Letter: Gays no outlaws

Sir: In his review of the Christie's exhibition devoted to William Beckford (27 January), Roger Clarke asserts that I have "written at length on the subject of homosexuals being outlaws who should be excluded from having any stake in society". This accusation is one for which he adduces no evidence.

The view that I have defended, in Sexual Desire and elsewhere, is that homosexual desire is distinct from heterosexual desire in ways that matter, both personally and morally. I defend this view because of its truth, and not from any desire to censor or oppress my fellow human beings.

In the present climate of opinion the suggestion that I would make homosexuals "outlaws" or exclude them "from having any stake in society" is highly damaging. And here is the proof that things have changed since Beckford's day, despite what Clarke says. For if Clarke's words about me were true, I would have no chances of a job in a university, or a grant from the Arts Council, or a column on The Independent, or any other of the advantages which come so easily to the politically correct.