subcultures.  Nonetheless, in the face of a holocaust, it was their homosexuality that re-formed and bound together a community, however momentarily.

'Straight San Francisco treated the Castro like a leper colony as subtly as some has tacitly approved the gun in Dan White's hand.  Almost overnight, fewer and fewer straights dared to come to the Castro for a chic supper and a movie at the Castro theatre.  In downtown offices, straight people gathered around Xerox machines and wondered if they could still go to lunch with the amusing gay men with whom they worked.

'The uncivil tension between the Pacific Heights gays and Castro gays and Folsom gays widened momentarily.  Cocksuckes blamed the fuckers who blamed the piss drinkers who blamed the fist fuckers who blamed the scatmen; and everyone blamed the shooters and their needles.  Finally, even while the panic - and it was real panic - rose in those first months, they all knew they had no choice but to band together to save themselves, because no one else would save them.  Their history had taught them that.'

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