by Quentin Crisp

I’m told I have stepped into a political controversy because of comments attributed to me in a recent London story [The London Times], sensationally titled: "Stately Homo backs call to abort gay babies."

The article was inaccurate. I am 88 years old and have never called for any public policy, certainly not the policy referred to in the headline. I’ll say what I’ve said before when I have been dragged into political controversy: If I offended or caused anyone hurt, I apologize and withdraw my statement.

I often get into trouble, my friends tell me, because people today – even other gay people – don’t understand how painful and miserable it was to be a homosexual in the early part of this [twentieth] century. And so I’ve borrowed a tactic from "Act-Up": I sometimes feel the need to shock people to make my point. I was speaking of my own personal pain – in part because I want people to better understand how harmful homophobia was to the homosexuals of my generation. Most people today don’t know this: I don’t know how to make them understand. And so sometimes I say shocking things.

I hope that my controversial statement won’t trigger the very kind of witch hunts and censorships that contributed to my lifelong pain. I don’t mean to get involved in politics, but sometimes I get dragged into them, and if that is the case, again, I apologize if my old age has caused me to be inarticulate in my attempts to avoid causing pain to others.

Copyright © 1999–2007 by Quentin Crisp and Phillip Ward,
from Dusty Answers (forthcoming), Mr. Crisp's final book.
All rights reserved.

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