UPDATE: See remarks from Andrew Wilfahrt’s father Jeff Wilfahrt

The gay press, such as it is, will defend anyone except a soldier. A soldier is the wrong kind of Gay, according to gay-press consensus. Given a chance to deploy a love-the-sinner/hate-the-sin philosophy in a context where it actually makes sense (distinguishing one’s ethical objections to armies and wars from any feelings toward troops), the gay press long ago decided that you trade in your gay card the minute you join an army. What happens to you after that point, including incarceration or death, is your own damned fault.

I’ve seen this sentiment across the board in the gay journalism I’ve read, listened to, and watched over the last 25 years, up to and including last month. But here “the gay press” means the decadent U.S. gay press, which amounts to a few blogs – the libellous and frequently misspelled Queerty; the actually dangerous blog by that grizzled positoid; that twink blog – and a dying tangle of small-town papers. The near-extinction of original gay-press reporting has brought with it the actual extinction of the gay press’s original purpose – advocacy journalism.

There is a single instinct at work here in two forms. “Activists” oppose what Americans insist on calling gay marriage because, in some dark period of prehistory, marriage was a patriarchal property arrangement. Nearly the same cadre of activists apply an analogous principle to oppose an end to the U.S. military ban on gays because the military and wars are, like marriage, wrong in principle.

These activists always maintain a list of wrong kinds of Gay, and they’re happy to agitate to limit the freedoms of conscience and association for them. Activists insist it is their right to legislatively prevent people from making what is, in their uniquely enlightened view, a mistake (getting married; joining up).

I have two cases in point.

Bradley Manning

Heather Mallick has the best summation of the case of Bradley Manning.

Underweight, gay, and a mere 5-foot-2, he comes from Crescent, OK, population 2,000, where gayness is shunned and where he was bullied non-stop. Alone and despairing, he was living in his pickup truck in Tulsa when his father (a beefy, mean-eyed former military intelligence analyst; there’s a motive right there), who despised his son, suggested Manning join the army. […]

After a year of solitary confinement and conditions (like daily stripping) that some psychologists said amounted to torture, even the state department’s spokesman called Manning’s treatment “counterproductive and stupid.” Manning has since been moved to Fort Leavenworth, where he is now allowed human contact, books and personal letters, clothing, and sheets. […]

[The U.S. government is loath] to admit that it shamed its own standards of decency and then lashed out at a boy.

Manning is gay, according to undisputed evidence. That isn’t enough to warrant defence from the decadent gay press. The fact Manning may also be gender-nonconformant should trump everything, because the gay press is really the transgender press, but that wasn’t enough, either.

For U.S. gay journalists, Manning should be a cause célèbre the way Nelson Mandela was in the 1980s. There should be unremitting pressure and entire gay blogs dedicated to him, the way one read anti-apartheid magazines and watched South Africa Now. (Admittedly this approach runs the risk of turning Manning into a Leonard Pelletier or Mumia abu-Jamal manqué. Beats rotting in the brig.) Actually, Africa is a fair comparison here, because U.S. gay blogs won’t shut up about countries like Uganda, Ghana, and Zimbabwe and their anti-gay policies. A real issue, but I thought Americans looked out for Nº 1.

There are straightforward explanations for decadent gay bloggers’ abandonment of Manning, but I have a simpler one. I have personally witnessed an ultra-leftist gay group come together as one to abandon a gay man facing discrimination due to AIDS. His twin crimes were being hated by that group (especially the lesbians) and being a tiny wisp of a man. I witnessed him excoriate that group (especially the lesbians) thus: “And don’t give me any of your condescending comebacks, ’cause I’m a little guy and guys like me get beaten up first!”

They didn’t help him. He would have died anyway from AIDS, but die he did, without even a hint of succour from an activist group that functioned as a gang. (A big wheel in that group is now the interim executive director of the leading, and the most controversial, local gay organization.) Ron Kelly, RIP; Bradley Manning might be next.

What I don’t understand about the decadent U.S. gay press’s abandonment of Manning is the psychosexual element. Gay bloggers endlessly cover trannies and drag queens, two groups they would never countenance having sex with. A runt like Manning also flunks their sexual double standard, yet there’s barely any coverage.

