P373350-Pasadena-Rose_Bowl_-_AIDS_quilt_display

A reader writes:

I’ve been an active participant for three days in the Dreher-Linker debate comboxes, gnashing and clawing. I should have known that soon, with a bang, you’d stand up and throw the full force of your talent into the fray. With this:

“For many of us, the catastrophe of AIDS was a palpable, grueling reminder that without social structure, without integration, without responsibility, without the love and engagement and presence of their families, gay men were in grave danger,”

you reduced me to tears. Damn you and your words!

It was a cathartic response to my three days of struggling to explain that gay men are human, with complex sexual and political lives, and that maybe we’ve learned something since those heady days in the Mineshaft. We have done much more than come out of the closet and refuse to hate ourselves.

Some of us have watched every friend of ours die in their twenties, or have faced illness ourselves, and have been CHANGED. Some became meth addicts and fell apart. Some of us ran to our families because without them we knew we’d never be able to get through whatever was next. Rod loves to pine for the loss of community, while ignoring the community we have built in the face of almost unbearable loss.

Marriage is the culmination of THAT, not of some nihilistic sexual revolution.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.