Picture the editor haunting my desk, waving fivers, shrieking that I hunt those faggots down...

Anti-Gay is a bracing collection of essays from various non-heterosexual pens asking what the term "Gay" means, and, furthermore, whether Gay is always automatically Good, as ideological c(h)ant insists.

Hence, Mark Simpson's opening chapter explores the monolithic ghetto logic that believes that one identity, and one identity only, can, like stretch Lycra, Tight Fit all homosexuals. You know, pump up the muscle and volume, change outfits and partners every few minutes, too preoccupied - too distracted, really - to notice the flow of cash from your wallet to the accounts of those plausible businessmen and self-appointed spokesmen who claim they have created not a pink police state, but a "community".

Other pieces paint Gay as plain Bad, highlighting Gay's vicious treatment of bisexuals, and lesbians who occasionally sleep with men. This intolerance of the "diversity" Gay publicly claims (yet privately abhors) also informs treatises on the eternal butch/femme conundrum, a defence of the homo- cidal S&M movie Cruising, and a provocative case for - big breaths, everyone - a return to the closet.

And why not? As Anti-Gay implies: why leave the closet for a straitjacket and blinkers? For a world that demands that the vulnerable be Gay in proscribed fashion? And how can Gay possibly be a timeless and unchanging condition when homosexual rights - in marriage, employment, child rearing, etc - appear increasingly achievable?

I laboriously catalogue the above because the "reviews" of Anti-Gay deliberately neglect to do so. "Reviews" united in their refusal to address a single point or issue, let alone muster argument. Hysterical blindness meets ghetto mentality meets defence mechanism. Here's a mind-set so unaware of its own paranoia that it cannot deal with the idea that anyone would not want to be "Gay" in the manner dictated.

Thus the Pink Paper's Tim Teeman sneers of Simpson and contributor Paul Burston that "both have made better livings standing outside of the gay tent pissing in than most gay journalists have scratched from pissing out" - as if Teeman's appallingly low salary validated his viewpoint and made his "tent" piss- and complaint-proof, especially from those who are not, oh no, expressing honest opinion but are obviously in it for the money.

Next up: Simon Gage, editor of Boyz, dismissing "a group who have found that the straight press will pay top dollar to any gay hack ready to piss on the community for their readers". Yeah, sure. Picture this: Andrew Marr haunting my desk, waving fivers, shrieking that I hunt those faggots down. This is about as likely as, let's say, Kelvin Sollis, Gage's boss and owner of the Pink Paper, demanding that his editors banish all mention of, oh, the campaigning group Stonewall, and the word "queer" - a clearly ridiculous suggestion. Not.

Still, there's a (twisted) logic. Bogeymen are needed to keep those profit- generating punters inside the Queendom. Indeed, some will even lie to create one, as the Pink Paper does. Read it and sleep: "In 1993 The Independent was ... tricked by accountants into believing that ... the pink pound existed and began a love-affair with what it perceived to be a growing gay daily newspaper readership." Not true, but if it were, wouldn't it be a good thing? Well, not if you're talking turf. Gay belongs to the Pink Paper to the degree that it actually proceeds to criticise The Independent for supporting an equal age of homosexual consent. Point: to appear necessary Gay doesn't require friends - it needs enemies.

That mind-set: it blinds victims to contradiction, like Teeman declaring Anti-Gay "is not news" while weekly and weakly assaulting it since its publication. See the knots, the evasions, the rewritten history. Gay Times, for instance, has the gall to welcome Simpson to the "real world" of "mediocre gay culture", as if it had been first to print polemic against that "mediocrity" rather than dance attendance upon it; as if it weren't part of the problem. Neat trick: from ignorance to knowledge without the intervening stage of understanding. Though not as neat as Boyztown denizen Simon Gage's transformation. Previously believing that the best solution to gay-bashing was a cunning shade of concealer, today he loftily enquires why the Anti- Gay "crew" aren't tackling discrimination in the armed forces, lack of partnership and adoption rights etc. The answer is - you guessed - that they already have; and besides, it isn't that sort of book. Which Gage must know. Still, he attacks the title - "Not Post-Gay or Non-Gay but Anti-Gay"- despite the foreword's careful distinction between Gay (urban phenomenon) and Gay (broad label for homosexual people). Does Gage have reading as well as writing difficulties? How else to account for a crack about "intellectuals desperate to be on the cutting edge", when the book rests at number nine in Time Out's best-seller list and anti-gay sentiment is widespread and growing? There are anti-gay clubs, anti-gay writers, anti-gay magazines and anti-gay acts such as the Divine David - next year's Big Thing. Indeed, Anti-Gay articulates a dissatisfaction so profound that pamphlets as politically opposed as State of Desire and Virtually Normal agree on preparations for an age when Gay may be unnecessary.

Gay unnecessary. It sounds outrageous. But isn't that the goal? And even if it weren't, how could anyone credit that what we currently have is perfect, infallible, eternal? That's why the Anti-Gay position is also the Edina Monsoon position: it's the stupid people who should be taxed. Because it is stupid to insist that Gay needs no rethinking, repair, or rescuing from vested interests. Interests so self-self-self-absorbed that they are, aptly enough, disappearing up their own bottoms, patently unaware that their petty tyrannies, pious outrage and curious but lucrative oppression of those they presume to speak for proves Anti-Gay right, right again and right once more n

Anti-Gay is published by Freedom Editions, price pounds 9.99.

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