Editor’s Note: In the generational shift from a model of sexual liberation to one of identity politics, a small number of astute observers—such as Frank Browning, author of the bestselling book The Culture of Desire (1994)—took pointed note of the transition. The fervor of the early 70’s was already fading by the end of the decade, and while the AIDS epidemic had revved things up again in the 80’s, the movement was becoming institutionalized in the 90’s, what with the rise of well-funded GLBT lobby groups such as the Human Rights Campaign Fund. This article captures in sometimes mournful tones the passing of the more sweeping agenda of gay liberation and the adoption of an identity model whereby gay people would be defined as a “minority group” analogous to blacks or Jews, deserving of equal rights for themselves but laying no larger claim to social change.
This piece is from the Spring 1998 issue of the HGLR. Browning would go on to have a distinguished career as a journalist in the Paris bureau of National Public Radio.