…A Decree Went Out From Larry Kramer, That a Census Should Be Made of All the Gays

Responding to news that Britain is counting its precious homosexuals in a new survey beginning in January, everyone’s favorite troublemaker, Larry Kramer, has called on U.S. gay organizations to do the same in an email that wound up posted on Eric Leven’s blog yesterday.

Kramer wrote

“When are gays in america going to fight to find out how many of us there are. I am tired of not knowing. i am tired of hearing numbers quoted all over the map from practically zero to only a few million, all of them certainly far less than i believe we are.

i think it is, psychologically, now the time to try and do something about this. we need to know as we go forward into our never-ending fights with THEM how many of us there are. we just do.

i have long implored our “major” gay organizations, particularly HRC, to commence a project that would reap these figures. we are never going to get our government to do what england is now doing. therefore we have to do it ourselves. i am always arguing with that gary guy at ucla’s william institute that is always putting out his numbers, based, so far as i can tell, by his viewing into his own crystal ball. i want better. i want something that will hold up in court, in the halls of government, etc.

joe solmonese, could you and hrc spearhead something like this? could urvashi or tim sweeney or the gill foundation or all the people with some money still left on this list, could people just get together and brainstorm this. could the williams institute?

correct me if i am wrong, but aren’t we better, stronger being able to go forth knowing how many of us there are, no matter how many of us there are? otherwise we continue as the sort of only half-visible population.”

This is kind of weird, right? I’m not talking about the e.e. cummings-esque punctuation, but the general statement. Kramer usually rails against the powers that be and it’s a little puzzling that he wants for an accounting of the gay community by HRC of all gay people.

While divining the motives of Larry Kramer is always a dicey proposition, I think it’s either one or the other of the following:

Larry Kramer actually would like a gay census

I mean, why not? I think such a census would prove to be a nightmare for any statistician. Certainly it will be easy to identify openly-gay middle and upper-class individuals, but gay organizations have been working for years to find ways to reach and talk to communities of color and lower-income gays and lesbians. And who do you define as gay? And isn’t the whole classification of straight vs. gay hopelessly heteronormative* anyway?

Larry Kramer wants to piss off HRC, the Gill Foundation and mainstream gay organizations in general

Now, if this were a casino game, the odds would be even for this. Larry Kramer’s default state is that of mainstream gay organization gadfly, and I sort of think the main reason he wants a census is because there’s no chance it will ever happen, so it gives him something else to rail at– and if by some chance HRC or some similar group did manage to pull it off, he could then argue that we’re being cataloged for the upcoming great gaypocalypse.

So, which is it? Is Larry for real or just playing?

*Queerty apologies for the use of the word “heteronormative.” It’s the sort of nonsense word that queer studies teachers use to sound cool and generally we’re against it because it’s a word bandied about by the same kind of people who think talking about Deleuze and Guattari is the sort of thing that can be done in polite society, ie: asshats. We just went with it because the word fits in a Larry Kramer discussion. We’re really sorry and hope you won’t think we’re asshats, even though we probably are.