Welcome to Objectivism Online Forum

Welcome to Objectivism Online, a forum for discussing the philosophy of Ayn Rand. For full access, register via Facebook or email.

Jackethan

Who was Ayn Rand's gay friend?

Rate this topic

10 posts in this topic

Hi all, been a while.

I remember in a discussion about the ethics of homosexuality and Ayn Rand's views on it many years ago on this forum I encountered someone who claimed that Ayn Rand had changed her views on homosexuality later in her life and that one of her close friends was openly gay. I could be remembering wrongly, but I distinctly remember seeing the man's name. If anyone knows the identity of the man or any information about this I would appreciate it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I'd never heard of this change in her thinking. Do you have a citation for it?

The friend might be John Hospers. The trouble with that, though, is that her friendship with him was in the years around 1960 (kiboshed and shunned in 1963), and she issued her widely-quoted fire-breathing moral denunciation of homosexuality in 1971. That would seem to argue that Hospers had no effect on her thought in the matter. I don't know if she knew he was gay or not.

Frank's brother Nick, a favorite of hers who died in the 1940s, was also gay. The BB and Heller biographies suggest that she didn't know this. That's hard to believe today, but people were much more circumspect (and naive) back then.

Edited by Reidy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've seen the fashion show clip somewhere before. One story is that Kilbourn (1:38) later committed suicide because of the Objectivist deities' anti-gay message. I wonder if the wedding dress (3:22) was a coded message and, if it was, whether anybody there that night caught on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Doctor, do you have a citation on the Binswanger account?

I'm interested in evidence of her specific views as well as any friends she had who were gay. I seem to remember the specific friend's homosexuality was known to her and she maintained the friendship. Kerry O'Quinn may be the one.

Thanks for the info so far guys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Jackethan said:

Doctor, do you have a citation on the Binswanger account?

I'm interested in evidence of her specific views as well as any friends she had who were gay. I seem to remember the specific friend's homosexuality was known to her and she maintained the friendship. Kerry O'Quinn may be the one.

Thanks for the info so far guys.

I can't help to wonder what your motivation is for seeking this information. Are you gay? Is your self-worth dependent on whether or not Ayn Rand accepted a person's homosexuality enough, to the extent of maintaining a friendship?

 

I only ask, not because I care whether or not that you are gay, I don't. I care about you using Ayn Rand as the standard in which you judge your own self-worth. If this is not the case, and you are just curious about the topic, please ignore. IF it is the case, I suggest you rethink your reasoning.

Edited by thenelli01

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am gay, and Ayn Rand's opinions on the morality of homosexuality don't affect my self esteem too much. Either she learned to accept that being gay is not immoral and was right, or she didn't and she was wrong.

My curiosity is academic. It's a frequently asked question from non-Oists and students, and I've heard many conflicting answers on the subject so I'd like to collect evidence and see if I can get to an accurate answer. 

Objectivism has taught me how to think, not what to think.

Thanks for the concern. :)

thenelli01 likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Wikipedia article is almost entirely accurate.

Rand never called Peikoff her intellectual heir.

If you follow up on footnote 5, it attributes the "especially good mood" remark to BB, not to Binswanger.

(An omission rather than an inaccuracy) NB was quite as enthusiastic a verbal/intellectual fag-basher as Rand, for as long as he was associated with her and for years thereafter (though he finally reversed himself). Since the topic was more in his line and since he dealt more with the public, he had more occasion than Rand to speak his mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Peikoff is asked the question in a podcast, "Can a gay person be a true Objectivist?":

Quote

I happen to know from seeing her friends over the years . . . a number to whom she was close, knowing full well that they were homosexual. She had no problem being friendly with them. And I know that she certainly regarded some of them as objectivists.

Link

Binswanger does not talk about homosexuality nor Ayn Rand's friends in 100 Voices, but he mentioned a blurb in an email to the Objectivism Study Group list in 1991:

Quote

I asked her privately (circa 1980) specifically whether she thought it was immoral. She said that we didn't know enough about the development of homosexuality in a person's psychology to say that it would have to involve immorality.

I present this only as a shortcut to others' judgements that her early viewpoint is not important. As a gay fan of Rand's, I understand an interest in her views on "homosexuality" (already an old fashioned term, amazingly). But, Rand's best ideas have also brought me to the point of judging for myself and not caring what Rand thought, since she was wrong. I'm not too concerned with her living in ignorance (as most were about gays) and influenced by the ideas of her times, as a fallible human just like us.

softwareNerd likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.