Chapter 3: Know Who Your Enemies Are

“Marriage felt impossible for so long. This impossible thing you’re never going to get, so don’t bother asking for it,” said Dan Savage. But: “it doesn’t get better for us in a vacuum. It gets better FOR us because straight people get better ABOUT us.”

I chatted with Dan and with Fred Karger about what life was like for gays in the 1970s, and their two very different ways of dealing with it: for Fred, a gay Republican, there was safety in hiding. But Dan, despite being raised in a Roman Catholic household, came emphatically out of the closet at an early age and let the straight world know that any discomfort they felt was their own doing.

From within the belly of the beast, Fred was able to rally opposition to homophobic legislator John Briggs long before it was safe for him to do so publicly. But ultimately, hiding proved far more destructive than coming out.

After all, if queers were ever going to demand full equality, first they’d have to reveal themselves. They’d have to exist. Then they could get down to the work of making things better.

In Your Arms Kevin MacLeod ( 
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