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View Diary: LGBT Literature: Flagrant Conduct (30 comments)

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  •  After John Lawrence's death a year or two ago, (14+ / 0-)

    Dahlia Lithwick wrote a review of Flagrent Conduct published in The New Yorker.  To me, the big revelation was, in fact, Lawrence and Garner did not have sex with each other on the night of September 17, 1998...or ever, for that matter.  Myself, at the time, I had a gauzy picture of a loving couple whose lives had been profoundly disrupted but their arrest.  My imaginings could not have been further from the truth.  Their arrest was based on a false accusation, and neither Lawrence nor Garner were the most admirable of defendants, but, God bless them, they were both willing to hold themselves together and go the distance.

    The anti-sodomy laws gave free reign to persecute both the closeted and the openly gay.  For example, opponents of gay adoption could argue that homosexuals were law-breakers, even unarrested felons depending upon the state, and that there were restrictions to alllowing convicted felons from adopting.

    Both John Lawrence and Tyron Garner are gone now, but we have to keep their memory alive for what they did for us and for the LGBT rights movement.

    Thanks for a great diary.

    -5.13,-5.64; If you gave [Jerry Falwell] an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox. -- Christopher Hitchens

    by gizmo59 on Tue May 14, 2013 at 06:24:06 AM PDT

    •  That was indeed a surprise . . . (10+ / 0-)

      . . . and one that threatened to cast a pall of the whole case.  Carpenter does a very good job of honoring that aspect of the story, while making it clear that even the fact Garner and Lawrence could be falsely accused was evidence that the law was singling out a minority class for behaviors the rest of society was allowed to engage in.

      It was a twist in the events that I left for the reader to discover, but I'm glad you brought it up.  Had the events of Lawrence conformed to your "gauzy picture", there probably would have never been an arrest.  One could argue that the law (both its predecessor and the 1973 revision) had created the very "misfits" it intended to punish.  Alcohol played an important role in Lawrence and it was no great shock given the time period in LGBT that produced Lawrence.

      Their heroism, for me at least, is not the sex they did or didn't have, but the fact that they challenged the right of such laws to punish them for it.

      •  Perhaps I should have put SPOILER ALERT (5+ / 0-)

        in the title to my previous comment, but at this point, it's all history.  There's no question in my mind that the dysfunction and alcoholism that cast a pall over Lawrence and Garner and their circle was a condition due to either remaining closeted or the discrimination faced by those who lived openly, possibly even both at the same time.  Given the universal hatred that Lawrence and Garner's generation grew up with, it is not in the least surprising that they would have problems with alcohol.

        -5.13,-5.64; If you gave [Jerry Falwell] an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox. -- Christopher Hitchens

        by gizmo59 on Tue May 14, 2013 at 07:44:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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