The Daily Agenda for Tuesday, July 30
July 30th, 2013
THIS MONTH IN HISTORY:
A Plea From An Invert: 1919. Through the early part of the twentieth century, American medical and psychological writers began taking an increasing interest in homosexuality (or “sexual inversion,” “contrary sexual feeling,” “perverted sexual instinct,” or any number of other terms which they had yet to settle on). It was rare, however, to hear from “inverts” themselves. The July 1919 issue of the Journal of Urology and Sexology carried one interesting letter to the editor that gives some indication of the frustration that many felt due to the severe societal disapproval that was prevalent a the time:
A PLEA FROM AN INVERT
To the Editor:
A plea to be heard before it is too late — will you not listen and perhaps advise me? If you only knew how I need help!
I am a misfit. I am a young man who has never cared for any women. Am I to blame because God has given me a feminine nature? Why should I be shunned by all people, loathed by them!
I am clean and refined, am well educated in the fine arts and have high ideals concerning all things. And yet men who are covered with filthy sores from evil living, who have never had a decent thought or ideal in their lives, sneer at me. I am an outcast; I am lower than the lowest!
What few who are kind to me are women who have praised me for my high ideal concerning life.
Because the custom is not that two men shall marry, is it so wrong? If I love and respect a friend and he loves me, is it not as pure a marriage as between a man and woman; and far more equal?
I wish I had a friend to go and live with, to work out our ideals, and to grow in every way. Yet this has made me accursed among men; I am damned to a living hell!
Must I — who have denied myself almost too much, to become worthy of the highest friendship — must I forever walk alone?
Is there aught but beauty in the love of Marius and Cornelius in “Marius the Epicurian” by Walter Pater? Is Marius to be considered vile, because he had that “feminine refinement” that made him idealize life, that led him finally to the Christian faith and martyrdom?
I am alone and tired. Is it not a sad thing that I and many other young men who are worthy of much, should have but one hope — that Death shall come soon!
I need advice. If some young man among your readers might write to me! Do you not think we would save each other?
You must not believe me physically or mentally deficient — though I am near to suicide I
[Source: Anonymous. Letter to the editor: “A plea from an invert.” American Journal of Urology and Sexology 15, no. 7 (July 1919): 336. Available online via Google Books here.]
Sean Patrick Maloney: 1966. After earning his Bachelor’s degree in 1988, Maloney spent a year volunteering with the Jesuits in the slums of Chimbote, Peru. He then returned to get his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia’s School of Law in 1992. He entered politics in 1991, working for Bill CLinton’s first campaign for President, and he returned to work on his re-election campaign in 1996. After that campaign, he was offered a position in the White House staff, where he was senior advisor and White House Staff Secretary from 1999 to 2000. When Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered in Wyoming, Maloney was one of two officials sent by President Clinton to represent him at the funeral. One newspaper note that Maloney was “the highest ranking openly homosexual man on the White House staff.”
After 2000, he became a senior attorney at the law firm which represented the Shepard family. He returned to politics in 2006, first as a member of Governor Eliot Spitzer’s administration, then in Gov. David Paterson’s administration after Spitzer’s resignation as the result of a prostitution scandal. In 2012, Maloney ran for New York’s 18th Congressional district and won, defeating Rep. Nan Hayworth, making Maloney one of six openly gay and bisexual members of Congress. Maloney and his parter, Randy Florke, together since 1992, are raising three adoptive children. Despite New York being a marriage equality state, the two had chosen not to marry because their marriage would not have been recognized under the Defense of Marriage Act. But now that Section 3 of DOMA has been declared unconstitutional, Maloney has said that they may reconsider that decision.
If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).
And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?