A High-Tech Shaming, Cont.

Responding to Andrew Shirvell, all-star commenter Andy Hall wrote:


Roy Cohn lives.

Further down, Doctor Jay wrote:

Hinting or joking about Mr. Shrivell being gay is kind of insulting to all the gay men I know, every single one of which is more courageous, humane and authentic than he is. He might be, I suppose, but he's so far into the closet he's found Narnia. Obsession isn't necessarily sexual.

My response was basically the same as Andy's. But I didn't put that in the post, because something felt really wrong about writing that, though I couldn't put my finger on exactly what. All I can say is I've learned from grappling with gender, that it's a bad idea to speak all your unexamined thoughts.

Having said that, I'm very interested in the response to all of this from people who are, themselves, gay. I don't expect to get a monolithic "gay opinion," as much as hope to hear the range. Is it offensive that I, and evidently others, would have that reaction? Is the reaction based on stereotypes? Surely, I've met people who were gay, and would not have known had they not told me. 

With African-Americans, I know that there are surely mannerisms that are popular in our community. Naming those things as such don't offend me. What might offend is the expectation that all African-Americans share those mannerisms, or that those who do not are not actually black. But I don't know how well that translates out.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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