Crisp or Tatchell? I know who I'd rather have round for tea!
Tim Walker of The Telegraph writes in his column of Peter Tatchell's anger that Quentin Crisp's personality has been "sanitised" for ITV in a new film of his life. I guess that means there aren't enough gay sex scenes and that Crisp didn't ever publicly give a ringing endorsement to homosexuality, so therefore he should be castigated. While he never denied his sexual orientation and played to the gallery with his flamboyance and eccentricity, he was never on the 'liberation' bandwagon and for Peter Tatchell, that just isn't good enough. Walker writes...
The homosexual rights campaigner tells me that the film – a sequel to The Naked Civil Servant, dealing with Crisp's later years as a "resident alien" in America – "sanitised" him, which he considered "ill-advised" as the man himself encouraged hatred of homosexuals.
"Although astonishingly brave and defiant as an 'out' gay man in the 1930s and 40s, he was later self-obsessed, homophobic and reactionary," says Tatchell. "He denounced the gay rights movement and slammed homosexuality as 'a terrible disease' and believed that 'the world would be better without homosexuals."
Tatchell met Crisp in the 1970s in the Charing Cross Road in London when he had taken exception to a "gay liberation" badge that the campaigner had been wearing. "He was very dismissive about it," Tatchell recalls. "He asked me what it was that I wanted to be liberated from. I think he hated the fact that time had moved on and he was no longer unique – no longer the only visible queer on the block.
"For gay men, he was a terrible role model and certainly never used his celebrity status positively. He disgracefully dismissed Aids as a 'fad.' He said gay men were incapable of love and said that they had 'feminine minds' which made him a misogynist as well as a homophobe."
While Tatchell considered Hurt's performance as Crisp to have been "stunning," he didn't see why his life should be celebrated. "Along with Larry Grayson and John Inman, he confirmed rather than challenged prejudices."
My, oh my, what a terrifying list of crimes! Peter Tatchell, sorrowfully, cannot stand it when a gay man disagrees with him and doesn't believe in the 'cause'. He cannot even bring himself to accept a condemnation of the homosexual culture, steeped as it is, in narcissism, vulgarity, bad music, promiscuity and self-destruction from one who is a homosexual, as if somehow any gay man not on a Pride float calling for the age of consent for homosexuals to be lowered to 11 is part of an international conspiracy against 'the gays'. It sounds to me rather as if Crisp had a far deeper, more subtle and nuanced insight into the human condition and his own personal one than Tatchell ever will. While he may have minced he didn't mince his words on the homosexual culture which he condemned as vacuous and painfully empty. By all accounts, I can imagine his company would be much more enjoyable than Peter Tatchell's. Wit, charm, tenderness, charisma, humility and generosity of spirit. Wikipedia suggests he had time for everyone...
As he had done in London, Crisp allowed his phone number to be listed in the telephone directory and saw it as his duty to converse with anyone who called him. For the first twenty or so years of owning his own telephone he habitually answered calls with the phrase "Yes, Lord?" ("Just in case," he once said.) Later on he changed it to "Oh yes?" in a querulous tone of voice. His openness to strangers extended to accepting dinner invitations from almost anyone. While it was expected that the inviter would pay for dinner, Crisp did his best to "sing for his supper" by regaling his hosts with wonderful stories and yarns much as he did in his theatre performances. Dinner with him was said to be one of the best shows in New York.
Peter Tatchell, on the other hand, has time only for the promulgation of his own vulgar statements and shameful political motives. People like Tatchell will never 'get' Crisp, Wilde or any of the 'gay icons' who were quietly excommunicated from the 'movement' because they didn't tow the 'party line' enough.
Crisp observed, "Fashion is what you adopt when you don't know who you are." Anyone now, including a gay man who speaks against the 'gay movement' is ironically seen as an outsider, an outcast, perhaps a troublemaker and not just to the gay community but to society as a whole. Nowadays, to condemn the homosexual lifestyle is counter-cultural. Who knows, a year or two and to speak against it will be illegal. What, I ask you, could be more romantic than that!? Young men will soon be getting arrested for crimes against public indecency...