In an incident in US academia a couple of years ago, a lesbian feminist claimed that gays are today the privileged victims,
so that the analysis of how gays are underprivileged provides the key to understanding all other exclusions, repressions, violences, etc. (religious, ethnic, class). What is problematic with this thesis is precisely its implicit (or, in this case, even explicit) universal claim: it is making exemplary victims of those who are not that, of those who can be much more easily than religious or ethnic Others fully integrated into public space, enjoying full rights.
There is a long tradition of Leftist gay bashing, whose traces are discernible up to Adorno – suffice it to mention Maxim Gorky's infa*mous remark from his essay "Proletarian Humanism" (1934): "Exterminate homosexuals, and Fascism will disappear".6 All of this cannot be reduced to opportunistically flirting with the traditional patriarchal sexual morality of the working classes, or with the Stalinist reaction against the liberating aspects of the first years after the October Revolution; one should remember that the above-quoted Gorky's inciting statement, as well as Adorno's reservations about homosexuality (his conviction about the libidinal link between homosexuality and the spirit of military male bonding), are all based on the same historical experience: that of the SA, the "revolutionary" paramilitary Nazi organization of street-fighting thugs, in which homosexuality abounded up to its head (Ernst Röhm). The first thing to note here is that it was already Hitler himself who purged the SA in order to make the Nazi regime publicly acceptable by way of cleansing it of its obscene-violent excess/excesses, and that he justified the slaughter of the SA leadership precisely by evoking their "sexual depravity." In order to function as the support of a "totalitarian" community, homosexuality has to remain a publicly disavowed "dirty secret," shared by those who are "in." Does this mean that, when gays are persecuted, they deserve only a qualified support, a kind of "Yes, we know we should support you, but nonetheless ... (you are partially responsible for the Nazi violence)"? No, but one should insist that the political over-determination of homosexuality is far from simple, that the homosexual libidinal economy can be co-opted by different political orienta*tions, and that it is here that one should avoid the "essentialist" mistake of dis*missing the rightist "militaristic" homosexuality as the secondary distortion of the "authentic" subversive homosexuality.