Queer Wars: The New Gay Right and Its Critics by Paul Robinson
Stanford professor Paul Robinson has written what he calls an introduction to "intellectual gay conservatism," which is "arguably the most important new development in the gay world." Queer Wars examines the movement through four of its most public, prolific, and allegedly conservative intellectual voices: Bruce Bawer ("enthusiastic" 1992 Clinton voter), Gabriel Rotello ("I'm pro-choice, anti-war, pro-feminist, anti-racist, pro-environment, anti-death penalty, and pro-sex"), Michelangelo Signorile (whose mission is "converting people from that nasty, vicious, perverted and insane right-wing agenda to a more fun, fabulous and enlightened one"), and the more genuinely conservative Andrew Sullivan.
They have one thing in common: they're all enemies of the radical "queer activists" who see the gay world as one of perpetual victimization in which "queers" must band together to fight common enemies on their right-and everyone is to their right. Unfortunately, this point of view limits the book's discussion, and so this isn't really a book about gay conservatives, or the arguments and energy they bring to the broader gay (not to mention conservative) movement. Robinson's analysis of the battles between his subjects and their detractors over sexual politics and the nature of gender identity is well done, but you won't find significant discussion of Sullivan's support for the Iraq war, for instance, or literary critic Bawer's poetry. Their often poignant writings have been reduced to a caricature-all sex, gender, and campus politics.
—Brandon Michael Brod
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This article appeared in the Winter 2005-2006 issue of the Claremont Review of Books