LETTER: The status quo vs justice for gays

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From Mr Antony Grey

Sir: Like all temperamental conservatives, Bryan Appleyard deplores the intrusion of politics into essentially personal aspects of life ("Kiss goodbye to gay politics", 11 October). So do I - but for different reasons.

While Mr Appleyard and his ilk customarily regard any prevailing status quo (however inequitable) as "non-political", I look upon their refusal to recognise injustices, and the consequent need for change, as the catalyst that makes the radical sexual politics of feminism and of gay rights inevitable.

Genuine depoliticisation of homosexuality must entail a drastic shift in attitudes, and a sincere desire to reach a lasting, socially just solution. Any such desire is still glaringly lacking on the part of those whom Andrew Sullivan in his new book dubs the "prohibitionists" and the "conservatives", so that the stridency of some gay campaigners that so irks Mr Appleyard is no surprise to me.

That is why Mr Sullivan's proposed solutions, regardless of their merits, will remain so much pie in the sky for the foreseeable future. And it is also why "outing" - however much Bryan Appleyard loathes it - will increasingly come to be seen as a legitimate tool against oppression in cases of blatant hypocrisy by public figures.

I agree with Andrew Sullivan that, in these days, the "closet" is no fit place for any self-respecting gay or bisexual person to lurk in.

Yours faithfully,

Antony Grey

London, NW2

15 October

The writer was Secretary of the Homosexual Law Reform Society, 1962-70.