Actually, I think it’s a multiple standard: Another reason gay bloggers won’t cover the military adequately is their refusal to admit how attracted they are to real men in uniform (sic). Perhaps they see their own puny young selves in Manning. Like a bout of giggling at a funeral, bloggers are much more willing to link to campy online videos of soldiers lip-synching to dance-diva singles than to own up to their own sexual desire for soldiers or the fact that runty Bradley Manning flunks that test, too.

Decadent American gay bloggers refuse to use whatever limp-wristed muscle they may have to press for justice for Bradley Manning. As the wrong kind of Gay many times over, Manning deserves what he gets, their coverage tells us.

Andrew Wilfahrt

(See remarks from Andrew Wilfahrt’s father Jeff Wilfahrt.)

This soldier is already dead, sparing American gay bloggers any pangs of conscience from turning a blind eye to an ongoing case. The late Andrew Wilfahrt presents almost the most disturbing spectacle possible to the U.S. gay-press oligopoly: A smart gay man who joined the army because one thing he dearly needed was manly camaraderie.

At 29, he sat his mom and dad down at the kitchen table and told them his life was missing camaraderie, brotherhood. “I’m joining the Army,” he said.

The news surprised them. Why would Andrew enter the military, where he’d be forced to deny a part of who he is?

He was a lover of classical music, a composer, a peace activist, a math genius. He studied palindromes, maps, patterns, the U.S. Constitution, quantum physics.

A soldier? […]

He said it was funny that he talked more about his sexuality with his band of brothers than he ever had with gay friends. […]

As Wilfahrt’s father Jeff observed, “He was not that big on the ‘gay community.’ He loved men, but he didn’t feel he had found a depth to his [male] relationships and wanted something more.” (Wilfahrt, wrote CNN, was “[t]he man who told them he loved his band of brothers so much he hoped to become an Army lifer.”)

In a previous generation, gay boys who were also the smartest kids in school grew up to be – what? Schoolteachers? Freelance writers? At the very least, something related to the humanities. But I know a smart hetero male (also Jewish) who had a great time in the U.S. Army. He had a back-office job and wasn’t patrolling enemy territory like Wilfahrt, but the point here is it does not represent a squandering of the sole trump card a sensitive gay boy has against his rough-and-tumble tormentors should he choose to apply his intelligence in the armed forces.

Still, I can see why that decision would be so counterintuitive it immediately DQed Wilfahrt from meaningful coverage in gay blogs. To a man residing in the killzone of the Second Ave. subway or to one who enjoys black-tie balls and white parties, joining up proved how stupid Wilfahrt was, not how smart.

Fundamentally, though, a man like Wilfahrt becomes a soldier to defend something he believes in. Not anything abstract like “freedom,” Jeff Wilfahrt said, but the men in his unit. And men in general. The decadent gay press, an unremitting apologist for the transgender movement, implicitly holds that the only good kind of manliness is whatever a butch lesbian or an FTM manages to conjure out of thin air. It’s about as real as a hologram, but this is a community of writers that believes everything lesbians and transsexuals say yet reserves the right to dispute everything gay men believe. Like the idea that men might be important to gay men.

Wilfahrt joined up when he was 29. Based on experience, that put him at just the right developmental stage to realize that manliness was an option. Gay culture tells you otherwise, and it takes a while to mature to the point where you finally realize gay culture is infantilizing and effeminizing. But even if you can’t put it into words, you also realize gay culture does not want you if you consider yourself masculine and you just want to be around men. (Let’s even say real men.)

And if you need to be surrounded top to bottom by men all day, the army is a great place for you. The urban gay blogger, exposed as he is to urban-gay cattiness and backstabbing, is constitutionally incapable of imagining how brothers in your platoon would go to the mat for you and vice-versa. But this kind of loyalty is something you can learn or absorb; even years later, it still projects. I remember my massive, ox-strong, cocksure friend – a former U.S. Army grunt – and how just being around him made me want to seriously fuck up anybody who threatened to fuck him up. Where does that come from? Andrew Wilfahrt did what it took to find out.

Post-facto press reports stated that Wilfahrt’s brothers-in-arms adored him. They named a COP after him, for God’s sake – and if you don’t know why that’s important, you need to watch Restrepo.

Wilfahrt was the kind of man for whom a lesbian whose girlfriend served in the same company set up a Facebook tribute. But he isn’t good enough for more than a YouTube link from leading gay bloggers at whose defence he died.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2011.08.15 14:05. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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