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Neither Happy Nor Gay

August 28, 1994

Once again you puzzle your readers of average, normal nature, your readers most numerous, with the absurd (language) reflected in Wayne Koestenbaum's "review" of that literary treasure, "Gay New York" by George Chauncey (Aug. 7). Was it not only two weeks ago a featured review in your Book Review Section took your avid reader through the wonders of two books introducing us to the world of black male homosexuality? I think it was only two weeks ago. It seems like yesterday!

You can't imagine how few of us need to be reminded of the "continuing centrality of gender inversion to gay culture; the flaming fairy, though he seems a mere stereotype to be discarded or 'transcended,' is actually a resonant provocateur, ignored at our peril."

Ignored as whose peril?

Very few of your readers really feel that "we should look to fairy culture for guidance" as suggested by your reviewer's deep analysis, vis a vis:

"In the history of homosexual identity one sees repeated the brutal story of the fairy's expulsion: As middle-class men sought to define their masculinity around heterosexuality, the fairy, with his deliberate effeminacy, became the easy scapegoat. We reprise that scape-goating when we banish femmes from gay-affirmative discourse. Masculinity needs to be eroded; in dismantling masculinity, we should look to fairy culture for guidance."

More frightening still is this reference to "normalcy" and "fascism," no less, as per your reviewer--(emphasis this writer's):

"However, we should remain aware of the potentially subversive relation that homosexuality bears to the stultifying regime of 'normalcy.' When we demand that gays resemble the 'norm,' we banish eccentricity and individuality; and when we banish perversity, we retreat into prototypes of fascism."

It is difficult for your unsuspecting reader who stumbles onto this absurdity to know whether it is George Chauncey, the author of "Gay New York," or your reviewer who transports the fascist-like masculine-heterosexual to the never-never world of freakishness with which your editors are so taken.

Would you consider devoting more space to reviews of say, a Tom Clancy, a Rudyard Kipling, a P. D. James?

T. BRUCE GRAHAM, PORT HUENEME

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