We have to thank the Campaign for Texas Families political action committee for leaking the actual homosexual agenda to the public. The group, which is rallying against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, was able to penetrate the Inner Sanctum of the Gays and escape with the secret plans that unmask their mission to subvert Christian morals and champion pederasty.
At an August 14 campaign kickoff, the PAC distributed copies of something called "The Homosexual Manifesto," a document from 1987 that details how gays will infiltrate schools, bathrooms and even the military to turn innocent young men into sodomites. Credited to a writer named Michael Swift, and originally titled "Gay Revolutionary," it lays bare the plans to grow perfect male specimens in labs for use as sexual slaves. It states, "The family unit...must be eliminated," and calls for the closing of churches because "our only gods are handsome young men."
It begins this way: "We shall sodomize your sons, emblems of your feeble masculinity, of your shallow dreams and vulgar lies."
Except it doesn't really begin that way.
In a nearly 30-year-old tradition, the Campaign for Texas Families has used the piece, first published in the Boston-based Gay Community News, as a really dumb piece of propaganda, stripping it of its actual first line, which is this: "This essay is an outré, madness, a tragic, cruel fantasy, an eruption of inner rage, on how the oppressed desperately dream of being the oppressor."
We're not exactly even sure why such a caveat is necessary, as the piece is such an over-the-top satirical fever dream that pokes fun at the kind of hackneyed homophobic tropes that hatemongers, like Houston's Steven Hotze, are still peddling in their bid to crush an ordinance that bars discrimination on the basis of race, religion, and age. Oh, and also sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Texas Supreme Court suspended the ordinance in July, and it's now on the November ballot. Most of those who oppose it refer to it as "the bathroom bill" and believe it will allow dudes in drag to walk brazenly into women's restrooms and molest children. These are grown-ups saying this. One is even running for mayor.
The essay is, well, a gayification of Jonathan Swift's 1729 "A Modest Proposal," a benchmark of satire that suggests resolving Ireland's economic woes by having poor people sell their children to the nobles for food (it even includes recipes). The brilliance of Jonathan Swift's piece is how straight he plays it, which is why, three centuries later, it's still taught in schools. (Well, maybe not schools in Texas).
Somewhere along the way, "Gay Revolutionary" was hijacked by fundamentalist groups and portrayed as a "Gotcha!" that showed there really was a plan for gay domination. It was even entered into the Congressional Record — without the explanatory first line.
"Gay Revolutionary" is such a modern take on "Proposal" that we thought the author's name — Michael Swift — was a pseudonym, and a nod to the master. Turns out it's not.
In our bid to track down the dude whose otherwise obscure essay was given a second life as political propaganda, we got in touch with former Gay Community News editor Michael Bronski, now a professor at Harvard, and winner of too many LGBT awards and honors to even list.
Bronski is still amazed that, after nearly thirty years, the piece is still used by fundamentalist groups. He says he's received calls over the years from people wanting to get in touch with the author. But Bronski didn't know the author, nor did some former GCN staffers we reached out to. And that's primarily because Michael Swift was just a reader who submitted his essay to the magazine's "Speak Out" op-ed section.
“We accepted submissions from pretty much everybody," Bronski recalls. He said he and the other editors thought it was a good "political performance piece" and didn't think twice about running it.
“We understood it to be satiric, so nobody had a problem with it," he says. "Nobody even said, 'What if people misinterpret this?'”
Bronski had also thought "Michael Swift" was a pseudonym, and likens the homophobic groups who still disseminate his "manifesto" as "very much like people who would've taken Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal seriously. I mean, he didn't really intend...to eat Irish babies.”
Bronski adds, "I kind of wish that the piece would stop being used this way and be appreciated for what it was….I think it actually speaks to the power of the piece...."
Sue Hyde, a former GCN news editor, is tired of seeing that power turned on its head. Hyde was on staff prior to "Gay Revolutionary," but knows all too much about the essay's second life as anti-equality rhetoric.
"I am not surprised that this piece has re-surfaced and is being deployed by the anti-LGBTQ organizers in Houston," she told us via email. "This is not the first time that this satirical piece has been used to smear the LGBTQ movement and its goals."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Our hopes to find Michael Swift were stoked when Bronski told us that he had stumbled upon a Swift submission to another publication — a poem — while helping a friend clean house six months ago. It was dated 1994, and listed Swift's address in Delray Beach, Florida. We still assumed it was a pseudonym, but court records show a Michael J. Swift having lived at that address. Unfortunately, the records also showed that he died in 2000, at age 57. We called his sister, who hung up on us, so unfortunately, we weren't able to learn any personal details about a very talented writer, or what he might have thought about his work being misappropriated.
We were disappointed to learn that a Houston PAC is responsible for this latest misappropriation. We can attribute some of that disappointment to Bart Standley, Campaign for Texas Families' treasurer. He's been fined $6,400 by the Texas Ethics Commission in the past, for incomplete/incorrect filings or missed deadlines related to previous PACS, including Citizens for American Restoration and Conservative Republicans of Harris County. (He did not admit or deny the findings, and only agreed to pay the fines for a speedy resolution).
It's a shame that a governmental body with "Ethics" in its name doesn't have the power to penalize PACS for such slimy behavior. Opposing an ordinance like HERO is unethical in the first place; using a piece of satire literally surpasses questions of ethics and is just straight-up bananas. It's akin to anti-Semites who still use the "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion" as "proof" of a Jewish conspiracy toward global domination.
For the record, we don't think Standley really believes "Gay Revolutionary" is literal. But we're sure he's banking on the fact that there are plenty of people who do. The thing is, no one should be fooled. The dead giveaway, even if you take everything else away, is the essay's length. Because if ever the true gay agenda is somehow leaked to the masses, it would probably just be one line. Something simple. Something like, "Our agenda is this: Equal treatment."