Women, Men, and Early ‘Gay Lib’

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LAURA J. MERRELL’S response to my review of Beyond Shame, by Patrick Moore, in the January-February 2005 issue of this journal was in several ways so strangely unmeasured a rejoinder—half the length of my entire review—that I felt that it deserved attention and response.

In her letter Merrell wrote: “Picano is not the first man who I have heard expressing the opinion that the problems of lesbians are nothing compared to those of gay men.” I defy anyone to find that in my review. She also wrote: “He is however the first to complain that women can only rise in the playing field when men forfeit the game.” I wrote no such complaint, and “forfeiting” is a strangely voluntary way to explain dying of the AIDS plague, although I did repeat what two women in Moore’s book reportedly said on that particular subject. The only people I did go after, a point that Merrell ignored totally, were younger gay men, whom I felt have let Gay Liberation die.

On the other hand I did write something that I believe brought on Merrell’s strong overreaction. Here’s the sentence:

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