PHOTO: Google Books Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, "Epistemology of the Closet," University of California Press, 2008 -- About this book -- "Since the late 1980s, queer studies and theory have become vital to the intellectual and political life of the United States. This has been due, in no small degree, to the influence of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's critically acclaimed Epistemology of the Closet. Working from classic texts of European and American writers--including Melville, James, Nietzsche, Proust, and Wilde--Sedgwick analyzes a turn-of-the-century historical moment in which sexual orientation became as important a demarcation of personhood as gender had been for centuries. In her preface to this updated edition Sedgwick places the book both personally and historically, looking specifically at the horror of the first wave of the AIDS epidemic and its influence on the text."
Another antigay letter appeared in my local newspaper (by Marian Ely, "Letter: Who cares if Sally Ride was gay? She was an excellent role model," Gazette-Times, Jul. 27, 2012, p. A13). Similar to previous ones, it was disguised as a naive question by somebody who insisted they had "gay friends. At first I ignored it because it wasn't clear if the person was well intentioned, but clueless, or if they were just repeating an old point made by a few uninitiated gay people and also antigay political groups. However, I was also concerned that a short letter in reply could not convey all of the complex ideas surrounding how the closet only perpetuates anti-gay discrimination. Below is the copy edited version as it was printed in the newspaper:
(Marian Ely's) letter of July 27 letter asked, who cares if Sally Ride was gay?
One answer is it matters to the bare majority who voted to deny Ride's spouse the equal rights of opposite-sex married citizens.
Sally Ride volunteered to be a role model for female students seeking a science or engineering degree at Oregon State University.
A century ago, females had to literally hide their sex (today called gender) to become a successful engineer.
It is relevant news that Ride, an otherwise brave astronaut, apparently felt too intimidated by society to also be a role model for students with a minority sexual orientation or gender identity.
Ultimately, it was her choice to remain in the closet.
More than one doctoral thesis has analyzed the epistemology of the closet. All confirm the conventional wisdom that those who defend the closet facilitate discrimination.
- Marian Ely, "Letter: Who cares if Sally Ride was gay? She was an excellent role model," Gazette-Times, Jul. 27, 2012, p. A13
- Mania Monaco, "Sally Ride: An Inspiration for Women in Engineering," theinstitute.ieee.org posted July 30, 2012
- Erik Robelen,"Astronaut Sally Ride, a Leader in STEM Education, Dies at 61," Education Week's blogs, July 24, 2012 -- "But one of her passions was working to inspire young people, especially girls, to become interested in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics."
- Michelangelo Signorile, "Why Sally Ride's Sexual Orientation Matters," huffingtonpost.com posted Jul. 27, 2012
- Michelangelo Signorile, "Gore Vidal: Certainly Not the Last Word on a Proud 'Fag,'" huffingtonpost.com posted Aug. 8, 2012 -- more from the outing champion
- Rex Wockner, "Sally Ride's final public act: a gift to LGBT community," posted Saturday, July 28, 2012 -- Rex also asks "why it matters" and decides it does.
- epistemology (Wikipedia) -- "branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope (limitations) of knowledge"
- Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, "Epistemology of the Closet," University of California Press, 1990 (See Google Books) -- Epistemology of the Closet (ISBN 0-520-07874-8), 1991 -- Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (Wikipedia) -- "Argues that questions of sexual definition are at the heart of every form of literature, and discusses the writings of Melville, James, Wilde, and Proust."
- conventional wisdom -- "is a term used to describe ideas or explanations that are generally accepted as true by the public or by experts in a field. Such ideas or explanations, though widely held, are unexamined. Unqualified societal discourse preserves the status quo."
- Concerning Anderson Cooper's recent coming out to Andrew Sullivan see Thomas Kraemer comment to wayne Dynes, "I dissent from the chorus of approval that has greeted Anderson Cooper's announcement about his sexual orientation," dyneslines.blogspot.com posted Jul. 3, 2012.
- Daniel Mendelsohn, "A Closet by Another Name," New York Times, posted Jul. 3, 2012
- John M. Becker, "Thoughts on Anderson Cooper and the "Private Lives" of LGBT People," truthwinsout.org posted Jul. 3, 2012