No, it's not Donna Summer vs. the Scissor Sisters. It's Larry Craig vs. Andrew Sullivan. A reader writes:
Every time there is another "outing" of an openly anti-gay politician, I am surprised that the media are so perplexed. Is there, in fact, irony that a guy who argues professionally against gay families, is engaging in extra-familial sex with other men? A gay guy who aligns with the straight folks politically!
I would say, "not at all ironic." It's merely part of the Death of Gay Culture. The current political wars are a re-alignment. It used to be gay vs straight. But now it's the old gay culture against the new gay culture. Larry Craig cruises for sex in bathrooms, he's part of the old gay culture. His lifestyle is threated by gay marriage: more guys sitting at the boarding gate with their husbands means fewer in the airport washroom. His lifestyle is threated by gays in the military: more sailors with boyfriends on shore means fewer available underneath the dock. Craig, West, and Haggard are the death throes of the old gay culture, desperately longing for the good old days.
In other words, say goodbye to anonymous cruising and say hello to more weddings. I think there's a limit to this analysis --as men will always be men-- but the the normalization and stabilization of gay life (epitomized by gay marriage) over the past 30 years has only helped gay male culture mature.
Indeed, this scandal could not have arrived at a more opportune moment. The same day that Andrew--who has spent much of his intellectual life advocating for gay marriage, when many in the gay rights movement were trumpeting separatism, the necessity of being "queer," and other such indulgences--gets married, a United States Senator --who has been a loyal foot soldier in the movement to deny gays (perhaps, like himself) civil rights-- is revealed to have allegedly sought out sex with an anonymous man in an airport restroom. Perhaps there is no greater comparison between the stability of being comfortable with who you are and the self-denial and self-hatred of the closet. It's not just the "old" gay culture of anonymous sexual encounters vs. the "new" gay culture of monogamy; it's self-loathing vs. self-affirmation.
You can read Andrew's opus on "The End of Gay Culture," here.