For King, pacifism was inseparable from anti-poverty and anti-racism. Soon enough, black feminists like Michele Wallace and Angela Davis would brave the forces of reaction and challenge the black men who were leading this movement to address the struggles of women. Eventually, gender joined race and class to form the triumvirate of the left’s social critiques. All three of these categories reflected the needs of large groups of people who had clear grievances, people who had suffered widespread institutionalized violence, confinement, and deprivation that were irrefutable in the annals of history. Had this triangle of causes remained sacrosanct, there is no way surrogacy would have led the left back to human bondage.
But then came gay men. Somehow “sexual orientation” was jimmied into the triangle of race, class, and gender. Homosexuals were deemed an oppressed people despite the flimsiest of historical grievances (even the legendary gay Holocaust involved no more than 15,000 victims, out of the twelve million people placed in Nazi concentration camps).
Gay men were teased about their sexual tastes and had to face anti-sodomy laws, which made it hard for them to find erotic release. They had the option of lying to protect themselves. Living a lie is hard, but living a lie when you enjoy all the economic, racial, and patriarchal advantages of having to worry only about your sex life is hardly on the scale of Jim Crow, women not having the right to vote, or poor people starving during times of famine or unemployment. There is an enormous difference between systematic, large-scale persecution and simply facing barriers to sexual pleasure.
By casting gay men as powerless, the left sealed their doom. A new crop of “allies” possessing financial and social capital far in excess of people of color, women, or the working class was bound to rise quickly to power and take over the whole movement, mowing down everything in their path, including the sacred goals the movement began with.