Michael Crawford

Larry Kramer on the Presidential Race

Filed By Michael Crawford | February 02, 2008 7:59 AM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: campaign 2008, Larry Kramer, LGBT rights, politics

LarryKramer5.jpgI originally considered using this quote from the amazing Larry Kramer as a Homotextual, but decided that the power of his words demanded its own post.

Unlike Larry I have chosen to support one of the presidential candidates (Barack Obama). I do, however, share his deep love for LGBT people and commitment to our achieving full and equal treatment under the law.

Larry is indeed a hero and his actions have improved the lives of millions of LGBT people and people living with HIV/AIDS. This quote from The New Republic only begins to hint at his brilliance.

I cannot support any of the candidates thus far running for president because none of them supports me and my people in the ways we need to be supported. This is not just about gay marriage, which has become a nonspecific red herring for non-specific maybes. (Why do you hate us so that you will not permit us to legally love?) Of course we want gay marriage, but that is not all we want. We want safety. (We are the only people in America that it is socially and legally acceptable to hate and discriminate against.) We want no more taxation without representation. (When I die, our government gobbles such an unconscionable amount of my estate that my partner will no longer be able to afford the house we both have put so much of our money and energy into.) We want the approximately 2,000 benefits our government provides to heterosexual married couples. (Why don't we get them? We pay the same taxes they do.) In other words, we want equality. We want everything straight people have and get and are entitled to. And there is not one candidate who has come anywhere near offering anywhere near any of this. In fact, I am afraid that there is not a one of them who, when push comes to shove, would not continue to sell us down the river. In fact, I have come to believe that forbidding us all of these things we are entitled to is based on hate, pure and simple. There are, by some estimates, 20 million of us. But we don't make as much noise as our enemies do. In fact, we don't make any noise at all. More fools we.


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Thanks for sharing this, Michael. I heart Larry Kramer and he is so on point.

I tend to take Larry Kramer with a grain of salt since his vision does not extend beyond those like himself. A noble warrior in his time to be sure, but a time that is long past. It's time to move on from his kind of limited outlook because we know that the fight for Queer civil rights includes more than just gay men.

Pshaw, Becky. That's like saying it's time to move on from MLK's limited outlook because we know that the fight for civil rights includes more than just black people. Give the guy his due! While he may not be as politically relevant now, he was still a trendsetter that we all owe a debt of gratitude to...

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | February 2, 2008 7:46 PM

Wow, he is SO right. On all his points. Although I agree with you, Michael, not voting is not the answer. But I wish we could turn around this dynamic in which the Dems have us by the proverbial gonads.

Michael Bedwell | February 2, 2008 7:56 PM

BRAVO, Bil! And, the unfortunate historical fact re the limits of the black civil rights movement, however understandable the lack of inclusion of LGBTs at the time was, is that it was also often sexist in terms of its traditional definition.

There was a great deal of hurt at the time that nothing more reflected that tendency than that, despited begging the organizers, including, I fear, my hero, gay giant Bayard Rustin, no woman of any color was allowed to give a speech at the Great March on Washington. A few "Negro Women Fighters for Freedom" were simply introduced.

Ella Barker, a pillar of the movement, left SCLC after being snubbed for its leadership and helped found SNNC. Even today, the majority of black civil rights groups are led by men.

I disagree, Bil. I believe King, had he lived, would have evolved his position to support LGBT rights as his wife did in later years.

Larry Kramer's stated views and his level of inclusion have not evolved one iota since the 80's, and that makes it hard for me to see him as relevant or in tune with modern reality.

Larry Kramer isn't dead. If he is still writing and speaking, and people are still reading and listening, then he has a responsibility to expand his political/social viewpoints.

As for his quote above, I'm not impressed at all.

This is not just about gay marriage

Oh really? Then why are the only issues he addresses centered on gay marriage and it's benefits??

We are the only people in America that it is socially and legally acceptable to hate and discriminate against. Emphasis added.

What the fuck? Does anyone here actually believe this statement?

Obviously people are still listening to what Larry Kramer is saying. Why shouldn't he be accountable to that fact?

Michael Bedwell | February 2, 2008 9:17 PM

Forgive me, Rebecca, my little brain can only hold so much Party Line Truth at one time. Has Larry Kramer actually said he's anti-transgender or do you simply deduce he is because he hasn't said it?

And what CONCRETE reason do you have to refuse to believe that Sen. Clinton has evolved/could evolve further when you give that credit, a priori, to a man who's been dead for nearly 40 years; who refused to allow even STRAIGHT black women to speak at the March on Washington; who allowed Bayard Rustin to be repeatedly exiled from the black civil rights movement because he was gay; etc.

As for Kramer and gay marriage, Nick, have you read so little, do your knees automatically jerk to what you see in front of you at any given moment. When Kramer was arrested in Times Square last year it had nothing to do with gay marriage; the issue, the demonstration, was about gays in the military.

Michael B., I never said Kramer was anti-transgender. What I said was that his worldview in regards to our issues doesn't extend much, if at all, beyond that which directly affects gay men.

Forget trans for a moment, when's the last time you even heard the word "lesbian" come out of his mouth?

Larry Kramer was a giant of his time, but his time is long over. It's time to move on.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | February 2, 2008 9:36 PM

Kramer's words are definitely relevant for what is happening today. And, he has spoken at about issues that affect more than just gay men.

Even if he were chose to focus his energy and activism solely on issues relating to gay men, that would not make them any less relevant or important. That's his choice to make.

Michael, my knees only jerk when I'm shooting a load on my stomach.

True, Michael C. and my assessment of his relevance for our modern times is my choice to make as well.

We've moved beyond the tunnelvision exhibited by Kramer and others of his era. Shortsighted views like Kramer's are exactly what we are struggling against now. We're all in this together, and we need to look forward into the future, not remain mired in the antiquated perspectives of the past.

Why do you hate us so that you will not permit us to legally love?

Ugh. We are able to love, whether or not the government gives us its stamp of approval. That's so silly.

We want everything straight people have and get and are entitled to.

No, we don't! We want security, justice, and freedom. We aren't willing to limit our expectations to "everything straight people have" anymore!

Don't just assume that being straight solves all our problems, because, if it did, his call for anti-discrimination legislation makes no sense.

Frankly, I am sick and tired of the whinining and victimized rants of Larry Kramer. I am so so so over the "they hate us" crap.

HOW IS THAT HELPING? HOW IS THAT MOVING US FORWARD?

Sorry, I do not find him relevant anymore. His contributions to our commmunity are enormous, no doubt, and as an HIV POZ man, I have much to thank him for. He has done incredible work.

However....

That doesn't change my opinion that now, I just want him to shut up. Or provide some leadership, instead of waaaaaa waaaaaaaaaaaa waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

Jim