Monday, March 20th, 2023

“Our Son Was Different…”

Tangents Magazine Feb. 1966“Our Son Was Different…”


February 1966

Vol. 1 No. 5

Editorial by Don Slater

Originally published in the February 1966 issue of Tangents


Don Slater, circa 1965

In the news section of this issue we note the publication of Lester David’s article “Our Son Was Different” in the January issue of Good Housekeeping.

To Mr. David the Editors of Tangents wrote:

You might have brought important enlightenment to an audience that needs enlightenment on the subject of homosexuality—which is part of the life of a very large percentage of American families.

Unhappily, you went for expert opinion to sources that are not taken seriously by really informed people. Dr. Irving Bieber is an old-fashioned psychiatrist clinging to outdated and discredited theories that belong to the Vienna of 1910, not the United States of 1966…

In your article you note several times, though we think without sufficient emphasis, that “authorities do not always agree” on the subject of deviation. Indeed they do not. But they are beginning to agree on one thing—and that is that they can find no proof of any of the theories advanced about psychological or biological “causes” for homosexuality.

The freshest and clearest-eyed of them—and of sociologists, theologians and lawyers too—are concluding today that homosexuality is part of the world of fact that does not conform to middle-class morality and preconceptions, that there is nothing inherently wrong with gentle and considerate sexual activity, regardless of the gender of the partner, and that if homosexuals are maladjusted in our world, it is the world’s fault and not that of the deviant man or woman. Legal sanctions against mature homosexual relationships have fallen in Illinois. Conscientious men and women, judges, lawyers and doctors, are urging that law reform in this connection be nationwide.

We are not sentimental nor romantic about homosexuality. Homosexuals are just men and women like the rest of us, trying to get along in a different world and to find the happiness Thomas Jefferson assured Americans they were entitled to. There are good homosexuals and bad ones, people of intelligence, talent and responsibility, people with none of these qualities.

We are not special pleaders. All that we ask is that the courts, the armed forces, the civil service, the church and society learn to treat homosexuals with the respect any citizen has as his birthright in the United States.

If parents regard their offspring whose sexual compass points in a direction theirs does not, as “sick,” then we are not going to advance. Misery and heartbreak are going to follow. If these same parents can be brought to understand that it is perfectly possible for their homosexual son or daughter to lead a fine, productive life in a world where their sexual bent is not regarded as a handicap—any more than we regard as handicapped those of Negro, Mexican, Oriental, Jewish inheritance—we will have come a long way toward the kind of secure maturity that is the only guarantee any society has of happiness.

Don Slater

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