A World Without Gay or Lesbian People
At times it seems as if some people would prefer a world where no lesbians or gays existed. But what would that world really look like? Here is a look at what the world might have been like if it had never included people who were homosexual or had a significant homosexual relationship in life.
President Gerald Ford might have died in 1975 because a gay, former marine, Oliver "Bill" Sipple would not have been alive to push away the gun of an assassin in San Francisco.
The United States, Britain, and the other Allies might have lost World War II because Alan Turing, a gay British mathematician, would never have been born. Turing broke one of the Nazis' most important codes to help shorten the war.
African-Americans might have struggled longer before receiving civil rights because there would have been no Bayard Rustin, the gay man who organized the 1963 March on Washington. This the march where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., made his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
Religious life would have been lessened without the Christian voices of Malcolm Boyd, Troy Perry, Jane Spahr or John McNeil. Christians would also have a difficult time conceiving the New Testament without the scholarship skills of Desiderius Erasmus (the basis for the Tyndale and King James Versions).
Our musical world would have been impoverished because gay American composer Aaron Copeland would have never been born. Russian composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky would not have existed, neither would have Leonard Bernstein, English composer Benjamin Britten, or singers Bessie Smith, Melissa Etheridge, or Elton John. Katherine Bates would have never written "America the Beautiful." We would have also missed the folk songs of Stephen Foster or the clever compositions of Cole Porter.
We would never have listened to the "Sweetheart of Sigma Chi" or "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" -- both were written by gay men to their lovers (in both cases, publishers demanded that gender pronouns be switched).
Western art would look very different because neither Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci would have been around. And of course, we would have missed Plato and a woman Plato honored with respect as the "tenth muse" -- Sappho.
The Disney movie hits "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast" would have been much duller because Howard Ashman would not have been alive to write their Academy Award winning songs. Or imagine "Star Wars" or "Schindler's List" without the scores of John Williams.
Literature would have been lessened because many authors would never have been born, including Pulitzer Prize winning poet W.H. Auden, Nobel Prize winning author Patrick White of Australia, E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather, Gertrude Stein, and Walt Whitman.
Movie theaters would have been duller: no Rock Hudson or Marlene Dietrich or Montgomery Clift. Actually, many of the most important plays of the American stage would never have been written because gay playwright Tennessee Williams would not have existed. We would have also missed the plays of Edward Albee or the brilliant acting of Sir Laurence Olivier.
Who else would have been missing? Sports stars like Martina Navritalova or Greg Louganis or Brian Orser would be gone. The list of people who have had significant same-gender relationships is very long and includes Socrates, King Richard the Lion Hearted, Queen Christina of Sweden, and so many more.
We may never know the cause of lesbian/gay orientation -- but one thing is sure. It would be difficult to envision or recognize a civilized world without the contributions of gays and lesbians.
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