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Kramer: "Gays are
hated. Prove me wrong"

Kramer: "Gays are
hated. Prove me wrong"

hated. Prove me wrong" " >

Gay activist and author Larry Kramer's emotional open letter to the American public, published in Tuesday's Los Angeles Times, posed a challenge: "Gays are hated. Prove me wrong."

Kramer spoke last week at New York's Gay and Lesbian Center, celebrating the 20th anniversary of ACT UP, a grassroots AIDS organization, and protesting the U.S. military's adherence to "don't ask, don't tell."

In the follow-up letter in the Times, Kramer asked Americans how they can stay silent on gay issues.

"Your top general just called us 'immoral.' Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, is in charge of an estimated 65,000 gay and lesbian troops, some fighting for our country in Iraq.

"A right-wing political commentator, Ann Coulter, gets away with calling a straight presidential candidate a 'faggot.' Even Garrison Keillor, of all people, is making really tacky jokes about gay parents in his column.

"This, I guess, does not qualify as hate except that it is so distasteful and dumb, often a first step on the way to hate. Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama tried to duck the questions that Pace's bigotry raised, confirming what gay people know--that there is not one candidate running for public office anywhere who dares to come right out, unequivocally, and say decent, supportive things about us."

"You may say you don't hate us, but the people you vote for do, so what's the difference? Our own country's democratic process declares us to be unequal. Which means, in a democracy, that our enemy is you. You treat us like crumbs. You hate us. And sadly, we let you."

The letter was originally titled "A Letter to America's Heterosexuals" and retitled by the Times "Why do straights hate gays? An aging 72-year-old man isn't hopeful about the future."

Blogger Andy Towle criticized the headline as an insult to Kramer's 30-year contribution on gay rights issues.

"Whether or not you agree with Kramer's approach, you would think that the paper could find a bit more respect in its description of the longtime activist," Towle wrote. "After all, his work with ACT UP was a major force in getting the AIDS epidemic the attention it deserved at crucial moments throughout the crisis."

Kramer has been a gay rights and AIDS advocate since the early 1970s.

His 1978 novel, Faggots, is one of the best-selling gay novels of all time but was criticized upon its publication by other gay activists for its graphic depiction of anonymous sex and recreational drug use.

Kramer lived in London for nine years between 1961 and 1970, where he coproduced and cowrote the film Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush.

Recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Award in Literature, Kramer has also been honored with a Public Service Award from the political lobby group Common Cause. (Hassan Mirza,

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Kramer: "Gays are
hated. Prove me wrong"

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