Penguin books has released an updated
edition of On Being Different with an introduction by gay
activist Dan Savage.
Savage is the editor of Seattle
alternative The Stranger and a co-founder of the It Gets
The book is based on writer-novelist
Merle Miller's 1971 coming out gay article published in the New
York Times Magazine. The op-ed, titled What It Means To Be A
Homosexual, was a response to an essay by Joseph Epstein
published in the September, 1970 issue of Harper's.
In the piece, titled Homo/hetero:
The Struggle for Sexual Identity, Epstein described gay men as
“perverts,” adding that “nothing [my four sons] could ever do
would make me sadder than if any of them were to become homosexual.”
“For then I should know them
condemned to a permanent niggerdom among men, their lives, whatever
adjustment they might make to their condition, to be lived out as
part of the pain of the earth.”
“I am sick and tired,” Miller wrote
in his response, “of reading and hearing such goddam demeaning,
degrading bullshit about me and my friends.”
And with that, Miller, who had
previously not publicly discussed his sexual orientation, would go on
to champion gay rights.
On Being Different includes
Miller's original essay and additional material.