The Gay Liberation of Straight Men

Rob Tisinai

April 19th, 2013

I’ve discovered that NOM’s new official expert, Anthony Esolen, is so wrong about so many things that you can gain insight just by contemplating the opposite of what he says.

Back in 2006, Anthony offered 10 non-religious reasons for opposing same-sex marriage. Here’s #5:

It will curtail opportunities for deep and emotionally fulfilling friendships between members of the same sex, opportunities that are already few and strained. This is particularly true of men.

This was a disastrous prediction. It’s not just that his reasoning is convoluted, but that events have proved him laughably wrong.

As you may know, it’s tough to summarize Anthony’s arguments. He never uses one word when twenty will do, and he’s never seen a paragraph he couldn’t improve by stretching it with flowery repetition. Here, though, is the meat:

…now the condonement of homosexuality prevents [boys] from publicly preferring the company of their own sex. This is simply inarguable. If a George Gershwin nowadays shows up at Maxie Rosenzweig’s house all the time, while his pals are outside on the streets playing stickball, then there must be something up with George and Maxie.

And then, apparently without realizing it, Anthony proceeds to refute himself:

Therefore unless they are comfortable with the meaning, they will shy away from one another.

Exactly. Really, I wish I could put my hands on Anthony’s shoulders, look him deep in the eye, and say, “Exactly. The problem arises not when homosexuality is condoned, but when it is condemned.”

For instance: I’m not straight, left-handed, or Canadian. But rumors to the contrary wouldn’t freak me out, and certainly wouldn’t make me change my actions or associations — because I don’t see anything wrong with those traits, and neither does the society in which I travel.

However, if I lived in a world where I could be shunned, disowned, fired, or lobotomized just for being left-handed…then, yeah, I might be more worried about people thinking I’m a left-handed deviant monster, and might work harder to squelch those rumors.

Fast forward to 2013. Same-sex marriage is legal in much of the country; we’ve had 7-years of non-stop national conversation about gays and lesbians; and a new generation has matured thinking, What’s the big friggin’ deal.

blake adamThe result? A culture where people talk freely of man crushes and bromance. A culture in which one of the most popular TV shows is practically built around the friendship and spicy, flirtatious chemistry between two of its handsome and avowedly heterosexual stars.

Granted, this pop culture phenomenon isn’t on the same plane as the friendships Anthony pines for — David and Jonathan, Enkidu and Gilgamesh, John the Baptist and Jesus Christ (!) — but the fact that cannot be denied (the thing that is “simply inarguable”) is that men are freer to delight in each other than at any time in recent memory. And Anthony Esolen, god bless him, may misunderstand it completely but has pointed out the reason for this liberation: Straight men find it easier to create intimate, loving friendships when they have no reason to give a damn whether people think they’re gay.


April 19th, 2013

Gotta feel sorry for poor Anthony. He’s so obviously yearning for a deep relationship with another man, while simultaneously trying to do everything his religion is telling him he must do, i.e., not have the sort of relationship he wants. My main beef with him is that he’s doing his best to hurt a lot of other men in the process. I would guess he does his best to hurt women too. He doesn’t seem to like women very much (envious of male attraction toward them, perhaps?), so he writes a lot of anti-feminist dreck.

Ben in Oakland

April 19th, 2013

Brilliant, rob.

Once again, you show that the problem isn’t homosexuality, but homohatred. It’s not what we think about ourselves, but what some heterosexuals think of us. It’s not about whatever we’re thinking, it’s about what they think we’re thinking its not about what we,re doing, but about what they think we’re doing. It’s not about our being thought to be gay, it’s about their being thought to be gay, their fears are not affecting our friendships. They are affecting THEIR friendships.

Antigay people sure are silly. It’s too bad they’re also dangerous.

Bose in St. Peter MN

April 19th, 2013

Perfect, Rob…

For anybody interested in another odd nugget of the professor’s wisdom, it turns out that he’s got his own take on tolerance (that anyone he barely tolerates ought to appreciate his generosity), and please: openly, even quietly, gay men need to stay away from his 12-y/o son, or he might get tripped up on his path to becoming a contentedly hetero-married guy with kids.


April 19th, 2013

Following Esolen’s reasoning, we need to make heterosexual sex a taboo, or men and women will find it impossible to be friends.

Rob, please fisk more of this guy’s writings! He’s a gold mine, and his style is certainly … unique.


April 19th, 2013

I suspect that Esolen would like to live in a land where one can simply assume that gays do not exist.


April 19th, 2013

A small point, but I think you mean John the Apostle, not John the Baptist.


April 20th, 2013

I would bet if you polled straight women, men like the guys on the Voice are more attractive to them because they can admit their “bromance.” Hot sexy men in touch with their feelings – isn’t that what every hetero girl wants?

Eric in Oakland

April 20th, 2013


I think you are exactly right. The vast majority of MM romance novels are written by straight women, after all. And consider the popularity of slash fiction among female fans of shows like Supernatural.


April 21st, 2013

“Same-sex marriage is legal in much of the country.” MUCH? 10/11 of 50?

Otherwise, lovely stuff. And a tip of the hat to Ben (Oakland) for reminding me of the splendid word “homohatred,” which I first encountered in “After the Ball” some omigawd years ago . . .


April 25th, 2013

I like the part in one of those links where he calls a neighborhood deprived of its housewives a ‘perversion’. What, women can want to work and its OK?

Seriously, though, I was never so comfortable with my male friends as when I owned my orientation. We all became more comfortable with each other as we became more honest with each other and with ourselves. Esolen even admits this, yet can’t overcome his revulsion to certain sex acts enough to admit that honesty and acceptance are far better than his preferred universal stigmatization.


April 25th, 2013

He’s got another one up now at Public Discourse: .
It’s hysterically funny! It’s very similar to one he wrote about his son, but he’s substituted a boy named Luke. He also wrote another piece at Crisis Magazine bewailing the state of morality in the modern world. That one’s at . It must be SO hard to be SO pure that you can’t handle the rest of the world.

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