Faggots," which was a parody piece he wrote before his very-famous play, The Normal Heart. And what a wild ride it was. I witnessed an enema in the first ten pages. An orgy in the first 50. Another orgy 20 pages later. Fistings. Leather. Scat. Watersports.
Yes, Kramer's novel took me through every piece and part of the gay sexual universe. Absent from the book? Condoms. Which makes sense. If everyone had been using condoms when this book was written, we never would have had the AIDS crisis in the 80s. Then again, back then people only used condoms to Not Get Pregnant... so it's not like anyone KNEW.
Regardless. I have to say that my biggest problem with Mr. Kramer is that he truly takes the piss out of the characters in his book. He happily slaps them around, holds them up, mocks and ridicules them and sets them up as a bunch of clueless morons who just drink, drug, party, fuck, and think they're looking for love, sometimes.
Is this true of all gay kind? No, no I don't think so. I take issue because Mr. Kramer is a teacher and a preacher in this novel. He screams "YOU SEE! YOU'RE ALL A BUNCH OF BLIND SLUTS LIVING FOR NOTHING! FOR SHAME!" And frankly, I don't think that really works.
In my novel, Gulliver Travels, I don't seek to Teach and Preach. I do my best (read it's certainly not perfect) job of reporting what I see and experience. Are we a sexually promiscuous lot, we gay men? Sure, but I think the same can be said for straight men and even women (remember those rainbow blow job parties with 10 girls and 2 lucky boys back a few years ago?)
No one needs to be screamed at. If we're fucking each other, so we're fucking each other. So long as it's safe, I take no issue. So long as we're trying our best to treat each other nicely, then bully for you.
But seriously, folks. For all the good that Kramer did, this book was a bit of a bitch slap. I understand he was angry and perhaps troubled by his romantic notions coming to a dead stop with most of the other gay men he knew. I get that. But still, let's withhold judgment, okay? Because when you scream YOU'RE ALL SLUTS! HAVE YOU NO SHAME! People tune you out. We're adults now. We're over being yelled at.
And furthermore, to you teachers and preachers who are the first to say that gay men flirting with and fucking each other are "damaging the view of homosexuals in the public eye," well you can go sit on a butt plug and spin for all I care. The heterosexuals have their own sex scandals, deceptions, perversions, and eroticism. We don't need to put on a smart suit and behave like trained monkeys.
Again, as a piece of fiction during this time, I support Larry Kramer for what he did. And the oversexed 70s had to hit a wall of some kind. Too much of a good thing always ends up being bad. And all of the blind fucking-sucking that happened during those color-coded hanky-panky times certainly came to bite the community back in the ass in the 80s. I'm not saying we deserved it. I'm just saying it's what happens.
Either way, if you don't want to be sexual, don't be sexual. If you do, do. But don't go screaming and judging those who behave differently from you. We have enough shame from others to deal with, we don't need it from potential friends and supporters as well.
Get off your soapbox, goddammit.
- Justin Luke