From a long article about Andrew Sullivan, a good recounting of this part of his story, which if you don't like Sullivan or understand why I read him, you need to know:
Yet Sullivan wrote the first major article in America calling for gay people to be given the right to marry—and he was savaged by other gays. His talks were picketed by a group called the Lesbian Avengers, who waved signs with Sullivan’s head in the crosshairs of a gun. In gay bars he was denounced as a “collaborator” and physically attacked. He was anathemised by mainstream gay-rights organisations, who refused to engage with him. Why?If you happened to be gay back then, you were supposed to join the left and contribute to the enterprise of smashing conventions. Now, I think there still is an undercurrent of hating heterosexuals out there, and I often feel it coming from Andrew Sullivan, but I'm not going to elaborate on that now.
The Village Voice writer Richard Goldstein spoke for this tendency when he claimed that Sullivan was “promoting the bargain of assimilation. But this deal comes with a price. It requires gays to maintain the illusion that we’re just like straights… [But] we were interested in messing with the codes of sexuality.” By advocating marriage, Sullivan was opting into the very system gay people should destroy. He was just “Rush Limbaugh with monster pecs,” a self-hater who “would solve the faggot problem by urging gay men not to act like fags”.
Today, marriage is the Number One demand of the gay-rights movement. So why was Sullivan demonised for being the first to articulate it? He says now, haltingly: “It was the middle of a plague, we were all dying, and here’s this brash British guy who’s a Catholic and right-winger talking about something unfamiliar, that challenges their assumptions… [But] I was too narcissistic to realise that it wasn’t about me.”
ADDED: Sullivan links, quotes my last sentence, and says:
Please do. You can't throw that out there with no back-up. I'm sorry if my perhaps uncharitable snark about her impending marriage offended her. Probably not my best moment. But the notion that I somehow "hate heterosexuals" is so nutty, not to say meaningless, that I don't know how to respond. I hate 97 percent of humanity? I hate my mum and dad and brother and sister? I hate my co-workers? Just because I think Sarah Palin is a whack-job makes me a heterophobe? Please, Ann. You don't campaign for twenty years to enter a heterosexual institution because you hate heterosexuals. You don't argue for social integration of gays and straights because you hate straights. You don't write a book urging that sexual orientation cease to be a defining social divide if you are a gay separatist. And it takes Goldstein-level dishonesty to say as much.Well, Sullivan obviously knows what is giving me the feeling of heterophobia coming from him. His weird obsession with Sarah Palin's pregnancy and his reaction to my engagement. He never answered my question "what part of my experience deserves 'OMFG.'" He said:
And I'm all in favor of the right of straight bloggers to marry their straight commenters. It's a civil right. And more than I am currently allowed after living with my husband for almost five years.And my response was:
This isn't about legal rights. This is about how individuals treat each other, and I want to know why you disrespected me. Explain why you linked to Pandagon's scurrilous OMFG, which, as you know, means "Oh, my fucking God." Is that the way you mean to speak to me? Is that the way you talk about God?I never saw an answer to that. And as I said in this other post, I do not see how his reaction to me fits with his interest in extending marriage to gay couples:
I too think that Sullivan's reaction to me was detrimental to the cause of same-sex marriage (for which he has fought so admirably). Obviously, he had to have thought he was serving his cause by asserting that his 5-year relationship deserved more respect than mine, but he has a tragic blind spot. He was acting as though it's perfectly fine to trash someone else's relationship because it strikes you at a gut level as wrong. But that's how millions of people feel about his relationship! If we start arguing in that emotional mode, your cause is doomed.I think Sullivan's reaction is probably complicated. He wants gay relationships to be accepted and given equal respect, and he seems angry that it hasn't happened yet. He struck out at me with derision and contempt and I felt the hostility. He couldn't explain it then, and he doesn't explain it now.
One can be outraged at an exclusion and still dislike the people who are included. For example, I would be outraged by a private club that barred women from membership but might simultaneously hate the men who actually were members. I'd want the right to join even if I didn't want to join, because I disapprove of the discrimination.
I know Sullivan takes strong positions and stands his ground, and I don't really expect him to do this, but I think it would be cool if he would openly explore what might be complex feelings about heterosexuals — especially women.
AND: "I'm sorry if my perhaps uncharitable snark about her impending marriage offended her" = a classic nonapology.