Kenji Yoshino

Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights

I want to pause to say something clearly: gays will not achieve full equality until the ultimate orientation of wavering. Children is a matter of state and social indifference. Those who seek equality for gays but support no-promo-homo measures should ask how consistent it is to treat gays as simultaneously equal and diseased. 47

Others have made subtler claims about immutability, observing that cultural attributes can also be immutable. Yet the more sophisticated the immutability defense becomes, the more convinced I become of its irreducible wrongness. The defense is flawed because it is an implied apology. It resists the conversion demand by saying "I cannot change," rather than by saying "I will not change." It suggests electroshock treatment for homosexuals is wrong because it does not work. But such treatment would be no less wrong if it did. Such a defense also leaves bisexuals, who can choose to express only cross-sex desire, without a defense for any expression of same-sex desire. 49

Perhaps this is the worst any closet does to us--it prevents us from hearing the words "I love you." These were words my parents said tome, and I trusted the love, but not the "you." The real me was hidden, so the "you" they loved was some other, better son. 57

The selective uptake of gay culture--gay fashion, yes; gay affection, no--shows that acceptance is driven by the desires of the straight cultural consumer rather than the dignity of the gay person. 55

If courts make critical entitlements--such as employment or custody--dependent on gay covering they are legitimating second-class citizenship for gays. For this reason, I have more intellectual respect for people who say they oppose gay equality and want gays to convert than for people who say they support gay equality but want gays to cover. It is consistent to abhor homosexuality and to demand all three forms of assimilation. It is not consistent to support gay equality but to push gays into second-class citizenship through the covering demand. 107

As in the gay context, however, we should not confuse selective appropriation of minority cultures with general acceptance. 136

A Thousand Times More Fair

To read Shakespeare is to feel encompassed ...xii

What we see in Hamlet is not just a commitment to moral perfectionism, but also the bottomless cost of that commitment. 205