One (nameless) reviewer of Humphrey Carpenter’s recent biography of Auden stated that the poet, like all queers, liked camping it up. The image is a hackneyed and ignorant one. Conversely, where male ‘campery’ entertains the masses in its most degrading forms (drag acts, covert homosexuals in sit-coms etc.), the masses still find much to despise in the hundreds of gay men driven to casual sex in public toilets. Of course, homosexuality is nothing to hide, but, before I rear the fierce and angry head of sexual politics, one has to recognise that prejudice is ingrained and sustained by these misrepresentative images. And, of course, the consequent suppression of sexuality causes a lot of pain.
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