Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Gay Victims of Communism

Hunter College Professor Wayne Dynes has a good piece on the gay victims of communism on his blog. Dynes acknowledges that he can only address the topic superficially, because little research has been done (or at least published) on how Marxist regimes persecuted (and continue to persecute) their gay and lesbian citizens.

He offers this historical illustration of Communist attitudes toward homosexuality:

A well documented episode is the visit of the great French writer André Gide to the Soviet Union in 1936. He went as a fellow traveler and returned deeply shaken. He wrote two books about the experience, the first circumspect, the second more outspoken about the social misery and absence of freedom of expression in the USSR. The Communists and their allies turned viciously on him. Some relied on innuendo, speaking of his problems with "morals" and his devotion to young men. The Communist pundit André Wurmser went further, producing a scurrilous article entitled "A Poor Bugger: André Gide." Another role, then, that homophobia played among Communists was to punish those who stepped out of line by advertising their proclivities. Something similar happened when Alger Hiss, after his exposure as a spy for the Soviets, sought to discredit his accuser Whitaker Chambers by talk about his homosexuality—-as if this had anything to do with the matter of Hiss' guilt.

Wayne's discussion of Castro's Communist Cuba and how its treatment of gay men and lesbians contradicts the left/liberal mythology about the Cuban paradise is worth a visit. He recommends a book, Gays Under the Cuban Revolution, by "an honest leftist, Allen Young."

1 comment:

James Young said...

While you would no doubt label me a "homophobe," you neglected to mention that the Soviets weren't above ignoring homosexuality in their pursuit of world domination. My recollection is that Kim Philby was rather well-treated, even indulged, after scoring an intelligence coup for the KGB (perhaps NKVD, fuzzy memory on timing) and defecting to the Soviet Union.

I tend to view it as rather typical of the left: even proclaimed standards are malleable/discardable in the pursuit of power.